Blink: Reading Guide – Chapter Two


1. Art historian Bernard Berenson or billionaire George Soros are examples of practiced ‘thin-slicers’ who have made highly pressured snap judgments based on nothing more than a curious ringing in the ears or a back spasm. What kind of physical, inexplicable cues have you or others you know of experienced which led to successful decision-making?


2. Priming refers to when subtle triggers influence our behavior without our awareness of such changes. An example of this occurs in Spain where authorities introduced classical music on the subway and after doing so, watched vandalism and littering drastically decrease. Can you think of situations when priming occurs?

3. Should we introduce priming in schools to encourage better behavior or more diligent work patterns? What about the service industry? Could employers prime their staff to be more polite to customers?

4. If an individual’s behavior is being influenced unbeknownst to them, when can priming become manipulative? How is it different from the controversy a few years back when cinemas used subliminal advertising during previews to ‘encourage’ people to buy from the confectionary stand?

Speed dating:

5. The Iyengar/Fisman study revealed that what the speed-daters say they want and what they were actually attracted to in the moment didn’t match when compared. What does this say for on-line dating services? Can we really predict what kind of person we will ‘hit it off’ with? Is it better to let friends decide who is more suited for you as opposed to scanning profiles that correspond with your notion of what you think you are looking for?

6. Does your present spouse/ partner fit the preconceived idea of whom you imagined yourself ending up with? Have you dated someone that was the antithesis of what you thought you found attractive? Is there even a point of asking someone, “what’s your type?”