cognitive dissonance

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Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn From Their Mistakes--But Some Do by Matthew Syed

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They also found the (neutral) statistics and methodology unimpressive. From reading exactly the same material, the two groups moved even further apart in their views. They had each reframed the evidence to fit in with their preexisting beliefs. Festinger’s great achievement was to show that cognitive dissonance is a deeply ingrained human trait. The more we have riding on our judgments, the more we are likely to manipulate any new evidence that calls them into question. Now let us take these insights back to the subject with which we started this chapter. For it turns out that cognitive dissonance has had huge and often astonishing effects on the workings of the criminal justice system. IV On March 20, 1987, a young girl was attacked in her home in Billings, Montana. The Innocence Project, the nonprofit organization set up by two New York lawyers, Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, to help prisoners obtain DNA tests, describes the crime as follows: The young girl was attacked by an intruder who had broken in through a window.

Imagine what it must be like to be confronted with evidence that they have assisted in putting the wrong person in jail; that they have ruined the life of an innocent person; that the wounds of the victim’s family are going to be reopened. It must be stomach churning. In terms of cognitive dissonance, it is difficult to think of anything more threatening. As Richard Ofshe, a social psychologist, has put it: “[Convicting the wrong person is] one of the worst professional mistakes you can make—like a physician amputating the wrong arm.”21 Just think of how desperate they would be to reframe the fatality. The theory of cognitive dissonance is the only way to get a handle on the otherwise bewildering reaction of prosecutors and police (and, indeed, the wider system) to exonerating DNA evidence. “It is almost like a state of denial,” Scheck says. “They just couldn’t see the new evidence for what it was.”

In other words, the victim had had consensual sex with another man, but had subsequently been raped by the prisoner, who had used a condom.22 This is the domino effect of cognitive dissonance: the reframing process takes on a life of its own. The presence of an entirely new man, not mentioned at the initial trial, for whom there were no eyewitnesses, and whom the victim often couldn’t remember having sex with, may seem like a desperate ploy to evade the evidence. But it has been used so often that it has been given a name by defense lawyers: “the unindicted co-ejaculator.” It is a term that usefully captures the power of cognitive dissonance. Schulz quotes from a fascinating interview with Peter Neufeld of the Innocence Project: We’ll be leaving the courtroom after an exoneration and the prosecutor will say “We still think your client is guilty and we are going to retry him.”


pages: 254 words: 79,052

Evil by Design: Interaction Design to Lead Us Into Temptation by Chris Nodder

4chan, affirmative action, Amazon Mechanical Turk, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, game design, haute couture, jimmy wales, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, late fees, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Netflix Prize, Nick Leeson, Occupy movement, pets.com, price anchoring, recommendation engine, Rory Sutherland, Silicon Valley, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, Tim Cook: Apple, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile

Maybe this new outlook is partially due to his award of the 2011 Ig Nobel mathematics prize (jointly with several other prophets) for “teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculations.” Provide reasons for people to use If you expect that users will be conflicted about the product or service you offer, provide them with many reasons they can use to resolve cognitive dissonance and keep their pride intact. Online, cognitive dissonance can be brought about by effects such as buyer’s remorse, in which the purchaser struggles to justify the high purchase price and their desire for an item in comparison to their subsequent feelings of the item’s worth. Sites help users resolve this cognitive dissonance by giving them reasons and evidence that bolster their satisfaction with the product (positive reviews; images of famous people using the product; and promises of hard-to-quantify benefits, such as social approval brought about by using the product) rather than letting them resolve the dissonance by returning the product.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The American Publishing Company, 1884. Pride Saint Augustine quote: “Humilitas homines sanctis angelis similes facit, et superbia ex angelis demones facit.” as quoted in Manipulus Florum (c. 1306), edited by Thomas Hibernicus. Cognitive dissonance Leon Festinger proposed the theory of cognitive dissonance after he studied the aftermath of Dorothy Martin’s December 21, 1954, end of the world prediction. Yes, these predictions seem to happen with alarming frequency: Leon Festinger. A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Illinois: Row, Peterson, 1957. Harold Camping quote: familyradio.com. Retrieved January 2012. Ig Nobel prize winners, by year: “Winners of the Ig Nobel Prize.” Improbable Research (improb.com). Retrieved November 2012. Social proof Apple Store photo credit: Chris Nodder.

If you can get people to make a public commitment to the new approach, it means they can no longer back down. The public commitment might set off more cognitive dissonance, but now, because they have openly aligned themselves with the new approach, the dissonant belief that will be expelled is the old one. At this point, the individual will start to rationalize their new behaviors. Now you are back in the position of wanting to leverage inertia again. You can assist by providing reasons that allow the individual to keep their self-esteem intact, and by showing social proof for the new behaviors. The individual whose mindset you just changed will be a willing participant in this process. They will tend to be selective in what data they look for and believe. Because they are now trying to remove cognitive dissonance in favor of the new idea that you introduced, they will seek out reviews, certification, and other social proof that supports that viewpoint in order to reach closure once again.


pages: 289 words: 22,394

Virus of the Mind by Richard Brodie

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cognitive dissonance, Douglas Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach, joint-stock company, New Journalism, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, publish or perish, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy

More on this in Chapter 9. 129 virus of the mind If you’re in a situation where you’re being rewarded for some behavior, think about what memes that operant conditioning is programming you with. Do they serve your purpose in life? Cognitive Dissonance Another programming technique is creating mental pressure and resolving it—cognitive dissonance. Why do high-pressure sales tactics exist even though people universally despise them? As with any “why” question in the world of memetics, the answer is: because the meme for it is good at spreading. Salespeople get infected with the high-pressure sales meme and go about acting on it, regardless of whether it’s the most effective means at their disposal. There’s no question, however, that it does work on some people some of the time. High-pressure sales work by making you mentally uncomfortable—by creating cognitive dissonance. You enter the situation with some strategy-memes that make you resist buying: perhaps they are something like Look before you leap or Shop around before you buy.

— The second way is through a mechanism known as cognitive dissonance. When things don’t make sense, our minds struggles to make them make sense. Imagine, for example, that a friend is upset with you, but you don’t know why. You have two memes that conflict—that are inconsistent: friend and upset with me. You resolve the conflict, or dissonance, by creating new memes, by rearranging your memetic programming so that things make sense again. Ah, Bill’s upset because he’s paid for lunch the last three times, you might conclude. Right or wrong, you now have a new meme about Bill and lunch that will influence your future behavior. I’ve heard it said that geniuses develop their most brilliant original thoughts through self-imposed cognitive dissonance. As 126 How We Get Programmed you might guess, then, as a programming method it is particularly effective with intelligent people, because you actually believe that the new meme is your own idea

Those new memes conflict with your old ones, and a mental tension is created. Your mind wants to resolve the conflict. It does so by creating a new meme. There are two ways to release the pressure caused by cognitive dissonance: buy in or bail out. If you bail out, it’s likely to be because you’ve resolved the dissonance by creating a meme such as The salesperson is a jerk. But some people buy, creating instead a meme like I really want to buy this. Once you create that meme, it’s yours, and a smart salesperson will reinforce it by telling you what 130 How We Get Programmed a smart decision you’ve made and even calling a few days later and congratulating you on your purchase. Cognitive dissonance can be used to create a meme of submission and loyalty to whatever authority is causing the dissonance. Fraternity hazings, boot camp, and some religious or spiritual disciplines put people through difficult tests and may demand demonstrations of loyalty before releasing the pressure.


pages: 288 words: 16,556

Finance and the Good Society by Robert J. Shiller

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Alvin Roth, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, financial innovation, financial thriller, fixed income, full employment, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market design, means of production, microcredit, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Occupy movement, passive investing, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, profit maximization, quantitative easing, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, self-driving car, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Simon Kuznets, Skype, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Vanguard fund, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar

If he should ever lift his nose out of the minutiae of his fascinating business and view its history whole, he would be forced to admit the sad truth that pitifully few nancial experts have ever known for two years (much less fteen) what was going to happen to any class of securities—and that the majority are usually spectacularly wrong in a much shorter time than that.4 Although Schwed’s book was anecdotal and presented no statistical evidence, it was an early and effective statement of the efficient markets theory. Cognitive Dissonance and Hypocrisy Cognitive dissonance, a term coined by social psychologist Leon Festinger, is a negative emotional response, a feeling of psychological pain, when something con icts with one’s stated beliefs—an emotional response that may lead to something other than a rational updating of the beliefs.5 In particular, when a person’s own actions are revealed to be inconsistent with certain beliefs, he or she often just conveniently changes those beliefs. Hypocrisy is one particular manifestation of cognitive dissonance, in which a person espouses opinions out of convenience and to justify certain actions, while often at some level actually believing them. The evidence that Festinger and his successors presented is solid: cognitive dissonance is a genuine phenomenon and leads with some regularity to human error—or at times to what we would label sleaziness.

The evidence that Festinger and his successors presented is solid: cognitive dissonance is a genuine phenomenon and leads with some regularity to human error—or at times to what we would label sleaziness. And yet there remains skepticism about cognitive dissonance in many quarters, particularly among people who feel committed to the fully rational model of human behavior. Recently a new form of evidence has appeared in support of Festinger’s theory. It has been found that brain structure is fundamentally tied to cognitive dissonance. Neuroscientist Vincent van Veen and his colleagues put human subjects in an experimental situation in which they were paid or otherwise incentivized to lie about their true beliefs as they were observed by functional magnetic resonance imaging. The researchers found that certain regions of the brain, the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and the anterior insula, were stimulated during this experience.

Importantly, those subjects with more activity in these regions showed a stronger tendency to change their actual beliefs to be consonant with the beliefs they were made to espouse.6 We thus have evidence of a physical structure in the brain whose actions are correlated with the outcome of cognitive dissonance, and that thus appears to be part of a brain mechanism that produces the phenomenon Festinger described based solely on his observations of human behavior. If hypocrisy is built into the brain, then there is a potential for human error that can be of great economic signi cance. A whole economic system can take as given certain assumptions, such as, for example, the belief in the years before the current nancial crisis that “home prices can never fall.” That theory was adopted by millions of people who would have experienced cognitive dissonance had they not done so, either because they were involved one way or another in a system that was overselling real estate or because they themselves had invested in real estate.


pages: 662 words: 180,546

Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown by Philip Mirowski

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Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, constrained optimization, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Brooks, David Graeber, debt deflation, deindustrialization, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, full employment, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, incomplete markets, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, joint-stock company, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, liquidity trap, loose coupling, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market design, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, Nash equilibrium, night-watchman state, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Philip Mirowski, Ponzi scheme, precariat, prediction markets, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, random walk, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, school choice, sealed-bid auction, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Myth of the Rational Market, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, working poor

What happens when a seductive synoptic ideology suffers “breakage,” as our commentators have it? It would be odd if this had not been a major topic of exploration, since it speaks so directly to our images of ourselves and others. While there have been many modes and idioms in which the question has been broached, for the sake of brevity we shall describe but one: the attempt to comprehend these responses as a case study in the social psychological problem of cognitive dissonance. The father of “cognitive dissonance theory” was the social psychologist Leon Festinger. In his premier work on the subject, he addressed the canonical problem situation which captures the predicament of the contemporary economics profession: Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart . . . suppose that he is then presented with unequivocal and undeniable evidence that his belief is wrong: what will happen?

The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before. Indeed, he may even show a new fervor about convincing and converting people.24 This profound insight, that confrontation with contrary evidence may actually augment and sharpen the conviction and enthusiasm of a true believer, was explained as a response to the cognitive dissonance evoked by a disconfirmation of strongly held beliefs. The thesis that humans are more rationalizing than rational has spawned a huge literature, but one that gets little respect in economics.25 Cognitive dissonance and the responses it provokes venture well beyond the literature in the philosophy of science that travels under the rubric of Duhem’s Thesis, in that the former plumbs response mechanisms to emotional chagrin, whereas the latter sketches the myriad ways in which auxiliary hypotheses may be evoked in order to blunt the threat of disconfirmation.

Predominantly, the long history of schooling, socialization, and past experience induces a stubborn inertia into cognitive processes. More commonly, people react to potential disconfirmation of strongly held views by adjusting their own understandings of the doctrine in question to accommodate the contrary evidence; this has been discussed in the social psychology literature under the rubric of “cognitive dissonance,” and in the philosophy literature as Duhem’s Thesis. Cognition sports an inescapable social dimension as well: people cannot vet and validate even a small proportion of the knowledge to which they subscribe, and so must of necessity depend heavily upon others such as teachers and experts and peers to underwrite much of their beliefs.23 And then there is a second major consideration relevant to our current conundrum, namely, the issue of whether most people who may subscribe to something like neoliberalism actually understand it to be constituted as a coherent doctrine with a spelled-out roster of propositions, or instead treat their notions as disparate implications of other beliefs.


pages: 577 words: 149,554

The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey by Michael Huemer

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Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, cognitive dissonance, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, experimental subject, framing effect, Gini coefficient, illegal immigration, impulse control, Isaac Newton, Julian Assange, laissez-faire capitalism, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, Milgram experiment, moral hazard, Phillip Zimbardo, profit maximization, profit motive, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, unbiased observer, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks

Thus, the widespread belief in political authority does not provide strong evidence for the reality of political authority, since that belief can be explained as the product of systematic bias. 6.3 Cognitive dissonance According to the widely accepted theory of cognitive dissonance, we experience an uncomfortable state, known as ‘cognitive dissonance’, when we have two or more cognitions that stand in conflict or tension with one another – and particularly when our behavior or other reactions appear to conflict with our self-image.15 We then tend to alter our beliefs or reactions to reduce the dissonance. For instance, a person who sees himself as compassionate yet finds himself inflicting pain on others will experience cognitive dissonance. He might reduce this dissonance by ceasing to inflict pain, changing his image of himself, or adopting auxiliary beliefs to explain why a compassionate person may inflict pain in this situation.

‘Kim Jong-il Keeps $4bn “Emergency Fund” in European Banks’, Sunday Telegraph, March 14, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/7442188/Kim-Jong-il-keeps-4bn-emergency-fund-in-European-banks.html. Accessed March 4, 2011. Aronson, Elliot. 1999. ‘Dissonance, Hypocrisy, and the Self-Concept’. Pp. 103–26 in Cognitive Dissonance: Progress on a Pivotal Theory in Social Psychology, ed. Eddie Harmon-Jones and Judson Mills. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Aronson, Elliot, and Judson Mills. 1959. ‘The Effect of Severity of Initiation on Liking for a Group’, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 59: 177–81. Aronson, Joshua, Geoffrey Cohen, and Paul R. Nail. 1999. ‘Self-Affirmation Theory: An Update and Appraisal’. Pp. 127–47 in Cognitive Dissonance: Progress on a Pivotal Theory in Social Psychology, ed. Eddie Harmon-Jones and Judson Mills. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Asch, Solomon E. 1956.

