Careless answering, followed by some tangential dithering

Interesting thing I found while researching something else:

Growth mindset or grit do not seem to help us to significantly predict the level of household income, after controlling for cognitive ability. Careless answering, however, presents a significant positive effect on the probability of having a low household income level.

[…]

Our results show that survey effort measures of character skills, in particular measures of careless answering in surveys, show great promise for being good
proxy measures of relevant non-cognitive skills. Careless answering correlates mostly with selfreported measures of conscientiousness and neuroticism, just as self-reported grit does although self-reported grit also correlates with other personality traits. Careless answering presents comparable correlations with education and labor outcomes than self-reported grit. In addition, a big advantage of survey effort measures of character like careless answering is that they are not affected by social desirability bias, reference group bias, and other threats to validity that affect self-reported measures.

Comparing and Validating Measures of Character Skills: Findings from a Nationally Representative Sample
Gema Zamarro, Albert Cheng, M. Danish Shakeel & Collin Hitt 1
University of Arkansas

This is extraordinarily useful for judging people. You can sense very easily how much effort people put into their answers in conversation, especially when it’s something serious, important, difficult, etc. It may even be this is the reason people insist on in-person job interviews. And the problem simply stems from the interviewer being, themselves, selected more or less randomly from the population and picking a candidate using a combination of genetic similarity theory and “how attracted am I to this person”.

The best way to select for a job is cognitive ability and conscientiousness, with cognitive ability and *low* conscientiousness for decision-making job roles. Further, I’d guess that you want a decision maker to be low openness in a well-established field like steel production and high openness in a poorly defined field like IT or war. But in either case you’d want them to be the right kind of lazy with a growth mindset. And careless answering appears to be bad across the board. With artistic geniuses being a potential counterexample, but even then I’m unsure.

I’d distinguish here between leadership and decision-making roles. The person who chooses which software package their company will use is a decision maker but probably not a leader. I would want that person to be perceptive and lazy in order to avoid make-up work from poor implementation, the software company going bankrupt, etc. And since it’s a big decision with lots of downstream consequences, I’d want them to put off signing the contract until it’s basically impossible to stall or negotiate any more. A conscientious person will want to get the contract signed and the system implemented ASAP, with everyone working around the clock. This is why software implementations are typically clusterfucks.

“The Right Kind of Lazy” <- Is this a book that already exists yet? It's an important topic and anyone in the upper ranges of IQ can explain it by feel, but is there a good long-form treatment of the subject? It's essentially an abundance mindset for opportunities combined with the understanding that 90% of success in life is not doing the wrong things. Call it cost aversion. Every endeavor in life has best practices. Sometimes we even know what they are already, more or less.

That's really all engineering is, at the end of the day. Paying enough to do something according to best practices, and no more. This minimizes overall costs.
So if you want to understand engineers, just imagine being obsessed with doing things in the best possible way. If you want to become an engineer, create this obsession as a mental habit. Become OCD about best practices.

About Aeoli Pera

Maybe do this later?
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