Metacognition and Open Mindedness

^z 7th July 2023 at 8:20am

A 2012 essay in The New Yorker by psychology professor Gary Marcus, "Happy Birthday, Noam Chomsky", describes a good personality characteristic:

Nine academics out of ten never change their mind about anything; most (though there are salient exceptions, like Wittgenstein) lock into a position earlier in their careers and then defend it to the hilt. Chomsky, in contrast, has never stopped critiquing his own theories with the same vigor with which he has criticized others. For fifty years, his search for linguistic truth has been relentless.

Earlier, in 2007, responding to the question "What Are You Optimistic About?", Marcus wrote in "Metacognition For Kids":

... The average person tends to have a shaky grasp on logic, to believe a lot of what he (or she) hears unreflectively, and to be overly confident in his (or her) own beliefs. We tend to be easily fooled by vivid examples, and to notice data that support our theories—whilst forgetting about or ignoring data that go against our theories. ...

He concludes with the recommendation:

... start with a course in what cognitive scientists call metacognition, knowing about knowing, call it "The Human Mind: A User's Guide", aimed at say, seventh-graders. Instead of emphasizing facts, I'd expose students to the architecture of the mind, what it does well, and what it doesn't. And most important, how to cope with its limitations, to consider evidence in a more balanced way, to be sensitive to biases in our reasoning, ...

(cf. Do Meta (1999-05-08), Meta Man (2001-11-14), Reflective Students (2004-03-17), Key to the Treasure (2004-04-23), One Transcend Suffices (2009-10-14), Never Say ... (2011-12-28), Metacognitive Banter (2014-02-03), ...) - ^z - 2015-11-15