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On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind's Hard-Wired Habits

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On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind's Hard-Wired Habits Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Our lives are composed of millions of choices, ranging from trivial to life-changing and momentous. Luckily, our brains have evolved a number of mental shortcuts, biases, and tricks that allow us to quickly negotiate this endless array of decisions. We don’t want to rationally deliberate every choice we make, and thanks to these cognitive rules of thumb, we don’t need to.

Yet these hard-wired shortcuts, mental wonders though they may be, can also be perilous. They can distort our thinking in ways that are often invisible to us, leading us to make poor decisions, to be easy targets for manipulators…and they can even cost us our lives.

The truth is, despite all the buzz about the power of gut-instinct decision-making in recent years, sometimes it’s better to stop and say, “On second thought . . .”

The trick, of course, lies in knowing when to trust that instant response, and when to question it. In On Second Thought, acclaimed science writer Wray Herbert provides the first guide to achieving that balance. Drawing on real-world examples and cutting-edge research, he takes us on a fascinating, wide-ranging journey through our innate cognitive traps and tools, exposing the hidden dangers lurking in familiarity and consistency; the obstacles that keep us from accurately evaluating risk and value; the delusions that make it hard for us to accurately predict the future; the perils of the human yearning for order and simplicity; the ways our fears can color our very perceptions . . . and much more.

Along the way, Herbert reveals the often-bizarre cross-connections these shortcuts have secretly ingrained in our brains, answering such questions as why jury decisions may be shaped by our ancient need for cleanliness; what the state of your desk has to do with your political preferences; why loneliness can literally make us shiver; how drawing two dots on a piece of paper can desensitize us to violence… and how the very typeface on this page is affecting your decision about whether or not to buy this book.

Ultimately, On Second Thought is both a captivating exploration of the workings of the mind and an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to learn how to make smarter, better judgments every day.

Synopsis:

Reveals the evolutionary science behind how and why the human brain makes snap decisions, explaining how biological programming helps and hinders modern lives and how to avoid common mistakes by understanding the factors that prompt biased choices.

Synopsis:

WRAY HERBERT has been writing about psychology and human behavior for more than 25 years, including regular columns for Newsweek and Scientific American Mind. He has also been science and health editor at US News & World Report, psychology editor for Science News, and editor-in-chief of Psychology Today. He currently serves as director for science communication at the Association for Psychological Science, where he writes a popular blog about the latest in psychological research. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Table of Contents

Part 1: The body in the world. The visceral heuristic: cold shoulders and clean hands — The visionary heuristic: hills and home runs — The momentum heuristic: intuitive physics — The fluency heuristic: the power of penmanship — The mimicry heuristic: feeling your inner ape — The mapmaker heuristic: getting away from it all — Part 2: Numbers in our neurons. The arithmetic heuristic: "for just pennies a day" — The scarcity heuristic: supply and desire — The anchor heuristic: why things cost $19.95 — The calorie heuristic: "will work for food" — The decoy heuristic: please don't make me choose — The futuristic heuristic: a wrinkle in time — Part 3: how the mind makes meaning. The design heuristic: simplicity and purpose — The foraging heuristic: exploring and exploiting — The caricature heuristic: engineering prejudice — The cooties heuristic: contagion and magical thinking — The naturalist heuristic: back to the garden — The whodunit heuristic: murder and mortality — The grim reaper heuristic: loneliness and zealotry — The default heuristic: not to decide is . . .

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307461650
Subtitle:
Outsmarting Your Mind's Hard-Wired Habits
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Author:
Herbert, Wray
Author:
Wray, Herbert
Subject:
Psychology : Experimental Psychology
Subject:
Cognitive Psychology
Subject:
Experimental Psychology
Subject:
Audio Books-Psychology
Subject:
Psychology-Cognitive Science
Subject:
Psychology : General
Subject:
Psychology-Mind and Consciousness
Subject:
Psychology : Cognitive Psychology
Subject:
NEWARRIVAL-WELLNESS
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20100914
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
304

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Cognitive Science
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General

On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind's Hard-Wired Habits
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Product details 304 pages Crown Publishing Group - English 9780307461650 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Reveals the evolutionary science behind how and why the human brain makes snap decisions, explaining how biological programming helps and hinders modern lives and how to avoid common mistakes by understanding the factors that prompt biased choices.
"Synopsis" by , WRAY HERBERT has been writing about psychology and human behavior for more than 25 years, including regular columns for Newsweek and Scientific American Mind. He has also been science and health editor at US News & World Report, psychology editor for Science News, and editor-in-chief of Psychology Today. He currently serves as director for science communication at the Association for Psychological Science, where he writes a popular blog about the latest in psychological research. He lives in Washington, D.C.
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