Encountereds. I came, I saw, I commented.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Malcolm Gladwell - Blink (2)

With the Tipping Point being so entertaining to read, the momentum just carried me right into Gladwell's newer book on the importance of subconscious snap judgments for all aspects of our lives. Of course there is quite some evidence saying that even when we make seemingly rational decisions, our brains may just be bullshitting us profoundly (in Gazzanigas famous experiments on split brain patients, for example, subjects readily report completely bogus reasons for an action, because the half of their brain speaking, having no clue why the other half did something, makes up a story - without the subject being aware that he's being conned by the gooey stuff in his head. But I digress), so the phenomenon that the resons for our decisions and actions aren't always available to our conscious self might just be the tip of the problem that we actually come up with explanations for our actions after the fact by default, and the only reason it tends to make sense so much is that we have been around ourselves long enough to generally know what we will be doing, and have a fairly good theory of our own minds. The most important part of this book I found to be the notion that we are able to shape how our subconscious makes its decisions, and the chapter on how requiring conscious justifications messes up and changes our judgments - unless we're experts and already know what we're talking about. Next time somebody asks you why you like something, think twice about thinking about it - you suddenly might not like it any more.


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