Under pressure, a person thinks too hard

Especially under pressure, we tend to make things more complex than necessary, the new shows Naturepublished in the journal. More specifically, we approach problems by adding things to them rather than reducing things.

Researchers at the University of Virginia would shed light on the skew of human thinking in a clever series of experiments. They made the subjects play with Lego blocks. The task was to balance different structures. Most added pieces, although the easiest would have been to just remove one single piece. Here is an example:

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In the construction of the picture, the “roof” rests on only one piece from its back corner. It must be possible to place a brick on the roof without tipping it. What are you doing?

In addition, it was only said that adding each piece costs ten cents.

The majority of subjects solved the problem by adding pieces to all corners, even if it cost.

The second group was given the same task and instructions, but it was further clarified that removing the pieces would therefore cost nothing.

Right! Now, for the most part, it’s easiest to just take the corner piece off and reattach the roof to the base.

“When people try to improve something, they don’t first think about pruning unless they are somehow nodded in that direction,” says the behavioral scientist Gabrielle Adams From the University of Virginia Science News website.

200 university students participated in the block tests. A total of eight different experiments were performed in the study, involving a total of 1,600 subjects.

One task, for example, was to redesign a mini golf course by either adding or pruning something from it.

The results of all experiments were parallel. The majority of the subjects ended up making things more complicated.

“When making decisions, people rely on easy and quick thinking shortcuts, especially if mental strain interferes with coming up with smarter solutions,” the researchers write.

So if it’s natural for a person to approach problems by adding things to the whole, under pressure, they’re likely to do so, scientists say – and show this in their next experiment.

This time the task was as follows:

Subjects were required to obtain symmetrical from the above figures. Colored boxes could be added or removed by clicking on them with the mouse. The instruction was also that the patterns had to be completed with as few clicks as possible.

In each figure, the shortest path to symmetry is simply to remove the extra patch from the figure. Indeed, many swore this when they were allowed to think in peace. Then the task was made more difficult.

A series of numbers ran at the top of the screen, and subjects had to press a button whenever they saw the number five. At the same time, they tried to solve the problem of symmetry.

In this test group, subjects spontaneously began to fill the patterns symmetrically by adding a patch to them. So they solved the problem harder if their concentration was disrupted.

“Simple solutions require more thinking,” sums up the assistant professor of psychology Benjamin Converse University of Virginia in the bulletin.

A behavioral scientist who led the study Leidy Klotz says that people have historically been drawn to various wisdoms that call for minimalist thinking, konmari-trendi.

General genius Leonardo Da Vincin it is said that he once said that a poem is not perfect when there is nothing more to add to it but when nothing can be removed from it.

“The fact that we need to be reminded of this means we don’t naturally think that way,” Klotz says. Nature-in a scientific journal.


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