“When our ancestors heard rustling on the savanna and a lion jumped out, making a connection between “rustling” and “lions” could save their lives on later occasions. Finding predictable connections is, literally, how our species survived. Science writer, historian, and skeptic Michael Shermer, in The Believing Brain, explains why we have historically (and prehistorically) looked for connections even if they were doubtful or false. Incorrectly interpreting rustling from the wind as an oncoming lion is called a type I error, a false positive. The consequences of such an error were much less grave than those of a type II error, a false negative. A false negative could have been fatal: hearing rustling and always assuming it’s the wind would have gotten our ancestors eaten, and we wouldn’t be here.”
- Thinking in Bets, 2018
This is interesting stuff. It ties to what poker players call “resulting.” Resulting is referred to as “outcome bias.” Outcome bias arises when a decision is based on the outcome of previous events, without regard to how the past events developed. Outcome bias does not involve analysis of factors that lead to a previous event, and instead de-emphasizes the events preceding the outcomes and overemphasizes the outcome.