Jonah Lehrer has a post about how our mental shortcuts and unconscious bias can fool our conscious decision-making process. Here he reports on some new research that suggests more intelligent people could be extra prone to these blind biases:
Humans are constantly attempt to go past our boundaries, and it seems that the more we do so the less we double-check ourselves. This should serve as a lesson to be careful all the time, no matter how smart you are, and not to dissuade you from pushing yourself to achieve new things!
Perhaps our most dangerous bias is that we naturally assume that everyone else is more susceptible to thinking errors, a tendency known as the “bias blind spot.” This “meta-bias” is rooted in our ability to spot systematic mistakes in the decisions of others—we excel at noticing the flaws of friends—and inability to spot those same mistakes in ourselves.
Logical thinking would lead you to believe that intelligence would make you less susceptible to errors of thought. But, either through conscious or unconscious means, the higher our level of intelligence the less we are able to identify errors in our own thought process.
More at The New Yorker.
By the way, this dovetails nicely with recent research on why we deny science. While the knee-jerk reaction would be to assume that less education leads less belief in science (evolution, climate change, etc.), it is becoming clear that more education and possessing tightly-held moral values can actually reinforce incorrect ideas, a bias of confirmation.