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Thu May 18, 2017, 12:03 PM

 

The "Jeane Dixon Effect"

Jeane Dixon is popularly known as the psychic who "predicted the assassination of JFK", and is probably the best known demonstration of what is known as "confirmation bias".



If you want to do well in the prediction business, you do the following:

1. Make a lot of predictions
2. Promote the ones that "came true" or ones for which you can shoehorn the facts into it "sorta, kinda" happened.
3. Make sure your predictions contain enough "slop" in them that you can more easily do #2.

This has been the stock in trade for psychics and soothsayers for a long time.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeane_Dixon#The_Jeane_Dixon_effect

John Allen Paulos, a mathematician at Temple University, coined the term 'the Jeane Dixon effect', which references a tendency to promote a few correct predictions while ignoring a larger number of incorrect predictions. Many of Dixon's predictions proved erroneous, such as her claims that a dispute over the offshore Chinese islands of Quemoy and Matsu would trigger the start of World War III in 1958, that American labor leader Walter Reuther would run for President of the United States in the 1964 presidential election, that the second child of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his young wife Margaret would be a girl (it was a boy), and that the Russians would be the first to put men on the moon.

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Demonstrating that someone "is really good at predicting stuff" is not done by rattling off a list of predictions which came true, or which are too vague to have "come true" or not.

11 replies, 4401 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply The "Jeane Dixon Effect" (Original post)
jberryhill May 2017 OP
Tommy_Carcetti May 2017 #1
jberryhill May 2017 #3
Wounded Bear May 2017 #2
HopeAgain May 2017 #4
MineralMan May 2017 #5
Historic NY May 2017 #6
jberryhill May 2017 #7
JHB May 2017 #9
mopinko May 2017 #8
Iggo May 2017 #10
progressoid May 2017 #11

Response to jberryhill (Original post)

Thu May 18, 2017, 12:06 PM

1. Also, how the National Enquirer conducts its business.

Publish 99.9% unfounded rumors that will never be confirmed.

Have 0.1% of such rumors confirmed (e.g. John Edwards' love child), proclaim themselves to be a reliable source of news.

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Reply #1)

Thu May 18, 2017, 12:08 PM

3. That's a good example!

 


Yep - THEY WERE RIGHT ABOUT JOHN EDWARDS!!!!

Therefore every piece of crap they publish is true.

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Response to jberryhill (Original post)

Thu May 18, 2017, 12:06 PM

2. Standard bill of fare for the CT crowd...

Hell, people are still making money off of the Nostradamus crap, though the real surge has kind of died off.

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Response to jberryhill (Original post)

Thu May 18, 2017, 12:08 PM

4. K & R

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Response to jberryhill (Original post)

Thu May 18, 2017, 12:09 PM

5. Bravo! Thank you!

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Response to jberryhill (Original post)

Thu May 18, 2017, 12:17 PM

6. I predict that she's been quite silent on these current matters.....

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Response to Historic NY (Reply #6)

Thu May 18, 2017, 12:18 PM

7. Nobody tops Nostradamus

 

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #7)

Thu May 18, 2017, 12:31 PM

9. Not anymore...

They re-buried him during the French Revolution. No more being the guy at the bottom of the ditch!

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Response to jberryhill (Original post)

Thu May 18, 2017, 12:24 PM

8. human nature. as carl sagan pointed out in "demon haunted world"

 

we are hard wired to remember the hits, and forget the misses.

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Response to jberryhill (Original post)

Thu May 18, 2017, 12:34 PM

10. I trashed the word "Mensch". Does this have something to do with that?

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Response to Iggo (Reply #10)

Thu May 18, 2017, 12:49 PM

11. I can't speak for the OP, but I certainly made that connection as well. n/t

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