Decision and Illusion

Is making bad decisions like falling prey to a visual illusion? Prominent decision scientists see it that way, but their vision may be blurry.

Fine Cantiere

As the Bergamo days are winding down, it’s time for a review.

Love, Justice, Vengeance

I was as shocked by Woolwich as the next person. Now what?

Frutti di Bosco

Some thoughts fructify when the mind wanders.

Passo Carrabile

In Italy, my thoughts return to the unpredictability of human behavior. ‘Passo carrabile’ means ‘stay clear,’ as in ‘don’t block the driveway.’ Metaphorically, I ask you to keep on open mind.

Senza Piombo

Having gassed up with unleaded (senza piombo), I arrived in Bergamo to teach psychology. This post begins with a Neo-Freudian view on shame and blame and ends with notes from the road.

The Mystery of Trust Deepens

The decision to trust (vs. not) is recurring and of vital interest. People use all the cues they can get to make this decision, including invalid ones. If we could only tell the difference between the trustworthy and the untrustworthy by just looking at them. But we cannot.

Corto Circùito

Some thoughts are short-circuited. That does not make them false necessarily. Perhaps they can stimulate genuine insight. I am trying this for you in here.

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?