The Firehouse Effect

Posted by jmlesniewski 7 years, 10 months ago to Culture
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I've recently been reading the book I linked to in this post, Fooled by Randomness. It's well worth the read. One of the most interesting points to me is a brief section on "The Firehouse Effect." The basic idea is that a group of people that is together most of the time well often accept things as true that an outside observer would easily see as completely irrational.

I see this phenomenon ALL the time and think it's a great concept to use to analyze thinks, perhaps even ourselves when we become more and more involved in any groups we join.
SOURCE URL: http://www.amazon.com/Fooled-Randomness-Hidden-Chance-Markets/dp/0812975219


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  • Posted by UncommonSense 7 years, 10 months ago
    Interesting book. Am not sure I would agree with all his points he writes about. But throughout my career, I stood out from the 'group-think' of organizations I belonged to, depending on the subject at hand.

    It was always a 50/50 chance either my views would be accepted or rejected. Sometimes it would be uncomfortable to speak my mind, but figured people needed to hear a perspective different from those 'in-charge'. A rejection would always result in some form of political 'gotcha' later on in the future. But that only worked if I really cared about what they thought I valued. (I learned not to play their game, by their rules)

    Regarding this wonderful group, I'm not worried nor offended by agreements or disagreements. No one in this forum pays my salary, so no issues to contend with. I simply appreciate the candor of everyone in the Gulch. If we can agree to disagree (whatever that may be), then all is well.
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  • Posted by khalling 7 years, 10 months ago
    Great topic. I am interested in the fact that you admit to be an observer of it "All the time" :)
    long before firemen were working full time at their jobs, and thus getting an effect named after them-it's pretty boiler plate social anthropology. I guess it can go really bad if your geography and access to outside info are limited for whatever reason. Pitcairn Island comes to mind:
    http://www.podcast-directory.co.uk/episo...
    We have so much information at our fingertips, it's so easy to check things-what appears to be like thinking camaraderie on the surface may or may not change internal thinking. I will agree to influence, however
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    • Posted by $ 7 years, 10 months ago
      Mind being more direct with the statement you made about me?
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      • Posted by khalling 7 years, 10 months ago
        nothing specifically intended there. you(or anyone else) might see it all the time in other groups or even groups you're in. But one assumes by the use of "effect" it's harder to identify when you (anyone) is part of said effect. so the statement made me chuckle. not at you, but at the possible conundrum.
        Here we are in a forum where we share common interests in AS and Ayn Rand and Objectivism. The effect might be happening here, according to the definition you gave above. But it's easy for me to see it in other places. take NPR listeners/fans. I actually enjoy certain shows. but I can see other listeners completely horns waggled by certain premises (which I disagree with) and statements of fact which are untrue. the same is true with talk radio. so I was interested in whether you saw the effect having an effect on you
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