The Backwards Brain Bicycle

Cards for Democracy
Published on
November 10, 2016
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The Backwards Brain Bicycle

In this education video, Destin Sandlin, founder of Smarter Every Day, is confronted with an interesting challenge: when his engineers tweak a bicycle so that turning the handlebars to the left makes him go right and vice versa, he thinks it’ll be easy – as easy as riding a bicycle. But he’s wrong…

After a series of frustrating attempts (captured in the video), Sandlin concludes that knowledge is not the same as understanding and just having the information.

This bike, and the failed attempts of many of his workshop participants to get used to it, also illustrate how our brain tricks us into thinking the same way (bias). And the more rigid our thinking, the more difficult it can become to change, even when we want to.

This is why it can be difficult to unlearn something as an adult – kids are usually better at this, if given a chance as Devlin’s son shows us and there is a lesson for us to be learnt. 

We need to be aware of and question how we are interpreting the world around us.

We must also realize that knowledge on its own is not enough. We also need the attitudes and skills, which come after lots of practice and effort and after trying to see things from different perspectives.

So what happened when Devlin jumped on a ‘normal’ bike months later? Find out in the video!


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