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[New in Korean] Yale professor guides readers through error of thinking in ‘Thinking 101’

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : April 1, 2023 - 16:01

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Korean edition (left) and English edition of “Thinking 101” (Next Wave Media, Flatiron Books) Korean edition (left) and English edition of “Thinking 101” (Next Wave Media, Flatiron Books)

“Thinking 101: How to Reason Better to Live Better”

By Ahn Woo-kyoung, translated by Kim Bo-ram

Next Wave Media

Step one: Watch a dance clip of BTS’ 2019 megahit “Boy with Luv” -- just six seconds of the easiest choreography moves over and over again. You can watch a slowed down version if you want. Step two: Now it’s your turn to do it. Do you think you have the dance down to do it yourself?

In one of her classes at Yale, psychology professor Ahn Woo-kyoung conducted this experiment. One student after another stumbled. This phenomenon, explains Ahn, is known as an “illusion of fluency” which demonstrates our tendency to be overconfident.

"People can have overconfidence about what they can accomplish by watching other people do it so fluently," Ahn writes. Then how can we counteract it? You can correct this bias by trying it out yourself, just like what the students did.

The human mind can be a complicated thing. Ahn goes on to discuss the various thought processes that can distort our judgment and negatively impact our interactions with others. By exploring the “error of thinking,” she explains how biases can affect our perception of reality and contribute to social problems such as political polarization, racial profiling and police shootings.

“I have researched which prejudices can lead us astray, and have put in place measures to correct them in ways that can be directly applied to the situations people encounter in their daily lives,” writes Ahn. The book offers practical strategies to think again and recognize the biases in our thinking.

“Thinking 101” was first published in English, September 2022.