Brains Turn Off in Presence of “Experts”


A study featured in New Scientist this week showed that average people have a spectacular capability for short-circuiting their own judgment when in the presence of an expert.

This new data happens to fit perfectly into TMR’s 85% Theory. The theory states that since a large majority of professionals and advice-givers are incompetent, people should always take advice with a grain of salt and do their own due diligence before making decisions.

So, while I temporarily have the support of the scientific community on this one, let me preach for a moment: Don’t listen blindly to doctors, lawyers, accountants, politicians, brokers, astronauts, or clergy (or scientists). These people are just as fallible as anyone else. They are just as self-serving as anyone else. They are just as complacent and mistake-prone as anyone else.

Expert status is just as much a function of good publicity as it is of real practicable wisdom. You are almost always the most qualified advocate on your own behalf . And you always know yourself better than anyone else ever can.

In the words of Emerson,

“No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition, as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he. I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions.”

Image via Kim

One Response to “Brains Turn Off in Presence of “Experts””

  1. […] a great affinity for Dane Cook. Though, I would argue that the percentage of people is closer to 85% than […]

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