The biggest source of human bias is the incentive to lead others to believe that you are better than you are

by Stephanie Zolayvar Dec 15 2016

If evolution were optimizing creatures that were exactly like humans except that they were not social at all (maybe they each have their own planet), then almost all of the biases would disappear.


Stephanie Zolayvar

Paul's recent post argues in favor of this position: 6mt.html

Alexei Andreev

I disagree mostly on priors, since it's quite unlikely that we discovered, understood, and pinpointed the biggest source. Would agree with a slightly weaker version of this claim.

Eric Bruylant

Does "better" include "more like the in-group"? If yes, this seems very plausible. If no, I'd guess the crony beliefs cluster is a bigger source.

Better in a locally zero-sum way has some direct checks (because the people you're interacting with you have an incentive to see if you're deceiving them about your usefulness), whereas locally positive-sum biases (e.g. "my in group is the best in-group, and is right about everything") should be selected for.