Essays on Science and SocietyCell and Molecular Biology

Trial and error

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Science  02 Dec 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6316, pp. 1108-1109
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal2187

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We are all prediction-making machines. Granted, our predictions are often wrong—as the old saying goes, “It's tough to make predictions—especially about the future.” But even wrong predictions serve a purpose: They help us learn. Each time we make a choice, we predict the outcome of that choice. When the outcome matches our prediction, there is no need to learn. When the outcome is unexpected, however, we update our predictions, hoping to do better next time.