No matter how small the act—whether it’s tying your shoe, or pressing a button, it’s all orchestrated by a complex system of nerves and what we call “gray matter”. While we think all our actions are random, these are actually a result of an intricate mental process. It is fun to discover how shapes, color, and perspective can change a lot about the way we see things or fail to see things, for that matter. One thing’s for sure, we have one amazing brain!
As a species, we like to think we are smart, creatures of reason, capable of making rational decisions. But we may have to think again. With every decision you take, there is a battle in your mind—a battle between intuition and logic. And the intuitive part of your mind is a lot more powerful than you may think. This conflict affects every aspect of your life—your diet, your habits, your beliefs. In this Horizon program, Professor Danny Kahneman explains the revolution in our understanding of the human mind.
Do children who watch violent TV shows become violent themselves, or is anyone from any background capable of murder? This program explores two theories of extreme aggression: that it is learned from media and other elements of one’s social environment, and that it can be induced by the command of authority figures. Research into violence is illustrated using Milgram’s conformity experiments, Hannah Arendt’s ideas about “the banality of evil” in Nazi concentration camps, the Columbine shootings, and the tragic case of James Bulger, a toddler who was murdered in 1993 by two 10-year-olds from abusive households.
What do you think determines how we make decisions—what we think, or what we feel? Our brain actually perceives and acts upon emotional stimuli. Emotions are a combination of cognitions, feelings, and actions, according to psychologists. So emotions are not just about what we feel but about how we process and respond to those feelings. Remember that even if our internal structures are virtually the same, we are all unique individuals!
Usually, you feel sad when you get into a fight with a friend, nervous before a big test or interview, and happy when you win at a contest or see a long-lost friend. In your mind, you might think you are in control of what you feel because you understand the causes of those feelings. But a lot more goes on inside your brain! As time passes, our brain gathers more information about who we are. The irony is, we often change as well, so the information about you changes too. You be sure though, that your subconscious brain keeps everything!
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