I write about Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer’s work on aging stereotypes in On Second Thought, in the chapter on The Caricature Heuristic. Her work continues to fascinate. Here’s the latest on how misguided caricatures of aging and the elderly can undermine our physical health.
The political activists of the 60s did not invent that phrase, but they understood its truth. It’s really nothing more than the Default Heuristic stripped of the jargon. Here is a short adaptation of the concluding chapter of On Second Thought, which explores this powerful cognitive bias in detail: “When I was a college student… Read more
I appreciate whenever someone takes the time to read On Second Thought so thoughtfully. This nice summary on Suite 101 comes from Gina Barrett Putt, a mental health worker and writer. I look forward to exploring, with others, the implications of cognitive biases in understanding mental health issues, including alcoholism and other addictions.
. . . without using the word heuristic. Check out this short talk I gave at a recent signing for On Second Thought.
Decisions that are driven by negative emotions are most often bad decisions. But how do we defuse those negative emotions? Try a little arithmetic. And try it before you make that intoxicated phone call or push the “send” button. Read more in this excellent piece from In-Mind magazine.
This fascinating study actually illustrates two different heuristics working in concert. The Mapmaker Heuristic is the cognitive bias that gives a psychological dimension to real, geographical distance. In this study, 200 miles is not simply 200 miles–it’s either closer or further away depending on whether the distance crosses a state line. And the state borders… Read more
Like most parents, I drilled my young kids on the importance of saying “thank you” to others. Nagged them, really. After all, words of gratitude are an important social convention, a way of letting others know you value and appreciate them and their support. Plus saying “thank you” is the right thing to do. What… Read more
Much of the extensive reporting I did for On Second Thought never made it into the book. This included dozens of scientific studies that, taken together, I have come to think of as “The Science of Recovery.” There have been volumes written about the science of alcoholism and other addictions, but surprisingly little on the… Read more