Jan 4, 2010

The Neuroscience of Screwing Up

I just read an excellent article on how our minds work and how we process data, often denying facts that conflict with our preconceived ideas. While this article deals with scientific research the lessons apply to aviation as well - and the way we view 'Life, the Universe and Everything.'

4 comments:

Rhonda said...

I have heard a few times, a quote (paraphrased): "The greatest scientific breakthroughs come not with a 'Eureka', but with a 'that's strange...'"

Aviatrix said...

Stunning. There's so much in there. For aviation applications it's both an argument for a diverse cockpit/flight department and an indication that I have to be sceptical in order to actually SEE that the autopilot is not holding the glideslope or the gear lights did not respond to the motion of the gear handle.

The fact that there's a part of my brain responsible for erasing the importance of things I don't agree with REALLY says a lot about the world.

Aluwings said...

Or as Simon & Garfunkel sang it many years ago:

"A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest ...."

The Boxer

Aluwings said...

Rhonda - you reminded me of a book I read about Chaos Theory. A researcher set his computer to work calculating a simple formula, then went to have coffee before coming back to analyze the data output. He was puzzled to find an erratic line that stayed erratic rather than settling into the expected approximation of a sine wave (or whatever).

His formula put out totally unexpected results .. which normally would have been disregarded because "everyone knew" that small errors in data would average out in the long run - not cause huge unpredictable differences in the results.

And his musings on this led to the realization of how chaos works. That what we view as random isn't entirely random at all but some wonderfully strange mix of pattern within randomness (or vice versa?) ... Fascinating and ultimately way over my head.

I'm not sure if this story comes from Here?
or another book on Chaos Theor ...