Defining Confidence by Coherence

‘What You See Is All There Is’ (WYSIATI) is a ‘trait’ of System 1 where your associative memory quickly and automatically constructs the best possible story from the information available.

WYSIATI holds a lot of influence in our creation of an answer to the ‘questioning of evidence.’  The confidence of this answer “is determined by the coherence of the best story you can tell from the [subjective] evidence at hand.” This has little regard for the quality or accuracy of the gathered evidence, and therefor also of its predictive quality.

“Because of confidence by coherence, the subjective confidence we have in our opinions reflects the coherence of the story that System 1 and System 2 have constructed. The amount of evidence and its quality do not count for much, because poor evidence can make a very good story. For some of our most important beliefs we have no evidence at all, except that people we love and trust hold these beliefs. Considering how little we know, the confidence we have in our beliefs is preposterous–and it is also essential.” (Daniel Kahneman)

“Subjective confidence in a judgment is not a reasoned evaluation of the probability that this judgment is correct. Confidence is a feeling, which reflects the coherence of the information and the cognitive ease of processing it. It is wise to take admissions of uncertainty seriously, but declarations of high confidence mainly tell you that an individual has constructed a coherent story in his mind, not necessarily that the story is true.” (Daniel Kahneman)

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