But, what Lehrer did is hard to cast in terms of ignoring strong cognitive biases. He made stuff up. He fabricated quotes. He presented other authors’ writing as his own. When confronted about his falsifications, he lied. Did his cognitive biases do all this?
What Jonah Lehrer seems to be sidestepping in his “meh culpa” is the fact that, when he had to make choices about whether to work with the actual facts or instead to make stuff up, about whether to write his own pieces (or at least to properly cite the material from others that he used) or to plagiarize, about whether to be honest about what he’d done when confronted or to lie some more, he decided to be dishonest.
If we’re to believe this was a choice his cognitive biases made for him, then his seem much more powerful (and dangerous) than the garden-variety cognitive biases most grown-up humans have.