Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Psychology Of Human Misjudgement: Like and Dislike

Charlie Munger is Warren Buffett's right hand man at Berkshire Hathaway. Over the next few weekends, we'll be summarizing the text he authored titled "The Psychology Of Human Misjudgement", where he describes some of man's tendencies. By understanding and learning from these tendencies, we better equip ourselves to avoid psychological biases when investing.

The 2nd and 3rd tendencies Munger discusses are human tendencies to like and dislike. Certain triggers cause man (and other animals) to like and dislike others. For example, a baby goose will love and follow the first creature that is nice to it, whether it's its mother or a human being.

A consequence of these tendencies is that man will ignore faults of the object of their affection, favour people/products associated with that object, and distort facts to facilitate that love. Conversely, man will ignore virtues in the object of his dislike, dislike people/products associated with that object, and distort facts to facilitate hatred! Munger uses as an example the fact that mediations between Israelis and Palestinians are difficult because the facts on each side overlap very little.

Man also likes being liked, causing man to strive for the devotion and admiration of those around him. Munger also argues that an individual that loves admirable persons with a strong intensity has a great advantage in life. He says that both he and Warren Buffett are so inclined, and they both admired Warren's uncle Fred in this manner.

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