Consciousness is notoriously hard to pin down, and when it comes to experience, the question is what’s within our conscious grip, as opposed to what takes place once removed, at an unconscious level?
Intelligence is not identical with conscious thought. The paradox is that the cerebral cortex in which the flame of consciousness resides is packed with unconscious processes, as are the older parts of the brain. The unconscious parts of our minds can decide without us — the conscious self — knowing it’s reasons.
…..— Neuroscientist Gerd Gigerenzer
This is the case, for example, in the regulation of our breathing and in the release of hormones that energize us to act in the face of danger. These vital functions are activated within the autonomic nervous system, the network of neural pathways that generate energy to support our most basic physical activities — stimulating digestion, fight or flight behaviors, or moving the body through space (how we do that seemingly simple process is most amazing)..
Our minds process vast amounts of information outside of consciousness, beyond language. In fact, most of our everyday thinking, feeling and acting operate outside conscious awareness. We are aware of many things (the pressure of our feet on the floor, the temperature in the room) without being consciously attuned to this information. More than we realized over a decade ago, thinking occurs not on stage, but off stage, out of sight. The growing scientific appreciation of non-rational, intuitive forms of knowing lends credence to spirituality.
…..—Psychologist David Myers
Gerd Gigerenzer is a German neuroscientist/psychologist. Gigerenzer is currently director of the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition (ABC) at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and director of the Harding Center for Risk Literacy, both in Berlin, Germany. He has studied the use of bounded rationality and heuristics in decision making.
Gigerenzer has investigated how humans make inferences about their world with limited time and knowledge. His research shows that in an uncertain world, probability theory is not sufficient — people also use smart heuristics, that is, rules of thumb. He conceptualizes rational decisions in terms of the “adaptive toolbox” (the repertoire of heuristics an individual or institution has) and the ability to choose a good heuristics for the task at hand.
Gigerenzer argues that heuristics are not irrational or always second-best to optimization, as the accuracy-effort trade-off view assumes. In contrast, his and associated researchers’ studies have identified situations in which “less is more”, that is, where heuristics make more accurate decisions with less effort. This contradicts the traditional view that more information is always better or at least can never hurt if it is free.
Books by Gerd Gigerenzer include:
- Better Doctors, Better Patients, Better Decisions: Envisioning Health Care 2020 (Strüngmann Forum Reports)
- Bounded Rationality: The Adaptive Toolbox
- Calculated Risks: How to Know When Numbers Deceive You
- Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious
- Heuristics: The Foundations of Adaptive Behavior
- Rationality for Mortals: How People Cope with Uncertainty (Evolution and Cognition)
- Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions
David Myers is a psychology professor at Hope College, Michigan. Myers is interested in social psychology, psychology and religion, and personal and societal well-being. His work on group polarization has been honored with the Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize. He is the author of 17 books, including several popular textbooks and general-audience books dealing with issues related to Christian faith as well as scientific psychology.
Myers is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society and the American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology. He is one of the most important authors of psychology textbooks and is the recipient of honorary doctorates from three different educational institutions. In addition, Myers has helped found a Community Action Center that assists poverty-level families, and is an advocate for people with hearing loss.
Books by David Myers include: