There is a nifty supplement in today’s WSJ on the joys of trend-parsing. As part of the piece various folks, from venture capitalists to portfolio managers, talk about how they keep an eye on what’s changing and what’s hot.
The trouble is, most of these people aren’t telling the truth. It’s not that they are consciously keeping their best “world hacks” to themselves; it’s that they simply don’t know how they keep track of change and make sense of it. They almost certainly think they know, but it is unhighly unlikely that they actually have such neat and highly-privileged acccess to their own mental processes.
One interesting classic paper on the subject is Nisbett, R., & Wilson, T. (1977). Telling more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes. Psychological Review, 84, 231-259.