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What Is a Thinko?

A "Thinko" is a term that's not as commonly recognized as its cousin "typo," but it's just as intriguing. While a typo refers to a mistake made in typing, a thinko occurs when there's an error in the thought process. It's essentially a slip of the brain rather than the fingers. Thinkos can happen to anyone, often manifesting as lapses in logic, forgotten words during speech, or even when recalling information inaccurately. These mental missteps are a natural part of human cognition, revealing the complex and sometimes fallible nature of our thought processes.


Understanding thinkos is important because they can impact decision-making and problem-solving. In a fast-paced world where accuracy is paramount, recognizing and mitigating thinkos can enhance productivity and reduce errors. For instance, a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that cognitive biases, a type of thinko, can significantly affect choices and judgments. By being aware of thinkos, individuals and organizations can strive to create checks and balances that help ensure clearer thinking and more reliable outcomes.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A thinko is a mental glitch which causes some sort of error in someone's thought processing. Like a typo, a thinko is correctable, although it may take a moment to unravel the confusion. You may also hear thinkos referred to as brain farts, and someone who experiences a thinko may refer to making a slip or drawing a blank. Most people make thinkos at some point or another, especially when they are in a hurry or stressed out.

The classic example of a thinko is using the wrong word in a sentence. This often happens when someone is thinking more quickly than he or she can speak, or when someone is distracted, and it can sometimes result in an amusing or embarrassing slip of the tongue. This sort of thinko is generally easy to correct, since it is usually promptly noticed, and the speaker can pause to clarify the topic under discussion. In a related thinko, someone may momentarily forget which word is appropriate for a sentence, or lose track of what he or she is saying.

The elderly often experience 'thinkos'.
The elderly often experience 'thinkos'.

In addition to involving speech, thinkos can involve things like memory. Many older people, for example, complain of never being able to remember where they left their keys, glasses, or other personal belongings. Glitches of memory do not just attack the elderly, of course, as younger people may commit the same thinkos. The lapse in memory may be linked to a situation in which someone is distracted or stressed out, leading him or her to put belongs in a strange place and to forget where these possessions have been left.

Stressful activities at home or work can contribute to mental glitches and other mistakes.
Stressful activities at home or work can contribute to mental glitches and other mistakes.

A thinko can also result in a physical pratfall which may vary in severity. For example, someone who is used to driving a car with a manual transmission might reach for the clutch in a car with an automatic transmission and become momentarily confused, or a knitter might lose track of where he or she is in a pattern and experience a momentary blank.

A thinko may result in embarrassing slips of the tongue.
A thinko may result in embarrassing slips of the tongue.

Making frequent thinkos can be a sign that someone is under stress, and he or she may want to slow down. It is a good idea to know one's limits and to be firm on these limits in order to reduce the amount of strain one experiences, as mental glitches from strain may sometimes be harmless, but they can also be very dangerous or debilitating. Heavy workloads may result in thinkos and other mistakes, especially when combined with stressful activities outside of work, ranging from participating in too many groups and organizations to raising children.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a InfoBloom researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a InfoBloom researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

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    • The elderly often experience 'thinkos'.
      By: riccardo bruni
      The elderly often experience 'thinkos'.
    • Stressful activities at home or work can contribute to mental glitches and other mistakes.
      By: Photographee.eu
      Stressful activities at home or work can contribute to mental glitches and other mistakes.
    • A thinko may result in embarrassing slips of the tongue.
      By: ambrozinio
      A thinko may result in embarrassing slips of the tongue.