First Principles Thinking

First Principles Thinking

First Principles Thinking is first-principles reasoning, which means going back to first things first and getting the basics right before moving on.

It’s about starting with what you know first and then building from there. The goal of first principles thinking is not just to solve problems, but also to create a solid foundation for further advancement.

In short, it’s critical for innovation in any field of endeavor.

First Principles Thinking has been around for centuries, but was given its name by Thomas Edison who said “Invention consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” And he knew firsthand because he had invented hundreds of devices that were never thought of getting the basics right before moving on.

Step 1: Identify and define your current assumptions

The first step of first principles thinking is identifying, clarifying, expanding and refining your current assumptions. These are words or phrases that people automatically assume are true without examining their validity or truthfulness.

For example, an assumption like “Failure is bad” may not be true for someone else. They may view failure as good because it provides them with valuable feedback on how to improve themselves in the future.

The first step of first principles thinking is figuring out what your assumptions are and then determining which ones you need to question first. Once you do that, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step of first principles thinking.

Step 2: Question your assumptions

After identifying your first principles thinking assumptions, it’s time for further examination.

First Principles Thinking is about breaking down problems into their component parts. It requires us to question everything and admit what we don’t know before looking for patterns and solutions within them.

If there are any parts of a given situation that aren’t clear, first principles thinking proposes questioning those parts first. Questions are the means by which first principles thinking moves forward by measuring what isn’t known against what is known as well as rationalizing new knowledge based on previous experience.

Once again, Edison was an expert first principles thinker who used questions as a first tool for problem-solving. Edison was known to ask himself the same question over and over again throughout his career. One notable example of this is how he kept asking himself “why?” about all of his previous failures until he came up with the lightbulb.

Step 3: Find first principles thinking answers

The first step of first principles thinking is not just identifying your assumptions, but figuring out if they are true or false; then dissecting them into their component parts; followed by using questions to help narrow down what you know and what you don’t know, and finally moving on to find solutions after assessing where you stand now based on everything else you’ve learned along the way.

Finding solutions takes time and effort, but once you understand how to use first principles thinking, you’ll be able to create your own path out of the darkness without having to rely on anyone else to do it.

Illusory Correlation

Illusory correlation is a cognitive bias where people think there is a relationship between two things when in reality there is not. The most common example of illusory correlation is the gambler’s fallacy which states that if something happens more frequently than normal during a random period of time, it will happen less often in the future and vice versa.

Illusory correlations are one of many biases that can impede rational thinking and decision-making. It’s important to identify illusory correlations so you can account for them during your critical thinking process. There are many other illusory correlations including hindsight bias, availability heuristic, confirmation bias, post hoc ergo propter hoc, illusory control, and the illusion of external agency.

The first thing you should do to identify illusory correlation looks for data or evidence that suggests there isn’t a relationship between two phenomena.

For example, if someone tells you that autistic people are very creative, ask them to provide evidence for this claim beyond their own anecdotal experience.

It would also help to review the existing studies on creativity in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

People often assume illusory correlations lead to illogical reasoning but illogical reasoning can happen without illusory correlations present.

Confirmation bias only requires one’s cognitive mechanism of wanting information that supports your hypothesis so it can be rationalized as true. On the other hand, illusory correlation requires one’s cognitive mechanism to overrun facts that may disagree with your hypothesis.

Illusory correlations are actually very well documented in psychological research.

History of Illusory Correlation

Illusory correlation is a cognitive bias that causes people to overestimate the relationship between two events. It was first described by psychologists Thomas Gilovich and Amos Tversky in 1993, who defined illusory correlation as “the tendency for the perceived association to be biased towards what an observer expects.” They explained illusory correlations are often due to confirmatory biases or selection biases.

People create illusory correlations across many categories, including race, gender, age, weight, height, car accidents, income levels, homeownership, education level, employment status, typhoons, temperature, crime rates, rainfall patterns, illness outbreaks. This phenomenon has important implications for the way people think about their society and others.

Example of Illusory correlation

An illusory correlation can be thought of as arising when two variables are related but one variable is not the cause of the other variable. For example, suppose you see someone wearing a green shirt on Monday and then again on Wednesday. You might think that green shirts have some effect on mood since this person was more cheerful each time they wore it – even though there’s no connection between shirt color and mood.

Why Is Illusory Correlation Important?

This is important. It shows how people perceive things. People think that they know something is true, but it’s not really true. It happens because of the way people think sometimes. When this research first came out, some people thought that stereotypes were caused by personality or that they came from underlying reality.

Studies of distinctiveness-based illusory correlation demonstrate how preconceptions are formed by everyday cognitive mechanisms that operate automatically in the mind. Expectancy-based illusory correlations, on the other hand, show how stereotypic beliefs are propagated through biased information processing when it is driven by a perceiver’s prior assumptions.