Highlights - Philip Fernbach - Cognitive Scientist - Co-Director, Ctr. for Research, Consumer Financial Decision Making - Co-author, “The Knowledge Illusion”

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"The human mind is both genius and pathetic, brilliant and idiotic. People are capable of the most remarkable feats, achievements that defy the gods. We went from discovering the atomic nucleus in 1911 to mega- ton nuclear weapons in just over forty years. We have mastered fire, created democratic institutions, stood on the moon, and developed genetically modified tomatoes. And yet we are equally capable of the most remarkable demonstrations of hubris and foolhardiness. Each of us is error-prone, sometimes irrational, and often ignorant. It is in- credible that humans are capable of building thermonuclear bombs. It is equally incredible that humans do in fact build thermonuclear bombs (and blow them up even when they don’t fully understand how they work). It is incredible that we have developed governance systems and economies that provide the comforts of modern life even though most of us have only a vague sense of how those systems work. And yet human society works amazingly well, at least when we’re not irradiating native populations.

How is it that people can simultaneously bowl us over with their ingenuity and disappoint us with their ignorance? How have we mastered so much despite how limited our understanding often is?"

– The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone

Philip Fernbach is an Associate Professor of Marketing and Co-Director of the Center for Research on Consumer Financial Decision Making at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Leeds School of Business. He’s published widely in the top journals in cognitive science, consumer research and marketing, and received the ACR Early Career Award for Contributions to Consumer Research. He’s co-author with Steve Sloman of The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone, which was chosen as a New York Times Editor’s Pick. He’s also written for NYTimes, Harvard Business Review, and his research has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Washinton Post, National Public Radio, and the BBC. He received his Ph.D. in cognitive science from the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences at Brown and his undergraduate degree in Philosophy from Williams College. He teaches data analytics and behavioral science to undergraduate and Masters students.



The Knowledge Illusion



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