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What Intelligence Tests Miss 5: Why Intelligent People Doing Stupid Things is No Surpise


Irrationality is expected for two basic reasons. It takes more energy to be rational (we are cognitive misers) and we have insufficient or corrupted thinking tools (mindware). We can help solve these problems by acquiring better mindware (which is what the rest of the book describes).

Kindle Notes:

The human brain has two broad characteristics that make it less than rational. One is a processing problem and one is a content problem. Intelligence provides insufficient inoculation against both (794).

The processing problem is that we tend to be cognitive misers in our thinking (795).

Note: Energy savers or shortcut takers.

Humans are cognitive misers because their basic tendency is to default to Type I processing mechanisms of low computational expense (802).

The reason we have pleasure circuits in our brains is to encourage us to do things (survive and reproduce, help kin) that propagate our genes. The pleasure centers were not designed to maximize the amount of time we are happy (825).

Note: Evolution is not your friend.

The content problem comes about because we need to acquire some very specific knowledge structures in order to think and act rationally. When knowledge structures that are needed to sustain rational behavior are not present, I will term this a mindware problem (841).

Note: 2nd problem.

Those with higher IQs are only slightly less likely to be cognitive misers or to have mindware problems” (855).

Note: Among college students.

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