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Blink Dont Think Essay

822 words - 4 pages

As human beings, we are forced to make decisions all day long. This is something that will never change. What should I wear? Should I have children? Should I schedule a doctor’s appointment? Where did I save that excel spreadsheet? All day long, our minds are constantly busy making choices. Some deserve to be thought out over time, but others are required right away and we have to rely on our gut instincts to make quick decisions. When an art expert glances at a statue and instinctively knows something is wrong, or when a tennis coach can predict a double fault as soon as the ball is served; these immediate answers that come to us are what Blink is all about. Author Malcolm Gladwell tries ...view middle of the document...

This demonstrates how our mind works below the surface of our conscious. This process operates quickly to reach conclusions.
In order for rapid cognition to work properly it needs to be within the following guidelines: There needs to be a detectable pattern, there needs to be frugality, there needs to be balance, and there needs to be optimal arousal. This is what psychologists and Gladwell call “thin-slicing”. “Thin-slicing” refers to the ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behavior based on very narrow slices of experience. (23) It is our brains way of making decisions with little information.
Of course there is a faulty side to snap judgments and rapid cognition can lead us astray. Sometimes our biases and stereotypes can guide the decisions we make even those we don’t believe are true. Gladwell explains the purpose behind the implicit social attitude tests (IAT) which are meant to identify a person’s automatic response to certain word associations. Gladwell, who is half Jamaican, found out that he is like the 80% of people who have taken this test and have pro-white associations. (84)
When the guidelines to successful rapid cognition are not aligned, things can go very wrong. Like the story of Amadou Diallo who was killed in the Bronx by police officers firing their weapon. The officers were...

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