Blink – book by Malcom Gladwell

“Blink: thinking without thinking”, describes how experts make instantaneous decisions using appropriate contextual information which may be consciously or unconsciously realized .

An ancient greek statue, a Kouros was offered to a New York Museum. Extensive scientific analysis concluded that this Kouros was genuine. But the expert reaction was that this statue was somehow wrong. It was purchased anyway.Later at a confernence in Greece, experts began to cataglog the subtle deficiencies in the statue. Further investigations revealed the insidious fabrication in the authenticating letters. .

Experts use “thin-slicing” – taking the appropriate contextual clues to predict outcome – one researcher can predict with 90% accuracy which couples will stay together with a small video clip of the conversation (about money, or a pet, or something with a bit of controversy) by examining microexpressions, and in particular to the expression of contempt.

Our minds are not truly or own. Priming; demonstrates how much our minds work in autopilot. In one experiment, a group of New York college students were divided. They were to take a simple word test. Unknown to them one group had words that emphasized being bold, forthright, rude and the other group had words that emphasized being polite, courteous. The students were then to take their paper down the hall to a grad student. The grad student would be in a conversation (same scripted conversation for every student). Students primed with being rude interrupted the grad student after 5 minutes. Students primed to be polite waited 20 minutes and this was only because the experiment ended at 20 minutes. These were New York City students and were no strangers to being rude.

This example of priming demonstrates how little we know what really influences our mind. Advertisers, those are the people that really know. The daily dose of sensational news, or a violent movie may play a greater role in how we perceive the world than we are consciously aware. We are what we consume – in food and in mind.

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