Some believe that it is dangerous to undermine belief in authority. 6.1.2 The appeal to popular opinion Some believe that the rejection of authority is too far from common-sense political beliefs to be taken seriously. 6.2 The Milgram experiments 6.2.1 Setup Milgram devised an experiment in which subjects would be ordered to administer electric shocks to helpless others. 6.2.2 Predictions Most people expect that subjects will defy the orders of the experimenter. 6.2.3 Results Two-thirds of subjects obey fully, even to the point of administering apparently lethal shocks. 6.2.4 The dangers of obedience The experiment shows that belief in authority is very dangerous. 6.2.5 The unreliability of opinions about authority The experiment also shows that people have a strong pro-authority bias. 6.3 Cognitive dissonance People may seek to rationalize their own obedience to the state by devising theories of authority. 6.4 Social proof and status quo bias People are biased toward commonly held beliefs and the practices of their own society. 6.5 The power of political aesthetics 6.5.1 Symbols The state employs symbols to create an emotional and aesthetic sense of its own power and authority. 6.5.2 Rituals Rituals serve a similar function. 6.5.3 Authoritative language Legal language and the language of some political philosophers serve to encourage feelings of respect for authority. 6.6 Stockholm Syndrome and the charisma of power 6.6.1 The phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome Kidnapping victims sometimes emotionally bond with their captors, as in the case of the Stockholm bank robbery. 6.6.2 Why does Stockholm Syndrome occur?


pages: 199 words: 43,653

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

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Airbnb, AltaVista, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, en.wikipedia.org, framing effect, game design, Google Glasses, Inbox Zero, invention of the telephone, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Oculus Rift, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QWERTY keyboard, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, the new new thing, Toyota Production System, Y Combinator

Little investments, such as placing a tiny sign in a window, can lead to big changes in future behaviors. We Avoid Cognitive Dissonance In a classic Aesop’s Fable, a hungry fox encounters grapes hanging from a vine. The fox desperately wants the grapes. But as hard as he may try, he can not reach them. Frustrated, the fox decides the grapes must be sour and that he therefore would not want them anyway. In the story, the fox comforts himself by changing his perception of the grapes because it is too uncomfortable to reconcile the thought that the grapes are sweet and ready for the taking, and yet, he can not have them. To reconcile these two conflicting ideas, the fox changes his perception of the grapes and in the process relieves the pain of what psychologists call “cognitive dissonance.” The irrational manipulation of the way one sees the world is not limited to fictional animals in children’s stories.

Our innate reaction to these acquired tastes is to reject them, and yet, we learn to like them through repeated exposure. We see others enjoying them, try a little more, and over time condition ourselves. To avoid the cognitive dissonance of not liking something in which others seem to take so much pleasure, we slowly change our perception of the thing we once did not enjoy. *** Together, the three tendencies described above influence our future actions. The more effort we put into something, the more likely we are to value it. We are more likely to be consistent with our past behaviors. And finally, we change our preferences to avoid cognitive dissonance. In sum, our tendencies lead to a mental process known as rationalization whereby we change our attitudes and beliefs to psychologically adapt. Rationalization helps us give reasons for our behaviors, even when those reasons might have been designed by others.

User habits are hard to break and confer powerful competitive advantages to any company fortunate enough to successfully create them. *** Remember and Share - The Investment Phase is the fourth step in the Hook Model. - Unlike the Action Phase, which delivers immediate gratification, the Investment Phase is about the anticipation of rewards in the future. - Investments in a product create preference because of our tendency to overvalue our work, be consistent with past behaviors, and avoid cognitive dissonance. - Investment comes after the variable reward phase when users are primed to reciprocate. - Investments increase the likelihood of users returning by improving the service the more it is used. They enable the accrual of stored value in the form of content, data, followers, reputation or skill. - Investments increase the likelihood of users passing through the Hook again by loading the next trigger to start the cycle all over again. *** Do This Now Refer to the answers you came up with in the last “Do This Now” section to complete the following exercises: - Review your flow.


pages: 1,079 words: 321,718

Surfaces and Essences by Douglas Hofstadter, Emmanuel Sander

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, Benoit Mandelbrot, Brownian motion, Chance favours the prepared mind, cognitive dissonance, computer age, computer vision, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, Flynn Effect, Georg Cantor, Gerolamo Cardano, Golden Gate Park, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, l'esprit de l'escalier, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, place-making, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, theory of mind, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, yellow journalism, zero-sum game

In the meantime, though, they all pooh-pooh the interest of such a goal… How to Reduce Cognitive Dissonance in a Fox Æsop’s fox-and-grapes fable, more than two millennia old, insightfully anticipated some rather recent ideas. From the 1950’s onwards, thanks to the pioneering work of social psychologist Leon Festinger, the notions of cognitive dissonance and its reduction have been part of psychology, and they are direct descendants of the fable, which, in expositions of the theory, is often given as a quintessential example. The basic idea of the contemporary theories is that the presence of conflicting cognitive states in an individual results in a state of inner tension that the individual tries to reduce by modifying one or another of their conflicting internal states. Thus, the fox is in a state of cognitive dissonance, since his desire to eat the grapes conflicts with his inability to reach them.

Much as the concept once bitten, twice shy contains the essence of the modern psychological notion that a traumatic experience leaves lasting after-effects in its wake, so the sour-grapes fable contains the essence of the notion of reduction of cognitive dissonance, and more generally, the notion of rationalization, where a painful situation is rendered less painful by the unconscious generation, after the fact, of some kind of arbitrary and often unlikely justification. The blatant nature of the fox’s lie makes the fable an ideal core member of the sour grapes category, and allows one to understand the structure of all sour grapes situations. The genius of Æsop was to have come up with such a simple, appealing situation in which dissonance is reduced. For this reason, his fable not only has survived many centuries but it also anticipated developments in modern psychology. To see how the sour-grapes fable relates to the notion of cognitive dissonance in its full generality, one can cast the notion of disparagement of an unrealized yearning, which is the fable’s crux, as a special case of the more general notion of regaining a peaceful frame of mind by distorting one’s perception of a troubling situation, which is what the reduction of cognitive dissonance is all about.

Here we’ll take an example involving Kellie and Dick, two friends who came from Boston to the house of the above-mentioned professore a number of years after he had returned to the United States, and who visited for a few days. As it happened, Kellie and Dick both used the term “your office” to designate the standard workplace of their host, while he himself would always call it “my study”. After he had put up with this cognitive dissonance for a couple of days, it occurred to him to ask them, “How come the two of you always go around talking about my ‘office’ when you both know perfectly well that I always call it my ‘study’?” This question caught the Bostonians by surprise, but they quickly hit upon an answer to it, and it was almost surely the answer. They said, “In our Boston house, the place where we work [they had a small public-relations firm that they ran from their house] is on the third floor — our house’s top floor — and we always call it our ‘office’.


pages: 473 words: 121,895

Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski Ph.d.

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cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, delayed gratification, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, Skype, Snapchat, spaced repetition, the scientific method

When Sex Becomes the Lion Sex and the Survivor Origin of Love The Science of Falling in Love Attachment and Sex: The Dark Side Attachment and Sex: Sex That Advances the Plot Attachment Style Managing Attachment: Your Feels as a Sleepy Hedgehog Survival of the Social The Water of Life 5. Cultural Context: A Sex-Positive Life in a Sex-Negative World Three Messages You Are Beautiful Criticizing Yourself = Stress = Reduced Sexual Pleasure Health at Every Size “Dirty” When Somebody “Yucks” Your “Yum” Maximizing Yum . . . with Science! Part 1: Self-Compassion Maximizing Yum . . . with Science! Part 2: Cognitive Dissonance Maximizing Yum . . . with Science! Part 3: Media Nutrition You Do You part 3 sex in action 6. Arousal: Lubrication Is Not Causation Measuring and Defining Nonconcordance All the Same Parts, Organized in Different Ways: “This Is a Restaurant” Nonconcordance in Other Emotions Lubrication Error #1: Genital Response = “Turned On” Lubrication Error #2: Genital Response Is Enjoying Lubrication Error #3: Nonconcordance Is a Problem Medicating Away the Brakes “Honey . . .

You’ll notice that your brain tries to list all the things you don’t like, but don’t include those. Do it again every week. Or twice a week. Or more. Each time, the things you like will become a little more salient and the noise will get a little quieter. Maybe even consider telling someone else about what you see and what you like. Better still, tell someone who also did the exercise! It’s an activity that gets labeled cognitive dissonance because it forces us to be aware of good things, when mostly we tend to be aware of the “negative” things. Try it. 2. Ask your partner, if you have one, to have a close look. Turn on the light, take off your clothes, get on your back, and let them look. Ask them what they see, how they feel about it, what memories they have of your vulva. Let your partner know what you’ve felt worried about, and ask for help to see what they see.

Like body self-criticism, disgust is so entrenched in the sexual culture that it’s difficult to know what our sexual wellbeing would be like without it. But there’s growing evidence that disgust is impairing our sexual wellbeing, much as body self-criticism does, and there are things you can do to weed it out, if you want to. And that’s what I’ll talk about in the last section of this chapter. I’ll describe research-based strategies for creating positive change in both self-criticism and disgust: self-compassion, cognitive dissonance, and basic media literacy. The goal is to help you recognize what you’ve been taught, deliberately or otherwise, in order to help you choose whether to continue believing those things. You may well choose to keep a lot of what you learned—what matters is that you choose it, instead of letting your beliefs about your body and sex be chosen for you by the accident of the culture and family you were born into.


pages: 387 words: 110,820

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell

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barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, cognitive dissonance, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, deskilling, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, fear of failure, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, greed is good, Howard Zinn, income inequality, interchangeable parts, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge economy, loss aversion, market design, means of production, mental accounting, Pearl River Delta, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price discrimination, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, washing machines reduced drudgery, working poor, yield management, zero-sum game

We rail against exploitation of low-paid workers in Asia as we drive twenty minutes to the Big Box to save three bucks on tube socks and a dollar on underpants. We fume over the mistreatment of animals by agribusiness but freak out at an uptick in food prices. We lecture our kids on social responsibility and then buy them toys assembled by destitute child workers on some far flung foreign shore. Maintaining cognitive dissonance is one way to navigate a world of contradictions, and on an individual basis there’s much to be said for this. But somehow the Age of Cheap has raised cognitive dissonance to a societal norm. On May 1, 2008, the New York Times ran a cover story in its Styles section headlined “Is This the World’s Cheapest Dress?: How Steve & Barry’s Became a $1 Billion Company Selling Celebrity Style for $8.98.” Reporter Eric Wilson reveals the secret of the store’s success with a quote from co-owner Steve Shore: “‘To be great, you have to have these ridiculous, insane prices, and not sacrifice quality,’ [Steve] ‘The question we constantly ask ourselves is how to hit the price point that even Wal-Mart is not hitting.’ ” How, indeed?

Shore and Prevor kept their operation afloat by locating stores in struggling malls and charging them an up-front fee for the favor of attracting foot traffic. Since these mall fees were essential to its survival, the company was required to expand continuously. In a sense, the company relied for its existence on a fully legal variation of a Ponzi scheme. Business plans like this are not built on a foundation of frugality. They are built on a platform of cognitive dissonance. Three months after boasting of their great success to the New York Times, Steve and Barry filed for bankruptcy. THRIFT MAY BE a bedrock American virtue, but it is no more branded into our DNA than it is branded into the DNA of any other culture. Benjamin Franklin, whose most famous homily translates roughly into “A penny saved is a penny earned,” confessed that thrift would elude even him were it not for Deborah, his frugal and hardworking wife.

American corporate interests have chipped away at those standards and wages in order to maximize profits and influence, and to serve their shareholders. The chronic disregard for workers’ rights in China’s foreign-invested private sector threatens wages and working conditions around the globe, including the hard-won gains of American workers. Labor scholar Robert Bruno, a political economist at the University of Illinois, has observed that most Americans tend not to think of themselves as “workers.” This demands some level of cognitive dissonance because most of us do work for a living. But in a society where salesclerks in discount stores are called “associates” and garbage collectors “sanitary engineers,” the term “worker” has lost meaning. Bruno is certain that this is no accident, and explained why in one of several conversations we had over many months. “The Labor Department classifies 45 percent of Americans as ‘working class,’ but Americans all consider themselves part of the middle class.


pages: 486 words: 148,485

Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz

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affirmative action, anti-communist, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, car-free, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, conceptual framework, cosmological constant, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, desegregation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, lake wobegon effect, mandatory minimum, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ronald Reagan, six sigma, stem cell, Steven Pinker, Tenerife airport disaster, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, trade route

., 128, 152, 174–75, 176, 214 buyer’s remorse, 281–82 car accidents, 63 Carey, Susan, 290n, 384n Carson, Anne, 330 categories (categorization), 12, 19–21, 120 Catholicism (Catholic Church), 7, 13–14, 114n, 146, 209 Catt, Carrie Chapman, 134 causation, inductive reasoning for, 120 certainty, 159–80 characteristics of, 159–64 cognitive dissonance, 179 defenses of, 165–70 James’ hypothetical scenario, 165–66 Jews of Judaea, 159–61 knowledge vs., 163–64 zealotry and, 161–63 Chabris, Christopher, 62 Challenger, 72–73, 355n Chambers, Whittaker, 285–88, 294 checkerboard illusion, 58–60, 65, 352n child development, 100–101, 119–20, 289–92, 307, 385n chimerism, 235 Chomsky, Noam, 119n Christie, Agatha, 220 Clark, William, 48 Clement IV, Pope, 137 Clifford, William, 363n Clinton, Bill, 88 Coetzee, J. M., 258, 382n cogito, ergo sum, 318 cognitive development, 197–98 cognitive dissonance, 179, 179n, 194–95 “cognitive illusions,” 346n coherencing, 57–58 Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 37, 47, 371n Collins, Phil, 260, 261 Columbia, 128 comedy, 321–26, 389–90n Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare), 323–24, 325, 331n Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 90 communication, 252–53.

One obstacle to doing so is the feeling of being right, shored up as it is by everything from our sensory impressions to our social relations to the structure of human cognition. But a second and paradoxical obstacle is our fear of being wrong. True, certainty cannot protect us from error, any more than shouting a belief can make it true. But it can and does shield us, at least temporarily, from facing our fallibility. The psychologist Leon Festinger documented this protective effect of certainty in the 1950s, in the study that gave us the now-famous term “cognitive dissonance.” Along with several colleagues and hired observers, Festinger infiltrated a group of people who believed in the doomsday prophecies of a suburban housewife named (actually, pseudonymed) Marian Keech. Keech claimed that she was in touch with a Jesuslike figure from outer space who sent her messages about alien visits, spaceship landings, and the impending destruction of the world by flood.

