“Take A Risk” is the headline on a G2 article written by Oliver Burkeman this week. In it he reports on the work of “moustachioed psychologist Gerd Gigerenze”, who is one of the principal critics of the work and theories of Daniel Kahnemman, whose book “Thinking Fast and Slow” we’ve blogged about previously:
Our observations and criticisms of the Kahneman book apply equally to this new article – the confusion of “instinct” and “intuition” when talking about intelligences other than the intellect. We say this again – these two intelligences are completely different to one another and operate to our benefit in completely different ways – as set out in previous 3D Eye posts.
It’s simply not enough to say we should “trust our guts more”.
That is the point about hunches: they operate at a level inaccessible to the conscious mind of the person who has them. What if the culture of Goldman Sachs had permitted its most senior managers to say “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”, and for that to be taken seriously?
In Germany, thanks largely to Gigerenzer’s efforts, risk literacy is included on school curriculums in the early stages of education, and he’s optimistic that the approach will spread more widely. He wrote Risk Savvy, he says, “as an alternative to this flood of popular books that say we’re foolish, irrational, and there’s not much that can be done about us … But the assumption that people commit all these errors is only partly correct. And the assumption that there’s no way to help them is strictly incorrect. We have experimental evidence that we can teach kids to understand risk.
Really? Another approach would be to enable young people (and teachers) to have a much greater appreciation of instinctual intelligence and of intuition, and to value these intelligences much more highly – to enable young people to understand them, work with them and become skilled in using them.
How we do that, of course, is a much longer story – one that we intend to go on discussing here and elsewhere. We do agree, however, that it’s important for young people to understand that facts, logic and intellect are only part of the story of human intelligences, and that wellbeing depends on using all of our intelligences to their maximum potential, whilst being aware of how our minds and our intelligences operate.