How to design for better thinking?


Designing for better thinking involves several strategies. Shane Parrish and discussed how the physical environment and external tools can shape and improve our cognitive abilities. Externalizing thoughts through diagrams, lists, and written text helps make our thinking clearer and more organized. External design influences, such as the layout of homes and public spaces, can also impact behavior and cognition by making environments more intuitive and structured 1 .

On another occasion, Shane Parrish emphasized the importance of mental models. Mental models are representations in our minds of how things work, and they shape our decision-making processes. By refining and expanding our inventory of mental models, we can better understand and solve problems. This requires not just acquiring new models but also understanding how to connect them across different disciplines for a more holistic perspective 2 .

Finally, pointed out that learning to think better isn't solely about logical progression but also about being open to spontaneous insights and questioning underlying premises. He emphasized that some of the greatest insights come from a mixture of logic and intuition 3 .

Designing for Better Thinking

Barbara explains how the physical environment can influence our thinking and how we can design it to improve our cognitive abilities. Externalizing our mind through diagrams, lists, and written text can help bring our thoughts into focus. She also discusses how the design of our homes and public spaces can impact our behavior and cognition.

The Knowledge Project

The Ultimate Guide to Cognition | Barbra Tversky

In summary:

  1. Externalization: Use diagrams, lists, and organized environments to clarify and improve thinking.
  2. Mental Models: Develop and connect various mental models to approach problems comprehensively.
  3. Intuition and Questioning: Combine logical thinking with intuition and a relentless questioning mindset.

These approaches foster an environment that promotes better cognitive processing and decision-making.