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October 14, 2015

Outweighing Instincts- The Art of Thin Slicing

You are a recruiter and I have applied for the job. What'd you prefer- spending a whole day with me or a five minute interview? I bet you'll chose the first one." But it is not that simple... 
Analysis- This word has been synonymous to our very sense of the word "conclusion." Paperwork done in years by Scientists to deduce theories is what is called as analysis. 

Logic- The very basis of analysis, the very fundamental of our belief and the very question that compliments every doctrine. We all strive to make more logical analysis and it also becomes one of the primary criteria of judging our mental ability. Selection for colleges and recruitment for jobs are all done on the basis of this very thing. 
Snap Judgement- You see a statue and you know it is fake. You don't know why and you don't know how but you know it is true. However, you wipe that thought off because it doesn't have a logic
Methodology- You wipe that though off because that's isn't an analytical decision and just to find out whether it is fake or not what you do is you call the best of scientists, historians and analysts, you scrape the outer layer of the statue and observe it under the microscope. You do tests and research based upon logic and curate it all with a 100 page lengthy, comprehensive, logical and analytical report ending up saying,"it is fake."

Reader by now- What a stupid guy! He spends millions of bucks and days of his productive time on that research and ends up saying what he said in a Blink. 

Logic- Instincts are baseless. They come in a Blink and it's better you remove it. They are illogical. They come from nowhere. They lead nowhere. It is a mere coincidence that the snap judgement and the researched judgement are the same and not anything more than that. And here lies the simple reason behind following certain methodology.     

It isn't as simple as that. No doubt a method and analysis rectifies the snap judgement. Logical analysis provides a unique satisfaction that doesn't come with the instincts. However that doesn't mean that instincts aren't important. Our brain works at two stages, parallel to  each other. They are called the conscious and unconscious. The conscious which makes us believe what we want to, which allows us to consider women equal to men, black to white. However, there lies an unconscious which still makes us hesitant about accepting race and gender equality. If you don't believe it, then do have an IAT (Implicit Association Test). The fact that the unconscious makes another integral part of our brain makes it all the more important. In order to understand the importance and gist of snap judgement, here lies and example- 

There lies a marriage bureau in Oxford with an insignificant name and significant success. Successful because of the way it functions. What happens in this marriage bureau is that the disputed couple is made to stand in a room with cameras and microphones in order to enable audio-video recording. Now this couple is made to talk about one topic that lies as a dispute in their relationship for example a dog. The wife might have a different opinion about petting a dog than her husband and so lies the dispute. Now what happens is that they are left alone in the room for 15 minutes discussing about such a disputed topic. While they are discussing, an employee of the marriage bureau listens to their whole conversation with a video and what he/she does is called as thin-slicing. The video clip is sliced into each second. The employee has been made to remember one number for each emotion (carelessness, defensive, aggressive, caring, etc.). In every second slice, the employee notes a number representing certain emotion. Therefore, within some time some kind of a code is formed ( 1-6-5-12-8) and this code becomes one reference. Another activity that the employee does is that they observe and note the sentiment of the conversation. The husband will do something bad and the spouse will say,"Oh! He is just in a crummy mood." This displays a positive sentiment. However, when a negative sentiment exists every neutral thing that the partner does is received as  a negative one. And when a husband does something good, during negative sentiments, it is considered as a selfish person doing something good. Therefore, within some time a graph of positive or negative is built up. Usually, the couple which starts negative stays negative but if some couple recovers back to positive, this shows their willingness to get improve their relationship. Therefore, the marriage bureau usually takes 15 minutes to understand whether the couple can or cannot stay together. 



Let me bring it to you this way- Conscious is just one layer of our thinking process and not considering the unconscious might turn out to be grave. Unconscious decisions, snap judgement and instincts are as creditable as the geologists' research on the statue. Therefore, outweigh instincts and try and thin slice things.

*Reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell*