Disfluency – Leads You To Think More Deeply?

One of the better talks I have had the pleasure to watch recently.  I was familiar with the term Fluency but was not aware of Fluency Research and Disfluency

The basic idea here is that when you have a thought, any thought, it falls along a continuum from fluent to disfluent. A fluent thought is one that feels subjectively easy to have. When you speak English and you come across a common English name, like John, or Tom, or Ted, it’s very, very easy to process that name. There’s no difficulty in reading the name and in making sense of the name. At the other end of the spectrum you might come across a foreign name or a novel name that you’ve never seen before or perhaps a name that you’ve seen before, but spelled very differently. In that case it’s going to be much more difficult to process the name. Then it will be disfluent or subjectively difficult to process. It will feel more difficult to process.

Adam walks through different examples about the impact of fluency on our thinking and even decision making.

“We’ve shown that disfluency leads you to think more deeply, as I mentioned earlier, that it forms a cognitive roadblock, and then you think more deeply, and you work through the information more comprehensively. But the other thing it does is it allows you to depart more from reality, from the reality you’re at now. ..”

The concept of cognitive blocks and their effect on your thinking is  worth exploring. It impacts learning, teaching and working.

In this talk Adam covers:

  • Cognition and meta-cognition
  • Fluency research
  • Cognitive Reflection
  • Superficial Cues (due to fluency)
  • Illusion of Explanatory Gap
  • Social Disfluency (and prejudices)
  • Disfluency and it impact on communication
  • Sarcasm in Email (and why it does not work)
  • Over Sharing (a Social Problem)
  • Familiarity and Fluency
  • Fluency and Society

I particularly liked the notion that persevering through difficulty helps you to deal with different types of difficult problems and your ability to reason through different tasks.

2 thoughts on “Disfluency – Leads You To Think More Deeply?

  1. Interesting thoughts 🙂
    I think there is a lot we don’t understand about how all of our learning process works. This was a good insight. In fact I have started writing on similar lines on my blog and I invite you to check it out and may be pass on some comments about learning and all the psychology involved.
    I wrote a little about how different parts of brain are involved in the learning process here.
    And more recently I have been writing about emotional intelligence.

    Hope to hear from you in comments!

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