And We Thought We Were Thinking Rationally: Recognizing the Biases that Shape Human Experience

Is love blind?  What would make it so?  Or—how are one’s thought processes affected when “falling in love” with a certain house or new car?  How do people change their coping responses or investing decisions when distressed?  During the past twenty-five years psychologists have developed a deeper understanding of the role of biases (mental shortcuts) in decision-making.  This seminar will serve as an introduction to these discoveries and the insights they provide into the way that we 1) manage our financial investments, 2) think about public policy issues, 3) respond to political messages, 4) make moral decisions, 5) experience our interpersonal relationships, and lots more.  This will not be your psych professor’s psychology!  It will be an interactive seminar, providing participants with opportunities to sharpen their own personal insights and perspectives regarding the multiple issues to be discussed. 

The seminar will use the book THINKING, FAST AND SLOW by Daniel Kahneman as the basis for seminar discussions.  Reading this book prior to the seminar is encouraged as a means of being able to be more conversant in discussions, but is not a requirement.

Here are some words of high praise for the book:

“Thinking, Fast and Slow” is sure to be a major intellectual event. . .I think Kahneman and his research partner, the late Amos Tversky, will be remembered hundreds of years from now, regarding how their work helped instigate a cultural shift that is already producing astounding results.  Many people are exploring the inner wilderness. Kahneman and Tversky are like the Lewis and Clark of the mind. DAVID BROOKS

"Daniel Kahneman is one of the most original and interesting thinkers of our time.  There may be no other person on the planet who better understands how and why we make the choices we make. In this absolutely amazing book, he shares a lifetime's worth of wisdom presented in a manner that is simple and engaging, but nonetheless stunningly profound. This book is a must-read for anyone with a curious mind.  STEVEN D. LEVITT, coauthor of "Freakonomics"

A recent biography, THE UNDOING PROJECT, by Michael Lewis recounts the collaboration between Kahneman and Taversky, providing a context for understanding their research and its impact.

Roger Johnson is a retired clinical psychologist who worked for Kaiser Permanente, a large healthcare organization in California, as a consultant, manager and clinician.  He has a PhD from Fuller School of Psychology and an MBA from the University of California at Irvine.  His focus for the past several years has been on designing and leading engaging adult workshops regarding psychological dynamics for professionals in the Silicon Valley.


Sunday, June 25, 2017 to Friday, June 30, 2017
$840 double; $1,120 single; $415 commuter

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