Archive for the ‘what I’m reading’ Category

Intuition

Do you listen to gut feelings? Gerd Gigerenzer thinks you are on the right track. My boyfriend recommended Gigerenzer’s book “Gut Feelings : The intelligence of the Unconscious” (he says I _need_ this book). I am in the habit of researching every decision to death. If I have gut feelings, I don’t know if I can sense them anymore.

But here are just a couple of tidbits from Gut Feelings that do resonate with me:

Amateurs frequently outperform experts when put to the task of performing a prediction about a future event. Amateurs have less information, and so focus on 1 or 2 important factors in making decisions. It so happens that when dealing with an uncertain environment, focusing on the most important clue and ignoring the rest is effective.

Most people require a selection of, at maximum, 5 to 9 things, or they are less liable to make a decision. Reason? Most people can only keep 5 to 9 things in their short term memory. For example, when faced with a table of 24 jams in a supermarket, many customers are attracted to look at them, but few actually buy. A table of only 6 jams in the same supermarket compels fewer customers to stop and look, but a much greater number end up buying one of the jams on the table.

This is the sort of book you can glean great wisdom from even if you only skim it. Gotta say, I think I will give a listen to my gut more often now.

What are this guy’s credentials? Gigerenzer is the director of the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany. A link: http://www.mpib-berlin.mpg.de/en/forschung/abc/index.htm