Economist Noreena Hertz talks about the need to keep our critical thinking abilities sharp and active — especially when making decisions relying on the advice of experts.
[W]e’ve become addicted to experts. We’ve become addicted to their certainty, their assuredness, their definitiveness, and in the process, we have ceded our responsibility, . . trading off our discomfort with uncertainty for the illusion of certainty that they provide.
In a recent experiment, a group of adults had their brains scanned in an MRI machine as they were listening to experts speak. The results were quite extraordinary. As they listened to the experts’ voices, the independent decision-making parts of their brains switched off. It literally flat-lined. And they listened to whatever the experts said and took their advice, however right or wrong.
Well worth the few minutes it takes to watch the video (below). There’s also an interactive transcript, available in multiple languages, on the TED website.