April 22, 2007

The prediction task

Jeff Hawkins is a brilliant guy who has developed a theory of intelligence, which may go to the heart of it. Hawkins understanding of intelligence is now helping him to create intelligence in computer systems which is already leading to unprecedented accomplishments. More about Hawkins can be read in his book On Intelligence and in this review of that book. Here, I want to focus on one aspect of his view on intelligence and that is the major role prediction plays in intelligence. Briefly put, Hawkins is convinced that prediction lies at the core of intelligence. Based on our representation of reality we constantly predict what will happen next. As long as our perception fits our prediction our attention stays low. Only when our perception conflicts with our prediction we will pay attention. Hawkins says that predicting something is literally the start of how we do it. He also says the human neocortex directs behavior to satisfy its predictions. You might think: SO WHAT? Well, the important role of prediction has been recognized for years by pioneers in the field of solution-focused change. A well-known intervention in the solution-focused approach is the so-called prediction task. In essence with the prediction task, the coach asks the client:

"Each night, before going to bed, predict whether or not you will succeed in ............. (whatever it is the client wants to accomplish) the next day."

Steve de Shazer wrote this in 1988: "Prediction tasks are based on the idea that what you expect to happen is more likely to happen once the process leading up to it is in motion. In pragmatic terms, this means that the prediction, made the night before, can sometimes be seen as setting in motion the processes involved in having a better day. No matter what guess the predictor puts down, the idea that he might have a good day is bound to cross his mind. Of course, having a good day is what he really wants and therefore a self-fulfilling prophecy might develop and this might prompt "better day behavior" the next day, right of the bat. When someone consistently predicts better days, which might just be the expression of a wish or hope, it seems reasonable that they might then act to have better days and thus fulfill their wish." (source: Clues. Investigating Solutions in Brief Therapy).

So, think about what you want to happen and then frequently predict the chance of that happening.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner