HOW WE DECIDE BY JONAH LEHRER PDF
How We Decide PDF Summary recapitulates one of the first books to use the unexpected discoveries of neuroscience to help us make the best. Buy How We Decide on resourceone.info ✓ FREE SHIPPING on qualified orders. When homo sapiens first appeared, about two hundred thousand years ago, the planet was already full of creatures with highly specialized.
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A leading behavioral economist reveals the tools that will improve our decision making on screensOffice workers spend the majority of their waking hours staring . This books (How We Decide [PDF]) Made by Jonah Lehrer About Books The first book to use the unexpected discoveries of neuroscience to. experience from their perspective. Fortunately, Jonah Lehrer provides insight into this process in his excellent book, How We Decide. Those of us in the music.
Everyone who experiences emotion is vulnerable to its effects. It's part of a larger psychological phenomenon known as negativity bias, which means that, for the human mind, bad is stronger than good.
Asymmetric paternalism. That's a fancy name for a simple idea: creating policies and incentives that help people triumph over their irrational impulses and make better, more prudent decisions. People who are more rational don't perceive emotion less, they just regulate it better. How do we regulate our emotions?
The answer is surprisingly simple: by thinking about them. As soon as people have the insight, they say it just seems obviously correct. They know instantly that they've solved the problem. When you encounter a problem you've never experienced before, when your dopamine neurons have no idea what to do, it's essential that you try to tune out your feelings.
Pilots call such a state "deliberate calm," because staying calm in high-pressure situations requires conscious effort. Performance choking is actually triggered by a specific mental mistake: thinking too much.
About Jonah Lehrer
Novice putters hit better shots when they consciously reflect on their actions. The more time the beginner spends thinking about the putt, the more likely he is to sink the ball in the hole. By concentrating on the golf game, by paying attention to the mechanics of the stroke, the novice can avoid beginners' mistakes. A little experience, however, changes everything. After a golfer has learned how to putt - once he or she has memorized the necessary movements - analyzing the stroke is a waste of time.
The brain already knows what to do. After black students did worse on IQ tests: When Steele gave a separate group of students the same test but stressed that it was not a measure of intelligence - he told them it was merely a preparatory drill - the scores of the white and black students were virtually identical.
The achievement gap had been closed. When the rational brain hijacks the mind, people tend to make all sorts of decision-making mistakes. They hit bad golf shots and choose wrong answers on standardized tests. They ignore the wisdom of their emotions - the knowledge embedded in their dopamine neurons - and start reaching for things that they can explain. One of the problems with feelings is that even when they are accurate, they can still be hard to articulate.
Instead of going with the option that feels the best, a person starts going with the option that sounds the best, even if it's a very bad idea. He asked them to explain why they preferred one brand over another.
As they tasted the jams, the students filled out written questionnaires, which forced them to analyze their first impressions, to consciously explain their impulsive preferences.
All this extra analysis seriously warped their jam judgment. The students now preferred the worst-tasting jam, according to Consumer Reports. Thinking too much about strawberry jam causes us to focus on all sorts of variables that don't actually matter. Instead of just listening to our instinctive preferences - the best jam is associated with the most positive feelings - our rational brains search for reasons to prefer one jam over another. There is such a thing as too much analysis.
When you overthink at the wrong moment, you cut yourself off from the wisdom of your emotions, which are much better at assessing actual preferences. You lose the ability to know what you really want.
The more people thought about which posters they wanted, the more misleading their thoughts became. Self-analysis resulted in less self-awareness. Deliberative homeowners focused on less important details like square footage and number of bathrooms. It's easier to consider quantifiable facts than future emotions, such as how you'll feel when you're stuck in a rush-hour traffic jam.
The prospective homeowners assumed a bigger house in the suburbs would make them happy, even if it meant spending an extra hour in the car every day. The placebo effect depended entirely on the prefrontal cortex, the center of reflective, deliberate thought. When people were told that they'd just received pain-relieving cream, their frontal lobes responded by inhibiting the activity of their emotional brain areas like the insula that normally respond to pain. Because people expected to experience less pain, they ended up experiencing less pain.
People who'd paid discounted prices for "brain power" drinks consistently solved about 30 percent fewer puzzles than the people who'd paid full price for the drinks. The subjects were convinced that the stuff on sale was much less potent, even though all the drinks were identical.
