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How We Decide How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
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How We Decide Quotes (showing 1-18 of 18)
“...new ideas are merely several old thoughts that occur at the exact same time.”
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide
“How do we regulate our emotions? The answer is surprisingly simple: by thinking about them. The prefrontal cortex allows each of us to contemplate his or her own mind, a talent psychologists call metacognition. We know when we are angry; every emotional state comes with self-awareness attached, so that an individual can try to figure out why he's feeling what he's feeling. If the particular feeling makes no sense—if the amygdala is simply responding to a loss frame, for example—then it can be discounted. The prefrontal cortex can deliberately choose to ignore the emotional brain.”
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide
“A lie told well is just as good as the truth.”
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide
“Harlow would later write, "If monkeys have taught us anything, it's that you've got to learn how to love before you learn how to live.”
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide
“Use your conscious mind to acquire all the information you need for making a decision. But don't try to analyze the information with your conscious mind. Instead, go on holiday while your unconscious mind digests it. Whatever your intuition then tells you is almost certainly going to be the best choice.”
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide
“A few years ago, Tor Wager, a neuroscientist at Columbia University, wanted to figure out why placebos were so effective. His experiment was brutally straightforward: he gave college students electric shocks while they were stuck in an fMRI machine. (The subjects were well compensated, at least by undergraduate standards.)”
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide
“Trusting one's emotions requires constant vigilance; intelligent intuition is the result of deliberate practice.”
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide
“Expertise is simply the wisdom that emerges from cellular error. Mistakes aren't things to be discouraged. On the contrary, they should be cultivated and carefully investigated.”
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide
“Unless you experience the unpleasant symptoms of being wrong, your brain will never revise its models. Before your neurons can succeed, they must repeatedly fail. There are no shortcuts for this painstaking process.”
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide
“The mind is made out of used parts, engineered by a blind watchmaker. The result is that the uniquely human areas of the mind depend on the primitive mind underneath. The process of thinking requires feeling, for feelings are what let us understand all the information that we can't directly comprehend. Reason without emotion is impotent.”
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide
“Three individuals form a partnership and agree to divide the
profits equally. X invests $9,000, Y invests $7,000, Z invests
$4,000. If the profits are $4,800, how much less does X receive
than if the profits were divided in proportion to the amount invested?”
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide
“For too long, people have disparaged the emotional brain, blaming
our feelings for all of our mistakes. The truth is far more interesting.
What we discover when we look at the brain is that the
horses and the charioteer depend upon each other. If it weren't
for our emotions, reason wouldn't exist at all.”
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide
“t. He decided to raise the next generation of baby
monkeys with two different pretend mothers. One was a wire
mother, formed out of wire mesh, while the other was a mother
made out of soft terry cloth. Harlow assumed that all things being
equal, the babies would prefer the cloth mothers, since they
would be able to cuddle with the fabric. To make the experiment
more interesting, Harlow added a slight twist to a few of the
cages. Instead of hand-feeding some babies, he put their milk bottles in the hands of the wire mothers. His question was simple:
what was more important, food or affection? Which mother
would the babies want more?
In the end, it wasn't even close. No matter which mother held
the milk, the babies always preferred the cloth mothers. The
monkeys would run over to the wire mothers and quickly sate
their hunger before immediately returning to the comforting folds
of cloth.”
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide
“the problem with statistics is that they
don't activate our moral emotions. The depressing numbers leave
us cold: our minds can't comprehend suffering on such a massive
scale. This is why we are riveted when one child falls down a
well but turn a blind eye to the millions of people who die every
year for lack of clean water. And why we donate thousands of
dollars to help a single African war orphan featured on the cover
of a magazine but ignore widespread genocides in Rwanda and
Darfur. As Mother Teresa put it, "If I look at the mass, I will
never act. If I look at the one, I will”
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide
“But the physical health of these young monkeys hid a devastating
sickness: they had been wrecked by loneliness. Their short
lives had been defined by total isolation, and they proved incapable
of even the most basic social interactions. They would maniacally
rock back and forth in their metal cages, sucking on
their thumbs until they bled. When they encountered other monkeys,
they would shriek in fear, run to the corners of their cages,
and stare at the floor. If they felt threatened, they would lash out
in vicious acts of violence. Sometimes these violent tendencies
were turned inward. One monkey ripped out its fur in bloody
clumps. Another gnawed off its own hand. Because of their early
deprivation, these babies had to be isolated for the rest of their
lives.”
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide
“The moral of Harlow's experiment is that primate babies are born with an intense need for attachment. They cuddled with the cloth mothers because they wanted to experience the warmth and tenderness of a real mother. Even more than food, these baby monkeys craved the feeling of affection. "It's as if the animals are programmed to seek out love,”
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide
“Colin Powell made a number of mistakes in the run-up to the Iraq war, but his advice to his intelligence officers was psychologically astute: "Tell me what you know," he told his advisers. "Then tell me what you don't know, and only then can you tell me what you think. Always keep those three separated.”
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on my dopamine neurons.”
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide

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