Category Archives: Narrative and Cognition

March 6, 2017

The Neuroscience Behind Strategic Narrative

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/92517414/

Several generations of increasingly advanced science now tell us that the insights of novelists and filmmakers have an empirical basis in our brain chemistry.  This should be a clarion call for every leader, because when our stories are dysfunctional, we are dysfunctional, both as individuals and as members of groups. The machine view of humans …

August 20, 2012

Narrative Believability Trumps Probability in Decision Making

We are not statisticians by nature, but storytellers.  Why don’t we make better use of that insight in our effort to predict and understand complex problems? British economist John Kay presented the following problem in a recent Financial Times column When Storytelling Leads to Unhappy Endings: Linda is single, outspoken and deeply engaged with social issues. …

October 23, 2011

Overconfident Narratives Skew Decision Making

In his new book, Thinking Fast and Slow, Princeton professor and Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman describes how, as a psychologist serving in the Israeli army, he selected candidates for officer training based on their success in a series of leadership tests.  Despite his own and his colleagues confidence in their choices, “the evidence was overwhelming”: …

October 14, 2011

Afghanistan Narrative, Still Wrong, but Reparable

Earlier this month, Benjamin Hopkins and Magnus Marsden, authors of the forthcoming Fragments of the Afghan Frontier, argued strenuously in a New York Times Op Ed that the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is as culturally inept as it was when we went to war a decade ago. The American obsession with viewing Afghanistan though the …

June 18, 2011

5 Points about Using Numbers in Narrative

1. Numbers and Narratives:  Frenemies We want to sort story from statistic. Story can seem to be spin, while numbers appear to speak for themselves and reflect an unimpeachable reality.  Our insistence that what is “social be “science” makes us think that numbers can stand in for reasoning and context to explain the world around …