Black Cats, Placebos, and Lotteries: The Sway of Intuition

Stan Aeschleman
Day/Time Taught: 
TR 3:30-4:45 pm
Course Number: 

The kaleidoscope of events the world constantly throws at us requires that we react immediately and effortlessly, rapidly making associations, judgments, and decisions.  When confronted with orderly, predictable situations, these intuitive processes usually produce efficient and effective results.  However, the world often does not play fair, and instead presents us with messy information that is uncertain, random, ambiguous, or incomplete.  In these situations, the heuristics embedded in intuitive processes often lead to irrational convictions and actions.  These superstitious behaviors, false beliefs, and erroneous decisions exact an extraordinary cost on individuals and societies.  This course will examine circumstances that lead to failures of our intuitive processes, and present an alternative system based on the application of the scientific method to everyday problems.  Students will be required to evaluate, discuss, and write two brief research papers examining the validity of their own beliefs and behaviors.

Note: Priority enrollment is given to residents of the Brain Matters residential learning community.


Contact FYS

The First Year Seminar is part of the General Education Program located in Anne Belk Hall, Room 250.

Phone: 828-262-2028

Our mailing address:
First Year Seminar
ASU Box 32065
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608

Director of First Year Seminar:
Dr. Martha McCaughey

QEP Global Learning