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Wellness

How To Be Fearless When Taking A Class

In this experiment, students are paired with their professor with a group of “researchers” in the room. They each see a video and are told they can make up the information during the next 10 minutes. When the researcher looks at their answers, which include things like “I would go to class, but…” and “I really shouldn’t”, the students are much more likely to make up the correct answer than those who didn’t. As the professor says, “If you tell them one thing and they tell you another, they just don’t get it.”

We work in a world of scarcity. The resources we need to survive aren’t always there for us to use. We’re bombarded with advertisements telling us how to consume as little as possible, but how, exactly, to do it? In this experiment, we expose subjects to a video and ask them if they can remember seeing it, and if they had the opportunity to read the information they would have.

This is the first version of the assignment. In this second attempt, students are presented with a video of the same video being seen by another researcher, but is presented with the “fake” answers to the questions. This “experimenter’s assessment” was then given to students, who were told they could choose to say they saw the fake video, not read it, or choose to write all answers on a piece of paper. If we assume some subjects had a real opportunity to see the video, it’s easy see that this technique actually makes them more likely to provide incorrect answers.

This experiment was performed as a part of the “Explaining the World” course at the University of Chicago . To read more about the course, and to view two examples of the results, you can refer here .

We all want to be the “fearless” “self-confident” “bold” “bold” man, but we have no idea what that means. It’s a very basic human need. It’s not easy to explain well, and that’s a problem. The most basic form of this need that we face, is trying to figure out our environment, and being able to use it for what we want. For example, if you’re an athlete that’s going to run a 5k to get in shape for a race, it helps to figure out how bad the conditions are going to be on race day or in training. It’s like “what’s the weather like?” It’s important.

Many of my peers struggle with this concept. We’re trained to think that every situation must be an instance of the same scenario all the time, and we can find ourselves in a rut. Here’s the thing: this is a fundamental ability that we all have. In fact, everyone has this ability. Every time we feel afraid, we’re trying to make decisions.

As you can see in the first video, the situation is ambiguous, and there are multiple ways to interpret it. In situations without ambiguity, we often default to a simple set of answers, whether we realize it or not. This can be scary, especially if it means our simple answers cannot be true, but we will tell ourselves that to stop being afraid.

When we’re faced with uncertainty, as in this situation…

… we start to question, “why is it that way?!?” There are probably different valid interpretations of the situation, and we may not have a good answer. That’s what makes us go “What is the correct interpretation!”

What does it mean to “get it”?

This is the point in the experiment when the participants were asked to choose what they saw in the video. The answers they gave for the first part are simple:

They say “what” they saw, they didn’t “read”, they “saw” things. This is just not true. It’s a classic example of this: We’re not a blank slate where anything may show up.