The last 50 years has seen an astonishing series of great leaps forward in the Behavioral, Cognitive and Information Sciences. But the Popular World doesn’t seem to have gotten any of the memos. Too many people are struggling to get past Go — even in what are generally considered the best schools.

Why would something so mission critically adaptive be so illusive?

When you think about it, for even just 1.5 seconds, things get really simple, really fast. That’s how we get to Deliberate Practice. We slow our thought processes down, from 500 milliseconds to anywhere between 1.5 and 30 seconds. But you can’t just do it once. It has to be a habit that you cultivate for tens of thousands of hours.

Fast Thinking, the subject of the Behavioral Sciences, is measured in milliseconds. It’s what we fundamentally mean when we say FEEL — depending on how we’ve played our cards, for the last 10,000 hours, it’s the place from which we are either brilliant or accident-prone.

Slow Thinking is measured in split seconds (15-30 seconds), it’s what happens after fast thinking, maybe, in working memory. It’s what we fundamentally mean when we say THINK.

Any memory that lasts more than 30 seconds is considered Long Term Memory – and this is where we find ourselves in the realm of the Information Sciences. It is fundamentally what we mean when we say EVOLVE.

Some may say that it is sad, before conceding that it is true, that scientific inquiry is taxing.

If content is worth attending to once, it is worth study and reflection. It is almost accurate to say that if you aren’t going to study and reflect on the contents of any nonfiction endeavor, there is very little to be had from a single pass on the experience, relatively speaking.

But how do we get content from Short Term into Long Term Memory, so that it can become a tool for later use?

Throughout the Visible’s vault and blog are an increasing number of intelligence Quizlets (iQs) designed to strengthen Long Term Memory by taxing Working Memory. This reflects the state of the art of modern cognitive science.

Deliberate Practice favors Working Memory over Sensory Memory. That is, it curates attention at a speeds measured in split seconds over a speeds measured in milliseconds.

But Memories are made up of millions of neurons and billions of synapses. Human Memory is not like a scanner, photocopier or camera. Once you get information from working memory into long term memory, it will float away and be irretrievable, unless you reflect on it cleverly. That is, begin by forging Semantic Memory by putting it in to your own words, but if you don’t then transform it into Episodic Memory, by relating it to what you already know, deeply, personally, viscerally, you will be frustrated by an infuriating lack of stickiness.

Even if you just have conversations with yourself, if you want to have memories that you can use later, you MUST have those conversations.

Enough said. Let’s play. Try your luck with this 101’s iQ. The model is adapted from Atkinson & Shiffrin’s 1968 model.





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One thought on “Thinking, Slow

  • August 4, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Think, Feel, Evolve! All the above–this intro is so, so clear and focused. Yes!Reference


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