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Talking Point and Summary: Week 5

This week we have considered the idea that there is a special type of thinking that allows people to engage in complex coordinated activities, includi

This week we have considered the idea that there is a special type of thinking that allows people to engage in complex coordinated activities, including communication: ’we-thinking’.

In this video I talk with Jess about the common themes of the fifth week. Jess has also summarised the week’s themes here.

Week 5 Experiment

We have been talking about how remarkably good we are at coordinating with each other. This week’s experiment is going to allow you to try this yourself. Your aim will be to coordinate, as far as possible, with everyone else, in making simple choices.

We will also consider how this applies to the interpretation of language. Here, again, using and understanding language appropriately requires ‘jumping to the same conclusions’ as everybody else about what is being referred to. You will also find, I suspect, just how astonishingly flexible your interpretation of language is!

Week 5 experiment

This experiment ran in 2013 and, now that the results have been processed, the website is no longer maintained, so may not be fully accessible or current and technical support is not available. Participants are encouraged to try the experiment in order to test this week’s theories in practice and see how their results compare with the overall findings. However, participation in the experiments is not essential to the learning outcomes of the course.

Talking Point

Before we move to the sixth and final week we’d be really interested to know how you’re finding the course this week, so please leave a comment or share some part of your experience so far in the discussion below:

  • If you’d heard of the ‘Hi-Lo’ game before, has your understanding of it changed after hearing about it in the context of this course?
  • Is ‘we-thinking’ really crucial to the construction of human culture and society?
  • How did you find this week’s experiments? How accurate (or not) were your predictions of other people’s answers?

On a scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 is a ‘believer’ and 1 is not) how much do you now subscribe to the idea of a ‘flat’ mind? It’ll be interesting to compare your answers here with previous weeks and see if anything has changed in either your understanding or appreciation of the idea or concept of a flat mind.

Don’t forget to contribute to the discussion by reviewing comments made by other learners, making sure you provide constructive feedback and commentary. You can also ‘like’ comments or follow other learners throughout the course.

Next Week

Next week, our last together, we will step up another level of complexity, focusing not on individuals (as in earlier weeks), nor on the coordination between individuals, but on the origin of some of the complex patterns that we collectively create: language, culture, and society.


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The Mind is Flat: The Shocking Shallowness of Human Psychology

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