Can Learning Make You Dumb? (Einstellung Effect)

published on July 9, 2020

Vsauce Kevin here and I'm an idiot I amthe Duke of the dull and dumb waited Iam breathtakingly brainless I amfabulously fat-headed disastrouslydoltish and confounding li cretinousI've spent ten years making hundreds ofvideos celebrating knowledge and

Creativity I've highlighted theachievements of some of the smartestminds in science and math I've learned alot along the way and maybe you have toobut for the last few weeks I've beenpursuing peak stupidity and it's going

Pretty wellthe fact is I hope this video makes youdumber because sometimes being an idiotis the difference between life and deathhere's how hold on I got to get thisbarbecue sauce off my face it's like

Literally burning my skin okay hang onoh this is for a child okay I am goingto smell like barbeque sauce for therest of this video but it's what I dofor youokay here's how in 1942 psychologist

Alexander Luo Tian's administered aproblem-solving test using water anddifferently sized jars the goal is tofill and empty those jars with water ina combination to get the desired volumeyou've got an unlimited supply of water

And you can throw out as much as youwant in problem number one jar a holdstwenty nine ounces and jar B holds threeounces the goal is to measure 20 ouncesso you'd fill the 29 outs jar and usethat to fill the three ounce jar three

Times 29 minus three minus three minusthree leaving you with 20 ounces this isnot a paradox problem two adds a thirdjar this time jar a is 21 ounces jar Bis 127 and jar Cthree ounces we have to get to 100

Ounces and that's also pretty easy 127minus 21 minus 3 minus 3 equals 100 thethird problem is a little bit trickierbut now we know how to solve these jar aholds 14 ounces jar B holds 163 andJersey holds 25 ounces your goal is to

Get 99 ounces you can fill the 163 thenpour 225 and 114 for 163 minus 25 minus25 minus 14 equals our 99 once you'relocked into the successful strategyyou're on autopilot fill the biggest jarand use the other two smaller jars to

Reduce it until you've got the rightamount donek all right one more jar aholds 23 ounces jar B holds 49 ounceschar C holds 3 ounces we need 20 ouncesso 49 minus 23 minus 3 minus 3 equals 20right row well yeah actually that is

That is right but it's not the mostefficient solution we could just filljar a with 23 ounces and then pour 3ounces into charsi and have the 20ounces that we need this time we don'tneed this largest jar at all learning an

Algorithm to solve these problemsactually made us a bit stupider Lucian'sfound that after giving 6 problems thatinvolves filling the largest jar B andthen taking away different amounts usingjar a and jar see the research subjects

Were locked into using all three jars tosolve each problem they didn't even seethe simpler salutthe final problem 2876 and three with agoal of 25 could only be solvedefficiently by using the two smaller

Jars 28 minus three many of the subjectstried to apply their algorithm andimmediately said that problem wasimpossible impossible they'd gained toomuch knowledge they were too experiencedthey'd become so smart that they got

Stupidwelcome to the Ashton long effecteinstellung is a German word thatroughly translates as mindset itdescribes the overall method and frameof reference for solving a problem when

Lutins conducted his experiment he gavea second group that problem thatcontains two possible solutions as theirvery first taskmost of them instantly recognized thesimpler solution because they weren't

Trapped in the big jar method ofthinking about the problem it wasn'tthat Group B was smarter it was thatGroup A had learned just enough to makethem dumber oh and some of the peoplewho were shown the simpler solution

After they declared the final problemwas impossible they got mad flag theygot really really madin his paper mechanization and problemsolving lootings wrote realizing it heis embarrassed by the blindness and

Stupidity he showed while solving thempuzzles how it was possible and feelsshame at having been blinded to such adegree rendered so incapable ofreasonable action of intelligentprocedures basically some were upset

That they felt dumb and then decided totake that anger out on the experimentitself in a footnote Lucian's explainsinstead of viewing their responses asstupid some of these subjects remarkedheatedly that the test

Or the instructions were stupid theywere embarrassed because they feltstupid and they felt stupid because theywere too smart they'd have been smarterif they were stupider it's it's avicious cycle the ice de long effect is

A serious cognitive force and it's sostrong that when a similar experimentused eye tracking software to showweather expert chess players couldrecognize a simple solution after aspecific series of moves they literally

Did not even see it their brainswouldn't let them see it kind of likehow you can't see that my face is notflat this is actually a concave photo ofmy face as you can see when I turn itthis is not at all a flat image but when

Seeing straight on your brainautomatically fills in that hollow shapeand projects it outward because it'sprogrammed to see faces that way grandillusions has a hollow face Einsteinmask that really shows just how biased

Our visual systems are in favor ofseeing faces as convex your brain won'tallow you to see the hollow face for theconcave shape it truly is because it'sshortcut supersedes reality it's why thephrase I can't unsee it exists in the

First placehere's a different example excuse me methere's an old riddle about a planecrashing or a Starship Enterprisecrashing on an international border andbeing asked where to bury the survivors

Your brain gets so wrapped up inprocessing what you know that country'sborders can be relevant in determininghow to deal with the situation that acertain number of people died in thecrash and all the other details were

