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Signs of a Psychopath

September 5th, 2017 Comments off

The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) is a diagnostic tool used to rate a person’s psychopathic or antisocial tendencies.

The twenty traits assessed by the PCL-R score are:

  • glib and superficial charm
  • grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
  • need for stimulation
  • pathological lying
  • cunning and manipulativeness
  • lack of remorse or guilt
  • shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
  • callousness and lack of empathy
  • parasitic lifestyle
  • poor behavioral controls
  • sexual promiscuity
  • early behavior problems
  • lack of realistic long-term goals
  • impulsivity
  • irresponsibility
  • failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  • many short-term marital relationships
  • juvenile delinquency
  • revocation of conditional release
  • criminal versatility
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Some Tuesday

September 4th, 2017 Comments off

When I was a child growing up in Des Plaines, Illinois, we would often drive east toward Lake Michigan, to visit our cousins who lived in Wilmette, a suburb on the lake. On the way, we would pass by the beautiful Baha’i temple, a sparkling white jewel perched on a hill overlooking the clear blue waters of Lake Michigan. And afterwards, on the drive home, we kids would spot or favorite destination, a children’s amusement park unimaginatively named KiddieLand.

And not just on that trip home, but throughout the summer, we would constantly be pestering my father to take us to KiddieLand. An appropriately small collection of rides, we were fascinated by it. There was a train of child-size cars pulled by a real diminutive steam engine; a Ferris wheel with enclosed cars that I was talked into riding — once; and pony rides, where you got to control your own pony and where my brother’s pony bit my pony’s rump and I got a wild, galloping ride until the keeper ran out and stopped the steed, after which I was forever disinterested in things equestrian.

There was also a tiny miniature golf course, and the fact that you got a bunch of tickets that you could use for any ride you wanted, not to mention the cotton candy and the syrupy sweet ice cones.
So we pestered Dad to take us to KiddieLand, all the time, until he’d finally say okay, he’d take us.

“When, Daddy, when?”

“Some Tuesday.”

Some Tuesday.

Of course that Tuesday never came.

“It’s Tuesday, Dad, you said you’d take us on Tuesday!”

“I said some Tuesday, not this Tuesday.”

Kind of like how you say, “Let’s do lunch some time.” Nothing definite, just “some time.” Which time never comes.
Sort of like the promise held out by the famous Southern Hospitality. Oh, so jovial, so friendly when meeting you, and always quick with the good word a “godbless,” and that’s about that.

When Avis and I moved to South Carolina, we were looking forward to making new friends, and time after time we’d invite people to our house for drinks or for dinner, and people were happy enough to come and enjoy our hospitality, but they never invited us back.

Had we somehow insulted them? Perhaps we were simply of the wrong church (meaning not of our guest’s church). In the North we’d had no problem finding friends, but in South Carolina, I guess, people just didn’t reciprocate, not something that Carolinians do, for some reason.

I don’t know, maybe they’re waiting for just the right moment to invite us for dinner, drinks or just a chat.

Some Tuesday, perhaps.

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Chyrons and Attention

July 29th, 2017 Comments off

Why would any news channel run chyrons  during their broadcasts?

Chyrons are those annoying streaming banners at the bottom of your screen.  They seem to be feeding you the lastet headlines, mixed in with advertisements for the site’s reatured programs.

This is misguided.  It is well known that no one can pay attention to two things a once. (The best you can do is to switch attention from one thing to another and back, very fast.) So, the chyron simply distracts your attention from the actual news that is being presented, and you never get the message.

Categories: Economics, general rant, Mind, Uncategorized Tags:

ACA Debates

July 26th, 2017 Comments off

“In June and July 2009, with Democrats in charge, the Senate health committee spent nearly 60 hours over 13 days marking up the bill that became the Affordable Care Act. That September and October, the Senate Finance Committee worked on the legislation for eight days — its longest markup in two decades. It considered more than 130 amendments and held 79 roll-call votes. The full Senate debated the health care bill for 25 straight days before passing it on Dec. 24, 2009.”

–NY Times

Categories: general rant, Health Care, Uncategorized Tags:

Constitution and Pardons

July 25th, 2017 Comments off

The President…shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 2, Clause 1

Also, from the Heritage Constitution Guide:

The possibility of a President pardoning himself for a crime is not precluded by the explicit language of the Constitution, and, during the summer of 1974, some of President Richard M. Nixon’s lawyers argued that it was constitutionally permissible. But a broader reading of the Constitution and the general principles of the traditions of United States law might lead to the conclusion that a self-pardon is constitutionally impermissible. It would seem to violate the principles that a man should not be a judge in his own case; that the rule of law is supreme and the United States is a nation of laws, not men; and that the President is not above the law.

