Tiimiakatemia on Jyväskylän Ammattikorkeakoulun yrittäjyyden huippuyksikkö


Kirjoitettu 13.12.17
Esseen kirjoittaja: Stiina Lampinen
Kirjapisteet: 3
Kirja: Blink
Kirjan kirjoittaja: Malcolm Gladwell
Kategoriat: 6. Markkinointi, 6.1. Asiakkuuden työkalut, 8.1. Filosofiaa, ajattelua ja mielikuvitusta yrittäjälle

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Why are the best decisions often those that are impossible to explain to others? Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink explains how intuition affects our decision-making and how can we use unconscious snap judgments to our benefit.

First thing that you should know is that we use our intuition when making decisions a whole lot more than we realize.


Even in cases where you think you’ve analysed a situation rationally and come up with some solid reasoning for your choice, you’re probably just backing up your initial gut feeling.


This is not necessarily a bad thing. Your intuition can often produce better judgements than profound analysis. This is because our intuition focuses on just the key factors, and cuts through the irrelevant information. The downside is that out intuition is also affected by our unconscious mind and factors like preconceptions and prejudices, that can lead us astray.


The unconscious is a master at filtering-process


Though accuracy can be a virtue in many areas, in decision-making it rarely makes sense to analyse every last bit of available information. Usually it is more effective to concentrate on a few important factors and ignore the rest. This is why we shouldn’t distrust out intuitive judgments: our unconscious can effectively differentiate between relevant and irrelevant information, faster than a rational conclusion about the best way to go.

In many situations we have to make decisions in the blink of an eye. For example, a goalkeeper must use his instinct in a football match to help automatically move into a saving position. After the match he may attribute his many great saves by “being in the right place at the right time”. However, this explanation doesn’t tell what really went trough his head during the moment. His automatic reactions came from his unconscious. We all make far more snap judgments than we realize, and often invent rational explanations for them later.

Our conscious explanations regarding our ideal romantic partner have very little connection to whom we really and up liking. We can go on and on about the most important traits our future partner should have, but when we meet someone, we don’t go trough the list. Instead, we just know intuitively if we like them. And, more often than not, out intuitive decision runs counter to the rationally complied list of desirable characteristics we had before.


Our unconscious associations constantly influence our behaviour

Research has shown that it is easier to be professionally successful as a tall, white male. We have learned to automatically associate features like “white”, “male” and “tall” with qualities like power and competence. This is why we should be aware of our unconscious mind: associating general external characteristics with certain skills can be a mistake. In book there was an example of the case “Warren Harding” in which Harding was elected President of the United States after the end of world war I because his supporters simply thought he “looked presidential”. He is widely regarded today as one of the worst presidents of all time.

These associations of the mind are something market researchers should be aware of. Researches often fail to predict consumer behaviour because of the wrong conditions of surveys. If you’re launching a new product, make sure you get feedback under realistic conditions and context as would occur when your customers would really use the product. Consumers also tend to rate particularly new and innovative products negatively in initial tests simply because they have no prior-associations of the product. Consumers need to get used to products that are unfamiliar before they start to like them.

In addition to preconceptions, also stress can drive us to wrong judgments. Normally, we can tell what someone is thinking by looking at a person’s face. By observing emotional expressions, we recognize a happy, angry or a sad person. However, stressful situations and time pressure can make us “temporarily autistic”: blind to non-verbal signals. When under stress, we go into a tunnel vision-mode, devoting our entire attention to the most imminent threat or piece of information. This can, for example, sometimes cause polices to shoot innocent people when focusing too intently on the possible threat. The only way to avoid this kind of autistic “seizure” is to slow down and reduce the stress.


Uncoscious learns trough obseravtions


It may be hard to recognize the snap judgments our brains make, since they happen in a blink of an eye. In certain situations, these snap judgments are far superior compared to conscious analysis, whereas sometimes they can lead to bad choices. If you don’t want to fall to prejudices and preconceptions, you have to look for ways to change how you think. The only way to affect your unconscious attitude is to go out, meet new people and experience new things.  One effective way to avoid bad snap judgments is to simply ignore all irrelevant information. For example, next time you want to know if a person can sing or not, try closing your eyes and judge the performance based only on what you hear.

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