.* The fact is, with the exception of our own minds, no power on earth has the consistent and absolute ability to convince us that we are wrong. However much we might be prompted by cues from other people or our environment, the choice to face up to error is ultimately ours alone. Why can we do this sometimes but not others? For one thing, as we saw earlier, it’s a lot harder to let go of a belief if we don’t have a new one to replace it. For another, as Leon Festinger observed in his study of cognitive dissonance, it’s a lot harder if we are heavily invested in that belief—if, to borrow a term from economics, we have accrued significant sunk costs. Traditionally, sunk costs refer to money that is already spent and can’t be recovered. Let’s say you shelled out five grand for a used car, and three weeks later it got a flat tire. When you take it to the mechanic, he tells you that you need both rear tires replaced and the alignment adjusted.


pages: 913 words: 265,787

How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker

affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, double helix, experimental subject, feminist movement, four colour theorem, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Henri Poincaré, income per capita, information retrieval, invention of agriculture, invention of the wheel, John von Neumann, lake wobegon effect, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Necker cube, out of africa, pattern recognition, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, sexual politics, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, Turing machine, urban decay, Yogi Berra

Darwin’s anti-Darwinism: Fridlund, 1992. 415 Voluntary and involuntary facial expressions, method acting, and the brain: Damasio, 1994. 415 Honest signaling in animals: Dawkins, 1976/1989; Trivers, 1981; Cronin, 1992; Hauser, 1996; Hamilton, 1996. 416 Emotions and the body: Ekman & Davidson, 1994; Lazarus, 1991; Etcoff, 1986. 417 Theory of mad love: Frank, 1988. 417 Marriage market: Buss, 1994; Fisher, 1992; Hatfield & Rapson, 1993. 419 Tactics for controlling self and others: Schelling, 1984. 420 Grief as a deterrent: Tooby & Cosmides, 1990a. 421 Self-deception: Trivers, 1985; Alexander, 1987a; Wright, 1994a; Lockard & Paulhaus, 1988. Self-deception and Freudian defense mechanisms: Nesse & Lloyd, 1992. 422 Split brains: Gazzaniga, 1992. 422 Lake Wobegon effect: Gilovich, 1991. 422 Beneffectance: Greenwald, 1988; Brown, 1985. Cognitive dissonance: Festinger, 1957. Cognitive dissonance as self-presentation: Aronson, 1980; Baumeister & Tice, 1984. Beneffectance and cognitive dissonance as self-deception: Wright, 1994a. 424 Argument between husband and wife: Trivers, 1985, p. 420. 424 Explaining Hitler: Rosenbaum, 1995. 7. Family Values 426 Greening of America controversy: Nobile, 1971. 426 Nineteenth-century Utopias: Klaw, 1993. 427 Human universals: Brown, 1991. 427 The thirty-six dramatic situations: Polti, 1921/1977. 427 Darwinian competitors: Williams, 1966; Dawkins, 1976/1989, 1995. 428 Homicide rates: Daly & Wilson, 1988.

When they are fooled in a fake experiment into thinking they have delivered shocks to another subject, they derogate the victim, implying that he deserved the punishment. Everyone has heard of “reducing cognitive dissonance,” in which people invent a new opinion to resolve a contradiction in their minds. For example, a person will recall enjoying a boring task if he had agreed to recommend it to others for paltry pay. (If the person had been enticed to recommend the task for generous pay, he accurately recalls that the task was boring.) As originally conceived of by the psychologist Leon Festinger, cognitive dissonance is an unsettled feeling that arises from an inconsistency in one’s beliefs. But that’s not right: there is no contradiction between the proposition “The task is boring” and the proposition “I was pressured into lying that the task was fun.”

But that’s not right: there is no contradiction between the proposition “The task is boring” and the proposition “I was pressured into lying that the task was fun.” Another social psychologist, Eliot Aronson, nailed it down: people doctor their beliefs only to eliminate a contradiction with the proposition “I am nice and in control.” Cognitive dissonance is always triggered by blatant evidence that you are not as beneficent and effective as you would like people to think. The urge to reduce it is the urge to get your self-serving story straight. Sometimes we have glimpses of our own self-deception. When does a negative remark sting, cut deep, hit a nerve? When some part of us knows it is true. If every part knew it was true, the remark would not sting; it would be old news. If no part thought it was true, the remark would roll off; we could dismiss it as false. Trivers recounts an experience that is all too familiar (at least to me).


pages: 459 words: 103,153

Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure by Tim Harford

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Andrew Wiles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, car-free, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, Deep Water Horizon, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Fermat's Last Theorem, Firefox, food miles, Gerolamo Cardano, global supply chain, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, John Harrison: Longitude, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Netflix Prize, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, PageRank, Piper Alpha, profit motive, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, rolodex, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, web application, X Prize, zero-sum game

It would have been easy for someone of her stature to reject outright the critics’ views, refuse to change the show, lose her investors’ money, set back the careers of her young dancers, and go to the grave convinced that the world had misunderstood her masterpiece. Why is denial such a natural tendency? Psychologists have a name for the root cause which has become famous enough that many non-psychologists will recognise the term: cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance describes the mind’s difficulty in holding two apparently contradictory thoughts simultaneously: in Tharp’s case, ‘I am a capable, experienced and respected choreographer’ and ‘My latest creation is stupefyingly clichéd.’ This odd phenomenon was first pinned down in an ingenious laboratory experiment half a century ago. Leon Festinger and James Carlsmith asked their experimental subjects to perform a tedious task – emptying and refilling a tray with spools, using one hand – for half an hour.

Carlsmith, ‘Cognitive consequences of forced compliance’, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 58 (1959), 203–10. 252 ‘It means that the sperm found’: Carol Tavris & Elliot Aronson, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) (London: Pinter & Martin, 2008), p. 150. 252 Bromgard had spent fifteen years in prison: Kathryn Schulz, Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error (London: Portobello, 2010), pp.233–8. 253 ‘One of the worst professional errors’: Tavris & Aronson, Mistakes Were Made, p.130. 253 ‘I didn’t promote myself as a star’: Twyla Tharp, Push Comes to Shove (New York: Bantam, 1992), p. 82. 253 ‘That experience remains intensely painful’: Tharp, Push Comes to Shove, p. 84. 253 ‘Bob and I had lost a baby’: Tharp, Push Comes to Shove, p. 98. 255 Naturally the subject usually chose: M. D. Lieberman, K. N. Ochsner, D. T. Gilbert, & D. L. Schacter, ‘Do amnesics exhibit cognitive dissonance reduction? The role of explicit memory and attention in attitude change’, Psychological Science, 12 (2001), 135–40. 255 ‘Happiness being synthesised’: Dan Gilbert at TED, February 2004, http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy.html 256 Taught Petraeus that everyone is fallible: David Cloud & Greg Jaffe, The Fourth Star (New York: Crown, 2009), p. 43. 257 ‘She didn’t try to console me’: Tharp & Reiter, The Creative Habit, p. 221. 257 The reviews are harsh but fair: Reviews by Hedy Weiss, Michael Phillips & Sid Smith, references above. 257 ‘All you need are people’: Tharp & Reiter, The Creative Habit, p. 229. 258 People with regular jobs tend to receive feedback: Andrew Oswald, ‘What is a happiness equation?’

