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So, I'd like you to imagine for a moment
that you are a soldier in the heat of battle.
Maybe you're a Roman foot soldier or a medieval archer
or maybe you're a Zulu warrior.
Regardless of your time and place,
there are some things that are constant.
Your adrenalin is elevated, and your actions are stemming
from these deeply ingrained reflexes.
Reflexes rooted in a need to protect yourself and your side
and to defeat the enemy.
So now I'd like you to imagine playing a very different role.
That of the scout.
So the scout's job is not to attack or defend.
The scout's job is to understand.
The scout is the one going out,
mapping the terrain, identifying potential obstacles,
and the scout may hope to learn that say, there's a bridge
in a convenient location across the river.
But above all, the scout wants to know what's really there
as accurately as possible.
And in a real actual army,
both the soldier and the scout are essential.
But you can also think of each of these roles as a mindset.
A metaphor for how all of us process information
and ideas in our daily lives.
And what I'm going to argue today is that having good judgment,
and making accurate predictions, making good decisions
is mostly about which mindset you're in.
So, to illustrate these mindsets in action,
I'm going to take you back to 19th century France
where this innocuous looking piece of paper launched
one of the biggest political scandals in history.
It was discovered in 1894 by officers
in the French general staff.
And it was torn up in a wastepaper basket
but when they pieced it back together, they discovered
that someone in their ranks had been selling military secrets
to Germany.
So they launched a big investigation
and their suspicions quickly converged
on this man, Albert Dreyfus.
He had a sterling record.
No past history of wrongdoing,
no motive as far as they could tell.
But Dreyfus was the only Jewish officer at that rank in the Army
and unfortunately, at this time,
the French army was highly anti-semitic.
So they compared Dreyfus's handwriting to that on the memo
and concluded that it was a match.
Even though outside professional handwriting experts
were much less confident in the similarity, but never mind that.
They went and searched Dreyfus's apartment
looking for any signs of espionage.
They went through his files and they didn't find anything.
And this just convinced them more that Dreyfus was not only guilty,
but sneaky as well, because clearly he had hidden all of the evidence
before they had managed to get to it.
Next, they went and looked through his personal history
for any incriminating details.
They talked to his teachers.
They found that he had studied foreign languages in school
which clearly showed a desire to conspire with foreign governments
later in life.
His teachers also said that Dreyfus had a good memory
and was known for having a good memory.
Which was highly suspicious, right?
You know, because a spy has to remember a lot of things.
So, the case went to trial and Dreyfus was found guilty.
And afterwards they took him out into this public square
and ritualistically tore his insignia from his uniform
and broke his sword and two.
This is called the degradation of Dreyfus.
And they sentenced him to life imprisonment
on the aptly named Devil's Island
which is this barren rock off the coast of South America.
So there he went.
And there he spent his days alone writing letters
and letters to the French government
begging them to reopen his case so they could discover his innocence.
But for the most part, France considered the matter closed.
So one thing that's really interesting to me
about the Dreyfus Affair is this question
of why the officers were so convinced
that Dreyfus was guilty.
I mean you might even assume that they were setting him up.
They were intentionally framing him,
but historians don't think that's what happened.
As far as we can tell, the officers genuinely believed
that the case against Dreyfus was strong.
Which you know, makes you wonder what does it say
about the human mind that we can find such paltry evidence
to be compelling enough to convict a man?
Well, this is a case of what scientists call
"motivated reasoning".
It's this phenomenon which our unconscious motivations,
our desires and fears shape the way we interpret information.
So some information, some ideas feel like our allies
and we want them to win.
We want to defend them.
And other information or ideas are the enemy
and we want to shoot them down.
So this is why I call motivated reasoning, "soldier mindset."
And probably most of you have never persecuted
a French Jewish officer for high treason I assume,
but maybe you've followed sports or politics.
So you might have noticed that when the referee judges
that your team committed a foul for example,
you're highly motivated to find reasons why he's wrong.
But if he judges that the other team committed a foul - awesome!
That's a good call.
Let's not examine it too closely.
Or, maybe you've read an article or study
that examined some controversial policy
like capital punishment.
And as researchers have demonstrated,
if you support capital punishment,
and the study shows that is not effective,
then you're highly motivated to find all the reasons
why the study was poorly designed.
But if it shows that capital punishment works - awesome!
It's a good study. And vice versa.
If you don't support capital punishment, same thing.
Our judgment is just strongly influenced unconsciously
by which side we want to win.
