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Multimind: A New Way of Looking at Human Behavior
Robert Evan Ornstein
The author of The Psychology of Consciousness here defines the human mind as a "bastard hybrid system." Each of us has many "small minds" that simultaneously process feelings, fantasies, ideas, fixed routines, interpersonal responses and bodily skills. While Ornstein's "multimind" theory is more descriptive than explanatory, it offers a welcome alternative to trendy computer models, split-brain theories and Freudianism. Multimind helps explain why our emotions and attitudes are easily swayed, the difficulty of ever really knowing oneself or another person, and how mental shortcuts we rely on to make snap judgments can harden prejudices. Ornstein faults the narrowness of IQ tests by stressing the varied abilities that make up intelligence. He cites studies of hypnosis and multiple personality in support of the view tht several minds can coexist in one person. It's worth heeding his axiom, "Whatever enters consciousness is greatly overemphasized."
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