Monday, December 3, 2007

thinking, economics, and dilbert

From The Teaching Economist:

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, majored in economics at Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y. In September, he wrote about how economics has influenced his thinking: “I’m convinced that the study of economics changes brains in a way I can identify after about five minutes of conversation. In particular, I think the study of economics makes you relatively immune to cognitive dissonance…. The primary skill of an economist is identifying all of the explanations for various phenomena. Cognitive dissonance is, at its core, the inability to recognize and accept other explanations. I’m oversimplifying, but you get the point. The more your brain is trained for economics, the less it is susceptible to cognitive dissonance, or so it seems. The joke about economists is that they are always using the phrase ‘On the other hand.’ Economists are trained to recognize all sides of an argument. That seems like an easy and obvious skill, but in my experience, the general population lacks that skill. Once people take a side, they interpret any argument on the other side as absurd. In other words, they are relatively susceptible to cognitive dissonance.”

No comments: