Nadav Spiegelman

The Sense of Style

Author
Steven Pinker
My last highlight
2015-12-17
Number of highlights
8

My Highlights

As people age, they confuse changes in themselves with changes in the world, and changes in the world with moral decline—the illusion of the good old days.
Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
We live in an era of social science, and have become accustomed to understanding the social world in terms of “forces,” “pressures,” “processes,” and “developments.” It is easy to forget that those “forces” are statistical summaries of the deeds of millions of men and women who act on their beliefs in pursuit of their desires. The habit of submerging the individual into abstractions can lead not only to bad science (it’s not as if the “social forces” obeyed Newton’s laws) but to dehumanization.
When you’ve learned something so well that you forget that other people may not know it, you also forget to check whether they know it.
The curse of knowledge means that we’re more likely to overestimate the average reader’s familiarity with our little world than to underestimate it.
as we become familiar with something, we think about it more in terms of the use we put it to and less in terms of what it looks like and what it is made of.
This transition, another staple of the cognitive psychology curriculum, is called functional fixity (sometimes functional fixedness).
It should be thought of instead as one of the extraordinary adaptations in the living world: our species’ solution to the problem of getting complicated thoughts from one head into another.