Some time ago I read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, a guy I consider to be a modern day philosopher, like our modern equivalent to Socrates in his time. Anyone who has been to a college or uni class has probably seen at least one of his TED Talks. The one about spaghetti sauce may never leave my mind.
In Blink Malcolm Gladwell explores the power of the unconscious. The power of thinking without thinking, the way our minds process tons of information in milli-seconds and spit out whats relevant in an instant.
The book opens with a story of The Kouros. The Kouros is a statue that was purchased by the Getty Museum. The Getty Museum convinced that this rare statue was authentic, enthusiastically made plans to purchase the statue for a cool Ten million, as a way of getting more visitors in the museum and to make a name for themselves. Going through proper due diligence the museum had the statue examined and tested by scientists to prove that it was the real deal. All tests came out positive!
After 14 months of testing, the statue went up for the public to see. But their was a problem with it. As more and more art historians and professionals came to see the statue, they immediately spotted something wrong. One said it was “fresh” ,another noted something amiss with it fingernails. After more and more doubts about the Kouros’ authenticity it was shipped over to Athens for further observation, only to be met with more criticism.
Eventually after more testing and tracing the Kurous’ roots it was discovered that it was indeed a fake.
So what did the art dealers and professionals see that the scientists didn’t?
Its what Malcolm Gladwell calls Thin Slicing. Using previous experience and knowledge on a certain subject, task or event to look at a similar task, subject and event and make conclusions based on something as simple as a glance.
We do this all the time without realizing it. We can create a full predicted profile on someone based on a glance at them. Their occupations, income levels, friendliness, ethnic background and so much more in split seconds. If you watch someone practicing shots on a basketball court eventually you’ll be able to predict whether they’ll go in or not. You can look at a movie poster and decide if you’ll like it or not without knowing what the movies about. You can walk into a absolute strangers bedroom and get a pretty good idea of what they are like using thin slicing.
Thin Slicing is your mind constantly learning and making predictions based off experience and knowledge.
Check out Blink here : http://gladwell.com/blink/