Thanks for posting that article, Phil. I definitely had a spacious pigeonhole ready and waiting to receive what the author said! I would compare it back to another thread where we discussed Daniel Kahneman and his work on fast and slow thinking. He called it system 1 (fast, reactionary, intuitive) and system 2 thinking (slow, deliberative, evaluating). Our pigeon holes seem to me to be the author’s equivalent for Kahneman’s system 1 thinking. And lest people try to pop these into a simplistic dichotomy where system 1 = “bad” / system 2 = “good”, Kahneman did not go that way at all. We could not carry on our daily lives without our primary “system 1” pigeon-holing in high gear, doing what it does best. And besides that our “system 2” is incredibly lazy and is often happy just to run with what “system 1” already came up with, contenting itself to provide any needed post-hoc justification [and does it ever excel at that!]. But we can use our system 2 to cultivate our system 1 thinking toward more accurate and higher quality intuitions. The trick is for us to know when to switch away from system 1 into system 2. Some people may want to pretend they always live in “system 2” and don’t even have a system 1. To think that would be delusional. Nobody can live there any more than they could do a 1-mile sprint.
Longitudinal studies could be interesting on that, I suppose. More than once in my several years on this forum, I’ve encountered a post by somebody that provokes a mental double-take on my part. “What!? …I could have sworn that so-and-so used to log in here sounding very differently about that same issue!” But I’m never quite so interested so as to do the research to catch them in their apparent mind-change. (And for the record, it’s always been in the direction of being more accepting of science in the context of belief, at least according to my vague recollections.) If at all accurate, that’s a good thing, and what we’re all about here, after all! Besides, we don’t need to search for such evidence of change when we have no shortage of people here and now who regularly fess up with: “I used to think like that… and now I don’t.” But of course, maybe this is because I have a “pigeon hole” for those sorts of changes and don’t have one for the others.
I do think, however, there is tremendous cause for optimism, and that these conversations are not in vain!