If there’s one shocking insight from How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer, it would be this:
Your brain is a series of compartments that don’t always agree with each other.
I love it. For so many decades, the parts model in psychology has been a hidden gem. How We Decide (in my mind) validates it with a neuroscientific viewpoint.
The Inner Committee
In How We Decide, Lehrer describes how committees make decisions. They debate, often heatedly, then come to a decision. To an onlooker, the decision appears singular when in fact there are members of the committee who aren’t behind the decision. They were outvoted.
And so these rogue committee members may proceed to undermine the decision in a multitude of ways. That’s how people work. This is how our brain works.
Deal with it…
If we were to accept the premise in How We Decide, our view of ourselves would change. No longer would we be whole individuals, but a collection of inner parts, physical and psychological that must be reckoned with.
Fortunately, this is a much easier field to plow. The parts model is an uncannily effective way to sort out or inner lives.
Lehrer is Ruined, However
Jonah Lehrer, the man himself, ruined his career by fabricating stories in his books, however. Would you read a book by someone whose publisher pulled books from shelves and offered refunds to customers?
In spite of the shenanigans, How We Decide is still a great metaphor for how the self works.
And you can get the PDF of How We Decide for free.