Second, the situations we find ourselves in affect our thoughts and determine our behavior far more than we realize. People’s dispositions, on the other hand—their distinctive (Location 235)

Whenever the direct evidence about a person or object is ambiguous, background knowledge in the form of a schema or stereotype can increase accuracy of judgments to the extent that the stereotype has some genuine basis in reality. (Location 327)

A book by Adam Alter called Drunk Tank Pink is a good compendium of many of the effects we know about to date. (Alter chose the title because of the belief of many prison officials and some researchers that pink walls make inebriated men tossed into a crowded holding cell less prone to violence.) (Location 398)

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. You’re rarely going to do better than that. (Location 515)

The failure to recognize the importance of contexts and situations and the consequent overestimation of the role of personal dispositions is, I believe, the most pervasive and consequential inferential mistake we make. The social psychologist Lee Ross has labeled this the fundamental attribution error. (Location 560)

Gates became one of a small number of people anywhere who had substantial time to explore a high-powered computer. (Location 569)

Behind many a successful person lies a string of lucky breaks that we have no inkling about. (Location 573)

Yes it was. Or at any rate, he was smoking because a lot of his peers were smoking. (Location 656)

Students who had been assigned a roommate who came to college with a history of substantial drinking got grades a quarter point lower than students assigned a teetotaler. (Location 682)

Students from those liberal colleges are going to reenter a world of people with a wide range of views—which will now begin to influence them in a more rightward direction on average. (Location 718)

We’re much less likely to recognize the situational factors other people are responding to, and we’re consequently much more likely to commit the fundamental attribution error when judging them—seeing dispositional (Location 756)

Participants didn’t even consciously recognize that there was a pattern, let alone know exactly what it was. (Location 971)

In conscious problem solving we’re aware of: (1) certain thoughts and perceptions that are in our heads, (2) particular rules that we believe govern (or should govern) how we deal with those thoughts and perceptions, and (3) many of the cognitive and behavioral outputs of whatever mental processes are going on. I know the rules of multiplication, (Location 1067)

In carrying out what is called expected value analysis, you list the possible outcomes of each of a set of choices, determine their value (positive or negative), and calculate the probability of each outcome. (Location 1194)

If our beliefs are incongruent with our behavior, something has to change: either our beliefs or our behavior. We don’t have direct control over our beliefs but we do have control over our behavior. And because dissonance is a noxious state, our beliefs move into line with our behavior. (Location 1209)

And as Freud said, “When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons. In vital matters, however … the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves.” (Location 1298)

This is the problem of how to compare the apples of cost with the oranges of benefits. For institutions—including the government—it’s necessary to compare costs and benefits with the same yardstick. It would be nice if we could compare costs and benefits in terms of “human welfare units” or “utilitarian points.” (Location 1306)

The sunk cost principle says that only future benefits and costs should figure in your choices. (Location 1449)

Drug companies sometimes justify exorbitant prices for a drug by citing the need to “retrieve the cost of developing (Location 1469)

“There ain’t no such thing as free lunch.” (The expression comes from Depression-era bars that attracted patrons by advertising free lunch. The lunch was free but the beer wasn’t.) Any action you take means you can’t take some other action that, upon reflection, you might prefer. (Location 1507)

logical construction is just not very persuasive to me. An argument can be logical without being correct (see Chapter 13 on formalisms). (Location 1539)

But they also pay for handwriting analysts to assess personality, lie detector technicians, feng shui “experts,” motivational speakers to hop around a stage, and astrologers. (Location 1549)

So smarter people, and people educated in the rule system, are more likely to use the principles than less smart, untrained people. Are they better off doing so? If they’re so smart, why aren’t they rich? (Location 1574)