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1 Are people born with common sense? on Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:32 pm


are people born with common sense! just a question!
can they learn it! your thoughts?

it is an interesting topic!
some things seem to come easy,some don't
is it generic inheritance? female/male?

Last edited by runawayhorses on Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:43 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : changed the title to a more informative one of what this topic is about.)

2 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:38 pm

Candy Cottingham

Just normal intelligence, and reason.

Possibly a generic inheritance

3 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:09 am


so would the inheritance of common sense come from Mother/Father?

or, do you think it is inherited?

4 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:41 am


All life patterns are taught, or mimicked, a child with no guidance has no way of learning. Television, surroundings , siblings , parents all play a part in development. In a normal two parent home I would guess the Mother becomes the first influence.

5 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:08 pm


Common sense is what I was wanting replies to.
born with it, or is it learned ?
yes environment has a lot to do with learning .
two parents are good..
I know single moms and dads raising some good,smart kids, also....

6 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:21 pm


Common sense is learned or taught, how would a child have the knowledge to already have the life lessons to have it already .

7 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:25 pm


I don't believe common sense can be taught.. that is just my theory..
I know highly educated parents,with common sense ,with very smart kids,lacking common sense.

8 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:39 pm


If a child put their hand to a burner on the stove and get burned commen sense will teach them it hurts and to not do it again, thus it is a learning experiance.
Children learn with age, regardless what parents say until they experiance it first hand they still have the question of why.

9 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:44 pm


I am talking about simple common sense,
your missing the meaning of the question.

for example> some people can't see the forest
for the trees~

Like some are born with mental handicaps ,I think you can be born without common sense
reflexes of pain sure that can be considered a type of common sense
not to experience that pain again..

10 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:16 pm


The common sense that you're talking about gypsy I think you're just born with it, because I know a lot of educated people that some are lacking in common sense. I don't think its hereditary or anything like that, but it could be, I just don't see a pattern to support that theory. Good question I just don't have the answers.

11 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:23 pm


It could be the same theory as book smart , street stupid. Every thing in life is a learning experiance and how children adapt to surroundings and draw lessons depends on their enviroment. Everyone with common sense knows 1+1 =2, but somewhere in a persons life that was taught to them, it didn't come without a lesson in addition.
I get your point in your question Gyp, but my answer is any type of common sense is from a learning experiance.

12 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:31 pm


I disagree.
I don't think all of it comes with learning experiences.
except if you know it will harm you from it happening before..
common sense> I think you have to be born with that ability,
some people never learn it~
one can learn by teaching,like math,etc.of course..
common sense is not taught, that is my theory..

13 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:38 pm


Without common sense coming from learning how does a person know right from wrong, danger from safety, sweet from salty. A baby is born, laid in a crib and cries, what happens ? Parents come running, thus the baby learned crying brings comfort.

14 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:49 pm


these subjects your referring to, yes are taught..
that isn't common sense, your still missing the point..

here is one theory

Can Common Sense Be Taught?
Daniel Willingham - May 18, 2009

As a psychologist, I’ve always been bothered by the term “common sense.” To me, it indicates a savvy understanding of situations, and an ability to make the most of the situation before you–the best playing of the cards you hold, so to speak.

It has bothered me because you could say that “common sense” just refers to someone who is intelligent. Perhaps that person doesn’t have other qualities we associate with intelligence (a broad vocabulary, wide-ranging knowledge), but they still have a lot of cognitive horsepower. That argument didn’t feel right to me, but I didn’t know how to rebut it.

In a new book What Intelligence Tests Miss (right), psychologist Keith Stanovich offers a way to understand the difference between intelligence and common sense.

Stanovich starts the book by asking us to consider why smart people do dumb things. Take David Denby, film critic for the The New Yorker. With a divorce settlement looming, Denby decided it would be useful to make a million dollars quickly. Although he knew nothing about investing, he sold all of his conservative investment products in late 1999 and bought technology stocks on NASDAQ. Denby reported in his book, American Sucker, that he knew that this move was not rational. Could anyone really “beat the market,” especially someone who knew next to nothing about investing?As his losses mounted, he continued to invest, in a vain attempt to recoup his losses.

How could someone who likely would score very high a standard intelligence test do not just one bone-headed thing, but a whole series of really bone-headed things?

As the book title suggests, Stanovich argues that our conception of “intelligence” is incomplete. Unlike other psychologists (notably Howard Gardner and Robert Sternberg) he does not want to expand the definition of intelligence to expertise in domains such as music, creativity, or interpersonal skills. He wants to stick with a more traditional definition of intelligence: solving problems, making effective decisions, and the like.