Used to thinking about thatit takes a minute to realize thatsurvivors don't have to be buried at allthe engine lung effect has created ashort-term cognitive illusion that turnsa simple obvious scenario into a

Ridiculous brain teaser sometimes it'sjust better to know a lot less in a 1999paper called the recognition heuristicGoldstein and Gieger Ensor describe apsychological experiment asking which oftwo cities had a larger population San

Diego or San Antonio a group of Germansanswered correctly more often than agroup of Americans the Americans likelyconsidered the populations of Texas andCalifornia whether they thought thecities were growing and a ton of other

Factors the Germans well more of themhad heard of San Diego and not SanAntonio so they figured the famous citywas bigger the end that's it the less ismore effect actually made them morelikely to be right and we've just

Recently figured out that being dumb canmake you smart right wrong we'veactually known about this problem for areally long time in 1620 Francis Baconwrote in no amor denim that the humanunderstanding when it has once adopted

An opinion either as being the receivedopinion or as being agreeable to itselfdraws all things else to support andagree with it bacondidn't know the cognitive science behindthat phenomenon but he had the basic

Idea right for efficiency's sake yourbrain tends to process new things bydrawing on the knowledge it currentlypossesses it's why I can't make this eggstand up come on action work with mehere please stand the task here is to

Balance this egg on one of its endsand it's not really working out for metoo well in Girolamo been sony's 1565history of the new worldhe wrote that Christopher Columbuschallenged a group of noble Spaniards

Gentlemen I will lay a wager with any ofyou that you will not make this endstand up as I will naked and withoutanything at all I don't know why he hadto be nakedness kind of weird they triedand failed just like I've been trying

And failing and then Columbus just kindof smash the egg on the table and lookit it stood up he wasn't trapped byeinstellung and neither was Alexanderthe Great who solved the puzzle of theGordian knot in the fourth century BC

The knot was so complex and so intricatea lot more complex and intricate thanthis this is a pillowcase that anyonewho could untie it would immediately bedeclared king of Phrygia he just caughtit in half with his sword something like

That kind of like the way that IndianaJones was badly outmatched by an expertswordsman and and he just shot him withhis gun everyone has understood thisseemingly forever and a recognition ofthe Isilon effect is deeply rooted in

Asian philosophies in Zen Buddhism theterm ocean refers to the beginner's mindan attitude of openness and eliminatingthe constraints of experience andknowledgeZen and Taoist meditators try to achieve

The motion the state of a mind without amind free from attachments and thoughtsin Japanese martial arts zanshin istotal awareness not just focusing onwhat you know or think you know butletting every possibility present itself

Even when it's simple butthis isn't just about illusions ancientphilosophy or solving cute riddlesunderstanding the impact of einstellungcan literally save lives in the 1970s acardiologist named lee goldman compiled

Data on heart attack cases and foundthat taking an ECG reading and answeringthree basic questions could determinewhether someone was actually having aheart attackwhen this shortcut decision tree was

Implemented at Cook County Hospital inChicago the results were incredible itbeat the old diagnosis method by 70% andthe hospital found that highly trainedexperienced doctors diagnosed the mostserious cases correctly seventy-five to

Eighty nine percent of the time whilethe three-step quick and dirty methodwas right over ninety five percent ofthe time depending on a well-educatedextremely knowledgeable professionalactually made things worse people died

Because we were too smart we areobsessed with being smart and knowingthings it's why I'm so curious aboutscience and math and people and honestlyit's why this channel exists and lookit's important to know stuff and have

Experience and it's important to have amechanized mind Lucien said mechanizedresponses have a place in one's behaviorthey possess the advantages of releasingone from the bother of finding newresponses to recurring everyday

Situations they equip one with preciseready and speedy responses to certainaspects of his environment and they freethe mind so that it can more adequatelydeal with complicated tasks yeah but hethen went on to say when a habit ceases

To be a tool discriminately applied butbecomes a proKrusty in bed to which the situationmust conform when in a word instead ofthe individual mastering the habit thehabit masters the individual then

Mechanization is indeed a dangerousthing intelligence experience andknowledge are freedom and they can alsobe a present that takes away yourfreedom to think differently your brainis the greatest computer ever invented

But it can also constrain yourcreativity and limit your potential weall want to get smarter become morecreative and solve bigger and moreadvanced problems in everything from thevideo games we play to the society we

Live in there's so much pressure to besmart and it's just not always aboutthat sometimes you just gotta get stupidand as always thanks for watchingyeah hello the spring 2020 Curiosity boxhas arrived you want to get yours go to

Curiosity boxcom if you're not familiarwith the curiosity box this is somethingthat Michael Jake and I work on all thetime over not making videos we areworking on this box this is not Marchthis is a community of people or

Interested in living a life of the mindinks drinking bird is one of the itemsthat you will get in this brand-new boxas you can see this bird very very veryvery thirsty and has a great hat you cansee the Vsauce V hat might look a little

Familiar I don't have a top hat you knowmaybe I should get a top hat but for nowI'll just stick with this one yes morewater for all get your curiosity box atcuriosity boxcom because now you'rethinking thanks for watching oh that was


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