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Collection: Charlie Munger - #79 'Bias From Over-Influence By Authority'



Bias from over-influence by authority. Well, here the Milgram experiment is it’s caused… I think there have been 1600 psychological papers written about Milgram. He had a person posing as an authority figure trick ordinary people into giving what they had every reason to expect was heavy torture by an electric shock to perfectly innocent fellow citizens. And the experiment has been… he was trying to show why Hitler succeeded and a few other things. So it has really caught the fancy of the world. Partly it’s so politically correct and…

Over-influence by authority has another very… you’ll like this one. You got a pilot and a co-pilot. The pilot is the authority figure. They don’t do this in airplanes, but they’ve done it in simulators. They have the pilot do something where the co-pilot who’s been trained in simulators a long time. He knows he’s not to allow the plane to crash. They have the pilot to do something where an idiot co-pilot would know the plane was gonna crash, but the pilot’s doing it, and the co-pilot is sitting there, and the pilot is the authority figure. 25% of the time, the plane crashes. This is a very powerful psychological tendency.

It’s not quite as powerful as some people think, and I’ll get to that later.



[YAPSS Takeaway]

It is quite interesting, how we got influence by authority.

To know more, here is a write-up on Milgram experiment:

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