People with good reasoning skills don’t fall for stupid things like spun arguments and advertising.
I always suspected that if we taught a basic reasoning class in public schools in which kids were taught about logic and critical thinking it might lead to a decrease in the efficacy of advertisement.
Reasoning abilities are influenced by intelligence and socioeconomic status, but they are also skills that can be learned and honed with practice, says a “decision scientist” at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
Many people are affected by the way that information is framed, marketed or spun, as in advertisements, thereby exhibiting poor decision-making skills, says WÃ¤ndi Bruine de Bruin. But people with strong reasoning skills make the same choices no matter how information is presented to them.
For example, if a brand of beef is advertised as being 95 percent lean, a person should be equally likely to buy it as if it is advertised as being 5 percent fat, she said.
Her research, set to be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, shows a scientific link between people who are their own worst enemies and reasoning skills, although it is still unclear if the thinking problem causes the social incompetencies.
Bruine de Bruin’s study also looked at how different factors, such as intelligence and socioeconomic status, affect decision-making. She was surprised to find that, although these variables affect how well a person reasons, they don’t explain it entirely-reasoning appears to be a separate skill.
In other words, “smart people don’t automatically make good decisions,” said Eric Johnson, a professor at the Columbia Business School, who was not involved in the study.
If reasoning is a distinct skill, then a big question is whether it can be taught. Bruine de Bruin hopes to answer this question by teaching people better reasoning skills and following them over time to see how their lives change.
I can’t wait to see the outcome of the proposed trial, will it further substantiate the poor-reasoning = believing advertisement hypothesis? Also, I’d love to hear what the cognitive neuro people think of the study.