Overcoming Bias on The Simpsons

On the 4/29/07 episode of The Simpsons there was a sign at Springfield Little League Park reading:

"Warning:  Your child is not as good as you think he is."

For most parents, (although certainly not my wife and I because we underestimate our son’s greatness) this sign would help correct bias.  So, should signs like this be posted occasionally?

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  • Would it actually help to correct the bias? I’m sure my mother would have just scoffed at such a sign and called the person displaying it “negative”. Point is, being confronted with ‘the truth’ may not make people confront their bias, but instead fall back on their bias when evaluating their reaction to the new information (in this case, dealing with an emotional wound in an emotional way).

    Maybe the sign should be more explicit:
    “WARNING: Your child is not as good as you think he is, and furthermore any indignation you feel at reading this may be exposing the biased constructs which you have used to form that already too-lofty opinion.”

    Oh, also — there are so many possible biases out there, that posting warning signs for all of them would be like child-proofing a toxic waste site… it brings to mind the “CANCER!!” warnings on every surface in California. Best to teach people generalizable techniques for noticing, understanding, and correcting their own biases instead of pointing out their foibles out one at a time. Teach a man to fish…

  • Carl Shulman

    “So, should signs like this be posted occasionally?”
    Posted by whom? This would seem to involve the expenditure of significant resources (given the value of billboard advertising) that could be used to deal with more pressing biases or issues. In addition to the monetary cost, a society where such boards are needed is also one where the largely unbiased are scarce.

  • Anonymous

    I think a similar warning should pop up before anyone posts to a blog, comments included!

  • B.S.


  • Stuart Armstrong

    Warning: Your reality may not be as true as you think it is