Well first, as a continuation of what we were talking about at the end of class last week...I looked at a few different articles about whether or not smoking cigarettes could possibly lower your I.Q. The consensus seems to be that it is possible, but oddly most of the studies I found that were talked about researched the affect of smoking on alcoholics’ brains. I thought this was a little strange because the titles of the articles were about smoking, not alcoholism. In any case, the general idea seemed to be that alcoholism affects your I.Q., and smoking on top of that (like apparently 50-80% of alcoholics) is only further diminishing it. Not really shocking.
This article talked about the story of a football player who beat all the odds, from getting injured to getting replaced over and over again, to end up with a successful sports career despite it all. It describes the player’s, Kurt Warner’s, ability to ignore the negative evidence against him “anchoring”, or “confirmation bias”. These anchors are determinations or biases we develop that cause us to, when recieving information, keep only what supports or confirms our biases and throw the rest out without a second thought. I thought this was an interesting idea, having never considered it an issue of bias or even necessarily a negative thing before. Isn’t that just confidence? Maybe it’s over-confidence. The article toyed with the idea that perhaps while we normally consider “over-confidence” to be a negative thing, it can obviously have some strong positive effects, as in Kurt Warner’s case. He states that his determination came from the fact that he just never felt emotionally that he wasn’t as good as the players replacing him or that he didn’t belong. The author of the article explains numerous pieces of evidence that suggest that Warner was not, in fact, as good as the other players. The author goes on to use this situation as a microcosm for the place of cognitive psychology in our world, saying “...cognitive psychology is an excellent tool for modeling the brain, and an occasionally wildly inefective tool for modeling reality.” Do you agree with this? I feel that there is maybe some truth to it, but would not state it as strongly as the author, as he seems to insinuate that cog psych is therefore irrelevant to reality, which I disagree with. It is, however, interesting that what concepts work in a technical study of the brain may not always pan out in reality.