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- Of Mind and Matter
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Can we do anything about it? I am staring at a photograph of myself that shows me 20 years older than I am now. I have not stepped into the twilight zone. Rather, I am trying to rid myself of some measure of my present bias, which is the tendency people have, when considering a trade-off between two future moments, to more heavily weight the one closer to the present.
A great many academic studies have shown this bias—also known as hyperbolic discounting—to be robust and persistent.
To hear more feature stories, see our full list or get the Audm iPhone app. Most of them have focused on money. Giving up a 20 percent return on investment is a bad move—which is easy to recognize when the question is thrust away from the present.
Present bias shows up not just in experiments, of course, but in the real world. Especially in the United States, people egregiously undersave for retirement —even when they make enough money to not spend their whole paycheck on expenses, and even when they work for a company that will kick in additional funds to retirement plans when they contribute.
That state of affairs led a scholar named Hal Hershfield to play around with photographs. They had the students observe, for a minute or so, virtual-reality avatars showing what they would look like at age What this did, he explained, was make me ask myself, How will I feel toward the end of my life if my offspring are not taken care of?
When people hear the word bias , many if not most will think of either racial prejudice or news organizations that slant their coverage to favor one political position over another.
Present bias, by contrast, is an example of cognitive bias—the collection of faulty ways of thinking that is apparently hardwired into the human brain. The collection is large. Some of the are dubious or trivial. But a solid group of or so biases has been repeatedly shown to exist, and can make a hash of our lives.
In fact, the odds are still Optimism bias leads us to consistently underestimate the costs and the duration of basically every project we undertake.
Availability bias makes us think that, say, traveling by plane is more dangerous than traveling by car. Images of plane crashes are more vivid and dramatic in our memory and imagination, and hence more available to our consciousness.
The anchoring effect is our tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered, particularly if that information is presented in numeric form, when making decisions, estimates, or predictions.
A striking illustration of anchoring is an experiment in which participants observed a roulette-style wheel that stopped on either 10 or 65, then were asked to guess what percentage of United Nations countries is African.
The ones who saw the wheel stop on 10 guessed 25 percent, on average; the ones who saw the wheel stop on 65 guessed 45 percent. The correct percentage at the time of the experiment was about 28 percent.
The effects of biases do not play out just on an individual level. Last year, President Donald Trump decided to send more troops to Afghanistan, and thereby walked right into the sunk-cost fallacy.
In all cases, this way of thinking is rubbish. If I had to single out a particular bias as the most pervasive and damaging, it would probably be confirmation bias.
Confirmation bias shows up most blatantly in our current political divide, where each side seems unable to allow that the other side is right about anything. Confirmation bias plays out in lots of other circumstances, sometimes with terrible consequences. Rather than weighing the evidence independently, analysts accepted information that fit the prevailing theory and rejected information that contradicted it.
The whole idea of cognitive biases and faulty heuristics—the shortcuts and rules of thumb by which we make judgments and predictions—was more or less invented in the s by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, social scientists who started their careers in Israel and eventually moved to the United States. They were the researchers who conducted the African-countries-in-the-UN experiment.
Tversky died in Kahneman won the Nobel Prize in Economics for the work the two men did together, which he summarized in his best seller, Thinking, Fast and Slow. Another key figure in the field is the University of Chicago economist Richard Thaler. In an experiment conducted by Thaler, Kahneman, and Jack L. Knetsch, half the participants were given a mug and then asked how much they would sell it for.
This flew in the face of classic economic theory, which says that at a given time and among a certain population, an item has a market value that does not depend on whether one owns it or not. Thaler won the Nobel Prize in Economics. The message … is not encouraging.
Because of the direction of the arrows, the latter line appears shorter than the former, but in fact the two lines are the same length. That is, laziness or inertia can be more powerful than bias. Procedures can also be organized in a way that dissuades or prevents people from acting on biased thoughts. A well-known example: the checklists for doctors and nurses put forward by Atul Gawande in his book The Checklist Manifesto.
Some studies have tentatively answered that question in the affirmative. But what if the person undergoing the de-biasing strategies was highly motivated and self-selected?
In other words, what if it was me? He answered swiftly and agreed to meet. He is tall, soft-spoken, and affable, with a pronounced accent and a wry smile. The most effective check against them, as Kahneman says, is from the outside: Others can perceive our errors more readily than we can. A premortem attempts to counter optimism bias by requiring team members to imagine that a project has gone very, very badly and write a sentence or two describing how that happened.
Conducting this exercise, it turns out, helps people think ahead. Perhaps, with very long-term training, lots of talk, and exposure to behavioral economics, what you can do is cue reasoning, so you can engage System 2 to follow rules.
And for most people, in the heat of argument the rules go out the window. As it happened, right around the same time I was communicating and meeting with Kahneman, he was exchanging emails with Richard E.
Nisbett, a social psychologist at the University of Michigan. The two men had been professionally connected for decades. This bias is known as base-rate neglect. But over the years, Nisbett had come to emphasize in his research and thinking the possibility of training people to overcome or avoid a number of pitfalls, including base-rate neglect, fundamental attribution error, and the sunk-cost fallacy. When Nisbett has to give an example of his approach, he usually brings up the baseball-phenom survey.
