February 24

Going Mental

Sunday’s Big Idea

Cognitive Illusions

Close your eyes, this lesson won't hurt a bit. Yes it will, your brain tells you.

"We are hopelessly misled when we try to recall past experiences of pain," writes Big Thinker Steven Mazie in summarizing Daniel Kahneman's work on the difference between the “experiencing self” and the “remembering self.” If a past experience was painful it can greatly impact our capacity for making rational choices when we consider similar circumstances in the present. 

In today's lesson, Steven Mazie conveys his memory of running the New York City marathon and his subsequent vow to never do it again. We've all had a similar experience. So what tools do we possess to avoid the needless suffering and muted pleasure that results from these cognitive illusions?

 

  1. 1 The Upside of Suffering
  2. 2 Do My Eyes Deceive Me? Optical Il...
  3. 3 Rationality in Action: Look at a ...
  4. 4 Daniel Kahneman: Moving to Califo...
   
  1. The Upside of Suffering

    The Upside of Suffering

    A few years ago, at mile 20 of my second marathon, I promised myself I would never again run a 26.2 ...

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  2. Do My Eyes Deceive Me? Optical Illusions, Framing, and Choice

    Do My Eyes Deceive Me? Optical Illusions, Framing, and Choice

    The frame in which a choice is presented will impact the resulting decision. 

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  3. Rationality in Action: Look at a Problem as an Outsider

    Rationality in Action: Look at a Problem as an Outsider

    Julia Galef provides a fix for the "the commitment effect," the condition of sticking with a business plan or a career or a relationship "long after it has become quite clear that it's not doing anything for us."

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  4. Daniel Kahneman: Moving to California Won't Make You Happy

    Daniel Kahneman: Moving to California Won't Make You Happy

    In some crucial areas of human cognition, we don’t know and we can’t fully trust ourselves. On the bright side, Daniel Kahneman’s work shows that the kinds of errors we tend to make are extremely predictable.

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