Jun 14 2012

John Meunier: Jesus as cognitive psychologist

Original post at http://johnmeunier.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/jesus-as-cognitive-psychologist/

It turns out Jesus understood human psychology pretty well.

An interesting article in The New Yorker looks at the way our patterns of thinking lead us astray. This problem is especially pronounced among those who score higher on standard tests of intelligence. In other words, smart people are more prone to bad thinking.

The part that got me thinking about Jesus, though, was this paragraph:

Perhaps our most dangerous bias is that we naturally assume that everyone else is more susceptible to thinking errors, a tendency known as the “bias blind spot.” This “meta-bias” is rooted in our ability to spot systematic mistakes in the decisions of others—we excel at noticing the flaws of friends—and inability to spot those same mistakes in ourselves. Although the bias blind spot itself isn’t a new concept, West’s latest paper demonstrates that it applies to every single bias under consideration, from anchoring to so-called “framing effects.” In each instance, we readily forgive our own minds but look harshly upon the minds of other people.

I found myself thinking about planks in the eye and being told to judge not lest ye be judged. (Jesus always speaks King James when I think of such things.)

The lesson is simple as it is old, and it is one I find myself in need for being taught.

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John Meunier

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