Stanovich argues that there are really three components to the cognitive system that handles these functions. First, there is what Stanovich calls the autonomous mind. It engages in thinking based on simple associations; It allows you to do what you have always done in the past, and in fact to feel as though you are on auto-pilot, because the autonomous mind operates very rapidly and effortlessly. For example, when you face 60 types of bread at the supermarket and simply buy the bread that you usually buy, you are using the autonomous mind.

If the bread you usually buy is out of stock, you will be forced to use the algorithmic mind. The algorithmic mind processes information, juggling concepts in working memory, making comparisons among them, combining them in different ways, and so forth. Thus, you might examine different brands of a bread to determine which is most like the one you usually buy in terms of cost and nutritional content.

Intelligence tests measure the efficiency of the algorithmic mind. What they miss is the reflective mind.

The reflective mind refers to the goals of the system, beliefs relevant to these goals, and the selection of actions to try to get to these goals.

Here’s an example of the difference between them. A friend of mine recently selected a daycare for her son. She used the algorithmic mind quite effectively: she weighed various factors, e.g., the financial cost, the seeming warmth of the caretakers, whether the facilities were clean and inviting. But her goal in putting these factors together was short-sighted. She heavily weighted the daycare’s proximity to her house. It was obvious to me (and her other friends) that the philosophy of child-rearing at this daycare did not match hers. After several months of complaining about what the caregivers did and said, she started looking for another daycare.

An intelligence test measures the algorithmic mind, that is, how efficiently my friend weighs the factors. But to make effective decisions and adapt to your environment sensibly, you need to do more. You need to see your environment for what it is, you need to set realistic goals, and you need to select actions that move you towards those goals. That is the job of the reflective mind, and these features are not measured by standard intelligence tests. That’s why smart people do dumb things like send their child to a daycare that will not work out, or try to beat the stock market.

Stanovich does not just tell stories to persuade the reader that the three types of mind differ. He mostly relies on data from laboratory tasks. Psychologists have provided many examples of irrational thinking in the last forty years and Stanovich catalogues them into three classes of errors that the reflective mind makes. I’ll illustrate just one. Try answering this problem.

Jack is looking at Anne but Anne is looking at George. Jack is married, but George is not. Is a married person looking at an unmarried person?

A) Yes B) No C) Cannot be determined.

About 80% of people get this problem wrong, most of them answering C, cannot be determined. The answer to the problem becomes obvious when one considers Anne. If she’s married, then the answer to the problem is “yes” because Anne is looking at George. If she’s not married, then the answer is “yes” because Jack is looking at her.

Why do most people get the problem wrong? It is the autonomous mind leading them astray. They see that the problem does not specify that whether or not Anne is married, and there is an association between the idea “information is missing” and “cannot solve the problem.”

Overriding this associative “answer” provided by the autonomous mind is one of the jobs of the reflective mind. The extent to which people do this varies; some have a bias to do it across situations, and some have a bias not to do it. Stanovich stresses that this tendency to actually think through a problem and not use the autonomous-mind answer is only weakly related to IQ.

That’s the important new idea in the book. Even though both the algorithmic and the reflective mind are important in tasks we associate with intelligence such as successfully solving problems in real world situations, we only consider functions of the algorithmic mind to reflect “intelligence,” and that is all that IQ tests measure.

Stanovich points out that we do very little in schools to nurture the reflective mind. Given that it is important to reaching ones goals, academic or otherwise, perhaps we should. Steve Pinker has suggested that schooling should especially focus on cognitive processes that we deem important, but that the mind does not do well naturally. By that criterion, the reflective mind qualifies for more attention in schools because quite a lot of data show that most of us do not use the it as optimally as we might.

But can common sense be taught? To some extent, yes. With sufficient practice, people can come to recognize the types of errors the reflective mind makes, and learn to avoid them.

What Intelligence Tests Miss is a very useful book indeed, and I highly recommend it.

* * *

15 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:05 pm


Just what do you classify as common sense ? Give me an example of your idea.
Your statement not seeing the forest for the trees, is more not being able to think outside the box.

16 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:12 pm


I have given you all the points of *common sense*
it is in need here SSC that is up to you.. your not thinking outside the box.. did you read the article?

only a certain amount of common sense can be taught, to do this we must not always use the reflective mind..

Last edited by gypsy on Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:24 pm; edited 1 time in total

17 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:23 pm


The Power of Prime

The cluttered mind uncluttered

by Jim Taylor, Ph.D.

Common Sense Is Neither Common nor Sense

How often is common sense correct?

