Thursday, June 21, 2012

thinking about unconscious/subconscious minds

Malcolm Gladwell wrote "Blink" in which he explained many positive aspects of making decisions rapidly and based on intuition and gut feeling.  Daniel Kahneman received a Noble prize for his work on human decision-making.  He wrote "Thinking: Fast and Slow". I haven't read it yet but I bet he explains both sides, the immediate gut-based decision and the slower, rational, analytic kind.  From what I have read of Timothy Wilson, Wray Herbert, Cordelia Fine, Shankar Vedantam, and Sheena Iyengar, I have learned that my gut decisions are often related to basic mind patterns found in most human minds of 20 or 30 years or more.  The human subconscious helps us find our thoughts and the assistance is not unbiased or completely even-handed.  

Wray Herbert starts his book with a discussion of experienced skiers moving into a valley that was clearly ready for an avalanche and getting caught and killed by just such a disaster.  He attributes the event to the pattern or "heuristic" of our unconscious minds to accept what is familiar less critically than what is new and strange.  Shankar Vedantam makes clear that much of what we think, what we attend to, which ideas come to mind is related to what went on and is going on in our subconscious/unconscious minds.

Here are some of my posts on our subconscious/unconscious minds:

fear, fun and filoz: Help from the unconscious mind
Nov 22, 2010
She explains that it is possible to work with the unconscious and have its efficiency assist your will. Make several clear statements, maybe in writing, to yourself about not eating cookies or whatever you are working on. Include ...

fear, fun and filoz: Not aware of myself
Dec 30, 2011
Wilson starts off distinguishing Freud's version of the unconscious from more modern conceptions. ... The first book I read on modern thinking about the unconscious mind was The Hidden Brain by Shankar Vedantam.

fear, fun and filoz: Out in the countryside of the mind
Sep 30, 2011
Prof. Timothy Wilson's Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious. Wray Herbert's On Second Thought: Outsmarting Hard-Wired Habits I often find myself reviewing Ornstein's hypothesized sensitivity of our ...

fear, fun and filoz: Some books grab our attention
Apr 22, 2010
I have been looking for something on the unconscious mind and this is pretty good. Vedantam is a science reporter for the Washington Post and of course, he writes well. He establishes that there are many parts of us that are ...

fear, fun and filoz: Writing from me to me
Jan 16, 2012
I have had the idea that I have a purpose and a goal but it is just now becoming clear to me that Wilson's Strangers and his more recent Re-direct form the beginning of a clearer picture of my unconscious. Wilson cites ...

fear, fun and filoz: Good-looking people like you enjoy reading this
Feb 15, 2011
Besides the thoughts and sensations we are aware of, our unconscious or subconscious mind is continually at work, sending impulses to us on how to form words we want to use, keeping our heart beating, our gut digesting, ...

fear, fun and filoz: Now, what did I do?
Mar 09, 2011
They don't have to think since their body and unconscious mind knows what to do and how to do it. That sounds economical of energy and thought, and it is. However, if the execution is too automatic, it is possible that very ...

fear, fun and filoz: four or five or more spaces we are always in
Jul 25, 2011
We could also decide to separate out the conscious from the unconscious or subconscious. What I "have on my mind", preparing dinner, say, may be quite different from the anticipation I am feeling about seeing a promising ...

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