Jonah Lehrer is an author and journalist who writes often about neuroscience and psychology. He has published two books, "Proust Was a Neuroscientist," about the connections between science and the humanities, and "How We Decide," about the brain and decision-making. He has written for The New Yorker about the science of insight and about the psychology of delayed gratification.
Jonah Lehrer, author of How We Decide, discusses the limitations of rational thought and explains that while the human prefrontal cortex is a "magnificent piece of machinery," it easily short circuits when given too much information.
Conversely, he argues, there are many instances when it is wise to trust the instinctual part of the brain.
It would be important to make a connection here with the work of Reuven Feuerstein - a clinical psychologist who has been talking about how to teach meta-cognitive skills since the 1950's and has developed a comprehensive theory and accompanying programs for doing this; also good is Nyborg's "Curriculum for the teaching of Basic Conceptual Systems (BCS) and related Basic Concepts in kindergarten and primary school" - teaching metacognition in kindy - imagine that! we would be able to say that the 21st century has actually arrived!!! unfortunately I think that it is still some way away...
Brilliant guy and talk. The study of neuroscience as it is related to decision making is an emerging area. Contrary to some of the critics on here, I thought Lehrer cited enough scientific studies and provided enough methodogical detail without loosing the audience.
Well worth the time!
Good ideas, just needs some science to back it up
Giving a small section of people a task like "choosing the best car" can only be used as a first step at best.. Perhaps as an indicator to decide if it's worthwhile investigating these theories in depth.
I get the point. You will be much more fulfilled as a dumpster-diver than a shopper. From the dawn of humanity, we were content to forage and be happy with what we glean from the environment. As consumeristic Americans, we learned that we have "Freedom of Choice", and as such are confronted with warehouses of products hardly any of which we actually need.
This dichotomy comes into stark focus for me, a poor person who scavenges for food. Through some blessing of providence, I can create a masterpiece of a meal with whatever I scrounge up that day, no recipies required. On the opposite extreme, armies of good consumers march to the supermarket with recipe lists spending money on what they need to create a masterpiece. But I know what they serve up, boring suburban meals that cost too much and support the agribusiness-retail complex. And then they complain about how food costs too much.
It's just that, as powerful humans we have created abundance and now suffer at the hands of our own creation. We were happier when we had to adapt to our environment, not control it. And we still complain about what we cannot change, but that is a result of our neurosis rather than actual discomfort.