3 Common Logic Traps to Avoid in Life and Work: Backward Inference, Communication Faults, and Faulty Causation

Today, I summarized three common logic traps in life and work, hoping to help you grow your thinking ability. The article is long, but you will certainly gain something after reading it.

Enter the text below:

1. fallacy of backward inference: conclusion come first, then process

A long time ago when I was in the consulting industry, the boss told me an iron rule:

“Process is more important than conclusion.”

How to understand this sentence?

Here’s an example.

For example, now you are an e-commerce marketing manager, the company recently launched a new lipstick out, marketing expenses spent a lot, a lot of advertising, but user growth has not been up, sales are also mediocre.

What would you do at this time?

Find out why, do the analysis, right.

So what are the most likely to think of the reason?

A few options quickly pop up in my mind, such as the selling point of the product itself is not outstanding; or the competitor is the father of the gold owner, throwing N times the marketing cost of us; or the consumer’s taste has changed, no longer like this style of lipstick design.

These are the three reasons that are most likely to come to mind.

So what’s next to prove the reason for these assumptions?

I’m looking for support, that’s what we call an argument.

The selling points of the product itself are not outstanding, so let’s see what the specific selling points are, and then compare with similar competing products to see if it is eye-catching enough;

Competitors spend more marketing expenses, then look at what channels they put their money into, estimate the overall media budget spend how many;

Consumer taste has changed, this is easier, go to the product home page comments section of the message, see how users are commenting on our products.

So far, this idea seems to be no problem, finally magnificently write a PPT analysis report, to the boss a job, you’re done.

But did you find a bug?

The above thinking path is operated according to the backward logic of first having a conclusion (assuming three possible reasons for poor sales) and then demonstrating (looking for information and data).

But is this the right thing to do? Really can find the crux of the problem?

It doesn’t.

This is a real story happened, so I didn’t take it out, for example, it finally the real reason is:

The algorithm rules of the e-commerce platform have been changed.

Because the past marketing traffic play method, does not apply to the new rules, so it leads to user growth and sales.

Popular speaking, is that in the past you can buy 100 dollars all stud flow, but now you have to put 100 pieces into 20, 30, 50 pieces to spend, respectively, to traders in different section content, finally form the marketing combination, so as to have the effect.

None of the three reasons I thought about it were right.

This is the logical fallacy of the backward type:

Only the conclusion, and process.

Empiricism alone sums up several possible reasons, leading to the back of all arguments in the subconscious to these directions, and ignores the unexpected new possibilities.

It’s a lot like a police detective.

When the police with subjective consciousness to lock a criminal suspect, in the process of looking for evidence, they will unconsciously look for the direction that can prove TA guilty, but ignore the information that can prove TA innocent.

If you don’t realize the fallacy of thinking in time, it is easy to lead to the occurrence of wrongs.

It’s the same at work.

Encountered a problem, we tend to be based on personal experience to put forward assumptions, to do the argument. While this approach helps us focus our thinking, it also blocks out many more possibilities.

There is a word to describe this kind of phenomenon, is called:

The truth of laziness.

In the context of mass communication, people are more inclined to be told the truth than to dig it out for themselves.

Because the cost of finding a truth from scratch is too high. But if there is a hypothetical truth in advance, we only have to prove it right or wrong, it is easier.

In the face of simple problems is good, once the problem of complex coefficient is high, do so tend to be more and more far from the true truth.

So what is the right thing to do?

It’s simple. Reverse the order.

In the past, there was a conclusion first, and then to prove. Now we look for evidence, reasoning conclusion again.

Again with the example at the beginning of the article, sales and user growth are not going to go up, which is the problem. So based on this problem, we don’t rush to hypothesis, but to search for the facts.

How to search?

Three words, find abnormal.

Now that according to the previous experience of operation, it is concluded that the completely different results, that must be different from the usual happened in the process of things, you want to find out all of them.

