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Thinking About Thinking

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Shannon Scovel

on 18 November 2014

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Transcript of Thinking About Thinking

Farhad Manjoo
• “...the limitless choice we now enjoy over the information that we get about our world has loosened our grip on what is - and isn’t - true.” (pg. 4, Manjoo)
Manjoo's Thesis
The Divided Brain- Manjoo & Kahneman
It's about making life easier!
Manjoo's Approach
Thinking About Thinking
Farhad Manjoo and the Search for Truth in a Media-Saturated World
Heuristics- "Intution is nothing less than recognition" (Kahneman, 237).
There is TOO much information!
Journalism of Affirmation- Kovach, Rosenstiel & Manjoo
A Review of Kahneman
System 1:

System 2:
"operates automatically and quickly, with little to no effort and no sense of voluntary control" (20).
"allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations. The operations of system 2 are often associated with the subjective experience of agency, choice, and concentration" (21).
Based on the work of psychologists Richard Petty and John Cacioppo...
Central Route
Peripheral Route
"diligent attempt to investigate the facts of a case" (Manjoo, 118).
"we use 'cues' - like emotional reactions or what an expert or celebrity or some other trustworthy figure thinks- to guide us towards a decision" (Manjoo, 118).
How can we understand it?
Or making life what we want it to be...
What is truth...and how do we find it?
The Debate:

Eli Pariser says that we can’t always choose what news we receive, sometimes the news that we consume is a result of our previous decisions.
The Problem:
"No longer are we merely holding opinions different from one another; we’re also holding different facts” ( Manjoo, 2)
Is truth a product of what we want to believe?

Do we interpret media in a way that attempts to verify what we think we know?
The increase of available information has made it more difficult to discover the truth
A fast, automatic response to a situation
A slower method of thinking that requires focus to anaylze a situation on a deeper level
(a.k.a System 1)
(a.k.a System 2)
Manjoo and Kahneman in Agreement
Heuristics
"...simple rules of thumb that we use to quickly decide what to make of the world (Manjoo, 110).
clues that help us determine the truth
Kahneman Agrees
Recognition Heuristics
The truth is what sounds most familiar
Which city is bigger?
San Diego
or
San Antonio?
Substitution
Answering the Easier Question
Which city is bigger?
Which city have I heard of more often?
vs.
Conclusion
As more people interact via media, more information becomes accessible, truth becomes harder to find, and we increasingly rely on heuristics to reaffirm what we already know
Based on the work of psychologists Daniel Goldstein and Gerd Gigerenzer
*Manjoo says that too much information can sometimes make answering the easier question difficult

We seek out truth that verifies our beliefs
In a world with so much information, we can all find truths that align with what we already think, which makes us feel better about our opinions
The City Experiment
Goldstein
Gigerenzer
The Princeton/Dartmouth Football Game Experiment
Princeton won, but their star player was injured
Did Dartmouth play dirty? Did Princeton play dirty?
Manjoo: We create our own reality based on what we want to see
Selective perception
Sources
Kahneman, Daniel.
Thinking Fast and Slow
. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. Print.

Kovach, Bill, and Tom Rosenstiel.
Blur: How to Know What’s True In an Age of Information Overload.
New York: Bloosbury, 2010. Print.

Manjoo, Farhad.
True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society
. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2008. Print.

Pariser, Eli.
The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web is Changing What We Read and How We Think
. New York: Penguin, 2011. Print.

TRUE ENOUGH
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