James Pfiffner
Professor of Public Policy
George Mason University
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Power vs Empathy

June 23rd, 2017 Comments off

Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at McMaster University, in Ontario, recently described something similar. Unlike Keltner, who studies behaviors, Obhi studies brains. And when he put the heads of the powerful and the not-so-powerful under a transcranial-magnetic-stimulation machine, he found that power, in fact, impairs a specific neural process, “mirroring,” that may be a cornerstone of empathy. Which gives a neurological basis to what Keltner has termed the “power paradox”: Once we have power, we lose some of the capacities we needed to gain it in the first place.

— Atlantic, August 2017

Categories: general rant, Mind, politicas Tags:

Five Personality Traits

February 14th, 2017 Comments off

The five traits (http://www.outofservice.com/bigfive/) spell out OCEAN:
Openness
Conscientiousness
Extraversion
Agreeableness
Neuroticism

Haidt:
(http://moralfoundations.org/):

1) Care/harm:
2) Fairness/cheating:
3) Loyalty/betrayal:
4) Authority/subversion:
5) Sanctity/degradation:

We think there are several other very good candidates for “foundationhood,” especially:

6) Liberty/oppression: This foundation is about the feelings of reactance and resentment people feel toward those who dominate them and restrict their liberty. Its intuitions are often in tension with those of the authority foundation. The hatred of bullies and dominators motivates people to come together, in solidarity, to oppose or take down the oppressor. We report some preliminary work on this potential foundation in this paper, on the psychology of libertarianism and liberty.

1) Care/harm: This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.
2) Fairness/cheating: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]
3) Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it’s “one for all, and all for one.”
4) Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
5) Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).

 

Categories: Mind Tags:

Mirror Neurons and Aphantasia — A Survey

December 24th, 2016 Comments off

I recently took a survey, part of my interest in mirror neurons.  The object was to see if there is a correlation between the experience of motor-perception of mirror neurons, and the experience of the “inner eye” or phantasia.  There are four questions:

Some people have what could be called an “inner eye.”  When they think of something, they have an image of it in their mind, almost as if in a movie.  Some other people do not experience this inner image when they think of a thing.  Please circle A or B:

A:  I do experience the mental image, or “inner eye.”

B: I do NOT experience an inner image.

Some people hear a high-pitched “ringing in the ears” when they listen intently while in a quiet room.  Some people do not hear a ringing   sound.  Some people hear it all the time, and are bothered by it.  Please circle A, B or C:

A.  I hear a ringing in my ears all the time, and I hate it.

 B. I hear a ringing if I listen intently, but I don’t hear it all the time.

 C. I never hear a ringing in my ears, no matter how intently I listen.

When watching a sports event or other performance involving broad action, some people feel an impetus to move their muscles, but without actually moving them.  For instance, watching a soccer match, when the striker kicks the ball, you may feel something like wanting to kick with your leg.  Or, seeing a pianist playing, you may feel an impetus to move your fingers.  Some people do not experience this “shadow effort.”  Please answer A or B:

A.  I do sometimes experience this impetus to move.

 B. I never experience that kind of feeling.

When sitting quietly in a darkened room, some people can see shapes of light, amorphous clouds, or shadowy figures.  Some people see nothing, only blackness.  Please answer A or B:

A.  I can see shapes and “lights” when my eyes are closed in a dark room.

B.  I see nothing when I close my eyes in a dark room.

The survey was given to a small group of college-educated people, some of whom hold advanced degrees.

Below are the results of the survey:

Exp-Survey_Results

Observations

Surprisingly, the correlation between Inner Eye  and Lights is tremendous. Both involve visual awareness. The correlation between Inner Eye, Impetus and Lights is strong — 9/15 — just not the same individuals.  I suspect many of some of the differences are due to differences in consciousness of stimuli.

Conclusions

The sample is too small to draw any definite conclusions,  but it would be worthwhile to do this survey with a larger sample.

Categories: Mind, Uncategorized Tags:

Ranked-Choice Voting

December 13th, 2016 Comments off

Ranked-choice voting (RCV) means the voter votes for candidates in order of preference.  If there is no clear majority winner, the lowest-ranked nominee is eliminated, and their votes assigned to those voters’ next-highest=ranked candidate, until there is a clear majority winner.

This may not be great for general elections; it is easily used to oust a sitting party for momentary purposes.

But it would be great for primaries!  It would not throw the baby out with the bathwater, if poles were taken more often, giving voters a chance to express their preference without committing to a sudden change in government.

Single-issue candidates, though they may not be eventual winners, would be promoted as champions of their cause, and the other candidates would see the swell of support for that cause.

Categories: Economics, general rant, politicas Tags:

What I Wish Hillary Would Say

October 1st, 2016 Comments off

I wish she’d say, “Yes, my husband got a bj from someone not his wife, and then he was really embarassed and tried to deny it.  And no, that wasn’t the first time.  But I think that a man is more than his  penis.  I respect Bill for far more than his sexual transgressions, so I stuck with him.”

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