Cognitive style

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Certain cognitive styles might tend to produce more accurate results. A common distinction between cognitive styles is that of foxes vs. hedgehogs, based on Isiah Berlin's famous essay.

Foxes and Hedgehogs

This common distinction comes primarily from the essay "The Hedgehog and the Fox" by Isiah Berlin, regarding the Russian author Leo Tolstoy's theory of history.

The title is a reference to a fragment attributed to the ancient Greek poet Archilochus: πόλλ' οἶδ' ἀλώπηξ, ἐχῖνος δ'ἓν μέγα ("The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing").

Berlin expands upon this idea to divide writers and thinkers into two categories: hedgehogs, who view the world through the lens of a single defining idea and foxes who draw on a wide variety of experiences and for whom the world cannot be boiled down to a single idea.

This distinction is used by Philip Tetlock in the book Expert Political Judgement, which concludes that foxes tend to be better calibrated and more accurate[1].


  1. Expert Political Judgement, Tetlock, pp. 68–86
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  • Tetlock, Philip (2006). Expert Political Judgment. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691128715.