Published on July 12, 2011 by Jim Taylor, Ph.D. in The Power of Prime

Common sense, defined as "sound judgment derived from experience rather than study," is one of the most revered qualities in America. It evokes images of early and simpler times in which industrious men and women built our country into what it is today. People with common sense are seen as reasonable, down to earth, reliable, and practical.

But here's the catch. Common sense is neither common nor sense. There's not a whole of sound judgment going on these days (though whether it is worse than in the past, I can't be sure), so it's not common. If common sense was common, then most people wouldn't make the kinds of decisions they do every day. People wouldn't buy stuff they can't afford. They wouldn't smoke cigarettes or eat junk food. They wouldn't gamble. And if you want to get really specific and timely, politicians wouldn't be tweeting pictures of their private parts to strangers. In other words, people wouldn't do the multitude of things that are clearly not good for them.

And common sense isn't real sense, if we define sense as being sound judgment, because relying on experience alone doesn't usually offer enough information to draw reliable conclusions. Heck, I think common sense is a contradiction in terms. Real sense can rarely be derived from experience alone because most people's experiences are limited.
In fact, I think that so-called common sense is a fallacy that has been foisted on us by our culture of ideology (any ideology that wants to tell us what we should think and do) that prefers us to be stupid, ill informed, and poor decision makers. Sorry to get a bit political here, but common sense is even used as an ideological cudgel by conservatives in which so-called coastal elites lack common sense and, as a result, are out of touch with "real Americans" who apparently have an abundance of common sense. But, if we use our elected representatives as examples (though I can't vouch for how representative they actually are), I think it's safe to say that unsound judgment, that is, the absence of common sense, doesn't discriminate based on political ideology.

The word common, by definition, suggests that common sense is held by a large number of people. But the idea that if most people think something makes sense then it must be sound judgment has been disproven time and time again. Further, it is often people who might be accused of not having common sense who prove that what is common sense is not only not sense, but also completely wrong. And, by the way, common sense is often used by people who don't have the real knowledge, expertise, or direct experience to actually make sound judgments.

The unfortunate reality is that trusting common sense, in point of fact, causes us to make poor rather than sound judgments. Perhaps the biggest problem with common sense is that it falls prey to the clear limits of personal experience. Or, we don't even have any actual experience in the matter and rely simply on what we believe to be true or have been told is true, what we might label "faith-based sense" (in the broadest sense of the word faith). For example, when you're having a discussion about just about anything that requires taking a stand, for example, the weather, the economy, raising children, sports, what have you, how often do you hear some variation of "Well, it's been my experience that [fill in the blank]" and the person then draws a conclusion based on said experience? And how often is that conclusion wildly at odds with the facts? More often than not in my experience (though, of course, my experience may be insufficient to draw a truly sound conclusion).

I think we need to jettison this notion of the sanctity of common sense and instead embrace "reasoned sense," that is, sound judgment based on rigorous study of an issue (which also includes direct experience). Of course, we can't do an in-depth scientific study of every issue for which we need to draw a conclusion or make a decision. We can't, in the formal sense, do a review of the literature that includes relevant theories and the scientific findings to date, prepare detailed hypotheses, design a formal methodology, collect data, and employ complex statistical analyses from which we draw conclusions. But we can, and should, apply many of these basic principles of the scientific method in more informal ways to our daily lives.

In fact, I think that a course in scientific thinking and methodology for everyday life should be a requirement for all students. Such proactive education about precise thinking and real sense might reduce the number of truly dunderhead things that subsequent generations will do (the current generations are probably beyond remediation).

Here are some ways in which people can engage in more "sensical" thinking, whether common or otherwise (what does it matter where sense comes from as long as it does truly reflect sound judgment?).

First, we can begin our " inquiry" with an open mind, something sorely lacking in matters both trivial (e.g., Who's better, Red Sox or Yankees. Red Sox, of course) and substantial (e.g., how to fix the budget deficit) these days. Without being receptive to answers that we may not want to hear, we might as well just ask ourselves what we want to be true and go with that, which is what many people with so-called common sense (most efficient, but often wrong).

Second, we all establish hypotheses that we would like to see affirmed when we are asking questions in our lives, for example, about relationships (e.g., "I know she likes me.") or the economy (e.g. "It's definitely picking up."). But for hypotheses to be more than just foregone conclusions (e.g., the world is flat; oops!), it's important to also propose alternative hypotheses (e.g., maybe the world is round or square). Just considering that there might be answers other than the ones we want ensures that any "experiment" we conduct isn't just an exercise in self-serving affirmation (e.g., drug trials done by pharmaceutical companies).

