Jerome Groopman wrote an article about health care in the NYRB. He made some remarks about presumed irrationality as well: “The field of behavioral economics is rooted in the seminal work of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman begun some three decades ago. Drawing on data from their experiments on how people process information, particularly numerical data, these psychologists challenged the prevailing notion that the economic decisions we make are rational. We are, they wrote, prone to incorrectly weigh initial numbers, draw conclusions from single cases rather than a wide range of data, and integrate irrelevant information into our analysis. Such biases can lead us astray.”
I would say it’s not only the procession of data, often the “information” itself is at fault as well.