Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

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

How to Think

Lot of good stuff in here — my fave is “Latticework of mental models”.

How to Think

Shane Parrish @farnamstreet | June 1, 2015 | Time

IQ tests don’t matter as much as we think they do Continue reading

June 1, 2015 Posted by | brain, decision making, psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

Stupidity: What makes people do dumb things

Quite an eye opener… excellent article from New Scientist:

Stupidity: What makes people do dumb things

Sally Adee | 01 April 2013 | New Scientist issue 2910

Human intelligence varies astonishingly. Why didn’t evolution make us all geniuses, and why do even those with high IQ act like fools?

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June 14, 2014 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scarcity lowers IQ and self-control

Having read the article below, which is adapted from the book Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir, I was struck by several points. For one, it is amazing how much scarcity affects our decisions and actions, on a level we don’t even notice.  But more importantly, the effect scarcity has on IQ and self-control sheds new light on the plight of the poor.  If you don’t have time to read the whole book, makes sure you read these articles highlighting different aspects of the book: Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much and Scarcity changes how we think.

If you are really pressed for time, below is an excerpt from the first article:

Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much (excerpts)


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December 31, 2013 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, economics, psychology | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Increase Your Intelligence

Wonderful article on how to maximize your cognitive potential from Scientific American:

You can increase your intelligence: 5 ways to maximize your cognitive potential

By Andrea Kuszewski | Monday, March 7, 2011

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March 16, 2011 Posted by | behaviour, brain, education | , , | Leave a comment

How Birth Order Affects Your Personality

For one, the more older siblings one has, the lower one’s IQ.  Also, firstborns are more likely to associate with firstborns, middle-borns with middle-borns, last-borns with last-borns, and only children with only children.

Article from the January 2010 Scientific American Mind (also see The secrets of birth order):

How Birth Order Affects Your Personality

For decades the evidence has been inconclusive, but new studies show that family position may truly affect intelligence and personality

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January 11, 2010 Posted by | anthropology, behaviour | , | Leave a comment

Games improve mental performance

I’d better start playing those memory games.

Do games improve mental performance?

Memory workouts shown to sharpen abstract reasoning skills.
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April 29, 2008 Posted by | brain | , , , , | 5 Comments