This chapter further illustrates the psychological barriers of understanding and accepting new findings.
If I have to use one sentence to summarize the chapter, it would be apart from logic, emotions also play an important role in decision making. The author quotes the idea from a book called Thinking Fast and Slow which points out that we have two systems of decision making. System 1 is fast, intuitive, emotional, automatic and subconscious. System 2 is slow, analytical, logical, effortful and conscious. Both systems affect our decision making.
Then the author says a lot about how human reacts to fact, and stories. Those points can be summarized in the following table:
|Reaction to Facts||– Scrutinize facts we don’t like.|
– Flight conflicting facts like a physical facts
– Bend or break facts to support our existing biases
– Corrective facts can potentially strengthen our misinformation
– Hard to reject visualize facts
|Reaction to stories||– Stories engage more of our brain|
– Stories form a unique connection between storyteller and listener
– Stories increase our attention and empathy
– Stories make us less sceptical and more open to change
– Stories enhance our comprehension
The author quotes a lot of physiological experiments to prove his points in which I don’t feel the necessity to recap in the summary. Rather, I would like to write some reflections.
I cannot think of specific examples on how dangerous it is to be right on matters when the established authorities are wrong. But it reminds me on the reasons why some conversations are so difficult . It is because most of the time it is not about fact and logic. It is about beliefs and emotions. For a typical (relatively logical) problem solver like myself, I tend to focus on facts, data, and how they relate to the problem I am trying to solve. But, I seldom consider emotions to be part of the problem itself. I overlooked the fact that I am dealing with human, not machine.