Although common sense is useful for dealing with many everyday problems, when applied to complex problems in government, business, and marketing it can suffer from systematic failures.

In an SFI Community Lecture July 25 in Santa Fe, Duncan Watts drew from examples and ideas from physics to sociology to show how we get duped by shared assumptions, and demonstrated how learning to suspect our own common sense can lead to better solutions.

Watch the lecture (75 minutes)

Listen to his interview on KSFR's Santa Fe Radio Cafe (July 26, 2012)

Read the Santa Fe New Mexican article about the lecture (July 25, 2012)

Watts is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research, a former SFI External Professor, and author of the books Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age and Everything Is Obvious* Once You Know the Answer: How Common Sense Fails Us. He is best known for his research to explain in modern terms the "small world" phenomena (popularly known as "six degrees of separation").

This lecture was sponsored by the Peters Family Foundation. The 2012 SFI Community Lecture series is made possible by Los Alamos National Bank. 

SFI’s Community Lectures offer a window into the Institute’s research to understand the common patterns in physical, computational, biological, and social complex systems that underlie the most profound issues facing science and society today. This year’s lecture series focuses on human individual and social behavior.

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