., 55, 59, 71 catastrophe experts, 184–6, 191, 194–5, 208 Cave-Brown-Cave, Air Commodore Henry, 81, 83, 85, 88, 114 centralised decision making, 70, 74–5, 226, 227, 228; warfare and, 46–7, 67–8, 69, 71, 76, 78–9 centrally planned economies, 11, 21, 23–6, 68–9, 70 Challenger shuttle disaster, 184 Charles, Prince, 154 Chernobyl disaster, 185 Chile, 3, 69–72, 76, 148 China, 11, 94, 131, 143, 147, 150, 152 Christensen, Clayton, 239–40, 242, 245 Chuquicamata mine (Chile), 3 Churchill, Winston, 41–2, 82, 85 Citigroup, 205131 Clay Mathematics Institute, 110 climate change, 4, 20; carbon dioxide emissions and, 132, 156, 159–65, 166–9, 173, 176, 178–80; ‘carbon footprinting’, 159–66; carbon tax/price idea, 167–9, 178–80, 222; environmental regulations and, 169–74, 176, 177; ‘food miles’ and, 159, 160–1, 168; governments/politics and, 157–8, 163, 169–74, 176, 180; greenhouse effect and, 154–6; individual behaviour and, 158–63, 164, 165–6; innovation prizes and, 109, 179; methane and, 155, 156, 157, 159–60, 173, 179, 180; new technologies and, 94–5; simplicity/complexity paradox, 156, 157–8; Thaler-Sunstein nudge, 177–8; uncertainty and, 156 Coca-Cola, 28, 243 Cochrane, Archie, 123–7, 129, 130, 140, 238, 256 cognitive dissonance, 251–2 Cold War, 6, 41, 62–3 Colombia, 117, 147 complexity theory, 3–4, 13, 16, 49, 72103, 237 computer games, 92–3 computer industry, 11–12, 69, 70–1, 239–42 corporations and companies: disruptive technologies and, 239–44, 245–6; environmental issues and, 157–8, 159, 161, 165, 170–1, 172–3; flattening of hierarchies, 75, 224–5, 226–31; fraud and, 208, 210, 212–13, 214; innovation and, 17, 81–2, 87–9, 90, 93–4, 95–7, 108–11, 112, 114, 224–30, 232–4; limited liability, 244; patents and, 95–7, 110, 111, 114; randomised experiments and, 235–9; skunk works model and, 89, 91, 93, 152, 224, 242–3, 245; strategy and, 16, 18, 27–8, 36, 223, 224–34; see also business world; economics and finance cot-death, 120–1 credit-rating agencies, 188, 189, 190 Criner, Roy, 252 Crosby, Sir James, 211, 214, 250, 256 Cuban Missile Crisis, 41, 63 Cudahy Packing, 9 dairy products, 158, 159–60, 164–5, 166 Darwin, Charles, 86 Dayton Hudson, 243 de Montyon, Baron, 107–8 Deal or No Deal (TV game show), 33–5, 253 decentralisation, 73, 74–8, 222, 224–5, 226–31; Iraq war and, 76–8, 79; trial and error and, 31, 174–5, 232, 234 decision making: big picture thinking, 41, 42, 46, 55; consistent standards and, 28–9; diversity of opinions, 31, 44–5, 46, 48–50, 59–63; doctrine of unanimous advice, 30–1, 47–50, 62–3, 64, 78; grandiosity and, 27–8; idealized hierarchy, 40–1, 42, 46–7, 49–50, 55, 78; learning from mistakes, 31–5, 78, 119, 250–1, 256–9, 261–2; local/on the ground, 73, 74, 75, 76–8, 79, 224–5, 226–31; reporting lines/chain of command, 41, 42, 46, 49–50, 55–6, 58, 59–60, 64, 77–8; supportive team with shared vision, 41, 42, 46, 56, 62–3; unsuccessful, 19, 32, 34–5, 41–2; see also centralised decision making Deepwater Horizon disaster (April 2010), 36, 216–19, 220 Democratic Republic of Congo, 139–40 Deng Xiaoping, 1 Denmark, 148 Department for International Development (DFID), 133, 137–8 development aid: charter cities movement, 150–3; community-driven reconstruction (CDR), 137–40; corruption and, 133–5, 142–3; economic ‘big push’ and, 143–5, 148–9; feedback loops, 141–3; fundamentally unidentified questions (FUQs), 132, 133; governments and, 118, 120, 143, 144, 148–9; identification strategies, 132–5; microfinance, 116, 117–18, 120; Millennium Development Villages, 129–30, 131; product space concept, 145–8; randomised trials and, 127–9, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135–6, 137–40, 141; randomistas, 127–9, 132, 133, 135–40, 258; selection principle and, 117, 140–3, 149; SouthWest project in China, 131; success and failure, 116, 118–20, 130–1; Muhammad Yunus and, 116, 117–18 digital photography, 240–1, 242 Dirks, Ray, 211–12, 213 disk-drive industry, 239–40, 242 Djankov, Simeon, 135 domino-toppling displays, 185, 200–1 Don Basin (Russia), 21–2, 24, 27 dot-com bubble, 10, 92 Dubai, 147, 150 Duflo, Esther, 127, 131, 135, 136 Dyck, Alexander, 210, 213 eBay, 95, 230 econometrics, 132–5 economics and finance: banking system as complex and tightly coupled, 185, 186, 187–90, 200, 201, 207–8, 220; bankruptcy contingency plans, 204; Basel III regulations, 195; bond insurance business, 189–90; bridge bank/rump bank approach, 205–6; capital requirements, 203, 204; centrally planned economiepos=0000032004 >11, 21, 23–6, 68–9, 70; CoCos (contingent convertible bonds), 203–4; complexity and, 3–4; decoupling of financial system, 202, 203–8, 215–16, 220; Dodd-Frank reform act (2010), 195; employees as error/fraud spotters, 210, 211, 212, 213, 215; energy crisis (1970s), 179; evolutionary theory and, 14–17, 18–19, 174–5; improvements since 1960s, 215; inter-bank payments systems, 207; latent errors and, 209–10, 215; ‘LMX spiral’, 183–4, 189; narrow banking approach, 206–7, 215; need for systemic heat maps, 195–6; reinsurance markets, 183; zombie banks, 201–2; see also business world; corporations and companies; financial crisis (from 2007) Edison, Thomas, 236, 238 Eliot, T.S., 260 Elizabeth House (Waterloo), 170–1, 172 Endler, John, 221–2, 223, 234, 239 Engineers Without Borders, 119 Enron, 197–8, 200, 208, 210 environmental issues: biofuels, 84, 173, 176; clean energy, 91, 94, 96, 245–6; corporations/companies and, 159, 161, 165, 170–1, 172–3; renewable energy technology, 84, 91, 96, 130, 168, 169–73, 179, 245; see also climate change Equity Funding Corporation, 212 Ernst and Young, 199 errors and mistakes, types of, 208–10; latent errors, 209–10, 215, 218, 220 European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), 188 European Union, 169, 173 Evans, Martin, 100 evolutionary theory, 6, 12–13, 15–17, 174, 258; business world and, 14–17, 174–5, 233–4; Darwin and, 86; digital world and, 13–14, 259–60; economics and, 14–17, 174–5; Endler’s guppy experiments, 221–2, 223, 239; fitness landscapes, 14–15, 259; Leslie Orgel’s law, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 180; problem solving and, 14–15, 16; selective breeding and, 175–6 expertise, limits of, 6–8, 16, 17, 19, 66 extinction events, biological, 18–19 Exxon (formerly Jersey Standard), 9, 12, 188, 245 F-22 stealth fighter, 93 Facebook, 90, 91 failure: in business, 8–10, 11–12, 18–19, 36, 148–9, 224, 239–46; chasing of losses, 32–5, 253–4, 256; in complex and tightly coupled systems, 185–90, 191–2, 200, 201, 207–8, 219, 220; corporate extinctions, 18–19; denial and, 32, 34–5, 250–3, 255–6; disruptive technologies, 239–44, 245–6; of established industries, 8–10; government funding and, 148–9; hedonic editing and, 254; honest advice from others and, 256–7, 258, 259; learning from, 31–5, 78, 119, 250–1, 256–9, 261–2; modern computer industry and, 11–12, 239–42; as natural in market system, 10, 11, 12, 244, 245–6; niche markets and, 240–2; normal accident theory, 219; recognition of, 36, 224; reinterpreted as success, 254–5, 256; shifts in competitive landscape, 239–46; ‘Swiss cheese model’ of safety systems, 186–7, 190, 209, 218; types of error and mistake, 208–10; willingness to fail, 249–50, 261–2; of young industries, 10 Fearon, James, 137, Federal Aviation Administration, 210 Federal Reserve Bank, 193–4 feedback, 25, 26, 42, 178, 240; in bureaucratic hierarchies, 30–1; development and, 141–3; dictatorships’ immunity to, 27; Iraq war and, 43–5, 46, 57–8, 59–62; market system and, 141; praise sandwich, 254; public services and, 141; self-employment and, 258; yes-men and, 30 Feith, Douglas, 44, 45 Ferguson, Chris ‘Jesus’, 32 Fermi nuclear reactor (near Detroit), 187 Festinger, Leon, 251 financial crisis (from 2007), 5, 11, 25; AIG and, 189, 193–5, 215–16, 228; bankers’ bonuses, 198; banking system as complex and tightly coupled, 185, 186, 187–90, 200, 201, 207–8, 220; bond insurance business and, 189–90; collateralised debt obligations (CDOs), 190, 209; credit default swaps (CDSs), 187–9, 190, 194; derivatives deals and, 198, 220; faulty information systems and, 193–5; fees paid to administrators, 197; government bail-outs/guarantees, 202, 214, 223; Lehman Brothers and, 193, 194, 196–200, 204–5, 208, 215–16; ‘LMX spiral’ comparisons, 183–4, 189; Repo 105 accounting trick, 199 Financial Services Authority (FSA), 214 Firefox, 221, 230 Fleming, Alexander, 83 Food Preservation prize, 107, 108 Ford Motor Company, 46–7 fossil record, 18 Fourier, Joseph, 155 fraud, corporate, 208, 210, 212–13, 214 Friedel, Robert, 80 Frost, Robert, 260 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (musical), 248 Gage, Phineas, 21, 27 Galapagos Islands, 86, 87 Gale (US developer), 152 Galenson, David, 260 Galileo, 187 Galland, Adolf, 81 Gallipoli campaign (1915), 41–2 Galvin, Major General Jack, 62, 256 game theory, 138, 205 Gates, Bill, 110, 115 Gates, Robert, 59, 64, 78 Gates Foundation, 110 Geithner, Tim, 193–5, 196 GenArts, 13 General Electric, 9, 12, 95 Gilbert, Daniel, 255, 256 GlaxoSmithKline, 95 Glewwe, Paul, 127–8 Global Positioning System (GPS), 113 globalisation, 75 Google, 12, 15, 90, 91, 239, 245, 261; corporate strategy, 36, 231–4; Gmail, 233, 234, 241, 242; peer monitoring at, 229–30 Gore, Al, An Inconvenient Truth, 158 Göring, Hermann, 81 government and politics: climate change and, 157–8, 163, 169–74, 176, 180; development aid and, 118, 120, 143, 144, 148–9; financial crisis (from 2007) and, 193–5, 198–9, 202, 214, 215–16, 223; grandiosity and, 27–8; ideal hierarchies and, 46pos=00002pos=0000022558 >7, 49–50, 62–3, 78; innovation funding, 82, 88, 93, 97, 99–101, 102–3, 104, 113; lack of adaptability rewarded, 20; pilot schemes and, 29, 30; rigorous evaluation methods and, 29* Graham, Loren, 26 Grameen Bank, 116, 117 Greece, 147 Green, Donald, 29* greenhouse effect, 154–6 Gulf War, first, 44, 53, 65, 66, 67, 71; Battle of 73 Easting, 72–3, 74, 79 Gutenberg, Johannes, 10 Haldane, Andrew, 195, 258 Halifax (HBOS subsidiary), 211 Halley, Edmund, 105 Halliburton, 217 Hamel, Gary, 221, 226, 233, 234 Hanna, Rema, 135 Hannah, Leslie, 8–10, 18 Hanseatic League, 150 Harrison, John, 106–7, 108, 110, 111 Harvard University, 98–9, 185 Hastings, Reed, 108 Hausmann, Ricardo, 145 Hayek, Friedrich von, 1, 72, 74–5, 227 HBOS, 211, 213, 214 healthcare sector, US, 213–14 Heckler, Margaret, 90–1 Henry the Lion, 149, 150, 151–2, 153 Hewitt, Adrian, 169 Hidalgo, César, 144–7, 148 Higginson, Peter, 230 Hinkley Point B power station, 192–3, 230–1 Hitachi, 11 Hitler, Adolf, 41, 82, 83, 150 HIV-AIDS, 90–1, 96, 111, 113 Holland, John, 16, 103 Hong Kong, 150 Houston, Dame Fanny, 88–9, 114 Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), 101–3, 112 Hughes (computer company), 11 Humphreys, Macartan, 136, 137, 138–40 Hurricane aircraft, 82* IBM, 11, 90, 95–6 In Search of Excellence (Peters and Waterman, 1982), 8, 10 India, 135, 136, 143, 147, 169 individuals: adaptation and, 223–4, 248–62; climate change and, 158–63, 164, 165–6; experimentation and, 260–2; trial and error and, 31–5 Indonesia, 133–4, 142, 143 Innocentive, 109 innovation: corporations and, 17, 81–2, 87–9, 90, 93–4, 95–7, 108–11, 112, 114, 224–30, 232–4; costs/funding of, 90–4, 99–105; failure as price worth paying, 101–3, 104, 184, 215, 236; government funding, 82, 88, 93, 97, 99–101, 102–3, 104, 113; grants and, 108; in health field, 90–1, 96; large teams and specialisation, 91–4; market system and, 17, 95–7, 104; new technologies and, 89–90, 91, 94–5; parallel possibilities and, 86–9, 104; prize methodology, 106–11, 112, 113–14, 179, 222–3; randomistas and, 127–9, 132, 133, 135–40, 258; return on investment and, 83–4; skunk works model, 89, 91, 93, 152, 224, 242–3, 245; slowing down of, 90–5, 97; small steps and, 16, 24, 29, 36, 99, 103, 143, 149, 153, 224, 259–60; space tourism, 112–13, 114; specialisation and, 91–2; speculative leaps and, 16, 36, 91, 99–100, 103–4, 259–60; unpredictability and, 84–5 Intel, 11, 90, 95 International Christelijk Steunfonds (ICS), 127–9, 131 International Harvester, 9 International Rescue Committee (IRC), 137–8, 139 internet, 12, 15, 63, 90, 113, 144, 223, 233, 238, 241; randomised experiments and, 235–6, 237; see also Google Iraq war: al Anbar province, 56–7, 58, 64, 76–7; civil war (2006), 39–40; Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP), 77; counterinsurgency strategy, 43, 45, 55–6, 58, 60–1, 63–4, 65; decentralisation and, 76–8, 79; feedback and, 43–5, 46, 57–8, 59–62; FM 3–24 (counter-insurgency manual), 63; Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), 51–3, 57, 65; Haditha killings (19 November 2005), 37–9, 40, 42, 43, 52; new technologies and, 71, 72, 74, 78–9, 196; Samarra bombing (22 February 2006), 39; Tal Afar, 51, 52, 53–5, 61, 64, 74, 77, 79; trial and error and, 64–5, 66–7; US turnaround in, 35, 40, 46, 50–1, 53–6, 57–8, 59–61, 63–5, 78; US/allied incompetence and, 38, 39–40, 42–5, 46, 50, 64, 67, 79, 223; Vietnam parallels, 46 J&P Coats, 9 Jacobs, Jane, 87 James, Jonathan, 30 Jamet, Philippe, 192 Janis, Irving, 62 Japan, 11, 143, 176, 204, 208 Jay-Z, 119 Jo-Ann Fabrics, 235 Jobs, Steve, 19 Joel, Billy, 247–8, 249 Johnson, President Lyndon, 46, 47, 49–50, 60, 62, 64, 78 Jones, Benjamin F., 91–2 Joyce, James, 260 JP Morgan, 188 Kahn, Herman, 93 Kahneman, Daniel, 32, 253 Kantorovich, Leonid, 68–9, 76 Kaplan, Fred, 77 Karlan, Dean, 135 Kauffmann, Stuart, 16, 103 Kay, John, 206–7, 208, 215, 259 Keller, Sharon, 252 Kelly, Terri, 230 Kennedy, President John F., 41, 47, 62–3, 84, 113 Kenya, 127–9, 131 Kerry, John, 20 Keynes, John Maynard, 181 Kilcullen, David, 57, 60–1 Klemperer, Paul, 96, 205 Klinger, Bailey, 145 Kotkin, Stephen, 25 Kremer, Michael, 127–8, 129 Krepinevich, Andy, 45 Lanchester, John, 188 leaders: decision making and, 40–2; failure of feedback and, 30–1, 62; grandiosity and, 27–8; ignoring of failure, 36; mistakes by, 41–2, 56, 67; need to believe in, 5–6; new leader as solution, 59 Leamer, Ed, 132* Leeson, Nick, 184–5, 208 Lehman Brothers, 193, 194, 196–200, 204–5, 208, 215–16 Lenin Dam (Dnieper River), 24 Levine, John, 48–9 Levitt, Steven, 132–3 Liberia, 136–9 light bulbs, 162, 177 Lind, James, 122–3 Lindzen, Richard, 156 Livingstone, Ken, 169 Lloyd’s insurance, 183 Lloyds TSB, 214 Local Motors, 90 Lockheed, Skunk Works division, 89, 93, 224, 242 Lomas, Tony, 196, 197–200, 204, 205, 208, 219 Lomborg, Bjorn, 94 longitude problem, 105–7, 108 Lu Hong, 49 Lübeck, 149–50, 151–2, 153 Luftwaffe, 81–2 MacFarland, Colonel Sean, 56–7, 64, 74, 76–7, 78 Mackay, General Andrew, 67–8, 74 Mackey, John, 227, 234 Madoff, Bernard, 208212–13 Magnitogorsk steel mills, 24–5, 26, 153 Malawi, 119 Mallaby, Sebastian, 150, 151 management gurus, 8, 233 Manhattan Project, 82, 84 Manso, Gustavo, 102 Mao Zedong, 11, 41 market system: competition, 10–11, 17, 19, 75, 95, 170, 239–46; ‘disciplined pluralism’, 259; evolutionary theory and, 17; failure in as natural, 10, 11, 12, 244, 245–6; feedback loops, 141; innovation and, 17, 95–7, 104; patents and, 95–7; trial and error, 20; validation and, 257–8 Markopolos, Harry, 212–13 Marmite, 124 Maskelyne, Nevil, 106 mathematics, 18–19, 83, 146, 247; financial crisis (from 2007) and, 209, 213; prizes, 110, 114 Mayer, Marissa, 232, 234 McDonald’s, 15, 28 McDougal, Michael, 252 McGrath, Michael, 252 McMaster, H.R.


pages: 397 words: 109,631

Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking by Richard E. Nisbett

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, big-box store, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive dissonance, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological constant, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, endowment effect, experimental subject, feminist movement, fixed income, fundamental attribution error, glass ceiling, Henri Poincaré, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, quantitative easing, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, Socratic dialogue, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, William of Occam, Zipcar

It actually is better for your well-being to give money than to receive it,1 and kind consideration of others makes one happier.2 But this doesn’t affect the logic of Pascal’s payoff matrix.) Pity the poor atheist if Pascal got the payoffs right in the event that God exists. Only a fool would fail to believe. But unfortunately you can’t just grunt and produce belief. Pascal had a solution to this problem, though. And in solving the problem he invented a new psychological theory—what we would now call cognitive dissonance theory. If our beliefs are incongruent with our behavior, something has to change: either our beliefs or our behavior. We don’t have direct control over our beliefs but we do have control over our behavior. And because dissonance is a noxious state, our beliefs move into line with our behavior. Pascal’s prescription for atheists is to proceed “by doing everything as if they believed, by taking holy water, by having Masses said, etc.… This will make you believe … What have you to lose?”

., “Findings from the 2008 Administration of the College Senior Survey (CSS): National Aggregates.” 11. Sanchez-Burks, “Performance in Intercultural Interactions at Work: Cross-Cultural Differences in Responses to Behavioral Mirroring.” 12. Goethals and Reckman, “The Perception of Consistency in Attitudes.” 13. Goethals, Cooper, and Naficy, “Role of Foreseen, Foreseeable, and Unforeseeable Behavioral Consequences in the Arousal of Cognitive Dissonance.” 14. Nisbett et al., “Behavior as Seen by the Actor and as Seen by the Observer.” 15. Ibid. 16. Nisbett, The Geography of Thought; Nisbett et al., “Culture and Systems of Thought: Holistic Vs. Analytic Cognition.” 17. Masuda et al., “Placing the Face in Context: Cultural Differences in the Perception of Facial Emotion.” 18. Masuda and Nisbett, “Attending Holistically vs. Analytically: Comparing the Context Sensitivity of Japanese and Americans.” 19.

The Creative Process. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1952/1980. Gilovich, Thomas, Robert Vallone, and Amos Tversky. “The Hot Hand in Basketball: On the Misperception of Random Sequences.” Cognitive Personality 17 (1985): 295–314. Goethals, George R., Joel Cooper, and Anahita Naficy. “Role of Foreseen, Foreseeable, and Unforeseeable Behavioral Consequences in the Arousal of Cognitive Dissonance.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37 (1979): 1179–85. Goethals, George R., and Richard F. Reckman. “The Perception of Consistency in Attitudes.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 9 (1973): 491–501. Goldstein, Noah J., Robert B. Cialdini, and Vladas Griskevicius. “A Room with a Viewpoint: Using Social Norms to Motivate Environmental Conservation in Hotels.” Journal of Consumer Research 35 (2008): 472–82.


pages: 280 words: 82,623

What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith, Mark Reiter

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business process, cognitive dissonance, financial independence, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, knowledge worker, loss aversion, shareholder value, zero-sum game

There’s a reason for this, and it’s one of the best-researched principles in psychology. It’s called cognitive dissonance. It refers to the disconnect between what we believe in our minds and what we experience or see in reality. The underlying theory is simple. The more we are committed to believing that something is true, the less likely we are to believe that its opposite is true, even in the face of clear evidence that shows we are wrong. For example, if you believe your colleague Bill is a jerk, you will filter Bill’s actions through that belief. No matter what Bill does, you’ll see it through a prism that confirms he’s a jerk. Even the times when he’s not a jerk, you’ll interpret it as the exception to the rule that Bill’s a jerk. It may take years of saintly behavior for Bill to overcome your perception. That’s cognitive dissonance applied to others. It can be a disruptive and unfair force in the workplace.

It can be a disruptive and unfair force in the workplace. Yet cognitive dissonance actually works in favor of successful people when they apply it to themselves. The more we are committed to believing that something is true, the less likely we are to believe that its opposite is true, even in the face of evidence that shows we may have chosen the wrong path. It’s the reason successful people don’t buckle and waver when times get tough. Their commitment to their goals and beliefs allows them to view reality through rose-tinted glasses. That’s a good thing in many situations. Their personal commitment encourages people to “stay the course” and to not give up when the going gets tough. Of course, this same steadfastness can work against successful people when they should change course. How Our Success Makes Us Superstitious These four success beliefs—that we have the skills, the confidence, the motivation, and the free choice to succeed—make us superstitious.

