Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

How to Choose Wisely

Advice column by the author of the book You May Also Like: Taste in An Age of Endless Choice.

How to Choose Wisely

From Yelping to dating, there’s a better way.

By Tom Vanderbilt | Sept. 7, 2017 | Nautilus

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December 16, 2017 Posted by | decision making, behaviour | , | Leave a comment

Your Smartphone Controls Your Mind

Apps are designed to maximize the amount of time you spend on them — even if that is wasting your precious time.  Tristan Harris explains in his TED talk:

How a handful of tech companies control billions of minds every day

And check out this article to see what he is planning to do about it:

Smartphones Are Weapons of Mass Manipulation, and This Guy Is Declaring War on Them

October 19, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, psychology | , , , , | Leave a comment

How our biases divide us

This article explains the cognitive biases that are at work to divide “us” and “them”.  Since meditation weakens the power of these biases, the hope is that the more we meditate the more we can unite.  Even if the meditation part seems a bit far fetched, the description of the biases is very useful.

How Mindfulness Meditation Can Save America

Robert Wright | 10.08.17 | Wired

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October 10, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

She’ll Text Me, She’ll Text Me Not

Did you know uncertainty leads to romantic attraction?  For more on that and other juicy psychological tidbits relating to texting read comedian Aziz Ansari’s funny article:

She’ll Text Me, She’ll Text Me Not

The science of waiting in modern courtship.

 

September 19, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, psychology | , , | Leave a comment

Why People Can’t Agree on Basic Facts

Two related articles on how people end up with such divergent views from the same set of facts, and how the gap between the two sides keeps getting larger.

Why People Can’t Agree on Basic Facts

Tali Sharot | September 19, 2017 | Time Magazine

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September 19, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, emotions, information, psychology | , , | Leave a comment

First impressions count

Fascinating article on how humans judge competence based on facial features, and how that affects politics. For example, in one study judgments of who appeared more competent  predicted about 70% of elections.  The article is an excerpt from the author’s new book, Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions (2017).

First impressions count

Alexander Todorov  | 30 May, 2017 | Aeon

June 11, 2017 Posted by | brain, decision making, politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

How racism can hijack perception

If you just watched a really scary movie, a noise from another room (that you would normally ignore) could set your heart racing, as you perceive it as an intruder set to kill you rather than just the cat playing.  The same principle can apply to police shootings — did they perceive a phone as a gun just because they were primed for danger?  The article below describes how this is quite likely.  Gives a whole different perspective of the police racism problem.

The brain-heart dialogue shows how racism hijacks perception

Manos Tsakiris |14 April, 2017 | aeon

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April 16, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, psychology | , , | Leave a comment

How Trump screws with your mind

Emily Dreyfuss, Wired magazine editor, has a couple of illuminating articles on how President Trump screws with your mind for his own benefit. He’s not the only one to do so, so it’s in your interest to find out how and what to do about it.

The Cognitive Bias President Trump Understands Better Than You

Want to Make a Lie Seem True? Say It Again. And Again. And Again

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February 18, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail

Good article.

How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail

January 1, 2017 Posted by | brain, decision making, information, psychology | , , | Leave a comment

Why bullshit is no laughing matter

In this era of fake news all around us, detecting is a major concern, and it looks like we are not very good at it.  I like the definition:

“…bullshit is something that is constructed absent of any concern for the truth.”

As the article explains below,

“Bullshit is much harder to detect when we want to agree with it.”

Why bullshit is no laughing matter

Gordon Pennycook |06 January, 2016 | aeon Continue reading

January 1, 2017 Posted by | brain, decision making, psychology | , , , | Leave a comment