Wednesday, October 10, 2012
AOC: Choice Contexts & Informed Intuition
Haley Scholars Fall 2012 Reading Groups
By Danielle Hall
In The Art of Choosing, Sheena Iyengar's discussion of automatic and reflective choosing, heuristics, and self control (or our lack thereof) is fascinating. She addresses the idea about the importance of learning to understand how our acts of choosing derive "context" or "emotion" (pp. 111-19).
Iyengar also highlights the use of intuition, sometimes what we call our hunch or gut feeling, but even that must be developed. She brings up Malcolm Gladwell's "10,000 hours" of practice to achieve expertise in an area, but suggests that practice alone is not enough. Here, she states that it also takes both practice and self-critique to have an "informed intuition," which involves sorting through our reflective and heuristic modes of thinking (p. 129).
Towards the end of the chapter, Iyengar points to the pursuit of happiness and automatic choosing as a collective discourse, through observation, conversation, and by seeking advice (pp. 138-39).
What can we--as a university community--do to ensure that we are fostering informed intuition among students? Or, how do we develop a space that encourages more appreciation for the diversity of contexts that inform people's different choices here?
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I think to help develop intuition maybe you can have forum courses or forums period where people get together and discuss different things like beliefs or culture or whatever with other people who may believe the same thing and some who don't and then you will be able to have a better understanding of other things because you will see how others view things and then you will have reason and substance.
Can we actually develop intuition, yea, I guess. I feel more comfortable saying the more we experience the more we use our experiences to decode or assess how we should respond to new experiences. I hope that makes sense. Having said that, the more diversity in people we are able to experience the more color and ethnicity become background noise for the brain, just like the interpretation of someone’s height or the size of their ears. We still have work to do, of course.
I was always told you “eat an elephant one bite at a time”. We as people have walk up to someone different than ourselves and start a conversation. Get to the differences. We pretend that we don’t know who our cultural or social opposites are, but we just pretend. If you are from the city, walk up to that person from the country, start a conversation. I have done just what I am suggesting and as a result I have some pretty diverse acquaintances.
As a university, it is essential for SIUE to create an environment that encourages more appreciation for the diversity of contexts that inform individuals’ choices. One way to achieve this is to organize events that promote thought-provoking discussions while also recognizing the difference in students informed intuition. Haley events are an example of how programs such as Student Opportunities for Academic Results (SOAR) strive to appreciate diversity of contexts. However, it is the university’s responsibility to ensure that more events like these are taking place on-campus.
Here at SIUE we could ensure we are fostering informed intuition through various ways. I feel ever so often we could set up real life situations and test people's reactions freshman year. Then we could have a follow up test to see if after years of experience and knowledge did the people's heuristics evolve as Gladwell explains.
To ensure that we [SIUE] are fostering informed intuition among students I feel there should be more events that encourage diversity. By this I mean events that encourage people of all ethnicities, cultures, backgrounds, majors, sexual orientations, etc. to come together and bond. There could maybe a luncheon or a panel discussion to give everyone an opportunity to appreciate diversity. In addition, people form stereotypes and broad generalizations simply because they are ignorant. To give everyone an opportunity to learn more about others I believe that the university should try to create events that encourage diversity.
I believe that as a university we should have more events similalr to the events that SOAR has. It allows students to engage in conversations with unfimiliar people. This in return will encourage appreciation for the diversity of contexts that inform people' different choices by developing new relationships and learning about different cultures and religions.
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