At that time, we found a lot of anomalies after the review, such as a significant decrease in ROI of media budget investment, a significant lengthening of the path of tracking consumer behavior, and other content where our product advertisements should appear.

All of these anomalies together, reasoning out a we wouldn’t have thought of in the past:

The rules of the platform have changed.

However, when we took this conclusion to ask the small two of the e-commerce platform, the other party said it was true. And told us about this matter a month ago, but at that time, no one paid attention to.

Although they had suffered losses, everyone had learned from their mistakes. When they analyzed the problem in the future, they had never fallen into such a logical trap.

2. The Fault Fallacy: I Thought You’d Know

You must have played a game:

You draw, I guess.

One person draws on a drawing board, and the other person tries to guess what the other person is drawing from the pattern on the drawing board.

It sounds easy, but it’s funny.

Once I play with friends, for example, I smoke in a poem:

“Hoeing day when noon.”

So I drew a man bent in hoeing, head to draw a sun, very easy to guess right?

But my friend stare blankly is the two goods guess four or five are wrong, I was dancing with his strokes, and I can’t talk, the last time is up can only swallowed their anger forget about it.

Afterwards, I complained to my friend, what are you doing? I can’t guess it.

But his face looked at me innocently, said this picture there are many kinds of possible!

In this case, in fact, my friend and I are not wrong, what is wrong?

Information cognition is not equal.

When I got the title, my first reaction was to hoeing in the hot sun. There was nothing wrong with it.

But my friend, he didn’t know I take the topic is a poem, but also a Chinese poem.

Therefore, when he saw a person hoeing the land, he would think of many possibilities. For example, Van Gogh had a painting of a man hoeing in the sun. That was what he had guessed.

This kind of situation, in the book “make ideas more sticky,” there is a special concept to describe it:

The curse of knowledge.

When you know something, you can’t imagine what it’s like not knowing it.

Knowledge is not necessarily true “knowledge,” it can also be information, facts, intelligence, etc.

And that leads to the second logical fallacy that I’m going to talk about today, the communication fault.

Do you think each other all know, but the other party does not know. Do you think the other party can empathy for you, but each other and your feeling is not the same.

This kind of phenomenon in daily work, it is too common.

For example, when you are at work, suddenly called into a meeting.

Sat for seven or eight people at the meeting, everyone holding me a word to discuss, you don’t know the ins and outs, don’t know what happened, the in the mind worry thinking about have other work to be done.

End of the meeting, your boss suddenly tell you, you said you are down just now. This new project needs your help, you put the next work content planning to sort out.

You, on the other hand, was at a loss as you listened to him and asked three questions to your soul,”

Who am I? Where am I? What am I going to do?”

This is the curse of knowledge, your boss and you are in the information level of two dimensions:

He thinks you know about the project, all understand. And your mind a blank, don’t even know the ins and outs of the project.

At this time, your communication fault happened.

There are many similar situations.

Another example is the communication between product managers and programmers.

Product managers are market-oriented thinking, focusing on user experience, business transformation and deadline. Programmers are science and engineering thinking, focusing on the realizability, is the causal transformation, is the focus of the problem.

One is realism, the other is idealism, the two different cognitive perspective, will lead to obstacles in daily communication.

The product manager said that this feature must be online tomorrow, and users like it very much. But the programmer refused, saying that implementing this feature would be equivalent to changing all the previous product frameworks, and it would not be possible to do it so quickly.

So the contradiction is so produced.

So how to solve this problem?

Very simple, before the communication, first understand yourself and each other in which stage of information cognition. Here’s an NPA principle that you can remember.

The so-called NPA, respectively refers to three words:

Nothing/Part of it/All.

They represent the three different stages of communication.

Know nothing, is the initial stage, the other party know nothing about the information you want to communicate.

This time you have to start from the cause of the things the original background, according to the chronological order of the development of things, will tell each other key information extracted.

Know part of it, the other party to know part of the information you want to tell.

