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Season 2008 Episode 0208

The Intelligence of the Unconscious

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The Intelligence of the Unconscious
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Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the UnconsciousAcccording to the speaker, human beings tend to think of intelligence as a deliberate, conscious activity guided by the laws of logic. Yet, he argues, much of our mental life is unconscious, based on processes alien to logic: gut feelings, or intuitions. Dr. Gigerenzer argues that intuition is more than impulse and caprice; it has its own rationale. This can be described by fast and frugal heuristics, which exploit evolved abilities in the human brain. Heuristics ignore information and try to focus on the few important reasons. Says Gigerenzer: "More information, more time, even more thinking, are not always better, and less can be more." His talk is part of an ongoing series on "Behavioral, Social and Computational Sciences Seminars" organized by the UC San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), which aims to bring the benefits of computational science to disciplines that have largely been by-passed by the information-technology revolution until now. More information on this and other talks in the series can be found at http://bscs3.calit2.net. Gigerenzer, a leading expert and author on heuristics, won the AAAS Prize for the best article in the behavioral sciences. He is the author of Calculated Risks: How To Know When Numbers Deceive You, the German translation of which won the Scientific Book of the Year Prize in 2002. His books on heuristics include Bounded Rationality: The Adaptive Toolbox, with Reinhard Selten, a Nobel laureate in economics - UCSDmoreless
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