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  • Writer's pictureRob Ellis

Flat Minds and More

I was lucky enough to attend this conference earlier this month. There were inspiring and provocative contributions from Nick Chater, Tor Garnett, Nils Leonard, Clive Stafford-Smith, Margaret Hoffernan, Mark Ritson and Martin Weigel. It was at the Royal Institution in London, and we were all on the edge of our rather small seats.

One of many things that stayed with me is the talk from Nick Chater, who has a new take on how our unconscious mind works and how we store memories.

This is explored in detail in The Mind Is Flat, but an important point for those of us who ask people what they think and how they choose is that there is no big set of unconscious drivers behind our decision taking, but we can act as if there is. When we make a decision, it is often taken quite easily, but when we are asked about the decision we get into story telling, explanatory mode to make the decision sound sensible (to ourselves and others).

This seems to explain to me why ethnographic style fact finding, when we watch what is happening in the moment, is so much more helpful than asking questions afterward.

There is value in knowing how we think we choose, but there is even more value in recording how we actually do choose (or consume).

More on this presently: I am not going to summarise the day because Clémence Lépinard from BBH Labs has done it so well - read his blog at go there now for a great catch up.

And big thanks to the APG for organising such a good day out!

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