It’s not enough to tell everyone that you want to get better; you have to declare exactly in what area you plan to change. In other words, now that you’ve said you’re sorry, what are you going to do about it? I tell my clients, “It’s a lot harder to change people’s perception of your behavior than it is to change your behavior. In fact, I calculate that you have to get 100% better in order to get 10% credit for it from your coworkers.” The logic behind this is, as I’ve explained in Chapter 3, cognitive dissonance: To recap, we view people in a manner that is consistent with our previous existing stereotypes, whether it is positive or negative. If I think you’re an arrogant jerk, everything you do will be filtered through that perception. If you do something wonderful and saintly, I will regard it as the exception to the rule; you’re still an arrogant jerk. Within that framework it’s almost impossible for us to be perceived as improving, no matter how hard we try.


pages: 123 words: 32,382

Grouped: How Small Groups of Friends Are the Key to Influence on the Social Web by Paul Adams

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Airbnb, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, information retrieval, invention of the telegraph, planetary scale, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, sentiment analysis, social web, statistical model, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application, white flight

The larger number of choices were good for getting people’s attention, but were ultimately far worse for sales.2 In a study on how people select pension funds, when 95 funds were offered, about 60 percent of people participated, but when only 2 funds were offered, the rate of participation jumped to 75 percent.3 When Procter & Gamble reduced the number of Head & Shoulders products from 26 to 15, they saw a 10 percent increase in sales.4 Often it is better to offer fewer choices. Although we want more information, when we have two or more conflicting ideas in our head, we become overwhelmed. This is known as cognitive dissonance and we often experience it when shopping. When this happens, we often pick the option that matches our current beliefs, and disregard all other options without evaluating them properly. When we buy things, in particular expensive things, we often feel discomfort after the purchase because we’re not sure if the purchase was a good decision. Instead of returning the item, we’re much more likely to reduce the dissonance by telling everyone how great the purchase was, and convincing ourselves in the process.

When we’re sad or scared we want what’s familiar and will avoid what’s new.8 How to change people’s habits We often use advertising to try to persuade people that there are better alternatives to what they currently do. Yet, presenting them with evidence that what they currently do is a bad choice is one of the worst ways to change people’s behavior or attitude. At best, this has little influence, as we automatically ignore information counter to our beliefs. At worst, the conflicting evidence brings about cognitive dissonance, and because we don’t like to hold opposing views in our head, we become more ingrained in what we believed before. It’s incredibly hard to change people’s attitudes. It’s much easier to invoke behavioral change first, and then attitudinal change later. Changes in behavior almost always lead to changes in attitude. But before people will change their behavior, they have to be ready to try something new.


pages: 478 words: 126,416

Other People's Money: Masters of the Universe or Servants of the People? by John Kay

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, call centre, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, dematerialisation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, Irish property bubble, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, light touch regulation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, market design, millennium bug, mittelstand, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Piper Alpha, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, Yom Kippur War

The tailgater persuades himself, and perhaps others, that his success is the result of his skilful driving. Crashes occur (the accident rate on French roads is so high that a French transport minister notoriously appealed to his compatriots to drive ‘comme les anglais’). But an element of cognitive dissonance creeps into accounts of the crash. The accident victim blames someone else for his misfortune: usually with some justification. The accidents that result from tailgating are triggered by some other immediate cause – an obstruction on the road, a mistake by another driver. The same cognitive dissonance enabled many bankers to persuade themselves – and some others – that the global financial crisis was not caused by their imprudent behaviour. The distribution of returns from tailgating shows a high probability of small gain and a low probability of large loss.

What was lost, in the end, was mostly other people’s money. By 2007–8 it became apparent that even the most senior tranche of a package of mortgages sold to people who were in default and whose houses were difficult to sell was likely to be worth very little. The story of that collapse has been told in detail in many places.6 Mozilo would settle charges levelled against him by the SEC with a payment of $67.5 million. With the cognitive dissonance of the tailgater, he would explain that the considerably larger amount he had received for his services as chief executive of Countrywide was justified by the profits that his company had reported from the sale of mortgages before the borrowers failed to pay them back. I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone. With the decline of thrifts, bank examiners had assumed the role formerly played by the Office of Thrift Supervision (although this famously incompetent regulator continued in existence and AIG Financial Products, issuer of credit default swaps, discovered a loophole that enabled it to operate under the Office’s feeble oversight).

Carbolic Smoke Ball Company 61, 316n13 Carnegie, Andrew 52 Carney, Mark 288 Carroll, Lewis: Through the Looking Glass 111 ‘carry trades’ 129 Carville, James 248, 249, 252 Casablanca (film) 292 Cassano, Joe 120, 293 Cayman Islands 122 Cayne, Jimmy 90 Central Banks 43, 75, 98, 183, 184, 242–6 Chacoan civilisation 277 Challenger space shuttle 276, 327n3 Channel Tunnel 158 chartism 110 Chelsfield 158 Chequers country residence, Buckinghamshire 231 Chesterton 158 Chicago Board of Trade 17 Chicago Butter and Egg Board 17, 19 Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) 19–20, 23, 31 China, economic growth in 53, 69 Chinese Revolution (1949) 3 Citibank 51, 166, 186 Citicorp 33–4, 37, 38, 48 Citigroup 1, 34, 35, 48, 49, 51, 57, 59, 91, 124, 134–5, 138, 191, 242, 293, 300 Citizens United case (2010) 304 City of Glasgow Bank 292 City of London 1, 20, 262, 263, 266, 268, 303, 305 careers in 12, 15 a pre-eminent financial centre 13 staffing of 217 Civil Aeronautics Board 238 civilisations, collapse of 277 Cleveland, Grover 233, 237 Clinton, Bill 5, 57, 205 closet indexation 206 Coca-Cola 108 ‘code staff’ 266 cognitive dissonance 102, 152 coin-tossing game 96, 105 Colbert, Jean-Baptiste 59–60, 63 collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) 40, 63–4, 73, 101, 131, 244, 303 Collins, Senator S.M. 114, 117 commercial banks acquisitions 24 capital strength 28 investment banks within 22 payments system 25 public companies 30 short-term lending 25 structure of 30 commercial paper 163 Commerzbank 169 Commodity Futures Modernization Act (2000) 119 Commodity Futures Trading Commission 57, 288 Communist states 3, 39 company directors 84 competition 111–14 Confucius 270 Conrad, Joseph: Typhoon 233, 235 consumer debt 175 consumer protection 259–62 contactless payment cards 181, 186 corporate treasurer 164 corporation tax 266 correlation 96, 97–8 Corrigan, E.


pages: 239 words: 68,598

The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning by James E. Lovelock

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Ada Lovelace, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, continuous integration, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, discovery of DNA, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Henri Poincaré, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, short selling, Stewart Brand, University of East Anglia

To be sure they hedge their bets with green‐sounding invocations and aim for sustainable development, but can this do more than the prayers they offer in Parliament? I am not a contrarian; instead I greatly respect the climate scientists of the IPCC and would prefer to accept as true their conclusions about future climates. I do not enjoy argument for its own sake but I cannot ignore the large differences that exist between their predictions and what is observed. In human affairs we know that ‘he who hesitates is lost’; social scientists talk of ‘cognitive dissonance’, which the composer of the phrase, Leon Festinger, defined as the feeling of discomfort we feel when trying to hold two contradictory ideas simultaneously and the urge to reduce the dissonance by modifying or rejecting one of the ideas. It operates when we choose between two almost equal objects and, having chosen, invest our choice with superlative advantage over the alternative so that we can happily reject it.

The decision process must be part of our genetic inheritance; we need that certainty in human transactions. We have to choose and then have faith in our choice; this applies to the jobs we take, how we vote, the purchases we make, and the marriages to which we commit ourselves. It applies also to a judge or jury, but it is worse than useless in science. However, scientists are human and we never entirely escape the pull of cognitive dissonance. The range of forecasts by the different models of the IPCC is so large that it is difficult to believe that they are reliable enough to be used by governments to plan policy for ameliorating climate change. It is a brave try at an exceedingly difficult scientific task and probably we are expecting too much from them: it would be wrong to expect the view of the panel to be truly authoritative.

(If you are curious to know more about this side of my life it is in my autobiography Homage to Gaia.) This third component of my knowledge base has taught me that above all humans hate any conspicuous change in their daily way of life and view of the future. As Bertrand Russell put it, ‘The average man would rather face death or torture than think.’ The overwhelming wish to continue with business as usual applies far beyond the marketplace and may be a consequence of the cognitive dissonance I wrote about earlier. Business as usual is unfortunately how most of science is done even though we know that it has no place in science’s probabilistic world. For practical and administrative reasons we cannot suddenly change the direction of research of a large and expensive laboratory built around a costly assembly of instruments, computers and specialized staff; this may be part of the reason why our forecasts do not agree well with expectations drawn from the history of the Earth.


pages: 235 words: 62,862

Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders, and a 15-Hour Workweek by Rutger Bregman

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autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Branko Milanovic, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Graeber, Diane Coyle, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Gilder, George Santayana, happiness index / gross national happiness, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, income inequality, invention of gunpowder, James Watt: steam engine, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, low skilled workers, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, precariat, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wage slave, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wikimedia commons, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey

So opens Leon Festinger’s account of these events in When Prophecy Fails, first published in 1956 and a seminal text in social psychology to this day. “Tell him you disagree and he turns away,” Festinger continues. “Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.” It’s easy to scoff at the story of Mrs. Martin and her believers, but the phenomenon Festinger describes is one that none of us are immune to. “Cognitive dissonance,” he coined it. When reality clashes with our deepest convictions, we’d rather recalibrate reality than amend our worldview. Not only that, we become even more rigid in our beliefs than before.1 Mind you, we tend to be quite flexible when it comes to practical matters. Most of us are even willing to accept advice on how to remove a grease stain or chop a cucumber. No, it’s when our political, ideological, or religious ideas are at stake that we get the most stubborn.

When just one other person in the group stuck to the truth, the test subjects were more likely to trust the evidence of their own senses. Let this be an encouragement to all those who feel like a lone voice crying out in the wilderness: Keep on building those castles in the sky. Your time will come. Long Was the Night In 2008, it seemed as if that time had finally come when we were confronted with the biggest case of cognitive dissonance since the 1930s. On September 15, the investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. Suddenly, the whole global banking sector seemed poised to tumble like a row of dominoes. In the months that followed, one free market dogma after another crashed and burned. Former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan, once dubbed the “Oracle” and the “Maestro,” was gobsmacked. “Not only have individual financial institutions become less vulnerable to shocks from underlying risk factors,” he had confidently asserted in 2004, “but also the financial system as a whole has become more resilient.”9 When Greenspan retired in 2006, everyone assumed he would be immortalized in history’s financial hall of fame.

On Wall Street, bankers are seeing the highest bonus payments since the crash.12 And the banks’ capital buffers are as minuscule as ever. Joris Luyendijk, a journalist at The Guardian who spent two years looking under the hood of London’s financial sector, summed up the experience in 2013 as follows: “It’s like standing at Chernobyl and seeing they’ve restarted the reactor but still have the same old management.”13 You have to wonder: Was the cognitive dissonance from 2008 even big enough? Or was it too big? Had we invested too much in our old convictions? Or were there simply no alternatives? This last possibility is the most worrying of all. The word “crisis” comes from ancient Greek and literally means to “separate” or “sieve.” A crisis, then, should be a moment of truth, the juncture at which a fundamental choice is made. But it almost seems that back in 2008 we were unable to make that choice.


pages: 255 words: 75,208

Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It by Gary Taubes

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California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, Gary Taubes, meta analysis, meta-analysis, randomized controlled trial

And, once again, just as the Tufts review would have predicted, most of the nine pounds came off in the first six months, and most of the participants were gaining weight back after a year. No wonder obesity is so rarely cured. Eating less—that is, undereating—simply doesn’t work for more than a few months, if that. This reality, however, hasn’t stopped the authorities from recommending the approach, which makes reading such recommendations an exercise in what psychologists call “cognitive dissonance,” the tension that results from trying to hold two incompatible beliefs simultaneously. Take, for instance, the Handbook of Obesity, a 1998 textbook edited by three of the most prominent authorities in the field—George Bray, Claude Bouchard, and W. P. T. James. “Dietary therapy remains the cornerstone of treatment and the reduction of energy intake continues to be the basis of successful weight reduction programs,” the book says.

But it then states, a few paragraphs later, that the results of such energy-reduced restricted diets “are known to be poor and not long-lasting.” So why is such an ineffective therapy the cornerstone of treatment? The Handbook of Obesity neglects to say. The latest edition (2005) of Joslin’s Diabetes Mellitus, a highly respected textbook for physicians and researchers, is a more recent example of this cognitive dissonance. The chapter on obesity was written by Jeffrey Flier, an obesity researcher who is now dean of Harvard Medical School, and his wife and research colleague, Terry Maratos-Flier. The Fliers also describe “reduction of caloric intake” as “the cornerstone of any therapy for obesity.” But then they enumerate all the ways in which this cornerstone fails. After examining approaches from the most subtle reductions in calories (eating, say, one hundred calories less each day with the hope of losing a pound every five weeks) to low-calorie diets of eight hundred to one thousand calories a day to very low-calorie diets (two hundred to six hundred calories) and even total starvation, they conclude that “none of these approaches has any proven merit.”

That the official embrace of low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets coincided not with a national decline in weight and heart disease but with epidemics of both obesity and diabetes (both of which increase heart disease risk), should make any reasonable person question the underlying assumptions of the advice. But that’s not how people tend to think when confronted with evidence that one of their long-held beliefs is wrong. It’s not how we typically deal with cognitive dissonance. It’s certainly not how institutions and governments do it. For the moment, I’ll just say that the obesity/heart-disease link, combined with the obesity and diabetes epidemics that began more or less coincidentally with the advice to eat less fat, less saturated fat, and more carbohydrates, is a good reason to doubt that it’s the fat and the saturated fat that we have to worry about. Another reason to question the belief that saturated fat is bad for our health is that experimental evidence in support of the idea has always been surprisingly hard to come by.


pages: 936 words: 252,313

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease by Gary Taubes

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Albert Einstein, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, collaborative editing, Drosophila, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental subject, Gary Taubes, invention of agriculture, John Snow's cholera map, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, placebo effect, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Robert Gordon, selection bias, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, unbiased observer, Upton Sinclair

“High protein levels can be bad for the kidneys,” said Silverman. “High fat is bad for your heart. Now Reaven is saying not to eat high carbohydrates. We have to eat something.” “Sometimes we wish it would go away,” Silverman added, “because nobody knows how to deal with it.” This is what psychologists call cognitive dissonance, or the tension that results from trying to hold two incompatible beliefs simultaneously. When the philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn discussed cognitive dissonance in scientific research—“the awareness of an anomaly in the fit between theory and nature”—he suggested that scientists will typically do what they have invariably done in the past in such cases: “They will devise numerous articulations and ad hoc modifications of their theory in order to eliminate any apparent conflict.”

And because dietary carbohydrates and particularly refined carbohydrates elevate blood sugar and insulin and, presumably, induce insulin resistance, the implication is that eating these carbohydrates increases heart-disease risk not only in diabetics but in healthy individuals. By this reasoning, the atherogenic American diet is a carbohydrate-rich diet. Hence, cognitive dissonance. The logic of this argument has to be taken one step further, however, even if the cognitive dissonance is elevated with it. Both diabetes and metabolic syndrome are associated with an elevated incidence of virtually every chronic disease, not just heart disease. Moreover, the diabetic condition is associated with a host of chronic blood-vessel-related problems known as vascular complications: stroke, a stroke-related dementia called vascular dementia, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage in the extremities, and atheromatous disease in the legs that often leads to amputation.

