Sunday, April 11, 2010

How We Decide Part 1

Over spring break I read this:

I intended to read it back in January hoping to gain some insight and perhaps figure out how I could make a decision already and pick a cussing residency. I didn't come up in the library queue until a few weeks ago just before I left for the Midwest and the book's content turned out to be uncannily apropos:

"Even though pundits are trained professionals, presumably able to evaluate the evidence and base their opinions on the cold, hard facts -- that's why we listen to them -- they are still vulnerable to cognitive mistakes. Like partisan voters, they selectively interpret the data so that it proves them right. They'll distort their thought process until it leads to the desired conclusion." - p. 207

"In other words, ignore those commentators that seem too confident or self-assured. The people on television who are most certain are almost certainly going to be wrong." - p. 209

"When you see a painting, you usually know instantly and automatically whether you like it. If someone asks you to explain your judgement you confabulate... Moral arguments are much the same. Two people feel strongly about an issue, their feelings come first, and their reasons are invented on the fly, to throw at each other." -- quoting UVA psychologist Jonathan Haidt p. 172

Beyond truly being a gifted writer (I mean, how many people can make neuroscience not only accessible to the lay public, but ENJOYABLE?) Mr. Lehrer posits some interesting assertions regarding the operations of the human brain.

It gave me interesting food for thought as I sat in restaurants with people who herald Glenn Beck and believe the President of the United States is a socialist robot who hates money and wants to punish it.

1 comment:

  1. Wait holy cow you're going to be a peds person! Nice!