Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fiction as an exaggeration of inner fiction

An interesting post in Overcoming Bias. It suggests that our bias toward reality tends toward the direction of fiction. That is, (successful) fiction is simply a further exaggeration of things we already tend to overestimate. I think it's suggested that biases cause such fiction to be well-written and well-received, not that exposure to fiction causes this. Hanson then suggests to "Find ways in which fiction tends to deviate from reality, and then move your estimates of reality in the other direction."

A few possible human biases that this "fix" would identify.
-Your boss at the office probably isn't as socially inept and ignorant as you think.
-Your adversaries or competitors are not as evil and immoral as you think.
-Solutions cannot be wrapped up as quickly as you think.
-Serial killers are not as interesting as you think.
-People don't have nearly as much sex as you think.

This is related to the idea that everybody is their own protagonist.

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