This offers yet another reason to believe the carbohydrate hypothesis of heart disease, since metabolic syndrome is now considered perhaps the dominant heart-disease risk factor—a “coequal partner to cigarette smoking as contributors to premature [coronary heart disease],” as the National Cholesterol Education Program describes it—and both triglycerides and HDL cholesterol are influenced by carbohydrate consumption far more than by any fat. Nonetheless, when small, dense LDL and metabolic syndrome officially entered the orthodox wisdom as risk factors for heart disease in 2002, the cognitive dissonance was clearly present. First the National Cholesterol Education Program published its revised guidelines for cholesterol testing and treatment. This was followed in 2004 by two conference reports: one describing the conclusions of a joint NIH-AHA meeting on scientific issues related to metabolic syndrome, and the other, in which the American Diabetes Association joined in as well, describing joint treatment guidelines.


pages: 494 words: 116,739

Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change From the Cult of Technology by Kentaro Toyama

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active measures, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blood diamonds, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, computer vision, conceptual framework, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, global village, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Khan Academy, Kibera, knowledge worker, liberation theology, libertarian paternalism, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, Nicholas Carr, North Sea oil, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, Powell Memorandum, randomized controlled trial, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, school vouchers, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, World Values Survey, Y2K

But her general thrust remains much the same – in fact, she adds a few more ways in which technology will definitely improve the world, such as in the developing world. 18.Van Alstyne and Brynjolfsson (2005). 19.Selective exposure goes back to work by seminal psychologist Leon Festinger (1957), who posited the idea of cognitive dissonance – the discomfort people feel when presented with contradictory information. Selective exposure occurs when, in a bid to avoid cognitive dissonance, people tend to seek only information that confirms their beliefs. 20.Van Alstyne and Brynjolfsson (2005). 21.Stecklow (2005). 22.Mukul (2006); Raina and Timmons (2011). 23.A phablet is bigger than a smartphone, but smaller than a tablet. 24.That the digital divide is a symptom of other socioeconomic divides was astutely noted about telecenters by Economist (2005).

Experimental evidence on the effects of home computers on academic achievement among schoolchildren. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 5(3):211–240, https://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.5.3.211. Farmer, Paul. (2005). Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor. University of California Press. Feenberg, Andrew. (1999). Questioning Technology. Routledge. Festinger, Leon. (1957). A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford University Press. Findlater, Leah, Ravin Balakrishnan, and Kentaro Toyama. (2009). Comparing semiliterate and illiterate users’ ability to transition from audio+text to text-only interaction. Pp. 1751–1760 in Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’09). ACM, http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1518701.1518971. Fisher, Lawrence M. (1988). Moving up fast in the software sweepstakes.

See also Economics Carlin, George, 275(n8) Carr, Nicholas, 23 Caste system, 64, 139 Cause and correlation, 35 Censorship Arab Spring uprising, 33 Chinese Internet, 49–52 limiting technology use in the classroom, 119 Changing Lives (Tunstall), 270(n2) Character human maturation and, 161 learning, 165, 262(n29) strengths, 253(n20) See also Heart, mind, and will Charity compared with mentorship, 205 percentage of GDP, 269(n40) See also Nonprofit organizations; Poverty alleviation Charter schools, 62, 73, 239–240(n51) Check dams, 199 Children child-rearing, 192–193, 270(n1) commitment to save, 212–214 digital natives, 10–11 educational technology, 114–121 natural learners, 11 self-control, 265(n3) sexual abuse, 148, 257(n53) teaching and parenting, 202–203 text-messaging, 56 vaccines, 64–65 video games, 12, 114–115, 117, 122, 228(n20) See also Education and training China agricultural extension programs, 207, 273(n20) carbon reduction, 215–216 education, 13, 145, 229(n29) Internet censorship, 49–52 Max Weber, 176, 255(n7) one-child law, 205 PISA results, 229(n29) social media censorship, 23, 49–52 Toms Shoes manufacturing, 243(n31) See also Confucianism Choudhury, Abdul Mannan, 196–201 Civil Rights Act, 63–64 Civil society, Arab Spring and, 32–35, 37 Classroom management, 115–116, 118–119 Climate change, 23, 134, 215–216 Clinton, Bill, 49, 85 Clinton, Hillary, x, 35–36, 152 Coaching, 205 Cobb-Douglas function, 273–274(n25) Coerced partnership arrangements, 198, 205, 270(n1) Cognitive capacity, 28, 227(n10), 263(n43) Cognitive dissonance, 234(n19) Cognitive Surplus (Shirky), 230(n17) Cohen, Jared, 21, 229(n5) Cohen, Roger, 32–33 Cold chain of vaccine delivery, 65 Coleman, James, 145, 256(n42) Collective action. See also Self-help groups Collectivism, individualism and, 93 Colombia: One Laptop Per Child, 8 Communications Arab Spring suppression of, 33–34 cyberbalkanization, 47 history of technologies, 7–8 latent desires driving habits, 40–41 management, 44–46 personal and political interaction, 46–47 telecenters, 105 texting, 25, 56, 69, 235(n33) unintended consequences, 56 See also Mobile phones; Social media Community efforts.


pages: 327 words: 103,336

Everything Is Obvious: *Once You Know the Answer by Duncan J. Watts

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active measures, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, East Village, easy for humans, difficult for computers, edge city, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Santayana, happiness index / gross national happiness, high batting average, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, industrial cluster, interest rate swap, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, lake wobegon effect, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, medical malpractice, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, oil shock, packet switching, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, prediction markets, pre–internet, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, school choice, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, ultimatum game, urban planning, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

“Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments.” American Economic Review 90 (4): 980–94. ———. 2002. “Altruistic Punishment in Humans.” Nature 415:137–40. Feld, Scott L. 1981. “The Focused Organization of Social Ties.” American Journal of Sociology 86 (5):1015–35. Ferdows, Kasra, Michael A. Lewis, and Jose A. D. Machuca. 2004. “Rapid-Fire Fulfillment.” Harvard Business Review 82 (11). Festinger, Leon. 1957. A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press. Fiorina, Morris P., Samuel J. Abrams, and Jeremy C. Pope. 2005. Culture Wars? The Myth of a Polarized America. New York: Pearson Longman. Fischhoff, Baruch. 1982. “For Those Condemned to Study the Past: Heuristics and Biases in Hindsight.” In Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases, ed. D. Kahneman, P. Slovic, and A. Tversky. New York: Cambridge University Press.

The Quarterly Journal of Economics 113(3) 653–691. Harding, David J., Cybelle Fox, and Jal D. Mehta. 2002. “Studying Rare Events Through Qualitative Case Studies: Lessons from a Study of Rampage School Shootings.” Sociological Methods & Research 31 (2):174. Harford, Timothy. 2006. The Undercover Economist. New York: Oxford University Press. Harmon-Jones, Eddie, and Judson Mills, eds. 1999. Cognitive Dissonance: Progress on a Pivotal Theory in Social Psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Harsanyi, John C. 1969. “Rational-Choice Models of Political Behavior vs. Functionalist and Conformist Theories.” World Politics 21 (4):513–38. Hayek, Friedrich A. 1945. “The Use of Knowledge in Society.” American Economic Review 35(4):519–530. Heath, Chip, and Dan Heath. 2010. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard.

See Bargh and Chartrand (1999) and Schwarz (2004) for more on the importance of “fluency.” 15. See Nickerson (1998) for a review of confirmation bias. See Bond et al. (2007) for an example of confirmation bias in evaluating consumer products. See Marcus (2008, pp. 53–57) for a discussion of motivated reasoning versus confirmation bias. Both biases are also closely to related to the phenomenon of cognitive dissonance (Festinger 1957; Harmon-Jones and Mills 1999) according to which individuals actively seek to reconcile conflicting beliefs (“The car I just bought was more expensive than I can really afford” versus “The car I just bought is awesome”) by exposing themselves selectively to information that supports one view or discredits the other. 16. See Dennett (1984). 17. According to the philosopher Jerry Fodor (2006), the crux of the frame problem derives from the “local” nature of computation, which—at least as currently understood—takes some set of parameters and conditions as given, and then applies some sort of operation on these inputs that generates an output.


pages: 323 words: 95,939

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff

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algorithmic trading, Andrew Keen, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, cashless society, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, disintermediation, Donald Trump, double helix, East Village, Elliott wave, European colonialism, Extropian, facts on the ground, Flash crash, game design, global supply chain, global village, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, Inbox Zero, invention of agriculture, invention of hypertext, invisible hand, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, Law of Accelerating Returns, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Milgram experiment, mutually assured destruction, negative equity, Network effects, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, passive investing, pattern recognition, peak oil, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero-sum game

There was still a story being told, but the story was out of the government’s—or its propagandists’—control. If anything, the story that the television news was telling ended up more accurate than the one President Johnson’s staff was feeding him. The cognitive dissonance between the stories we were trying to tell ourselves about who we were as a nation and a people began conflicting with the stories that we were watching on TV. In a world still organized by stories, news about Vietnam atrocities and Watergate crimes can only mean there are bad people who need to be punished. This cognitive dissonance amounted to a mass adolescence for America: the stories we were being told about who we were and what we stood for had turned out to be largely untrue. And like any adolescent, we felt ready to go out and see the world for ourselves.

When a person’s head nods and his irises dilate, we know—even just subconsciously—that he agrees with us. This activates the mirror neurons in our brains, feeding us a bit of positive reinforcement, releasing a bit of dopamine, and leading us further down that line of thought. Without such organic cues, we try to rely on the re-Tweets and likes we get—even though we have not evolved over hundreds of millennia to respond to those symbols the same way. So, again, we are subjected to the cognitive dissonance between what we are being told and what we are feeling. It just doesn’t register in the same way. We fall out of sync. We cannot orchestrate human activity the same way a chip relegates tasks to the nether regions of its memory. We are not intellectually or emotionally equipped for it, and altering ourselves to become so simply undermines the contemplation and connection of which we humans are uniquely capable.


pages: 345 words: 87,745

The Power of Passive Investing: More Wealth With Less Work by Richard A. Ferri

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asset allocation, backtesting, Bernie Madoff, capital asset pricing model, cognitive dissonance, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, diversified portfolio, endowment effect, estate planning, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, implied volatility, index fund, intangible asset, Long Term Capital Management, money market fund, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Sharpe ratio, survivorship bias, too big to fail, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, yield curve, zero-sum game

The second group was composed of investors who belonged to the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII), an organization of mostly nonprofessional investors who enjoy learning about the markets. This group was deemed to be more knowledgeable about investment matters than the architects. They overestimated their past performance by 3.4 percentage points.9 The overall results are consistent with the theory of cognitive dissonance. Investors would rather alter the facts than admit they have no special investment skills. This makes it difficult to fix flawed investment strategies. Selective Memory as a Profession Wall Street has turned cognitive dissonance into a business model. Have you ever heard a brokerage firm ever say they were wrong about an investment recommendation? Their analysts say they were early or late on a call, but never wrong. And you’d be hard-pressed to find advisors who admit their mutual fund selections underperformed the markets over the years.

Cramer, “Cramer: Mutual Fund Advertising” April 2, 2008, www.abcnews.go.com. 7. Thierry Post, Martijn J. Van den Assem, Guido Baltussen, and Richard H. Thaler, “Deal or No Deal? Decision Making under Risk in a Large-Payoff Game Show,” American Economic Review 98, no. 1 (March 2008): 38–71. 8. Calmetta Coleman, “Beardstown Ladies Fess Up to Big Goof,” Wall Street Journal, Mar. 18, 1998, cl. 9. William N. Goetzmann and Nadav Peles, “Cognitive Dissonance and Mutual Fund Investors,” Journal of Financial Research 20, no. 2 (1997): 145–58. 10. John Maynard Keynes. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936; repr., Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1964), 148. 11. Richard H. Thaler, “Toward a Positive Theory of Consumer Choice,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 1, no. 1 (1980): 39–60. 12. Goetzmann and Peles, 1997. 13.


pages: 320 words: 96,006

The End of Men: And the Rise of Women by Hanna Rosin

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affirmative action, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, delayed gratification, edge city, facts on the ground, financial independence, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, job satisfaction, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, Northern Rock, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, Results Only Work Environment, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, union organizing, upwardly mobile, white picket fence, women in the workforce, young professional

Never.” At least not since college, when she was not as good at reading the signals. “I started to think about it,” she said, lounging back on her friend’s couch, putting her socked feet up on the coffee table. “What do I need a man for? I don’t need him financially. I don’t need him to do activities. I have lots of friends here. So fuck it.” One problem I had with our conversation was the cognitive dissonance produced by the difference between the voice and the person: The distinctive thing about Sabrina is her effortless, natural beauty. It’s hard to describe her physically without resorting to Nancy Drew–era clichés such as “youthful” and “fresh.” She is half Asian, with creamy skin and long black hair and clear green eyes. On the day I met her she was wearing an outfit that Katniss, the heroine from The Hunger Games, might wear to go hunting: jeans and what looked like a boy’s flannel checked button-down shirt, with no makeup.

The top still looks male, so women who make it that far still seem like an anomaly. In fact, they are seen as violating some essential quality of femininity—warmth, maternal instinct, communal feeling. Deep down we—men and women both—are not gender blind. We still expect women to act one way and men to act another. More than that, men and women both resist thinking any differently because it causes too much confusion and cognitive dissonance. We can glimpse the massive paradigm shift just on the horizon but we are not quite ready for it—a resistance that will fade as more and more women reach visible positions of power. IN 2008, at a time when Citigroup was becoming a model of big bank failure and corruption, its top executives held their regular Monday morning meeting. Vikram Pandit, the bank’s new CEO, was about to roll out a controversial new management structure that would shift around control over various geographical territories.

