Archive for December 12, 2014


In slapstick comedy, the worst thing that could happen usually does: The person with a sore toe manages to stub it, sometimes twice. Such errors also arise in daily life, and research traces the tendency to do precisely the worst thing to ironic processes of mental control. These monitoring processes keep us watchful for errors of thought, speech, and action and enable us to avoid the worst thing in most situations, but they also increase the likelihood of such errors when we attempt to exert control under mental load (stress, time pressure, or distraction).

Ironic errors in attention and memory occur with identifiable brain activity and prompt recurrent unwanted thoughts;…piece in full pdf below…

Author: Wegner, Daniel M.
Citation: Wegner, Daniel M. 2009. How to think, say, or do precisely the worst thing for any occasion. Science 325(5936): 48-50.
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