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Title: Everyday Survival: Why Smart People Do Stupid Things
Author(s): Laurence Gonzales
Number of Referenced Stories: 3

Publication Year: 2008
ISBN: 9780393058383
Dewey Decimal Class: 100
Dewey Decimal Division: 155
Author Website:

    Sheriff Bill Closner

B's Buzz

Laurence Gonzales writes:

"Much of my work revolves around two concepts, mental models and behavioral scripts. Mental models are simplified representations of things in the world that allow you to instantly call up the whole thing. For example, a sign for parking for the handicapped shows a symbol that we immediately identify as a person in a wheelchair. But the image doesn't really look like a person or a wheelchair. In order to work, the system of mental models doesn't need much information. Caricatures work because of this system. Behavioral scripts are patterns of action that we can perform automatically, such as tying our shoes or riding a bicycle. Behavioral scripts take something that requires all our attention and turns it into something that requires none of our attention. Between these two systems people can—and do—go through life on automatic pilot. These systems are good because they make us more efficient. But they can also lead us into systematic errors that can harm us. By learning to pay attention to these systems and manipulate them, we can avoid mistakes and make better decisions."

In the language of Open4Definition, that is what a behavioral definition can help us do, selectively and with forethought; particularly when change is hard. 

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