On Second Thought
Outsmarting Your Mind's Hard-Wired Habits
Our brains are marvels, hard-wired by millions of years of evolution to boast a number of mental shortcuts, biases, and tricks that allow us to negotiate our complicated lives without overthinking every choice and decision we have to make. Unfortunately, those ancient shortcuts don't always work to our advantage in our modern lives—when we don't also think slowly and rationally, those hard-wired habits can trip us up. This intriguing book helps us to understand how our minds are predisposed to think about the world—and how to avoid many of life's common mistakes.
Among the surprising examples of these mental habits at work in our lives:
—Experienced skiers make fatal mistakes on familiar terrain more often than less experienced ones.
—Ninety-nine point nine percent of the citizens of France are registered organ donors, but only 28 percent of Americans are.
—Early birds on jury duty are more likely to succumb to racial stereotypes in delivering verdicts when the day gets late.
—People who are hungry for lunch will donate less money to charity.
Wray Herbert introduces us to twenty of these shortcuts and biases, explaining how they affect us in the real world and how they're being studied in labs around the world.