Science Podcasts

Question of the Week episode

Mon, 14th Sep 2015

Why do we make mistakes during repetitive tasks?

oops! (c) Open Source

Is it brain fatigue? Or do we go into autopilot? Sam Mahaffey asked Dr Steve Fleming from the Wellcome Trust centre for Neuroimaging at UCL why this happens. And if there is anything we can do to stop it.



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This problem was analysed by America's greatest living philosopher, Bob Dylan when he wrote, "Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re tryin' to be so quiet?  We sit here stranded, though we’re all doin’ our best to deny it" (1.)

The solution was expounded by Aldous Huxley in his utopian roadmap "Brave New World". All sorts of problems will vanish when all children are raised in creches where they have been segregated into castes by in utero procedures.

In the case of your error prone bin sorter, I make small doubt that one of Huxley's "Delta" caste workers would be able to put in a good error free 8 hour shift - totally untroubled by those pesky notions which trouble and distract 21st century man in Britain.(2.)

(1.) Visions of Johanna
(2.) Brave New World

Pecos_Bill, Tue, 28th Jul 2015

What would also affect it is if the boxes are clear or not, or if you are sitting at an angle where you could look inside of them as it would make the job even easier. Gaurav, Tue, 19th Jan 2016

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