At this stage, we can do a simple antecedent summary when communicating, usually no more than a minute.

Briefly review the important information before the event, and then start to say the other party don’t know the information, completes the connecting link.

For example,”Didn’t you say last time… “There is a lot of work to do.” “It’s been mentioned before…. “It was a good idea.”

Finally, Know it all, the other party to fully understand what you want to say.

What you need to do now is not to give information, but to discuss based on the information. There’s no need to go back and discuss what’s going to happen in the future.

Knowing in advance the other party’s acceptance stage of information can greatly improve our communication efficiency and avoid the “curse of knowledge.”

3. landslide fallacy: Rough causal reasoning.

The so-called landslide fallacy, is to use a series of single-threaded causal inference, to force to achieve their own purposes. But in the process, the strength of each causal chain is exaggerated, which eventually leads to logical fallacies.

There is a classic sentence in the landslide fallacy:

“If A occurs, B occurs, and if B occurs, C occurs.” So in order to avoid the occurrence of C, we have to stop A.”

Here, A to B, B to C, is a “slope,” finally from A to C the whole process is a landslide.

For example, you must have heard when I was a child elders taught like this:

“If you don’t get into high school, you won’t get into high school.” If you don’t get into a good high school, you won’t get into a good university. If you don’t get into a good college, you can’t get a good job. So I can’t get into a good junior high school, and I can’t find a good job in the future.”

At first glance, it seemed like there was nothing wrong with it, but after careful consideration, you would find a problem.

Does not take an examination of a good high school, will not be a good university?

Can’t go to a good university, we can’t find a good job?

Think a little deeper, is there anyone around who didn’t get into a good high school, but still went to a good university?

Is there anyone who didn’t go to a good university but ended up with a good job by relying on their own unremitting efforts?

Apparently there are, and I’m one of them.

Then where was the logical loophole in this chain of reasoning?

The answer is that the possibility of each link as a necessity.

Admitted to a good high school, just increased the possibility of admitted to a good university. And admitted to a good university, also just increased the probability of finding a good job, still want to rely on your professional skills, work experience and other comprehensive strength.

In front of the sentence to explain, is happened A, also not necessarily will happen C.

In contrast, if the landslide is to be proved to exist, there must be sufficient evidence that each “slope” has a reasonable and strong causal relationship.

For example, if you can prove that admitted to a good high school is the only way to go to a good university, admitted to a good university is the only way to find a good job, then the landslide inference is established.

But obviously not.

That said so much, this theory for our daily life and work have what effect?

Yes, cultivate our thinking ability, not easily brought to the rhythm.

When we see a phenomenon and find a problem, we don’t think about the root cause at once, but look for the relevant facts.

Again, if “not getting a good job” is a problem, what are the facts that are relevant to the problem?

For example, many enterprises reduce recruitment quota, the same job competition is fierce, the market salary market decline and so on.

Then around these facts, to do the corresponding disassembly and countermeasure analysis.

The same job competition is fierce, then you can have three options:

First, reduce their salary requirements, improve their performance;

Second, add to your ability to highlight your richer experience in project cases during the interview to impress the interviewer, or ask colleagues in the company to do internal promotion;

Third, change the job to apply for.

Break down each fact layer by layer, and you’ll find a way to do it. Rather than a simple and crude the reason boils down to:

I didn’t get into a good school in those days, so I can’t do anything now.

To put it bluntly, the key to breaking the landslide fallacy is not to just stare at the beginning of the cause, and the final result, but to take out every link in the middle, thinking about the inevitability between them.

As long as there is a problem in a link, the whole process of derivation is not established.

Above is the content of today, and finally a brief summary, three common logic trap, please be sure to avoid:

1. The fallacy of backward inference: there is a conclusion first, and then there is a process;
2. Fault fallacy: I thought you knew;
3. Landslide fallacy: crude causal reasoning.

error: Content is protected !!