snap judgments

Gut reactions or fast and frugal thinking can provide us with many benefits, but there are many different factors that can taint our ability to utilize this skill. Whenever we have to make sense of complicated situations or deal with lots of information quickly, we bring to bear all of our beliefs, attitudes, values, experiences, education and more on the situation. In this assignment, we’ll be looking at how these various factors can create different outcomes, and how our awareness of how we make snap (often unconscious) judgments about people and situations can provide the opportunity for controlling our gut reactions.

Writing Assignment: Write an essay controlled by a claim and developed by a sequence of paragraphs using people’s reactions to Bell’s violin playing in “Pearls before Breakfast” and Gladwell’s claims about “fast and frugal thinking.” Answer the question: What are the ideal conditions for “fast and frugal thinking”?

Further Instructions

• Introduction (two paragraphs): Begin your essay with a brief anecdote that demonstrates a time you used “fast and frugal” thinking. Be sure to use plenty of sensory details to describe the conditions at the time. In the next paragraph, build a bridge from your story to the topic of the essay with a brief overview of thin-slicing or “fast and frugal thinking,” according to Malcom Gladwell. Also, introduce the experiment in “Pearls Before Breakfast.” Conclude the introduction with your claim about the ideal conditions for fast and frugal thinking.
• Body Paragraphs: Support the claim with multiple body paragraphs. Each paragraph will begin with a topic sentence. Be sure to compose paragraphs that provide any needed additional context and information about “fast and frugal thinking” and the violin experiment orchestrated by The Washington Post and Joshua Bell. Additionally, compose paragraphs that illustrate your claim by including well-developed examples and explanations based upon your examination of “Pearls before Breakfast” and Gladwell’s introduction to “Blink.” Remember: examples needs plenty of details and explanation as to how they relate to your claim!
• Conclusion: Begin this paragraph by reminding the reader of your main point. Then, provide a satisfying conclusion to your essay by offering advice, by making a call to action, or by returning to and commenting on the opening anecdote.

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