According to a New Yorker story, (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/frontal-cortex/2012/06/daniel-kahneman-bias-studies.html)
it’s been shown that smart people are more susceptible to Cognitive Bias.
Our brains work in an interesting way in that we tend to make mental shortcuts
to figure things out, instead of always figuring things out the long way. An
easy example of this is mental math that we all (hopefully) were taught in
elementary school. A lot of the data processing we do on a day to day basis
is done by remembering and recognizing patterns, and spitting out an automatic answer.
This is evolutionarily an advantage because, even though it isn’t always the
correct answer, it’s accurate enough that we’re able to save a lot of precious
time, and aren’t consistently bogged down with information overload attempting
to figure out everything the hard way. It’s a pretty good solution to the
amount of complex information processing that our brains do.
Unfortunately, it also can lead to a lot of errors, and smart people typically
are able to be smart because they’re able to quickly sort though, analyze information,
and come up with a good estimate of an answer. Able to see patterns in things and
quickly identify them. This can frequently be bad though, because we learn to
instinctively trust our answers without analyzing them, which can then be difficult
to admit we’re wrong due to ego.
My advice to everyone is that sometimes when someone tells us that we are wrong,
instead of immediately becoming defensive, to spend the time to analyze it and
to doublecheck our work.