Monday, March 07, 2011
The Problems of Quickthink in the Internet Age
I can feel it, too. Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory." - Nicholas Carr, Is Google Making Us Stupid?"
With the explosion of information available at our fingertips through the Internet, we may be reading more and more - but thinking less and less. Blink aside, when we surf and flit rather than deep read, we're more susceptible to automatic responses for good or for ill.
Influence by Cialdini and it looks to be a great read. In the first chapter, he introduces such common mistakes as expensive = good rule, Captainitis (if an expert says it, it must be true; e.g. in a famous WWIII crash how a copilot ended up crashing a plane because he thought a general had wanted him to lift the landing gear at that moment though he knew the plane was going too slow to fly), click-whirr (automatic) responding, and perceptual contrast (example: a realtor shows you a poor cheap house, a too expensive house, and then a middle house - leading you to buy it compared to the others). The lessons were so good, I had our daughter read it too. Then it made me think - why is this practical stuff not part of education?
As more and more of our reading shift to surfing and browsing rather than deep reading, seems like we should know more about what we're headed into and maybe make sure we get some regular practice at questioning our assumptions.
Another interesting read we discovered along the way: the full 99 cent Kindle edition of the 1841 classic Extraordinary Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. In it, we read the famous Tulipomania chapter and also looked at how some contemporary editorials comparing the Tulip bubble with the dot com bust.
Media Psychology Blog