The Science of Thinking
Our cognitive blind spots revealed, and how we can avoid falling into them.
An article review.
Have you given much thought to how you think? Our friend Wes Pollard at Home Bank sent us a link to an interesting video that explores the science behind how we approach problems, and how those methods can be short-circuited, intentionally or not.
The video presents a view of the two basic types of memories that we have: long-term memory which is shaped by years of experience and observation, and short-term or working memory, which deals with whatever we are thinking about at any given time. Similary, we have actions which are nearly automatic based on certain situations, and behavior that requires active, conscious thought.
This system works well to get us through most situations, but as the video points out we’re predisposed to act automatically: active thinking requires more energy and your brain will try to avoid it if it all possible. It’s how the people at the beginning of the video were able to confidently answer “one day” when asked how long it takes the Earth to travel around the Sun…and how an employee can unwittingly give out sensitive information to the wrong person.
While no one can be on guard all the time, the situation isn’t as bad as it seems: once allowed to think for only a few additional moments, the embarrassed people from the video were able to catch their mistake.
Original video by YouTube channel Veritasium.