Psychology

Personal Stories and Narrative Identity

Identity is a hot top­ic in our soci­ety, with reg­u­lar arti­cles on ‘How to find your iden­ti­ty’ and what iden­ti­ty means in a shift­ing cul­ture. Advocates on all sides of the cul­ture, gen­der and sex­u­al­i­ty wars also appeal to iden­ti­ty as a core ide­al worth defend­ing. However, from the broad usage…

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Yesterday I had the time to read an excel­lent long form report from Gary Younge—a British reporter for the Guardian—on his upcom­ing depar­ture from the United States, where he has been report­ing for the past twelve years (http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jul/01/gary-younge-farewell-to-america). Throughout his report he notes that the over­whelm­ing rea­son for his immi­nent…

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The OODA loop and Cognitive Biases

This morn­ing I gave a brief talk on sev­er­al of the cog­ni­tive bias­es that have fea­tured on here over the last few months, and their often stormy rela­tion­ship with our rapid deci­sion making/heuristic process­es. During that talk I men­tioned the OODA (Observe-Orient-Decide-Act) loop briefly, and a cou­ple of peo­ple asked ques­tions…

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Why ‘We Are All Confident Idiots’ — The Dunning-Kruger Effect

igno­rance more fre­quent­ly begets con­fi­dence than does knowl­edge’ — Darwin Why is it that a lit­tle bit of knowl­edge appears to super-inflate peo­ples esti­ma­tion of their abil­i­ties? Whereas a sig­nif­i­cant amount of knowl­edge in a field makes one painful­ly aware of their own lim­i­ta­tions. Take for exam­ple a novice car…

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Is the World Going to Hell in a Hand Basket? — the Negativity Bias

Brief con­tact with a cock­roach will usu­al­ly ren­der a deli­cious meal ined­i­ble. [But] the inverse phenome-non—rendering a pile of cock­roach­es on a plat­ter edi­ble by con­tact with one’s favorite food—is unheard of. 1 Why does our media con­stant­ly report on the neg­a­tive aspects of our soci­ety, with only a short…

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