Overconfidence and Error Blindness Blindness – Ray Panko

The great spreadsheet paradox

Ray call this ‘The great spreadsheet paradox’: People know that spreadsheets are error prone, but still companies do not see it. This is very much like the Gorilla Experiment, if you aren’t focusing on something, you literally do not see it.

Furthermore, people really suffer from error blindness. When a study occurs that spreadsheets are error prone, people think “this can’t be true” or “that won’t happen to us”. This holds in general, not just for spreadsheets. “I eat fries every day, I won’t get a heart attack”.

Ray says that this what makes (spreadsheet) error research so hard. People’s brains are programmed to distrust and disbelief the results.