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Rationality Training

Anna Salamon

Adam Ford

Posted: Aug 27, 2013

Anna Salamon of CFAR talks about rationality training and what it all means. She suggests that science plus an understanding of human error can tell us how humans should/ought to reason. Published on Apr 27, 2013.

Center for Applied Rationality -‎ - CFAR is a non-profit organization dedicated to harnessing breakthroughs in the study of cognition to improve human decision-making.

==We can improve.==
CFAR takes an optimistic view of these discoveries. Recent scientific understanding of cognitive biases, or systematic thinking errors, provides an exciting opportunity for humanity to become smarter and more effective. We're taking the results of cognitive science research, and turning them into techniques that people can practice and use in their own lives. That means going beyond understanding these errors, and actually training ourselves to overcome them. It also means knowing when to trust our instincts, and learning new thinking habits for situations where they're less reliable.
CFAR is devoted to teaching those techniques, and the math and science behind them, to adults and exceptional youth. In the process, we're breaking new ground in studying the long-term effects of rationality training on life outcomes using randomized controlled trials. We're contributing to pedagogical knowledge about how to teach this emerging discipline at universities and elsewhere. And we're building a real-life community of tens of thousands of students, entrepreneurs, researchers, programmers, philanthropists, and others who are passionate about using rationality to improve the decisions they make for themselves and for the world.

==The science behind CFAR==
When cognitive scientists talk about rationality, they're talking about two things: Epistemic rationality means forming beliefs about the world as accurately as possible, given the available evidence. Instrumental rationality means figuring out the best way to reach your goals, given your own beliefs and desires, and then getting yourself to act on those plans. Math, logic, and statistics have accumulated a lot of insight over the centuries about how optimal reasoning and strategy work, while cognitive science shows us how humans diverge from those ideal models, and what we can do to improve.


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