Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid

Sternberg's premise is that stupidity and intelligence aren't like cold and heat, where the former is simply the absence of the latter. Stupidity might be a quality in itself, perhaps measurable, and it may exist in dynamic fluxion with intelligence, such that smart people can do really dumb things sometimes and vice versa.


Perkins lists eight deadly sins of the stupid smart person, which seem to sum it all up rather elegantly: impulsiveness (doing something rash), neglect (ignoring something important), procrastination (actively avoiding something important), vacillation (dithering), backsliding (capitulating to habit), indulgence (allowing oneself to fall into excess), overdoing (like indulgence, but with positive things) and walking the edge (tempting fate). That sounds like my entire life, actually. Yes, that explains a lot.


After reading Stanovich, the proper utility of game theory seems to be, not the study of human interactions, but the study of why game theory doesn't work in real life -- to wit: the study of human stupidity, including the stupidity of those who keep trying to apply game theory to real human behavior. Stanovich also contributes the excellent term "dysrationalia." A word to keep and to use.

via Salon.com Books | "Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid," by Robert J. Sternberg.