This involved telephoning University of Michigan students on the pretense of conducting a poll about sports, and asking them why there are always several Major League batters with. And about half give the right answer: the law of large numbers, which holds that outlier results are much more frequent when the sample size at bats, in this case is small.
Over the course of the season, as the number of at bats increases, regression to the mean is inevitable. When Nisbett asks the same question of students who have completed the statistics course, about 70 percent give the right answer. He believes this result shows, pace Kahneman, that the law of large numbers can be absorbed into System 2—and maybe into System 1 as well, even when there are minimal cues.
I spoke with Nisbett by phone and asked him about his disagreement with Kahneman. He still sounded a bit uncertain. Graduate students in psychology also show a huge gain. In one of his emails to Nisbett, Kahneman had suggested that the difference between them was to a significant extent a result of temperament: pessimist versus optimist. I began to study easy problems, which you guys would never get wrong but untutored people routinely do … Then you can look at the effects of instruction on such easy problems, which turn out to be huge.
An example of an easy problem is the. Then the subjects were asked which was more likely: a that Linda was a bank teller, or b that she was a bank teller and active in the feminist movement.
The correct answer is a , because it is always more likely that one condition will be satisfied in a situation than that the condition plus a second one will be satisfied. But because of the conjunction fallacy the assumption that multiple specific conditions are more probable than a single general one and the representativeness heuristic our strong desire to apply stereotypes , more than 80 percent of undergraduates surveyed answered b. Nisbett justifiably asks how often in real life we need to make a judgment like the one called for in the Linda problem.
I cannot think of any applicable scenarios in my life. It is a bit of a logical parlor trick. Then, to see how much I had learned, I would take a survey he gives to Michigan undergraduates. So I did. The course consists of eight lessons by Nisbett—who comes across on-screen as the authoritative but approachable psych professor we all would like to have had—interspersed with some graphics and quizzes. I recommend it. But Nisbett points out that no matter how many such examples we gather, we can never prove the proposition.
The right thing to do is to look for cases that would disprove it. And he approaches base-rate neglect by means of his own strategy for choosing which movies to see. His decision is never dependent on ads, or a particular review, or whether a film sounds like something he would enjoy. When I finished the course, Nisbett sent me the survey he and colleagues administer to Michigan undergrads.
For example:. But the correct answer is c. The only thing you can hope to do in this situation is disprove the rule, and the only way to do that is to turn over the cards displaying the letter A the rule is disproved if a number other than 4 is on the other side and the number 7 the rule is disproved if an A is on the other side.
I got it right. But note that you came fairly close to a perfect score. Nevertheless, I did not feel that reading Mindware and taking the Coursera course had necessarily rid me of my biases.
For another, many of the test questions, including the one above, seemed somewhat remote from scenarios one might encounter in day-to-day life. For his part, Nisbett insisted that the results were meaningful. The New York—based NeuroLeadership Institute offers organizations and individuals a variety of training sessions, webinars, and conferences that promise, among other things, to use brain science to teach participants to counter bias. Philip E.
Protestant Resistance in Counterreformation Austria - E-bog
Can we do anything about it? I am staring at a photograph of myself that shows me 20 years older than I am now. I have not stepped into the twilight zone. Rather, I am trying to rid myself of some measure of my present bias, which is the tendency people have, when considering a trade-off between two future moments, to more heavily weight the one closer to the present. A great many academic studies have shown this bias—also known as hyperbolic discounting—to be robust and persistent. To hear more feature stories, see our full list or get the Audm iPhone app.
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Of Mind and Matter: The Duality of National Identity in the German-Danish Borderlands. Peter Thaler. Series: Central European Studies. Copyright Date:
Of Mind and Matter
This book provides a comparative analysis of the history of borderland children during the 20th century. More than their parents, children were envisioned to play a crucial role in bringing about a peaceful Europe. Despite the different imaginations of East and West that had influenced peace negotiators after both World Wars, moreover, borderland children in Western and Central Europe invented practices that contributed to the creation of a socially cohesive Europe.
Include, present and interpret some long-term data on GDP, growth and technology - for example, similar to the slides of Jones:. The Schiller versus Fama debate introduction — are markets rational? Behavioral finance and irrational behaviour 2 person :. Manias, Panics and Crashes — Kinderlberger 1 person.
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Of Mind and Matter
Of Mind and Matter analyzes identity formation in the multicultural border region of Sleswig. It highlights the changeability of national sentiments and explores what has motivated local inhabitants to define themselves as Germans or Danes. The analysis focuses especially on the respective national minorities, among whom the transitional and flexible aspects of Sleswig identity surface most clearly. The study investigates national sentiments in a border region from a theoretical and comparative perspective. It relies on diverse forms of historical evidence, including quantitative sources such as language statistics and election results, but also more subjective sources such as personal life stories and interviews.
Include, present and interpret some long-term data on GDP, growth and technology - for example, similar to the slides of Jones:. The Schiller versus Fama debate introduction — are markets rational? Behavioral finance and irrational behaviour 2 person :. Manias, Panics and Crashes — Kinderlberger 1 person. Please cover the chapter 2 people :.
Request PDF | On May 5, , James Bjork published Peter Thaler, Of Mind and Matter: The Duality of National Identity in the German-Danish.
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E-mail peter. Bibliography - present. Bibliography - My profile in Lund University research portal. Member of Academia Europaea since