kitchen table math, the sequel: The stubbornness of thought

Friday, February 21, 2014

The stubbornness of thought

I've just come across the best explanation of the "Don't think of elephants" effect I've ever read:
Byrne is also right to emphasize the stubbornness of thought. Once you think something, it is very difficult to eradicate that idea from your mind. The late, brilliant social psychologist Dan Wegner described this as the great irony of mental control: in order to insure that you aren’t thinking about an unwanted idea, you have to continually turn your mind to that very idea. How do you know that you aren’t thinking of a white bear driving a red Ferrari unless you think about whether you’re thinking it?

FEBRUARY 19, 2014

1 comment:

SteveH said...

There is also the stubbornness of skills. If you learn something wrong (as with invented spelling), it's more difficult to fix it later on, no matter how much engagement you try to inject into the process.

In music, they talk about bad practice. You can't discover your way to a proper technique, and bad habits are almost impossible to fix. There might be many solutions to a problem, but few can discover the difference between the good ones and the bad ones.