deceived or over-powered by our emotional biases. This certainly
seems to happen, e.g. after hearing the same evidence, there were
two very different opinions: three fourths of all whites thought OJ
Simpson was definitely guilty and three fourths of Blacks thought he
was framed. Sometimes we are well aware of our emotional needs,
sometimes we aren't. In any case, as you read many of the examples
of erroneous thinking given in Step 1 below, you will see that humans
often view things the way they want to see them, e.g. one viewpoint
has a psychological pay off (less stress), it is convenient (simple and
easy), or it is wishful thinking.
In other situations, also illustrated in Step 1, the human mind
simply seems programmed to see things wrongly, e.g. we have a style
or habit of thinking that is wrong or we have perceptual/cultural/moral
blocks to seeing reality. Piattelli-Palmarini (1994) gives many more
examples of "cognitive illusions" that inhibit our ability to reason.
Examples: we make unwarranted assumptions about people and, thus,
marry the wrong person; we may hesitate when action is needed.
There are a lot of ways to be wrong.
Instead of just thinking of a rational mind occasionally disrupted by
irrational emotions, it may be fruitful to think in terms of having two,
three or more minds functioning at the same time. Perhaps most of us
just use or attend to certain of our minds more often than others or
only under certain circumstances. Recent writings suggest the
possibility that we have at least three minds: (1) a thinking,
reasoning, knowledge-based mind, (2) an intuitive, common sensical,
experience-based mind, and (3) an unconscious mind filled with
repressed drives and feelings, a la Freud. The first two are discussed
together next; unconscious processes are discussed at length in the
Epstein and Brodsky (1993; Sappington, 1988) have convincingly
argued for humans having two kinds of intelligence. One commonly
known as the typical IQ or school smarts; this rational
intelligence is based on deliberate, controlled, logical reasoning and
on information from school, books, educational programs, etc. It is the
intelligence we use to design a rocket, predict the weather, research
the effectiveness of some treatment method, etc. Their second
intelligence, similar to Goleman's "emotional intelligence," is based on
everyday life, especially emotional experiences, which, as we
accumulate more wisdom, yields quick, automatic, intuitive
reactions which guide us in many situations. With experience, we
automatically like some people and dislike others; we sense or "know"
when we are being manipulated or when someone is feeling upset.
This kind of intelligence isn't based on logic; it involves subtle
sensitivity and communicates its wisdom to us via emotions and good
or bad feelings about something; it is based on our interpersonal
experience, not on book-learning.
Both intelligences, "knowledge-based" and "experience-based,"
influence our lives constantly, but the "life experience-based"