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Psychology of Misjudgment #24: Reason-Respecting Tendency:


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24. Reason-Respecting Tendency


"This tendency has an obvious implication. It makes man especially prone to learn well when a would-be teacher gives correct reasons for what is taught, instead of simply laying out the desired belief ex-cathedra with no reasons given…


In general, learning is most easily assimilated and used when, life long, people consistently hang their experience, actual and vicarious, on a latticework of theory answering the question: Why? Indeed, the question “Why?” is a sort of Rosetta stone opening up the major potentiality of mental life.


Unfortunately, Reason-Respecting Tendency is so strong that even a person’s giving a meaningless or incorrect reason will increase compliance with his orders and requests.


Explaining “Why?” can open the door to learning, better work results, or manipulation.


"The power of Why becomes obvious in Munger’s example of another of Robert Cialdini’s social experiments. People were more willing to allow someone else to cut in front of them to use the copy machine when the person cutting gave a reason why. It worked even when the reason was: “I have to make some copies.”"



Ex cathedra is a Latin phrase, meaning not "from the cathedral," but "from the chair." The phrase does have religious origins though: it was originally applied to decisions made by Popes from their thrones. According to Roman Catholic doctrine, a Pope speaking ex cathedra on issues of faith or morals is infallible. In general use, the phrase has come to be used with regard to statements made by people in positions of authority, and it is often used ironically to describe someone speaking with overbearing or unwarranted self-certainty.


I think it is great to give reasons explaining why to people in your life as it aids in understanding.


Also, it is interesting that one must consciously shake off total nonsense reasons.  This takes some mental effort.

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Lately, it seems like the answers to “why” are frequently riddled with dogmatic rhetoric.


I wonder if a lot of high profile political influencers even know why they’re promoting.


Emotion is a difficult thing to suppress and makes truth elusive.


As far as investments go, I understand nothing about the businesses I’ve invested in.

It’s all a leap of faith and over the next 2 years I’m going more towards real estate.




On a more academic note, instructors often don’t like it when you ask why.

I asked why a lot but didn’t really know why.

Rebellion against rules?


Now that I’m choosing my own curriculum and working at my own pace,

I see how a thorough understanding of the rules makes breaking them a lot easier.


Jazz / Lofi & a looper because, why not.

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