thin slicing

03 Mar

after thoroughly enjoying ‘outliers’ by malcolm gladwell i decided to re-read ‘blink’ by the same author. after i read ‘the tipping point’ by gladwell, i lost interest in blink fairly quickly but i have found it thought provoking this time around. the premise behind ‘blink’ is that we are able to think without thinking; without realizing what we are doing, we act on impulses and feelings that are seemingly unfounded. one of the first sections is called thin slicing, where studies were conducted using a very small sample, yet were amazingly accurate. the 10 minutes of a conversation between a couple could be broken down and were able to predict divorce rate at over 90%, the artist knowing a fake when they saw it, but not immediately able to verbalize why. it is interesting stuff. odd too, in that we are usually told not to jump to conclusions or use quick judgement and it turns out that in some ways that first impulse should be what we listen to. does that mean that whatever i do to set up a professional learning experience, however elaborate the set up and intro, i am still at the mercy of snap judgements?


Posted by on March 3, 2009 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “thin slicing

  1. Janice D.

    March 3, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    This made me think of how we are so quick to judge others merely by their appearance and possibly by their behavior within the first few minutes of meeting them. Remember how I told you about my friend who thought you were ‘aloof’ just in that initial training she had with you? Of course now she raves about you (ahem). Although some people say that first impressions are virtually lasting, I think once you get to know more about the person or about the situation, opinions can be reversed. I guess it’s just human nature to make appraisals.

  2. Jeri Cook

    March 3, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    I take my own grocery bags to the store and several weeks ago unknowingly failed to remove an item from my bag. A few days later when I went to the same store-different location-the salesperson discovered the item. I told her I had purchased it at another store and wondered what happened to it. I then asked if she would like to see the receipt–she shook her head no and continued to ring up my other items. That bothered me because I really don’t think she believed me. She probably gets that all the time from dishonest people and the store (a large chain) probably accounts for those types of losses in the overall revenue. That one shot was her opportunity to make an assessment about me. And in this life, she’ll probably never be able to reverse her opinion.
    Why should that bother me when she’s long since forgotten me? I don’t think I’ll lose my spot in the heavenly line–but it’s those kinds of similar experiences that always remind me to be cautious about making snap judgments. First impressions can often be wrong.


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