Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Laurence Gonzales on Mental Model Mistakes

Laurence Gonzalez:

give you an example of a really bad mistake that I made using mental models.  When I was a little kid, my grandmother had an ashtray that looks like a rattlesnake.  It was a beautiful thing, made out of stone, and it was very realistic.  And I had this model in my head of a rattlesnake that was, you know, benign, it was a harmless thing and it had these nice emotional associations with my childhood and my grandmother.  And frankly, I never thought about it again.  I don’t know where it went.  But one day as an adult, I was hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains and I came across the ruin of a stone house and I thought, “Oh cool.  I’ll look for a souvenir here.  I’ll find some old tool or something to bring home with me from this ruined house in the stone rubble.”  And I started searching around and then all of a sudden, lo and behold, there was my grandmother’s ashtray.  I’m like, “What a miracle!  My grandmother’s ashtray, how did that happen?”  And I reached out to pick it up and then I saw its tongue come out.  And, of course, I realized the very stupid mistake that I made because I had all these intellectual knowledge that could have prevented me from doing that.  But they didn’t because I was operating on a mental model, the closeness association I had and it was stored away.  I haven’t thought about it for decades, and it was my grandmother’s ashtray.  So I knew, intellectually, for example, that the chances of finding my grandmother’s ashtray anywhere in the known universe were approximately zero.  I knew also that I was in the mountain wilderness where rattlesnakes are really common in California.  I knew that they like to poke around in stone ruins ‘cause mice live there.  I knew all these stuff and it did me no good.  So this is what I mean when I say smart people do stupid things.  This is the type of mistake that certain scientists call an intelligent mistake because all my learning, my most important learning caused the mistake

Relying on a system of mental models can confuse associations with reality says Laurence Gonzales.


.

Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?

Videos
  • From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
  • "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
  • Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.

COVID-19 brain study to explore long-term effects of the virus

A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.

Coronavirus
  • The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
  • Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Keep reading Show less

Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

Credit: Neom
Technology & Innovation
  • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
  • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
  • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
Keep reading Show less

Better reskilling can future-proof jobs in the age of automation. Enter SkillUp's new coalition.

Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.

Image: metamorworks / Shutterstock
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Outplacement is an underperforming $5 billion dollar industry. A new non-profit coalition by SkillUp intends to disrupt it.
  • More and more Americans will be laid off in years to come due to automation. Those people need to reorient their career paths and reskill in a way that protects their long-term livelihood.
  • SkillUp brings together technology and service providers, education and training providers, hiring employers, worker outreach, and philanthropies to help people land in-demand jobs in high-growth industries.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast