Friday, August 06, 2010

Stop thinking!

Too much thinking can lead to worse judgements, according to this article in Wired.

When students were simply asked to rate jams for flavour their scores closely matched those of jam experts. However, when a second group of students were asked to do the same task but to give detailed reasons for their decisions, they went haywire and rated one of the worst jams as the best.

Reason doesn't seem to be very good at helping us make decisions and might even get in the way. What it's very good at is helping us persuade others that our judgements are correct.

I don't know about you but I don't find this a very comfortable thought.

23 COMMENTS:

AlphaChick said...

He he. I love this. Instinct and gut feel only from now on.

Switching off brain...now. :-)

fairyhedgehog said...

AC, that was quick! Did you respond before you had time to think? ;)

AlphaChick said...

Yep! Knee-jerk instinctive reaction. Just wrote what came into my head.

You are now my excuse for not thinking and doing/writing silly things for the rest of the day...

fairyhedgehog said...

It's always good to have an excuse! I usually use my age or my CFS but this is a much better one. "Mustn't think too much, it's bad for you!" :)

Old Kitty said...

Oh I'm all for not thinking too much - steam will start to emanate from my ears and my molehill will be a mountain whenever I do think too much!! :-)

Thanks for this - yes I feel very comforted by this!

Take care
x

fairyhedgehog said...

Kitty, glad you liked it!

Whirlochre said...

If reason prevailed, students wouldn't be getting involved in studies of jam in the first place.

Students are for pretending to read books, getting drunk, and sporting ludicrous haircuts.

fairyhedgehog said...

If reason prevailed, students wouldn't be getting involved in studies of jam in the first place.

*laughs* Whirl, you've seen right to the heart of it!

sylvia said...

I'm going to have nightmares about that little girl! What a smile...

fairyhedgehog said...

sylvia, she looks positively evil, doesn't she?

Theresa Milstein said...

This reminds me of Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, which is all about gut instinct.

jjdebenedictis said...

"I know it when I see it."

As all the literary agents say when asked what they're looking for. At least they're not over-thinking it!

fairyhedgehog said...

Theresa, I've heard of Blink but not read it. I've always preferred reasoned argument myself but it looks like I might be wrong.

jjd, *laughs* We take comfort where we may!

Peter Dudley said...

One wonders if perhaps the evidence is correct but the ultimate conclusion is flawed. The conclusion is based on the notion that the "jam experts" are imbued with some sort of jam evaluation talent that normal people lack and which is somehow True. Perhaps what this study really shows is that without applied thought, most people easily reach the same conclusions. That is, does applied thought clarify or obscure Truth?

More to the point... I suspect the only real and valid conclusion that can be drawn from this study is that anyone without a brain can get a job as a "jam expert."

Simon Kewin said...

I'd quite like to be on a course where you get to study jam. I'd probably take a honey module as well though.

Interesting post!

fairyhedgehog said...

Peter, you have a point. I wonder what "jam experts" get paid. I think I could have a shot at that if they'd let me work from home!

Simon, a honey module! What an excellent idea. I really could get into working and studying from home with this.

DJ Kirkby said...

Hah, excellent. The perfect excuse for me to take up a new career as a jam expert.

fairyhedgehog said...

DJK, it looks like the field could suddenly get overcrowded!

Anonymous said...

Totally agree, and that's why I hate the corporate work life so much. They have forms and group-speak and double-doing bullshit that drive my nuts. Nike probably fired the first person who said they're slogan should be "just do it" and then they realized it was good, and they used it, and some management schlep asshole too credit for the phrase.


Robin S.

Robin B. said...

P.S. Sorry for all of the typos and they're/their stuff in the comment above. I was writing in a hurry, before reason took over, and I'm the typo queen of all time - there's that.

Robin

fairyhedgehog said...

Hi Robin! Corporate life totally sucks, I agree. The endless forms seem to be everywhere, together with BS talk: in schools, hospitals etc. as well as in the corporate world.

One of my least favourite words is "leverage". No idea why!

Lexi said...

I'm a believer in the truth of one's first gut reaction, so I loved this post, in spite of the truly scary little girl in the picture.

I think you can talk yourself out of anything; and you can pass on something amazing because it doesn't quite fit the blueprint, or tick all the boxes. (Then, of course, you can write a novel about it...)

fairyhedgehog said...

Hi Lexi! I'm the opposite, I think.

I loved your book! I do hope it meets the success it deserves.

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