Snap Judgment In The Book Blink By Malcolm Gladwell

May 17, 2021 by Essay Writer


In the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell talks about what a snap judgment is, how it works, and how it could go horribly wrong. Throughout our everyday lives, we make a lot of snap judgments even when we don’t know we are. In the entire book, he introduces examples of how snap judgments could go wrong.

What is snap judgment?

Snap judgments are basically making a decision with a short amount of information. Although they’re sometimes not always right. Sometimes we don’t know how or why we make the decisions we make but it’s good to know not to know why we know.

At the beginning of chapter two, Gladwell introduces a man called Vic Branden who was one of the world’s best tennis coaches. In tennis for the players have two chances to hit disturb but by the time I wanna second chance if they miss Branden new that though the player was going to double fault. Branden didn’t know any of the players and he was still calling out that they would double fault, and they did. There was a tournament in Indian Wells where he decided to keep track of his predictions. During the tournament, he noticed that he got sixteen out of seventeen predictions correct. Branden didn’t know how he was predicting that but it said: “something in the way the tennis players hold themselves, or the way they toss the ball, or the fluidity of their motion triggers something in his unconscious” (49).

The adaptive unconscious is a part of the mind where people go to think more about what to do. Our brain has a part where we lead to conclusions which is the adaptive unconscious. The unconscious can be very harmful but is also very powerful. People need an adaptive unconscious pushing them in the right direction, it helps them act fast.

Thin slicing is basically the same thing as a snap judgment, where you’re making a quick judgment with such little information. Sometimes having too much information can be difficult and confusing.

Gottman’s on couples

In chapter one Gladwell describes how experienced observers of marriage were bad at predicting the success of marriage after watching John Gottman’s videotapes. They did so poorly because the tapes were overwhelming. They had to determine the positive and negative emotions between each of the couples which were a lot because a lot of emotions going on. Since it was going very quickly, they couldn’t tell what the pattern was. The main reason why Gottman and his collaborators are so successful is that they’re very selective, he talked about the four Horsemen, which were Defensiveness, store willing, criticism, and the most important one concept. If either one of the partners is showing contempt, they are at risk of getting divorced. “Gottman may seem to be an odd example in a book about the thoughts and decisions that bubble up from our unconscious. There’s nothing instinctive about his approach. He’s not making snap judgments. He’s sitting down with his computer and painstakingly analyzing videotapes, second by second. His work is a classic example of conscious and deliberate thinking. But Gottman, it turns out, can teach us a great deal about a critical part of rapid cognition known as thin-slicing. ‘Thin-slicing’ refers to the ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behavior based on very narrow slices of experience”(22-23).

What is “priming”- people can be “primed” to behave in different ways—words can influence people to be polite, rude, etc. Priming is basically a way Where it affects people to change their actions.

The word experiment

In chapter 2 there was an experiment done by a psychologist named John Bargh which was called the “priming experiment” asked students to come to his office and they would read Random words and then asked them to walk down the hall and noticed that the students walked differently and the way they came in. I noticed that they walked more slowly. The purpose of this experiment was to “show just how much goes on behind that locked door of our unconscious” (53).


In conclusion, Malcolm Gladwell really emphasizes what a snap judgment is, how it works, and how it could go horribly wrong by using vivid examples that happens to us every day and we don’t even notice. Throughout our everyday lives, we make a lot of snap judgments even when we don’t know we are.


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