Decision time: when science tells us to resist our initial hunch

Hymer, Barry (2022) Decision time: when science tells us to resist our initial hunch. Chessable Blog . (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Carl Sagan once noted that the best antidote to pseudoscience is real science, and it’s certainly a fact that the findings of robust scientific studies can be far more shocking and difficult to believe than those that have undeservedly received a mainstream ‘common sense’ welcome. I have written previously about one prominent neuromyth – that of ‘learning styles’ – but I’ve recently been prompted to reflect in more detail on the moment that every chessplayer experiences with every move they make – that moment when our neurons shift from a period of invisible and infinitely reflexive discussion (however brief or lengthy) to the decisive and irreversible instruction to one of our limbs actually to take hold of a piece and move it to a new square. (We’ll ignore for now those embarrassingly betwixt-and-between episodes of hand-hovering or reach-and-withdraw, which reveal too much about either our state of mental confusion or our tendency towards egregious gamesmanship.) How reliable is that instinct? What drives that moment, whether it’s a quixotic impulse or, channelling W.B. Yeats, that more lumbering cousin: that rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouching towards Bethlehem to be born? Is that moment founded on a rational process, or is it affected by a pseudoscientific belief that in reality might be doing more harm to our game than good? And if it’s the latter, can we eliminate it from our repertoire of chessplaying habits?

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Chessable Blog
Publisher: Chessable
Departments: Departments > Institute of Education > Non-Initial Teacher Education
Depositing User: Insight Administrator
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2022 08:52
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2022 09:00
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/6512

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