Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

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

The Hidden Sexism of How We Think About Risk

A very convincing argument that risk-taking is more cultural than biological.

The Hidden Sexism of How We Think About Risk

If men take more risks than women, it’s not because of biology.

By Cordelia Fine | May 18, 2017 | Nautilus

June 11, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, evolutionary psychology, psychology, sociology | , , | Leave a comment

Why Poverty Is Like a Disease

A must-read.  It will change how you look at poverty and meritocracy.

Why Poverty Is Like a Disease

Emerging science is putting the lie to American meritocracy

By Christian H. Cooper | April 20, 2017 | Nautilus

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May 14, 2017 Posted by | brain, psychology, sociology | , , | Leave a comment

Is Consciousness Fractal?

What I found fascinating is how fractal nature is and how we perceive and react to it.

Is Consciousness Fractal?

Our subconscious love for fractals may tell an evolutionary story.

By Jordana Cepelewicz | May 4, 2017 | Nautilus

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May 14, 2017 Posted by | brain, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, psychology | , , , , | 1 Comment

Why is the brain prone to florid forms of confabulation?

Did you ever wonder why people fall for ads? or conmen?  Read the article below.

Why is the brain prone to florid forms of confabulation?

Jules Montague | 17 April, 2017 | aeon

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May 14, 2017 Posted by | brain, evolutionary psychology, psychology | , , | Leave a comment

The more you know someone, the more you dislike them

Combine that with our tendency to reveal more about ourselves digitally, and the implication is that digital connectedness brings conflict:

How tech created a global village — and put us at each other’s throats

By Nicholas Carr  | April 21, 2017 | Boston Globe

Welcome to the global village. It’s a nasty place.

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April 29, 2017 Posted by | anthropology, behaviour, psychology, sociology | , , , | 1 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

Your future self is a stranger

Ever wonder why so many people don’t save for their retirement?  It turns out humans treat their future selves as a stranger — and would you give money to a stranger?  The article below explains this further and suggest ways you can counteract it:

Our Puny Human Brains Are Terrible at Thinking About the Future

And that has consequences.

Jane McGonigal | Apri 13, 2017 | Slate

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April 15, 2017 Posted by | brain, psychology | , | Leave a comment

Why Trump gets away with lying

If you look at lying more closely, you can categorize them into three types: black lies (selfish ones), white lies (motivated by empathy) and blue lies (the Trump kind), which are lies that bond a group together.

And if you examine yourself carefully, you’ll probably find that you believed a few blue lies yourself.

How the Science of “Blue Lies” May Explain Trump’s Support

They’re a very particular form of deception that can build solidarity within groups

Jeremy Adam Smith | March 24, 2017 | Scientific American

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March 29, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, politics, psychology | , , , , | Leave a comment

You’re probably addicted to tech

You’re probably addicted to tech.  You may not realize it, or think you’ve got it under control, or know the problem but hide it.  Addiction does not have to be chemical, it could be behavioural — and it’s the latter that tech hooks you with.  Apps, websites, social media are engineered to be irresistible.

“There are a thousand people on the other side of the screen whose job it is to break down the self-regulation you have.” — Tristan Harris, “design ethicist”

Adam Alter’s book, Irresistible, looks at addictive behaviours and what we can do about it.  A fascinating excerpt from his book is published in Wired:

Tech Bigwigs Know How Addictive Their Products Are. Why Don’t the Rest of Us?

Check it out.

March 25, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, psychology | , | Leave a comment

Gut bacteria affect your brain

More and more evidence is showing up that your microbiota can affect your mental health.  In other words, eat you probiotic yogurt.

Is Your Gut Making You Depressed or Anxious?

Turns out “gut feeling” is more than just a fancy name for intuition. Our small and large intestine, and the trillions of bacteria that call it home, are more important than ever imagined for influencing our mood, our anxiety, our choices, and even our personalities. This week Savvy Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen goes straight for the gut with three surprising mind-gut connections.

Ellen Hendriksen, PhD | December 23, 2016 | Quickanddirtytips.com

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February 17, 2017 Posted by | brain, diet, health, nutrition, psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment