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Gladwell uses the term "thin slicing" to express his viewpoint on how people make snap judgments based on scant information. Specifically, the author uses the term to refer to snap decisions that people make regarding someone or something. According to Gladwell, people form decisions on their initial impressions of other people or situations in about two seconds. People "think without thinking" while passing judgment on others, according to his description. But are decisions always correct, or might the decision-makers have kept an eye on things for longer to ensure accuracy? Gladwell illustrates in his book that people make spur-of-the-moment conclusions hastily by banking on reflexively on thin slices of know-how.
Thin slicing is very useful in certain situations. Sometimes people are caught in certain situations and they have to make instant decisions regarding a person who they are seeing for the first time relying on the tiniest amount of information regarding the situation and that is when they thin slice. In his book, Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell says, "We thin-slice because we have to, and we come to rely on that ability because there are lots of hidden fists out there, lots of situations where careful attention to the details of a very thin slice, even for no more than a second or two, can tell us an awful lot" (Gladwell p.44). In such cases, people with optimum education, experience, and faith would be able to thin slice accurately. Sometimes the thin slicing could go wrong because of the inexperience and poor education of the person who makes the instant decision. For example, I wrong thin slice about my friend when I met her first a few years ago. It's because I did not know anything about her but, I still make my decision that I found wrong later.
Gladwell's Blink is very rich in context to the general understanding of the people and situations. Broadly speaking, the book clearly demonstrates how perception, social cognition, and decision-making occur within a society or community. I think that the main concept of the book is instant decision-making by people. When we look closely at the decision-making we find that it is a process that is related either directly or indirectly to social cognition and perception. It is because social cognition and perception do have some impact on the decision-making. Social cognition deals with how people processes, collect, and related information about other individuals and situations. In other words, it takes into account cognitive process that exists within the domain of social interactions. The concept of social cognition is already present in Gladwell's conception of "thin slicing" because the process has a lot in common. However, the latter operates on a minimum amount of information with the little process, storage, and application of that information. That is why thin slicing is instant as compared to social cognition that takes into account the whole procedure of process, storage, and application of the information and that may not be as fast as thin slicing but, it facilitates the instant decision-making.
Perception, on the other hand, involves organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information (Schacter p. 23) in order to understand a person or a situation. It is related to the concept of "thin slicing" in the way that augments the judgment. For example, perception offers a better understanding of a person or a situation and that could facilitate a decision even the instant one. Thin slicing, however, is based on the minimum information available to make a quick decision.
Gladwell's "thin slicing" could be very much useful in certain situations when I am left with no choice to make a decision regarding a person or a situation. The author mentions that a person can accurately thin slice when he or she has education, experience, and belief, which would facilitate his or her decision. I think in any situation one's persona including social cognition and perception attributes would help in making a better decision. On the hand, without the acquired qualities a decision could go wrong and the person who is about to thin slice is quite well aware of the fact that he or she has little chance to succeed.
Thin slicing is a broader term that is responsible to develop relations with people with diverse personalities. It also enables a person to interact boldly with certain situations and people that would, in turn, boost confidence to the person. According to Gladwell, thin slicing can save one's life or save one's future and thus, it is a power to stand for something that has chances to go wrong as well. But, faith plays an important role in such decisions and one should follow his intuition with a good intention in his or her heart and mind.
Schacter, Daniel (2011). Psychology. Worth Publishers. p. 21-27
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