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What is Trained Incapacity?

 , updated on July 08, 2016
Trained incapacity is the idea that certain types of education, training, experience and habit may lead an individual to be unable to think beyond of a set of constraints and assumptions that they have formed. It has several common variations:

Experts vs Laypersons

Experts may be unable to see how laypersons view topics in their domain.

Specialists vs Generalists

Specialists may be unable to think like a generalist.

Bureaucrats & Rules

Bureaucrats may be unable to think outside of a process or set of rules.

Convergent vs Divergent Thinking

People who have been educated in a system focused on convergent thinking may find it difficult to apply divergent thinking that once came naturally to them.

Resistance to Change

Trained incapacity can be used to explain the common tendency for people to resist organizational change. When habit replaces creative and critical thought, a system starts to feel concrete, unchangeable and important. This is only a comfortable illusion as the real world is in a constant drive to change.
Overview: Trained Incapacity
Type
Definition
Education, training, experience or habits that lead to an inability to think beyond a set of constraints and assumptions.
Related Concepts

Thinking

This is the complete list of articles we have written about thinking.
Abductive Reasoning
Abstract Thinking
Abstraction
Aesthetics
Analogy
Analysis Paralysis
Analytical Thinking
Anomie
Argument
Argument From Silence
Arrow Of Time
Assertions
Automaticity
Backward Induction
Base Rate Fallacy
Benefit Of Doubt
Big Picture
Brainstorming
Call To Action
Catch 22
Causality
Choice Architecture
Circular Reasoning
Cognition
Cognitive Abilities
Cognitive Biases
Cold Logic
Collective Intelligence
Complexity Bias
Concept
Consciousness
Constructive Criticism
Convergent Thinking
Counterfactual Thinking
Creative Tension
Creeping Normality
Critical Thinking
Culture
Curse Of Knowledge
Decision Fatigue
Decision Framing
Decision Making
Defensive Pessimism
Design Thinking
Divergent Thinking
Educated Guess
Emotional Intelligence
Epic Meaning
Essential Complexity
Excluded Middle
Failure Of Imagination
Fallacies
Fallacy Fallacy
False Analogy
False Balance
False Dichotomy
False Equivalence
First Principles
Formal Logic
Four Causes
Fuzzy Logic
Gambler's Fallacy
Generalization
Golden Hammer
Good Judgement
Grey Area
Groupthink
Heuristics
Hindsight Bias
Hope
Idealism
Ideas
If-By-Whiskey
Illogical Success
Imagination
Independent Thinking
Inductive Reasoning
Inference
Influencing
Informal Logic
Information
Information Cascade
Introspection
Intuition
Inventive Step
Learning
Lifestyle
Logic
Logical Argument
Logical Thinking
Ludic Fallacy
Magical Thinking
Meaning
Mental Experiences
Mental State
Mindset
Misuse of Statistics
Motivated Reasoning
Natural Language
Nirvana Fallacy
Norms
Not Even Wrong
Objective Reason
Objectivity
Opinion
Overthinking
Perception
Personal Values
Perspective
Positive Thinking
Practical Thinking
Pragmatism
Premise
Problem Solving
Proof By Example
Propositional Logic
Prosecutor's Fallacy
Radical Chic
Rational Thought
Realism
Reality
Reason
Reasoning
Red Herring
Reflective Thinking
Reification
Relativism
Salience
Scarcity Mindset
Scientism
Selective Attention
Serendipity
Situational Awareness
Sour Grapes
State Of Mind
Storytelling
Subjectivity
Systems Thinking
Thinking
Thought Experiment
Unknown Unknowns
Visual Thinking
Want To Believe
Whataboutism
Win-Win Thinking
Wishful Thinking
Worldview
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Cognitive Biases

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Abstract Ideas

A few dangers of being too abstract.

Objective vs Subjective

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Anecdotal Evidence

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Pessimism

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Fallacies

A list of logical fallacies.

Fallacy Fallacy

The fallacy of being too worried about fallacy.

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Overwhelming Exception

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Prosecutor's Fallacy

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Whataboutism

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False Equivalence

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