., 92, 153 Center for American Progress, 49, 124 Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, 20 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 19, 200 Central California Research Laboratories, 170 Chasing Stars (Groysberg), 203 Cheers (television show), 56 Chicago, University of, 185, 251 Business School, 216, 218 Chicopee (Massachusetts), 179 Child care, 14, 54, 218, 221–22, 224, 242, 264 government options for, 244 jobs in, 9, 118, 124 China, 5, 166 China Post, The, 239 Christians, 97 evangelical, 92, 284n Chung, James, 107 Chung, Vivien, 251–52 Citigroup, 205 Civil rights, 132, 148 Civil Rights Commission, U.S., 146 Civil War, 128 Clerical schools, 120, 130 Clovis (California), 169 Coal (television show), 87 Cognitive dissonance, 33 Cohen, Bernard, 68 Cold War, 152 Colorado, 170 Colombia, 55, 81, 237 Color Me Flo (Kennedy), 65 Columbia University, 119 Business School, 200 Comedy Central, 126–27, 143 Competition, 52, 174, 244 academic, in Korea, 232–33 for college admissions, 160 in traditional societies, 174, 188–89 Confucianism, 233, 234, 257 Congress, U.S., 205 Cookie magazine, 11 Coontz, Stephanie, 51 Cooper, Hannah, 113–17, 119–20, 123–24, 126–27, 130, 141–43 Cornwell, Patricia, 176 Cosby, Bill, 90 Cosmopolitan magazine, 31, 40 Creal, Cameron, 156 Creative Korea party, 249 Crime, violent, 175–85 against women, decline in, 19, 176, 182 committed by women, 176–78, 184–85 Daily Beast, The, 219, 228 “Dancing on My Own” (song), 44 Dating sites, 52, 255 Daum, Meghan, 31 Delahunty, Jennifer, 158–59 Deloitte Consulting, 141, 226 Delta Kappa Epsilon, 17 Democratic Party, 148 Denney, Leandra, 88 Denny’s, 179 Despentes, Virginie, 238, 256 Diana Chronicles, The (Brown), 228 Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Kinney), 190 DiPrete, Thomas A., 159 Divided Labours (Browne), 174 Divorce, 39–40, 49, 66–68, 94, 98, 101, 269 in Asia, 6, 238, 255 of breadwinner wives and unemployed husbands, 51, 81–82 and career opportunities for women, 152–53, 157 custody of children after, 125 financial impacts of, 68, 91, 283n murder as alternative to, 170, 172 regional differences in rates of, 92 Doctors, female, 59, 117, 132, 255–56 specialties chosen by, 118, 140 Domestic violence, 14, 170, 183 Drew, Ina, 202–3 Druggists’ Bulletin, 129 Drug Topics magazine, 131 Duke University, 43 Dunham, Lena, 43 Dushane, Melodi, 179 eBay, 224 Ebony magazine, 89 Economist, The, 253 Ecuador, 55 Edge City (Garreau), 133 Edin, Kathryn, 92–93 Education Department, U.S., 161, 224 Ehrenreich, Barbara, 41, 63 Eliot, George, 163 Eliot, Lise, 161, 174 Ellis, Bret Easton, 173 El-Scari, Mustafaa, 89–90 Empowerment, 30, 38, 45, 190 EMTs, 264 Engineers, 13, 54, 73, 80, 108, 150, 196 England, Paula, 24–25 Enlightened Power (Gergen), 199 Ericsson, Ronald, 11–13 Ernst & Young, 226 Erotic capital, 30, 37–38 Esteve, Albert, 237–38 Evans, Harry, 228 Evans, Jenelle, 179 Ewha University, 232–33, 239 Facebook, 181, 195, 197, 215, 224, 225, 230 Faludi, Susan, 9 Farber, Henry, 86 Farrell, Warren, 69, 72 Fast-food restaurants, female violence in, 179 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 176 Fels, Anna, 217 Feminism, 11, 12, 14–15, 21, 50, 60, 65–66, 75–76, 155, 182, 233 accusations against, 160 career opportunities and, 115, 124, 129, 152, 198, 215, 219 changing cultural norms in response to, 175 erotic capital and, 30 in Iceland, 202 motherhood and, 75–76, 93, 125 second-wave, 58 sexual norms and, 37–38, 41 Title IX complaints filed by, 17 in views of murders by women, 178 Financial planning, 118 Fiorina, Carly, 219 Fisher, Helen, 266 Flaubert, Gustave, 118 Flexibility, workplace, 140 Florida, Lottery, winners in, 94 Florida State University, 42 Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 12 Food preparation, 118, 124 Forbes magazine, 205 Forensic pathology, 118 Fort Lauderdale (Florida), 81, 180 Fortune 500 companies, 81, 198 Fortune magazine, 205 Fox Television, 225 France, 117, 237, 251, 252 Frankel, Lois, 34, 209 Franklin, Bernard, 154, 156 Friedan, Betty, 53 From Chivalry to Terrorism (Braudy), 266–67 Fulbright scholarships, 255 G.I.


pages: 346 words: 92,984

The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health by David B. Agus

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3D printing, active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, butterfly effect, clean water, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, Drosophila, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Kickstarter, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, microcredit, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, publish or perish, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Thomas Malthus, wikimedia commons

Put another way, we essentially move the goalposts in our arguments to meet our needs and conclusions while ignoring contrary data, even if there’s plenty of it. People who use motivated reasoning respond defensively to contrary evidence. They actively discredit such evidence or its source without logical or evidentiary justification. It’s confirmation bias to the extreme. Why do we defend obvious falsehoods? It can’t be just to always feel as if we’re right. Social scientists posit that our desire to avoid “cognitive dissonance,” as they call it, drives motivated reasoning. In other words, self-delusion feels good. Dan Kahan is a professor of law at Yale Law School. He explains a classic example of motivated reasoning by describing an experiment done in the 1950s when psychologists asked students from two Ivy League universities to watch a film that featured a set of controversial calls made by referees during a football game.3 The game happened to be between teams from their respective schools.

., 84 Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, The, 178 Boston University, 47 Bowerman, Bill, 199 brain: decision making in, 227 sleep’s importance to, 208–10 brain cancer, 30 Brave New World (Huxley), viii, 159, 238 Brazil, 199 BRCA genes, 8, 21, 118 breast cancer, 8, 53, 55, 60, 61, 118, 171, 190, 211 genetic mutation and, 21–22 mastectomies and, 21–22 obesity and, 133 statin use and, 220 Breast Cancer Prevention Trial, 53 Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 84 Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, 23, 24 Broedel, Max, 73 Brown University, 58 Brunet, Anne, 63 bubonic plague, 95–101 Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 2 butterfly effect, 236–37 California, 5, 12, 47, 103 tobacco control program in, 237 California, University of: at Berkeley, 25 at Irvine, 3 at San Francisco, 3 Caltech, 102 Cambridge, University of, 125, 134 Cameron, David, 67 Canada, 4, 11 cancer, 41, 108, 128, 175, 215, 237 aggressiveness of, 53–54 alternative treatments for, 18 aspirin and, 216–17 chemotherapy for, 29 childhood, 6, 49, 170–71 context and, 13–14 diet and, 163 early detection and treatment of, 172 fitness and, 190–94 genetic mutations and, 14, 21–22, 50 genotyping of, 117–18 immunotherapy for, 28–33 inflammation in, 175–77 lifestyle and, 153, 168–69 measurement of success in treating of, 32–33 metastasis in, 60–62 molecular therapies for, 23–24, 49–50, 54–55 muscle mass and, 195 p53 gene and, 57–58 Peto’s paradox and, 57 plasma transfusions and, 5 precision medicine and, 115 radiation therapy for, 29 random mutations in, 169–74, 176 as runaway cell copying, 59 self-seeding in, 61 statins and, 218–20 treatment resistance in, 190–91 Watson supercomputer and treatment of, 88–89 see also specific types of cancer cardiovascular disease, 86, 121, 128, 147, 216 airport noise and, 92 risk factors for, 47 Carlson, Mary, 212, 213 Carnegie Mellon University, 214 CAR T cells, 29–30 CBS This Morning, 67 CCR5 gene, 24, 25 Ceauşescu, Nicolae, 212–13 Celebrex (celecoxib), 62 celiac disease, 113, 164 cell division, 5 cells: death of (apoptosis), 59 endoplasmic reticulum in, 40 oxidative damage to, 40 receptors on, 59 Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development (Duke University), 45 Center for Translational Neuromedicine (University of Rochester), 208 Center for Translational Research in Aging and Longevity (University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences), 194 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 47, 103, 133, 205 ceritinib (Zykadia), 53 change, self-assessment of, past vs. future in, 38–40, 39 chaos theory, 236–37 Charaka, 113 Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine, 204 checkpoint blockage therapy, 29–30 chemotherapy, 29, 60, 190–91 exercise and, 191, 192 Chicago, University of, 17 children, obesity and overweight in, 133 Chittagong University, 232 cholera, 234 cholesterol, 150, 195, 217, 219 dietary vs. blood, 162 online calculator for, 218 chronic disease, 128–29 age-related, 128, 136 diet and, 141–44 management of, 144–46 overweight and, 141 sleep habits and, 147 chronological age, 45, 46, 46, 47, 135–36, 232 circadian rhythm, 123, 138, 139–40, 148, 205 Circulation, 86 climate change, 159 Clinical Practice Research Datalink, 219 clinical trials, 52 double-blind, 53, 155 IRBs and, 52 randomized, 52–53 ClinVar, 9 coarse graining, 229–32, 230 cognitive abilities, 45, 46 cognitive dissonance, 159 Cohen, Jacques, 111–12 colds, 205, 214 Cold War, 94 Coley, William B., 27–29, 28, 33, 48 colitis, 121–22 Collins, Francis, 114, 118 colonoscopies, 93 Colorado, 47 colorectal cancer, 55, 123–24, 190, 217 statin use and, 220 Columbia University, 138 complex carbohydrates, 162 comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), 151 Congress, US, 114, 237 context: adapting to new data in, 159 aging and, 45 baselines for, 150 changes in, 22 databases as, 83, 91–94 data mining and, 101 diet and, 163, 165 disease and, 13–14, 20 genes and, 14, 20–21, 118 health and, 48, 76–78, 84, 89–90, 91–94, 101, 113, 114–15, 117, 124–25 heart disease and, 22 identifying and optimizing, 135–52 lab tests in, 150–52 medical data and, 78–82 medical education and, 75 Cooper Center Longitudinal Study, 192 coordination, 45 Cornell University, 2 coronary artery disease, 151 cortisol, 123 counterfeit drugs, 10–11 C-reactive protein, 175 CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats), 24–25, 26, 45 Critical Care, 222 Crohn’s disease, 25, 121 CTLA-4, 29–30 cystic fibrosis, 115–16 Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Vertex, 115–16 cytokines, 123 cytoplasm, 111 cytosol, 40 Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Profile program of, 118 Dannon, 235 Dartmouth College, 157 Darwin, Charles, 112 data, medical: context and, 78–82 individual’s role in collection of, 81 databases, medical, 82–83, 95 as context, 83, 91–94 security of, 88–89 data mining, 84–89, 92 context and, 101 infectious diseases and, 100–101 Davos, Switzerland, 161 Dawkins, Richard, 17 death, leading causes of, 129 death certificates, 96 decision-making, 225, 227–28 dehydration, 234 dementia, 5, 41, 90, 91, 151, 204, 210, 215, 221 see also Alzheimer’s disease depression, 122, 211, 215 exercise and, 186 Dhaka, 232 diabetes, 22, 24, 25, 47, 59, 108, 114, 123, 128, 147, 151, 166, 175, 186, 187, 188, 215, 221, 237 gut bacteria and, 120–21 incidence of, 120–21 diet, 22, 114 chronic disease and, 141–44 as contextual, 163 honesty about, 133–34 low-cholesterol, 162 low-fat, 162 moderation in, 144 research on, see nutritional studies weight and, 141 diphtheria, 161 disease: autoimmune, 85, 125, 175 context and, 13–14, 20 genetic markers for, 22, 113–14, 127 surrogate markers for, 127–28 see also chronic disease; infectious diseases; noncommunicable diseases disorders, inherited, newborn screening and, 12 DNA, see genes, genome DNA mismatch repair, 32, 57 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), 182 dopamine, 211 Doudna, Jennifer A., 25 dreaming, 203 drug abuse, 22 drugs, see medications Duke Cancer Institute (DCI), 191 Duke University, 30 Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development at, 45 Dulken, Ben, 63 Dunedin Study, 45–47, 46 Dyerberg, Jorn, 182–83 Dyson, Esther, 173 Earls, Felton, 213 East Africa, 44, 107 Eat, Sleep, Poop (Cohen), 137 eating patterns, heart disease and, 138–40 Ebola, 18, 221–22 E. coli, 123 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), 182 Einstein, Albert, 2, 223 Elder, William, Jr., 115–16 electrodermal response, 230–31 Elledge, Stephen J., 84 emotions, touch and, 214 emulsifiers, microbiome and, 121–22 “end of history illusion,” 38–40, 39 End of Illness, The (Agus), 18 endoplasmic reticulum, 40 endorphins, 211 energy levels, 149 England, see Great Britain environment, see context epidemics: global spread of, 103 prediction of, 103–4 epigenetics, 20–21 esomeprazole (Nexium), 86 esophageal cancer, 217 estrogen, 64 ethics: genome editing and, 24–25 medical advances and, 10, 24 technology and, 25–26 Europe, 77 European Journal of Immunology, 34 exercise, 21, 114, 140, 185–201 chemotherapy and, 191, 192 honesty about, 133–34 ideal amount of, 196–200 intensity of, 197–98 life expectancy and, 189–90 mortality rates and, 148 Exeter, University of, 157 “Experimental Prolongation of the Life Span” (McCay, Lunsford, and Pope), 2 experimental treatments, quicker access to, 56 Facebook, 27 fasting lipid profile, 150 feebleness, aging and, 43 fertility, aging and, 43 Field, Tiffany, 214 financial industry, information technology and, 89 Finland, 220 fish oil, 182–83 Florida, 103 flu vaccine: misinformation about, 157–58 public distrust of, 160 FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-di-monosaccharides and polyols), 164 Fodor, George, 183 food, safety of, 11 Food and Drug Administration, US (FDA), 2, 18, 51, 55, 56, 86, 111, 112, 127–28, 146, 182, 201 Accelerated Approval provisions of, 128 Foundation Medicine, 50 Framingham Heart Study, 47, 118 Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 169 free radicals, 208 fruit flies, eating pattern studies with, 138–40 fungi, 119 gait, 45 galvanic skin response (GSR), 230–31 gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), 86 Gates, Bill, 2 Genentech, 56 genes, genome, 45, 83–84 aging and, 20, 41 bacterial, 107, 119 context and, 14, 20–21, 118 DNA mismatch repair and, 32 expression of, 20–21, 125, 139 mitochondrial, see mitochondrial DNA sequencing of, 20, 23, 49–52, 112 SNPs in, 113–14 as switches, 41 viruses and, 119–20 genes, genome, editing of, 24–25, 45 ethics of, 102–5 genetically modified foods (GMOs), 18 genetic markers, 22, 113–14, 127 genetic mutations: aging and, 41 cancer and, 14, 21–22, 50 disease risk and, 9, 12 genetic screening, 103, 117, 137 flawed results in, 8–10 of newborns, 11–12 Georgia State University, 121 Gewirtz, Andrew, 121 Gibson, Peter, 164 Gilbert, Daniel, 38, 39, 40 Gillray, James, 161 Gladwell, Malcolm, 225, 227, 228 Gleevec (imatinib), 55 glial cells, 209 glioblastoma, 30 “Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health” (WHO), 187 gluten, debate over, 163–65 Goldstein, Irwin, 211 Google, 87, 88, 101 Google Flu Trends, 101 Grameen Bank, 232, 233–34, 235 Grameen Danone, 235 Graunt, John, 100 Great Britain, 96, 97, 100, 110, 155 Black Death in, 95–101, 98, 99, 100 Greatist.com, 200 Greenland, 182 Grove, Andy, 7, 7 growth factors, 59 gun violence, 91 gut: inflammation of, 120, 122 microbiome of, see microbiome H2 blockers, 86 habits and routines, 136, 137–41, 228, 237–38 see also diet; lifestyle choices Harlow, Harry, 213 Harvard Medical School, 84 Harvard School of Public Health, 142–43 Harvard University, 3, 23, 24, 37, 178, 186, 196, 212, 213, 216 hash tables, health care and, 87–88 Hawaii, 47 HDL cholesterol, 150 health: biological age and, 47 context and, 48, 76–78, 84, 89–90, 91–94, 101, 113, 114–15, 117, 124–25 family history of, 136–37 honesty about, 131–34 inflection point in, 8 lifestyle and, see lifestyle choices optimism and, 65–69 personal baselines for, 150 retirement and, 91–92 technology and, 37–70 health and fitness apps, 200 Health and Human Services Department, US, 103 health care: Affordable Care Act and, 69–70 hash tables and, 87–88 individual’s responsibility in, 12–13, 26, 70, 75, 78, 131–32 misinformation about, 14–15, 18, 19, 154, 157–58 politics and, 11–12 portable electronic devices and, 79, 90–91 Health Professionals Follow-up Study, 142–43, 217 health threats, prediction of, 103–4 heart: biological age of, 47–48 health of, 48 heart attacks, 76, 86, 182, 217, 218 heart disease, 59, 128, 150, 166, 175, 183, 186, 187, 215, 217, 221 context and, 22 diet and, 163 eating patterns and, 138–40 lifestyle choices and, 22 muscle mass and, 195 heart rates, 231 heart rate variability (HRV), 230 Heathrow Airport, 92 “hedonic reactions,” 38–40 heel sticks, 11–12 hemoglobin A1C test, 151 hepatitis B, 175 hepatitis C, 175 Herceptin (trastuzumab), 55 high blood pressure, 22, 188, 195 high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP) test, 151 hippocampus, 214 Hippocrates, 71, 113, 122, 216 HIV/AIDS, 18, 24, 25, 59, 84, 127–28, 131, 159 Hoffmann, Felix, 215, 216 Holland, 41 Homeland Security Department, US, 103 homeostasis, 137–38, 140 Homo sapiens, evolution of, 107 honesty: about health, 131–34 nutritional studies and, 162 hormones, 219 hormone therapy, 201 Horton, Richard, 178 Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled (Hospital for Special Surgery), 28 house calls, 80 Houston Methodist, 86 “how do you feel” question, 231 hugs, 214 Human Genome Project, 113, 120 human growth hormone, 200 Human Molecular Genetics, 65 human papilloma virus (HPV), 161, 175 Hurricane Sandy, 84 Huxley, Aldous, viii, 6, 159, 238 Hydra magnipapillata, 42, 42 hyperglycemia, 122 hypertension, 125, 195, 203 IBM, 88–89 imatinib (Gleevec), 55 immune reactions, 5 immune system, 175, 190, 209, 211 aging and, 44 impact of hugs on, 214 immunotherapy, 28–33 polio virus and, 30, 31 incentives, 235–36 Indiana University Bloomington School of Informatics and Computing’s Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research, 94–95 infant mortality, 87, 97 infants: genetic screening of, 11–12 premature, 87 infections, 175–76 infectious diseases, 129 antibiotic-resistant, 67–69, 68 data mining and, 100–101 inflammation, 34, 151, 174–77, 181, 187, 190, 195, 215–22 inflammatory bowel disease, 121 inflection points, 7–8, 7 influenza, 161 risks from, 157 vaccine for, see flu vaccine information, sorting good from bad, 19–20 information technology, financial industry and, 89 inherited disorders, newborn genetic screening and, 12 insomnia, 122 Institute for Sexual Medicine, 211 insulin, 56, 190 insulin sensitivity, 5, 87, 120, 122, 151, 195 insurance companies, off-label drugs and, 55 Intel, 7 International Agency for Research on Cancer, 170 International Prevention Research Institute, 180 intuition, 224–29 Inuits, 182–83 in vitro fertilization (IVF), three-person, 109–12, 110 Ioannidis, John, 178 IRBs (institutional review boards), 52 iron deficiency, 231 irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), 164 Islam, 234 Italy, 183 ivacaftor (Kalydeco), 115–16 JAMA Internal Medicine, 142, 143, 192, 196 Jenner, Edward, 160, 161 Jobs, Steve, 2, 23–24, 26, 49 Johns Hopkins Hospital, 71, 72, 128 Hurd Hall at, 74 Osler Medical Housestaff Training Program at, 73–75, 74 Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, 32 Johns Hopkins University, 23, 169, 170, 171, 173, 174, 175, 176, 215 Jolie, Angelina, 21 Jones, Owen, 43 Journal of Sexual Medicine, 211 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 72, 114–15, 173, 201, 220, 221 Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 154 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 169 Journal of Urology, 168 journals, medical, misinformation in, 154, 179 J.

