Errors in personification

“The sun is trying to break through the clouds.”

“The virus doesn’t like it when people stay home and isolate.”

“The computer didn’t expect you to type that.”

Of course, the solar, the virus and the pc aren’t individuals. And genes aren’t really egocentric, and new information demonstrates that we don’t actually have a lizard mind.

But these aren’t errors in any respect. It makes it simpler to foretell what a non-human goes to do if we think about that it has motivations and preferences which might be like ours.

Two issues can come up, although:

The first is once we assert human motivations that don’t really do a great job of prediction. For instance, imagining that occasions are motivated by some form of unrelated particular superstition or narrative.

The second is extra problematic: It occurs once we personalize different individuals–imagining that they’re not simply people, however they’re us. “If I were you…” isn’t at all times a helpful predictor, since you’re not me. And vice versa.

Everyone has their very own historical past, their very own biases and their very own irrationalities. Personification is a helpful shortcut if it helps us make good predictions about others, but it surely’s a lure if we assume that we’re the one ones who’re proper.

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