Cognitive Miserliness and Spoons


Over Labor Day Weekend I attended Dragon*Con. I sat in on a panel discussion “Why Mensa Will Never Solve World Hunger”, which was about rationality in contrast to intelligence. The speaker, Barbara Drescher, spoke about cognitive miserliness: the idea that we use the minimum amount of energy to meet our cognitive needs.

Many Lymies and Spoonies talk about how they feel stupid due to Lyme Brain Fog, which has many potential causes including neurologic Lyme or because of the pain. If we build off of Christine’s spoon theory, then this makes sense that we use our limited energy to survive the pain, which does not leave us resources to use our cognition.

“The cognitive miser idea is fundamental in the information-processing model of social cognition because it would be enormously taxing on individuals’ to attend to all information in the world scientifically (basically, with a high degree of analysis), with individuals becoming overwhelmed by the confusion and complexity of the social stimuli that they are attending to.” [1]

I know that this is a significant point but, ironically, I struggle to articulate it. I promise to continue to mull it over and hopefully arrive at something poignant. If someone wants to help me develop this more fully, please let me know!

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