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Top Six Biases

August 11th, 2018 Comments off

The six most damaging biases:

  • confirmation bias
  • fundamental attribution error ( to interpret others’ behaviors as having hostile intent),
  • the bias blind spot (the feeling that one is less biased than the average person),
  • the anchoring effect (to rely too heavily, or “anchor”, on one trait or piece of information),
  • the representativeness heuristic (judging probabilities on the basis of resemblance),
  • projection bias (the assumption that everybody else’s thinking is the same as one’s own).
Categories: Economics, Humanism, Mind, Uncategorized Tags:

Just Fine

March 1st, 2018 Comments off

Dopamine Itch

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Olive Oil

March 1st, 2018 Comments off

Olive oil is good for your skin. And a great lubricant.

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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, 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: Health Care, Uncategorized 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:

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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Transportation

September 11th, 2016 Comments off

This just in from the year 2020:

Greenville, Thank you! I thank you for making transportation such a moving experience!  (No pun intended.)

I get up in the morning, and walk from my house along those lovely, wide sidewalks that now line all our roads, to the shops on the corner of Woodruff Road at Five Forks.  From there, I get onto the Woodruff Road PeopleMover, which takes me from one mall to another and another, with convenient hop-on-hop-off points along the way.  No more maddening bumper-to-bumper traffic, with soccer-moms on their cell phones careening about and ready to rear-end me.

And it’s not just shopping that your wise transportation policy has made easier for me.   I take the 385 Express Tram from Woodruff Rd. to my doctor’s office at the Patewood complex. Or perhaps we might make a spring excursion to the zoo.  Or we’ll go right downtown, to the Main Street  Mall, which used to be a traffic nightmare but now is a pedestrian’s paradise. With the influx of strollers, even Bergamo opens for late lunch (pranzo in Italian).  It’s amazing how  commercial activity throughout the city has blossomed with the coming of an intelligent transportation policy.

From Downtown, I can hop on the Green line tram to attend a music recital at Furman University, or even travel through Traveler’s Rest via MagneCar right up to the funicular that takes me to Caesar’s Head Park for a summer’s picnic near the Solar Collection site.

Or, from Downtown, I might choose to board the Orange Line, which whisks me out to the game at Clemson. (Okay, I was never really big on tail-gating.) And Anderson’s also just a few stops away on the Blue Line.

For a special treat, I’ll go downtown and grab the BulletTrain to Atlanta — I do love the High Museum, though  I just wish that Atlanta’s transportation would make it easier for the visitor to get to Buckhead.  Every few months, I take the same BulletTrain (in the opposite direction, natch’) to Washington, D.C., to visit my nephew.  Thirty minutes to Atlanta, three hours to DC: Greenville, you’ve become the hub of the universe!  Well, at least my universe.

All this, and totally green and non-polluting—ain’t solar reat?

So thank you, Greenville, for being the progressive town you were always meant to be!

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