Less is more! Human brains struggle to jerk off, scientists say

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Human brains struggle to pull ideas or elements from designs, such as from a building blueprint – and instead, they tend to add more, a new study reveals.

In experiments, participants tasked with making a Lego Duplo building stronger tended to add more bricks instead of removing them.

In another computer task, people tended to add colored squares to a geometric pattern to make it symmetrical, rather than removing the squares.

This mysterious way of thinking can naturally influence the way architects design buildings, or even incur unnecessary expenditure on governments and councils by adding departments rather than taking them away.

A human tendency to add rather than subtract could be widespread in companies that employ people collaborating on ideas – from marketing to digital design and other creative and non-creative industries.

But a more ‘minimalist’ way of thinking, by removing design elements, could be more effective, said the team of study authors, led by Professor Gabrielle Adams and Professor Leidy Klotz at the University of Virginia.

“Improving objects, ideas, or situations – whether a designer wants to improve technology, a writer wants to reinforce an argument, or a manager wants to encourage the desired behavior – requires a mental search for possible changes,” they say in their research paper.

‘We investigated whether people consider changes that subtract components from an object, idea or situation just as quickly as changes that add new components.

‘We show that people systematically look for additive transformations by default, and therefore overlook subtractive transformations.’

Professor Klotz said he was initially intrigued when he built structures from Lego bricks with his two-year-old son.

‘We were building a Lego bridge, and the two columns on the bridge were one longer than the other.

If you were tasked with making this structure stable, would you have added a stone to the left column or removed one from the right column?

If you were tasked with making this structure stable, would you have added a stone to the left column or removed one from the right column?

To level the bridge I turned to add a block to the shorter column and by the time I had turned [my son] had just removed a block from the longer column. ‘

Professor Klotz realized that the human brain may be inclined to make improvements by adding more elements instead of taking them away.

Another example can be seen with the stepless balance bikes used by young children.

These pedal-less bikes are a fairly recent invention and allow the young riders to push their feet over the ground, almost like a rider on a skateboard, rather than using stabilizers.

“If you’ve seen a little two-year-old do these things, you’re just disappointed you didn’t have it when you were a kid – but the breakthrough was just taking the paddles away,” Professor Klotz said.

A little boy riding a pedal-less bicycle.  Generations of people have learned to ride a bike with the handy addition of stabilizers - but would our learning to ride have been more enjoyable if designers had just removed the pedals?

A little boy riding a pedal-less bicycle.  Generations of people have learned to ride a bike with the handy addition of stabilizers - but would our learning to ride have been more enjoyable if designers had just removed the pedals?

A little boy riding a pedal-less bicycle. Generations of people have learned to ride a bike with the handy addition of stabilizers – but would our learning to ride have been more enjoyable if designers had just removed the pedals?

Minimalism was recently popularized by Japanese author Marie Kondo, who appeared in the Netflix series ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ where she organized the content of people’s homes.

Leonardo da Vinci (photo) wrote: 'A poet knows he has reached perfection, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take with him'

Leonardo da Vinci (photo) wrote: 'A poet knows he has reached perfection, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take with him'

Leonardo da Vinci (photo) wrote: ‘A poet knows he has reached perfection, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take with him’

But an appreciation for the subtractive approach can be dated back to the 15th century in Leonardo da Vinci’s time.

Da Vinci famously said, “A poet knows he has reached perfection, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

For their study, the researchers conducted experiments that looked at how people respond to a wide variety of problems.

These problems ranged from solving a geometric puzzle, stabilizing a Lego Duplo structure, and improving a mini golf course.

In the Duplo task, 197 participants were able to stabilize the structure’s top platform so that it could hold a masonry stone over the head of an action figure.

They could do this through both add new supports to reinforce the single corner block or by removing the corner block and allowing the platform to rest perfectly flat on the underlying layer.

Participants earned $ 1 for a successful completion, but adding Lego bricks cost 10 cents each.

Half of the participants were told “Each piece you add costs 10 cents,” while the other half of the participants were told “Each piece you add costs 10 cents, but removing pieces is free.”

Pictured is one of the stimuli used in the experiments - a Lego Duplo structure.  A toy action figure (image removed for copyright reasons) was at the height indicated on the white paper.  Participants were able to stabilize the top platform of the Lego structure so that it could hold a masonry brick above the action figure's head by adding new supports to reinforce the single corner block or by removing the corner block and laying the platform flat on the layer below. let it go

Pictured is one of the stimuli used in the experiments - a Lego Duplo structure.  A toy action figure (image removed for copyright reasons) was at the height indicated on the white paper.  Participants were able to stabilize the top platform of the Lego structure so that it could hold a masonry brick above the action figure's head by adding new supports to reinforce the single corner block or by removing the corner block and laying the platform flat on the layer below. let it go

Pictured is one of the stimuli used in the experiments – a Lego Duplo structure. A toy action figure (image removed for copyright reasons) was at the height indicated on the white paper. Participants were able to stabilize the top platform of the Lego structure so that it could hold a masonry brick above the action figure’s head by adding new supports to reinforce the single corner block or by removing the corner block and laying the platform flat on the layer below. let it go

Most of the participants added stones in support, the researchers found – unless the researchers reminded them to add or remove stones.

“When we reminded participants that the piece deletion is free, the participants were much more likely to delete pieces from the structure than if we did not remind them,” said Professor Adams.

In another round of experiments with more than 1,000 participants, the authors asked study participants to make a 10 by 10 grid of green and white boxes symmetrical.

They found that participants often added green boxes to the empty half of the grid instead of removing them from the full half, even if the latter would have been more efficient.

Participants could achieve symmetry by adding to the three empty quadrants or by subtracting from the highlighted quadrant.  Again, they tended to opt for the former

Participants could achieve symmetry by adding to the three empty quadrants or by subtracting from the highlighted quadrant.  Again, they tended to opt for the former

Participants could achieve symmetry by adding to the three empty quadrants or by subtracting from the highlighted quadrant. Again, they tended to opt for the former

Follow-up experiments suggest that subtractive changes are less accessible to humans cognitively, and so it becomes the default strategy for adding things.

The authors conclude that this may be one of the reasons people struggle to reduce problems such as overloaded schedules, institutional red tape, and even damaging effects on the planet.

The study is published today in Nature and is accompanied by a separate piece of comment by Heeyoung Yoon and Tom Meyvis – researchers not involved in the study.

Yoon and Meyvis point out that we may be more inclined to add instead of subtract the value, because “ deduction solutions are also less likely to be appreciated. ”

“People may expect to get less credit for subtractive solutions than for additive solutions,” they say.

A proposal to get rid of something may feel less creative than coming up with something new to add.

“It can also have negative social or political consequences – for example, the suggestion that an academic department should close is not appreciated by those who work there.”

TRY MINIMALISM! HERE’S HOW TO EMBRACE A CORD-FREE LIFE

Start by identifying the benefits of how your life could be better with less.

Start small first – try a game like it 30 day minimalism game which starts with one item per day and goes up to 30 by the end of the month.

Establish some simple rules to keep clutter from crawling back, one of which is to not hold on to things for ‘just in case’.

You can also try the KonMari system to simplify and organize your home, removing physical items that don’t bring you joy in your life

It was created by management consultant Marie Kondo and described in detail in her best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

KonMari teaches you to ask a simple question when you tidy up your house. Ask each item in your home if it evokes joy. If not, throw it away.

The Marie Kondo Method in 5 Easy Steps:

1. Clean up everything at once

2. Visualize the destination

3. Determine if the item ‘generates joy’

4. Neatly by category, not by location

5. Neatly to order

Source: Wayforth