Leonard Mlodinow’s Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior reviews evidence of automatic, out-of-awareness brain processing that handles emotional experience and routine task execution, in the same vein as best sellers by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow) and writer Malcolm Gladwell (Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking).
All three authors outline the potential costs of rapid mental processing: error and bias in perception and decision-making, which are less present during mindful analytic problem-solving.
Mlodinow, a Physics Professor at CalTech, has collaborated with Stephen Hawking on two books, and like Kahneman and Gladwell, is a talented storyteller who explains implications of laboratory-based research on cognition and brain functioning.
Psychologist Carol Tavris discusses the cost of similar biases in cognitive processing in Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions,
Numerous studies of erroneous eyewitness testimony demonstrate that memory is constructed of fragmentary elements “stitched” together to form a cohesive narrative.
This contrasts the notion that memory is a “snapshot” replica of an event.
Opportunities for cognitive error are apparent in this Constructivist view of perception and cognition.
Most authors suggest “mindful” practices to counteract inherent biases in cognitive short-cuts, consciously focusing in present perceptions and experiences.
Mlodinow’s previous book, The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, demystifies the use of statistics in everyday life, and prepares readers with considered questions to avoid mis-judgments based on seemingly convincing quantitative data.
He demonstrates the prevalence of chance influences in life outcomes, and the pervasive illusion that people have control over many more outcomes than they actually do.
Mlodinow reminds readers that “success” and “failure” contain random influences, and “success” is more dependent on persistence and maintaining an optimistic outlook than raw ability.
-*What practices have helped you mitigate potential cognitive bias associated with rapid mental processing and cognitive “short-cuts”?
- Detect and Mitigate Decision Biases
- Overcoming Decision bias: Allure of “Availability heuristic”, “primacy effect”
- Creating productive thought patterns, challenging destructive thinking through “thought self-leadership”
- Developing a SMARTER Mindset to increase Resilience, Emotional Intelligence -Part 1
- Developing a SMARTER Mindset to increase Resilience, Emotional Intelligence -Part 2
- “Contemplative Neuroscience” can transform your mind, change your brain
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