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Old September 9 2013, 02:27 AM   #15
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x10 "The Defector"

I think Geordi does a poor job of explaining gut feelings to Data. Here's how I might have tried to explain it (assuming my goal is to help Data understand, and not necessarily to create compelling television).

The humanoid brain is a remarkable piece of equipment. It processes far more information than it makes available to the conscious mind, often providing the conscious mind with its conclusions but not its reasons.

Imagine an experiment in which each subject interviews a series of people about a personal experience. Half of the interviewees are telling the truth and half are lying. There is no obviously compelling evidence indicating which are which.

Your subconscious can pick up on non-obvious clues. Little things in the interviewees' voice, expression or body language. Guessing blindly pre-interview, you'd correctly identify the liars 50% of the time. If you interview them and listen to that little voice in your head called intuition, maybe you'll have a success rate somewhere from 55 to 70%. Some people are natural lie detectors and will have a success rate of 80 to 90%.

Here's the catch: that little voice in your head tends to be overconfident. People who can identify the liars with 55 to 70% accuracy may think they can do it with 80% accuracy or better.

The trick is to be aware of that voice and give it consideration, but not more consideration than it is due. Use it, but don't be controlled by it.

I don't know enough about the functioning of Data's positronic brain to say whether this advice is applicable to him, but this is how it works for humans.
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