Skip main navigation

Introduction to Week 4

Introduction to Week 4
© Warwick Business School, The University of Warwick

Psychologists often seem to paint people in a pretty poor light. It is certainly newsworthy, and often very informative, when an experiment shows that people make inconsistent choices, or we find that people do not really know what they believe.

But, of course, people are actually spectacularly good at dealing with an enormously complex environment. We may smile ruefully when we start to realise how little we understand the world around us; how little mental depth lies behind our thinking about air-conditioners, electricity, grammar, how our bodies work and so on, and it is rather shocking to discover that the sense we have of seeing a rich, colourful and detailed visual world around us is an illusion.

But the real surprise is that such limited mental machinery allows us to navigate hugely complex lives remarkably effectively. The real question is not ‘why are we so foolish?’ but ‘why are we so spectacularly smart?’

Hopefully, that is reassuring!


© Warwick Business School, The University of Warwick
This article is from the free online

The Mind is Flat: The Shocking Shallowness of Human Psychology

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education