Archives for Learning from Experience

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Unfortunately, Ignorance Feels Blissful: The Dunning-Kruger Effect

In my last post, I wrote about a student who couldn't tell whether or not he "knew" the material for a history exam.

At least my student was knowledgeable enough to have doubts about his knowledge. Ironically, the truly clueless often don't wonder; they tend to be quite secure that they've got it knocked!

Psychologists call this the Dunning-Kruger Effect, in which ignorant people often have great confidence in their "knowledge," whereas...
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The Surprising Key to Willpower

New Year's is the classic time to resolve to form new habits, but most of us then abandon our good intentions by mid-February, if not before.

It turns out that our willpower comes, not from the sincerity of our resolve, but from the glucose level in our brain runs on glucose. Even when not working hard, the brain consumes 25% of circulating glucose, even though it only takes up 3% of...
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Habits Protect Students Against Decision Fatigue

In my habits class, we watched my very favorite TED talk, The Paradox of Choice. Barry Schwartz explains that much of the stress, anxiety and depression in our modern world stems from “ego depletion,” also called “decision fatigue.” Thanks in great part to our consumerist society (always trying to sell us yet another flavor of Cheerios), we are barraged by choices, and the human brain gets stressed every time it has to make a choice. We think of choice as a good thing, and...
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General

Notes From My Habits Class For Students

I just finished teaching Making and Breaking Habits, a class I designed for my local community college, targeted towards high school and college students.

We had such wonderful discussions, and at the end of each session I jotted down the notes from the board:

What are habits? Things we do a lot, without thinking, on auto-pilot.

Why do we need habits? Most of what we do is automatic. It would be a big problem if...
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