The effort required to memorize seven digits drew cognitive resources away from the part of the brain that normally controls emotional urges. A slight drop in blood-sugar levels can also inhibit self-control, since the frontal lobes require lots of energy in order to function.
Students who were given the drink without real sugar were significantly more likely to rely on instinct and intuition when choosing a place to live, even if that led them to choose the wrong places. The reason, according to Baumeister, is that the rational brains of these students were simply too exhausted to think. They'd needed a restorative sugar fix, and all they'd gotten was Splenda. This research can also help explain why we get cranky when we're hungry and tired: the brain is less able to suppress the negative emotions sparked by small annoyances.
Each of the students select a portfolio of stock investments. Then he divided the students into two groups. The first group could see only the changes in the prices of their stocks.
They had no idea why the share prices rose or fell and had to make their trading decisions based on an extremely limited amount of data. In contrast, the second group was given access to a steady stream of financial information.
So which group did better? To Andreassen's surprise, the group with less information ended up earning more than twice as much as the well-informed group. Being exposed to extra news was distracting, and the high-information students quickly became focused on the latest rumors and insider gossip.
Herbert Simon said it best: "A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. They were convinced that all their knowledge allowed them to anticipate the market.
But they were wrong. People almost always assume that more information is better.
How We Decide PDF Summary
Modern corporations are especially beholden to this idea and spend a fortune trying to create "analytic workspaces" that "maximize the informational potential of their decision-makers.
But it's important to know the limitations of this approach, which are rooted in the limitations of the brain. When a person gives their brain too many facts and then tries to make a decision based on the facts that seem important, that person is asking for trouble. He is going to buy the wrong items at Wal-Mart and pick the wrong stocks.
A group of researchers imaged the spinal regions of 98 people who had no back pain or back-related problems. The pictures were then sent to doctors who didn't know that the patients weren't in pain.
The result was shocking: the doctors reported that two-thirds of these normal patients exhibited "serious problems" such as bulging, protruding, or herniated discs. In 38 percent of these patients, the MRI revealed multiple damaged discs. Nearly 90 percent of these patients exhibited some form of "disc degeneration. This is the danger of too much information: it can actually interfere with understanding. When the prefrontal cortex is overwhelmed, a person can no longer make sense of the situation.
Correlation is confused with causation, and people make theories out of coincidences. When you see a painting, you usually know instantly and automatically whether you like it. If someone asks you to explain your judgment, 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.
When you are confronted with an ethical dilemma, the unconscious automatically generates an emotional reaction. This is what psychopaths can't do. Within a few milliseconds, the brain has made up its mind; you know what is right and what is wrong.
These moral instincts aren't rational - they've never heard of Kant - but they are an essential part of what keep us all from committing unspeakable crimes. It's only at this point - after the emotions have already made the moral decision - that those rational circuits in the prefrontal cortex are activated.
People come up with persuasive reasons to justify their moral intuition. When it comes to making ethical decisions, human rationality isn't a scientist, it's a lawyer. Benjamin Franklin: "So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.
The ultimatum game, a staple of experimental economics.
The rules of the game are simple, if a little bit unfair: an experimenter pairs two people together, and hands one of them ten dollars. This person the proposer gets to decide how the ten dollars is divided. The second person the responder can either accept the offer, which allows both players to pocket their respective shares, or reject the offer, in which case both players walk away empty-handed. When the dictator cannot see the responder - the two players are located in separate rooms - the dictator lapses into unfettered greed.
Instead of giving away a significant share of the profits, the despots start offering mere pennies and pocketing the rest. Once people become socially isolated, they stop simulating the feelings of other people. People who showed more brain activity in their sympathetic regions were also much more likely to exhibit altruistic behavior. Because they intensely imagined the feelings of other people, they wanted to make other people feel better, even if it came at personal expense.
But here's the lovely secret of altruism: it feels good. The brain is designed so that acts of charity are pleasurable; being nice to others makes us feel nice. Aut is Greek for "self," and autism translates to "the state of being unto one's self.
The depressing numbers leave us cold: our minds can't comprehend suffering on such a massive scale. This is why we are riveted when one child falls down a well but turn a blind eye to the millions of people who die every year for lack of clean water. And why we donate thousands of dollars to help a single African war orphan featured on the cover of a magazine but ignore widespread genocides in Rwanda and Darfur. If I look at the one, I will. Why are pundits especially the prominent ones so bad at forecasting the future?