Third, we can collect a sizable sample of data that is more likely to representative of the population as a whole. So, instead of just asking a few friends their opinions on an issue (which are likely similar to our own), we ask others, particularly those we know to have differing views. Does that guarantee sound judgments? Of course not. But does it make it more likely that whatever conclusion is drawn will be closer to reality? Absolutely.

Fourth, we can analyze the data as objectively as possible. Let's be realistic. No one likes to see their "theories" disproven. And there's a cynical saying in the sciences, "If the facts don't fit the theory, throw out the facts." Also, don't forget "GIGO" (Garbage In, Garbage Out) which describes the "failures in human decision making due to faulty, incomplete, or imprecise data" (thanks Wikipedia). The scientific method attempts to prevent both sayings from being realized by using statistical analyses that, at least in theory, don't allow for the intrusion of human biases (recent research has found this assumption presumptuous, but it's the best we have at this point).

The bottom line is that if we can learn to think in more open and rigorous ways, we can draw the most accurate conclusions and make the best decisions possible for the myriad of questions, concerns, and issues we face every day, be they mundane or impactful. And we might just all get along a little better too.


Jim Taylor, Ph.D.

Dr. Jim Taylor is a partner at the Triump Group, a boutique corporate consulting firm based in San Franciso that specializes in strategic, human, and organizational performance and transformation. He is an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco. His specialty is the psychology of business, sport, and parenting. Jim has been a consultant to and has provided individual and group training to executives and businesses. Jim has been a consultant to the United States and Japanese Ski Teams, the United States Tennis Association, and USA Triathlon, has been an invited speaker by the Olympic committees of the U.S., Spain, France, and Poland. He has worked with professional and Olympic athletes in tennis, skiing, triathlon, football, baseball, cycling, golf, and many other sports.

Jim speaks regularly to elementary and secondary schools, youth-sports programs, and performing-arts organizations around the country.

Jim received his Bachelor's degree from Middlebury College and earned his Master's degree and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Colorado. He is a former Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at Nova University in Ft. Lauderdale. Jim is currently an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco and the Wright Institute in Berkeley.

A former U.S. top-20 ranked alpine ski racer who competed internationally, Jim is certified tennis teaching professional, a 2nd degree black belt and certified instructor in karate, a marathon runner, and an Ironman triathlete.

Jim is the author of 12 books including Positive Pushing: How to Raise a Successful and Happy Child (Hyperion, 2003), Your Children are Under Attack: How Popular Culture is Destroying Your Kids' Values, and How You Can Protect Them (SourceBooks, 2005), The Triathlete's Guide to Mental Training (VeloPress, 2005), Prime Sport: Triumph of the Athlete's Mind (iUniverse, 2002), Applying Sport Psychology (lead editor, Human Kinetics, 2005), and Your Children are Listening: Nine Messages They Need to Hear From You (The Experiment Publishing, 2011).

He has published more than 700 articles in scholarly and popular publications, and has given more than 1000 workshops and presentations throughout North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

Jim blogs on a variety of topics, including education, politics, popular culture, parenting, sports, business, and technology for,, (San Francisco Chronicle's web site),, the Hearst Interactive Media group, as well as on his own web site.

Jim has appeared on NBC's Today Show, ABC's World News This Weekend, Fox News Channel, and major television network affiliates around the U.S. He has participated in many radio shows. He has been interviewed for articles that have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The New York Daily News, The London Telegraph, The Chicago Tribune, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Outside, Men's Health, Runners' World, The Miami Herald, The Baltimore Sun, The Denver Post, and many other newspapers and magazines.

Just another opinion on the subject.

18 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:30 pm


Common sense could also be classified as "Judgement", judgment can be a decision ones makes without any experience, and in doing so they use there inborn "common Sense". I know exactly what gypsy means by this, the common sense shes speaks of is not learned, its inborn in you, the question is was it inherited or not.

When a baby cried that is "instinct" not learned, all babies cry when they are born, its natures way of telling us the child 'needs' attention. That's not to say later in life when it learns when it cry's that it gets attention, but rather it was inborn in the baby to begin with. That is not related to "common sense".

19 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:33 pm


Exactly! Thank you Tyler..

20 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:52 pm


Ok give me 5 examples of things that are as you say inborn. None can be learned from experiance, nor taught. Only examples of things existing at birth.

21 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:29 pm


crying,nursing,personality, temperament,physical structure ...probably more but this will suffice.

22 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:33 pm


Good answers, but how is physical structure a common sense ?

23 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:37 pm


well one doesn't learn it, it is inborn as to ,whether your small or large boned..!!

ok lets include ones learning ability..

24 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:54 pm


Ok I agree with those. Good point made.

25 Re: Are people born with common sense? on Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:57 pm


why thank you! :)

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