And this is ubiquitous.
This shapes how we think about our health, relationships,
how we decide how to vote, what we consider fair or ethical,
and what's most scary to me about motivated reasoning
or soldier mindset, is how unconscious it is.
We can think we're being objective and fair-minded
and still wind up ruining the life of an innocent man.
However, fortunately for Dreyfus, his story is not over.
This is Colonel Picquart.
He is another high-ranking officer in the French army,
and like most people, he assumed Dreyfus was guilty.
Also like most people in the Army,
he was at least casually anti-Semitic.
But at a certain point, Picquart began to suspect
what if we are all wrong about Dreyfus?
And what happened was, he had discovered evidence
that the spying for Germany had continued
even after Dreyfus was in prison.
And he had also discovered that another officer in the Army
had handwriting that perfectly matched the memo.
Much closer than Dreyfus's handwriting.
So he brought these discoveries to his superiors
but to his dismay, they either didn't care,
or came up with elaborate rationalizations to explain his findings,
like, "Well, all you've really shown, Picquart, is that there is another spy
who learned how to mimic Dreyfus's handwriting,
and he picked up the torch of spying after Dreyfus left.
But Dreyfus is still guilty."
Eventually, Picquart managed to get Dreyfus exonerated.
But it took him 10 years,
and for part of that time, he himself was in prison
for the crime of disloyalty to the Army.
So, you know, a lot of people feel
like Picquart can't really be the hero of this story.
Because he was an anti-Semite and that's bad.
Which I agree with, but personally, for me,
the fact that Picquant was anti-Semitic
actually makes his actions more admirable to me.
Because he had the same prejudices, the same reasons
to be biased as his fellow officers,
but his motivation to find the truth and uphold it just trumped all of that.
So to me,
Picquart is a poster child for what I call "scout mindset."
It's the drive not to make one idea win or another lose,
but just to see what's really there as honestly and accurately as you can,
even if it's not pretty or convenient or pleasant.
And this mindset is what I'm personally passionate about.
And what I've spent the last few years examining
and trying to figure out what causes scout mindset.
You know, why are some people sometimes at least,
able to cut through their own prejudices and biases and motivations
and just to see the facts and evidence
as objectively as they can?
And the answer is emotional.
So, just as the soldier mindset is rooted in emotions
like defensiveness or tribalism, scout mindset is too.
It's just rooted in different emotions.
So for example, scouts are curious.
They're more likely to say that they feel pleasure
when they learn new information or an itch to solve a puzzle.
They're more likely to feel intrigued
when they encounter something that contradicts their expectations.
Scouts also have different values.
They are more likely to say that they think it's virtuous
to test your own beliefs and they're less likely to say
that someone who changes his mind seems weak.
And above all, scouts are grounded.
Which means that their self-worth
as a person isn't tied to how right or wrong they are
about any particular topic.
So, you know, they can believe that capital punishment works
and if studies come out showing that it doesn't, they can say,
"Huh. Looks like I might be wrong.
Doesn't mean I'm bad or stupid."
So these traits, this cluster of traits
is what researchers have found -
and I've also found anecdotally - predicts good judgment.
And the key takeaway I want to leave you with
about those traits is that they're primarily
not about how smart you are, or about how much you know.
In fact they don't correlate very much with IQ at all.
They're about how you feel.
So, there's a quote that I keep coming back to by Saint-Exupery.
He is the author of "The Little Prince."
And he said, "If you want to build a ship,
don't drum up your men to collect wood and give orders
and distribute the work.
Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."
In other words, I claim if we want
to really improve our judgment as individuals and as societies,
what we need most is not more instruction in logic or rhetoric
or probability or economics,
even though those things are quite valuable.
But what we most need
to use those principles well, is scout mindset.
We need to change the way we feel.
We need to learn how to feel proud instead of ashamed
when we notice we might have been wrong about something.
We need to learn how to feel intrigued instead of defensive
when we encounter some information
that contradicts our beliefs.
So, the question I want to leave you with,
is what do you most yearn for?
Do you yearn to defend your own beliefs,
or do you yearn to see the world as clearly as you possibly can?
Thank you.



【TEDx】就算你是錯的,為什麼你還是覺得你是對的 (Why "scout mindset" is crucial to good judgment | Julia Galef | TEDxPSU)

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chloe 發佈於 2016 年 8 月 11 日    Daniel Huang 翻譯    Mandy Lin 審核
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