The sin of certainty, which led the "experts" to mistakenly impose a top-down solution on their decision-making processes. One of the best ways to distinguish genuine from phony expertise is to look at how a person responds to dissonant data. Does he or she reject the data out of hand? Perform elaborate mental gymnastics to avoid admitting error? Use your conscious mind to acquire all the information you need for making a decision.
But don't try to analyze the information with your conscious mind. Instead, go on holiday while your unconscious mind digests it. Whatever your intuition then tells you is almost certainly going to be the best choice. The easy problems - the mundane math problems of daily life - that are best suited to the conscious brain. These simple decisions won't overwhelm the prefrontal cortex. In fact, they are so simple that they tend to trip up the emotions. If the decision can be accurately summarized in numerical terms: let the rational brain take over.
See a Problem?
For important decisions about complex items, think less about those items that you care a lot about. Don't be afraid to let your emotions choose.
Simple problems require reason. Novel problems also require reason. Before you entrust a mystery to the emotional brain, before deciding to let your instincts make a big bet in poker or fire a missile at a suspicious radar blip, ask yourself a question: How does your past experience help solve this particular problem? If the problem really is unprecedented - if it's like a complete hydraulic failure in a Boeing - then emotions can't save you. Whenever possible, it's essential to extend the decision-making process and properly consider the argument unfolding inside your head.
Bad decisions happen when that mental debate is cut short, when an artificial consensus is imposed on the neural quarrel.
How We Decide - by Jonah Lehrer
There are two simple tricks to help ensure that you never let certainty interfere with your judgment: 1 : Always entertain competing hypotheses. When you force yourself to interpret the facts through a different, perhaps uncomfortable lens, you often discover that your beliefs rest on a rather shaky foundation.
You know, in this type of book it seems there has to be an American Football story, a plane crash or two or maybe ev For the first half of this book I was rather annoyed. There are also a list of psychological tests that need to be discussed — emotionally depraved monkeys with their wire mothers to be compared with Romanian orphans and psychopaths , the endless bowl of soup test always rates a mention, as does the lost movie ticket dilemma as to whether you would pay for another one.
My annoyance, then, was around the fact that I felt I had heard every single example in this book at least once before. I thought my review would say that this book is not a bad summary of the field, but any one of a number of other books is probably just as good. I stopped worrying about what I would say in my review about half way through and that is why this book has been given five stars rather than the three I was thinking of giving it.
Look — I have an irrational annoyance that seems to develop when I read too many case studies. I think it is because the case study is the favourite ploy of the self-help book. What these case studies gain in dramatic effect they tend to lose in, well, relevance. Stating his premise quite so boldly might make the problem with Blink stand out. How can you tell when to trust your gut and when to trust your head? When this book gets into its stride it runs through the sorts of cognitive errors that we are likely to make when we make decisions.
One of the stand out causes of errors we make is loss aversion, that is, we are likely to make bad decisions if we feel we have already made a loss part of the reason gamblers might bet more after losing a bet — double or nothing anyone? This is made clear by the fact that some social monkeys, one can assume they have not met Jesus, also act in accordance with the Golden Rule.
Clearly, some Christians are going to find certain parts of this book challenging, but then, it is seeking to explain why we make mistakes on the basis of our biological evolution, so I guess certain Christians are always going to have problems with that.
There are things I really liked about this book. Those are summed up in the last couple of chapters which are worth reading all on their own the next time you are in a book shop in fact, I think, if I had written this book, I would have started at the end. Essentially this book says that there are good and bad times to use your rational brain to make decisions and that there are times when the best decisions you can make are those you will make by relying on your emotions.
He says, perhaps counter-intuitively, that the decisions best left to your emotional brain are the ones that are complex and multifaceted — that is, the ones we generally try to solve with our rational brains.Because he is afraid to take a loss - it feels bad - and selling shares that have decreased in value makes the loss tangible.
People who'd paid discounted prices for "brain power" drinks consistently solved about 30 percent fewer puzzles than the people who'd paid full price for the drinks.
Learn more and more, in the speed that the world demands. Every time you make a mistake or encounter something new, your brain cells are busy changing themselves.
When people were told that they'd just received pain-relieving cream, their frontal lobes responded by inhibiting the activity of their emotional brain areas like the insula that normally respond to pain. Powell: "Tell me what you know.
It's easier to consider quantifiable facts than future emotions, such as how you'll feel when you're stuck in a rush-hour traffic jam. Dopamine neurons need to be continually trained and retrained, or else their predictive accuracy declines.
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