Karan Verma

Views expressed here are mine alone

What (or Whom) did you ‘Thin-Slice’ today?!!

What (or Whom) did you 'Thin-Slice' today?!!

A valid question, because you’re ‘Thin-Slicing’ your way through life, all the time!

It’s the term Neuro/Cognitive Science experts use to refer to a very real ‘miracle’ that all of us accomplish in many walks of life: most of the time, we have the ability to arrive at an accurate judgement about someone (or something) despite being exposed to very limited amount (hence, Thin) of information (Slices) about the subject.

Whenever we must decide something fast, we resort to Thinslicing.
– Do I buy from this salesman or not?
– Do I vote for this nominee or that?
– Will she be a good tutor for my son?

Apparently, psychological research shows that we’re neurologically wired to make such decisions quite accurately even at surprisingly high speed – usually in less than 5 minutes, often in under 2-3 minutes!

But wait, things are not restricted to these decisions. Consider these decisions now:
– Do I date that guy? Are we really compatible?
– Is this the right person to head our company?
– Should I take that risk or keep away?
– Is my spouse (or child) being honest with me?
– Should I make this career switch or stay put?

Which of these would you be comfortable making a snap judgement about is anybody’s guess.

Made popular by Malcolm Gladwell in his popular & debated book ‘Blink’, ThinSlicing has it’s merits & perils.

On the positive side, ThinSlicing is our neurological way of performing an 80/20 to low-stake decisions, saving valuable time & cognitive effort. Does it really matter if we wear this shirt to office today or that, if we decide to buy that brand of a soap compared to this?

On the perilous side, ThinSlicing in high-stakes decisions can, at best, lead us astray. Sometimes the consequences can be devastating or even fatal. Immediately comes to mind is the recent news of a 31-year man who, on the spur, tried to enter his 17th floor apartment through the balcony (the front door was jammed), & fell to his death as his wife (mother of two) helplessly watched. (http://www.bangaloremirror.com/index.aspx?page=article&sectid=10&contentid=2013051620130516010237621aea884ff)

Be careful when you ThinSlice – it might be a decision you live to regret. Or don’t live to make another one.

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3 comments on “What (or Whom) did you ‘Thin-Slice’ today?!!

  1. Sonika
    July 18, 2013

    Good food for thought…thin slicing.

  2. Rach
    July 19, 2013

    Well written ! Enjoyed reading it !

  3. Nisha
    July 29, 2013

    I came here thinking you refer to CT. Very interesting read, Karan!!

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This entry was posted on July 18, 2013 by in Uncategorized.
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