Conspiracies (Plural) Theories

To believe two contradictory conspiracy theories at the same time is be irrational on steroids. There is some evidence that this occurs, but I cling to the possibility that the case is overstated.

And One More Thing

Lacking much-vaunted female intuition, I settle for unedited mentation.

Is National Defense a Public Good?

Let those who have the most to lose pay for national defense.

The Trinity of You

There are (at least) three different ways of thinking about the self. They are all true and they are all yours.

Freedom & Power

Power implies freedom. If freedom is an illusion, what is power?

Guess, Guess Again & Average

The inner crowd is alive and well in all its wisdom. Estimating the number of M&Ms in a jar is one way to see it, but some of us believe the findings generalize to, well, almost everything.

Branding Conservatives

Are conservatives afraid to try new consumer products? Why knows (cares?). Are liberals prone to statistical illusions? Here’s a case of 1.

Conservatism as Disease

From the cutting edge: Conservatives prefer familiar brands over generic or novel products. The finding says more about the state of psychological science than the state of the union.

Truth, Impact, and Reputation

Reputation is the currency of science and impact scores are the numerical expression. Scientists crave recognition and are intoxicated by impact. It’s a dangerous addiction.

Trust, Lies, and Social Intelligence

The ability to detect deception, defection, and lies is the hallmark of social intelligence. Prosocial individuals (trustors, cooperators) have both higher and lower social intelligence than self-regarding individuals. How can it be?

Vanishing Violence

Steven Pinker has found that violence has declined for a long time. This is an aftcast. Now what is the forecast?

How I Met Your Mother, Personalitywise

Continuing the quest to understand the personalities of fictional TV characters we turn to How I Met Your Mother. If Barney is awesome, what does that mean in terms of The Big Five? We throw in the Dalai Lama and the observers’ selves to get context.

Battle of the Exes

Coordinating one’s actions with the actions of others is hard when there is no communication. It is even harder when we are trying to do whatever the other person is not doing, that is, when we try to achieve negative coordination.

Trusting Leaders

If you want people to trust you, you have to trust them. It is more easily said than done, particularly if there is a power differential.

Got Meat?

I consulted His Holiness’s autobiography to get the scoop on the menu. His account of how he abandoned vegetarianism is medium rare.

I Don't Care About the Dalai Lama

The success of the Dalai Lama is a social psychological phenomenon. A simple monk who made good.

Weiss' Bescheid (trite and true)

Another dip into the stream of consciousness.

Comments on Dalai Lama Post

Responding to some "how-dare-you" comments to the post on the Dalai Lama, I take another look at the ethics.

The Dalai Lama as a Brand

Many believe the Dalai Lama can do no wrong, that he represents compassion, wisdom, humor, and serenity in its purest form. Not everyone agrees, and after reading Colin Goldner’s streitschrift, my enthusiasm has weakened.

Visualizing the Wisdom of the Inner Crowd

Averaging judgments tends to increase accuracy. Individuals can exploit this wisdom-of-the-crowd effect by pretending to be more than 1. The benefits are small but replicable.

A Letter to the Dice Man

The Dice Man liveth and he corresponded with me. In a universe where everything happens for a reason (so they say), you gotta love the chance encounters.

Science Games

To succeed in science you need to find new stuff. Now we have too much of it. Is science a game gone wrong? If so, which game?

Person and Probability

In a world without free will, cooperation (and wealth) comes easier.

Publication Bias, Naturally

If psychological science is an exercise in collective hallucination, how can you trust what you read in Psychology Today? Don’t worry; the doom is overplayed.

Errors of Two Kinds

Buckle up. The replicability crisis in psychology boils over again.

Don't Diss the Demon

Game theory is a branch of applied mathematics. Why is it that this discipline – of all disciplines – assumes that people have free will? I am determined not to get it.

Shallow Thoughts and Parerga

Some of the contents are not vetted with the scientific establishment.

Go Play

Rational actors tragically don’t do well in social dilemmas according to game theory. Things would be different if play were to continue indefinitely. But there ain’t no such thing. All things must come to an end.

Man and Monkey

Perceptions and judgments of similarity are like quicksand. How unique are we? How ordinary? After looking into it, I conclude that it is easier to make a case for similarity than for dissimilarity.

Hope for Hempel's Paradox

Taleb El Furioso wrote a thrilling book on rare events. He forgot to consider the ordinary.