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Beware of Cognitive Entrenchment!

Prairie Tokki LV 10 21-12-01 593

 

What is cognitive entrenchment?

Basically, cognitive entrenchment is when you study/learn a particular field long enough, that your brain (RAS) only focuses on infirmstion relating to that field, and blocks all other information.

 

It's like an old English saying “if you have a hammer, then all your problems look like nails”. Basically, people who over-specialize can actually limit themselves, and their capacity for problem-solving. 

 

 

How does cognitive entrenchment hurt us?

When we have new problems that require new solutions, we will need to find new information. If we siffer from cognitive entrenchment though, we will not be able to see that information. We think that the solution will be in what we already know (which sometimes it is but very often it is not).

 

The more we specialize, the smaller the amount of information our brains (RAS) look at, and the more infornation it blocks out.

 

Over-specialization and cognitive entrenchment can also lead to arrogance and people who think they know everything (when they only know a field). Thus, they will intentionally block out information.

 

 

How can we prevent cognitive entrenchment?

The best way to prevent cognitive entrenchment is to not over-specialize on a specific field. It's good to specialize but make sure you have other fields/disciplines you learn as well. 

 

This will keep your brain (RAS) focused on much more information, and your brain will block out less information. The funny thing is that even if you specialize, having other (more generalized) fields can actually help you progress in your specialized field.

 

 

More information

This article is not to say to you that specializing in a field is bad (far from it). We just recommend you also engage with other discplines/fields of study to remain healthy mentally.

 

If you want to learn more about cognitive entrenchment quickly then click here

 

If you want a more detailed explanation then read either Think Again by Adam Grant or Range by David Epstein.

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