., 159 mental health, 145 portable electronic devices and, 90–91 metabolic syndrome, 121, 122 metabolomics, 188 metastasis, 60–62 Metchnikoff, Élie, 33–35, 33, 35, 48 Miami, University of, Miller School of Medicine at, 214 mice and rats: aging experiments with, 1–3, 3, 4 cancer treatment experiments with, 60–62 digestive tract experiments with, 120, 121–22 microbiome, 48, 85, 119–25 beneficial bacteria and, 33–34 diabetes and, 120–21 emulsifiers and, 121–22 gastric surgery and, 123 sleep and, 122–23 microfinance, 232–33 Middle East, 77 mild cognitive impairment (MCI), 203–4 Minnesota, 103 misinformation, medical, 153–84 anecdotal evidence in, 156 cognitive dissonance and, 159 media and, 153–54 in medical studies, 177–84 motivated reasoning and, 157–61 in peer-reviewed journals, 154 post hoc reasoning in, 156 sweeping statements in, 165, 166–69, 184 Wikipedia and, 154 Mississippi, 47 Missouri, 205 MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), 23, 24, 236 Mitalipov, Shoukhrat, 109 mitochondria, 106–8, 106, 119 mitochondrial diseases, 106, 106, 108–12 mitochondrial DNA, 106, 106, 107–8 mutations in, 107–8 replacement of, 109–12, 110 mitochondrial electron transport chain (mETC), 139–40 “Mitochondrial Eve,” 107 MMR vaccine, 156 moderation, in diet, 144 Monash University, 164 Montana, 3 mood, monitoring of, 149 morbidity, sleep habits and, 146–47 Morgan, Thomas Hunt, 138 mortality rates: aging and, 42–43 decline in, 6–7 exercise and, 148 sleep habits and, 146, 147 motivated reasoning, medical misinformation and, 157–61 motivation, 149 MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), 230 multimorbidity, 129 multiple sclerosis, 59 muscle mass, 194–96, 199 muscle strength, 45 mutation, see genetic mutations MyBabyFace (app), 87 Napoli, Mike, 202–3 National Cancer Institute (NCI), 53, 114, 196 National Cancer Institute Cohort Consortium, 189 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 47, 141 National Institutes of Health (NIH), 114, 117–18, 205 National Sleep Foundation (NSF), 206 natural immunity, 33–34 Nature, 41, 95, 121, 123 NCI-MATCH (Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice), 117 near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), 66 Nedergaard, Maiken, 208–10 Neogest (app), 87 Neurology, 203 newborns: genetic screening of, 11–12 premature, 87 Newcastle University, 108 New England Journal of Medicine, 8, 9, 24, 32, 178, 183, 218 New Jersey, 111 New Mexico, 68 Newtown shooting, 91 New York, N.Y., 28, 116 New York Academy of Medicine, 2 New York Cancer Hospital, 28 see also Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York University, 204 New Zealand, 45, 46 Nexium (esomeprazole), 86 night blindness, 235 NIH Human Microbiome Project, 120 Nike, 199 Nobel Peace Prize, 232 Nobel Prize, 33, 34, 102 “nocebo” effect, 165 noncommunicable diseases, premature deaths from, 130, 131, 132 Northeastern University, 68 Northwestern University, 41 Norton, Larry, 60–61, 62 Nottingham, University of, 87 Nurses’ Health Study, 142–43, 216–17 nursing college, 235 nutritional studies, 161–69 honesty and, 162 lack of reliable data from, 162–63, 164 Nyhan, Brendan, 157, 158, 160 Obama, Barack, 11, 114, 115, 117 obesity and overweight, 22, 47, 121, 122, 123, 147, 188, 194, 215 breast cancer and, 133 chronic disease and, 141 honesty about, 132–34 obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), 122 Obstetrics & Gynecology, 132–33 Olser Library of Medicine (McGill University), 73 omega-3 fatty acids, 182–83 omeprazole (Prilosec), 86 “On Lines and Planes of Closest Fit to Systems of Points in Space” (Pearson), 95 Only the Paranoid Survive (Grove), 7 open-access model, 179 opioids, 145 optimism, health and, 65–69 Oregon, University of, 199 Oregon Health & Science University, 109 Ornish, Dean, 166–68 Osler, William, 15, 37, 71–73, 72, 73, 75, 126, 145, 153, 223 Othello (Shakespeare), 202 Ottawa, University of, 183 overweight, see obesity and overweight Oxford University, 216 oxidative stress, 175 oxytocin, 211 p53 gene, 57–58 pain relievers, risks of, 145–46 Paleo diet, 142, 163 parabiosis, 1–4, 3, 21 parasites, spread of, 103 Parkinson’s disease, 59, 108, 163 pattern recognition, 227 PD-L1, 29–30 Pearson, Karl, 95 Pediatric MATCH, 117 Pediatrics, 133 pelvic bone cancer, 176 Pennington Biomedical Research Center, 192 Pennsylvania, University of, 73, 75 Perelman School of Medicine at, 208 perceptual intuition, 228–29 personalized medicine, see precision medicine Peto, Richard, 57 Peto’s paradox, 57 PET (positron-emission tomography) scan, 230 pharmaceutical industry, 166 drug prices and, 56–57, 115–17 public distrust of, 18, 19, 69, 157 pharmacogenomics, precision medicine and, 115 phenylalanine, 12 phenylketonuria (PKU), 12 Philosophical magazine, 95 physical activity, 140 physicians: house calls by, 80 public distrust of, 17–19, 157 pit latrines, 234 Pittsburgh, University of, 196, 214 placebos, 53 plaques, 183 plasma transfusions, 4–5 plate discipline, 204 Plato, 185 PLOS Medicine, 178 pneumonia, 161 polio virus, in immunotherapy, 30, 31 Pope, Frank, 2 population growth, technology and, 27 portable electronic devices, health care and, 79, 90–91 Post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy, 156 precision medicine, 8, 20, 36, 102–25 art vs. science in, 112, 118 cancer treatment and, 115 context and, 114–15, 117 cost of, 56–57 historical roots of, 113 pharmacogenomics and, 115 technology and, 37–70 Precision Medicine Initiative, 114, 117 “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?”


pages: 242 words: 60,595

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, Bruce Patton

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cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, rent control, sealed-bid auction, transaction costs, zero-sum game

One useful rule of thumb is to give positive support to the human beings on the other side equal in strength to the vigor with which you emphasize the problem. This combination of support and attack may seem inconsistent. Psychologically, it is; the inconsistency helps make it work. A well-known theory of psychology, the theory of cognitive dissonance, holds that people dislike inconsistency and will act to eliminate it. By attacking a problem, such as speeding trucks on a neighborhood street, and at the same time giving the company representative positive support, you create cognitive dissonance for him. To overcome this dissonance, he will be 30 tempted to dissociate himself from the problem in order to join you in doing something about it. Fighting hard on the substantive issues increases the pressure for an effective solution; giving support to the human beings on the other side tends to improve your relationship and to increase the likelihood of reaching agreement.


pages: 200 words: 47,378

The Internet of Money by Andreas M. Antonopoulos

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AltaVista, altcoin, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, cryptocurrency, ethereum blockchain, financial exclusion, global reserve currency, litecoin, London Interbank Offered Rate, Marc Andreessen, Oculus Rift, packet switching, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, QR code, ransomware, reserve currency, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, Skype, smart contracts, the medium is the message, trade route, underbanked, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

He said, ”If we can’t unlock the phones, that means that everyone has a Swiss bank account in their pocket." That is not entirely accurate. I don’t have a Swiss bank account in my pocket. I have a Swiss bank, with the ability to generate 2 billion addresses off a single seed and use a different address for every transaction. That bank is completely encrypted, so even if you do unlock the phone, I still have access to my bank. That represents the cognitive dissonance between the powers of centralized secrecy and the power of privacy as a human right that we now have within our grasp. If you think this is going to be easy or that it’s going to be without struggle, you’re very mistaken. 3.10. Bitcoin, the Zombie of Currencies If you read anything about bitcoin, you’ll see the very same things that they said about the internet in the early '90s.

They will treat you in such a way as if you are idiots and try to persuade you that this is something to fear. When people hear that message, maybe the next day they come to one of these meetups and they meet a dentist who owns bitcoin, an architect who owns bitcoin, a taxi driver who uses bitcoin to send money back to their family—normal people who use bitcoin to give themselves financial power and financial freedom. Every time that message is broken by cognitive dissonance, bitcoin wins. All bitcoin really has to do is survive. So far, it’s doing pretty well. 3.11. Currencies Evolve In the new network-centric world, currencies occupy evolutionary niches. They evolve, like species, based on the stimulus they have from their environment. Bitcoin is a dynamic system with software developers that can change it. The question is, in which direction will bitcoin evolve?


pages: 198 words: 52,089

Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It by Richard V. Reeves

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, assortative mating, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, circulation of elites, cognitive dissonance, desegregation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, full employment, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, knowledge economy, land value tax, mortgage tax deduction, obamacare, Occupy movement, Plutocrats, plutocrats, positional goods, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, working-age population, zero-sum game

The problem is that many of these efforts are likely to run into the solid wall of upper middle-class resistance, even those that simply require a slightly higher tax bill. A change of heart is needed: a recognition of privilege among the upper middle class. That’s one reason I have written this book, in the hope that it can help to hold up a mirror. Some of us in the upper middle class already feel a degree of cognitive dissonance about the advantages we pile up for our own kids, compared to the truncated opportunities we know exist for others. We want our children to do well, but also want to live in a fairer society. My friend and colleague E. J. Dionne put it to me this way: “I spend my weekdays decrying the problem of inequality, but then I spend my evenings and weekends adding to it.” After describing the theme of this book to colleagues and friends, the conversation has often taken a confessional turn.

When the daughter of a liberal columnist failed to make it into a highly selective private school, he called a well-placed friend who called a family member who happens to run the school. Then she got in. Each of these individuals is thoughtful and liberal enough to know, at some level, their actions were morally wrong. In each case, their actions conferred an unfair advantage. If more of us start to feel Dionne’s cognitive dissonance, some political space might open up for the kind of reforms I discuss at the end of this book. These make some demands of the upper middle class, not least when it comes to paying for them. The big question is whether we are willing to make some modest sacrifices in order to expand opportunities for others or whether, deep down, we would rather pull up the ladder. As he put the final touches to a book, the historian James Truslow Adams was pleased with his idea for the title: The American Dream.


pages: 1,351 words: 385,579

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

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1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, Broken windows theory, California gold rush, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, crack epidemic, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, experimental subject, facts on the ground, failed state, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fudge factor, full employment, George Santayana, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, global village, Henri Poincaré, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, impulse control, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, long peace, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Republic of Letters, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, security theater, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

The drive to present the self in a positive light was one of the major findings of 20th-century social psychology. An early exposé was the sociologist Erving Goffman’s The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, and recent summaries include Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson’s Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me), Robert Trivers’s Deceit and Self-Deception, and Robert Kurzban’s Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite.23 Among the signature phenomena are cognitive dissonance, in which people change their evaluation of something they have been manipulated into doing to preserve the impression that they are in control of their actions, and the Lake Wobegon Effect (named after Garrison Keillor’s fictitious town in which all the children are above average), in which a majority of people rate themselves above average in every desirable talent or trait.24 Self-serving biases are part of the evolutionary price we pay for being social animals.

In the examples I mentioned in introducing the Moralization Gap, perpetrators rationalize a harm they committed out of self-interested motives (reneging on a promise, robbing or raping a victim). But people also rationalize harms they have been pressured into committing in the service of someone else’s motives. They can edit their beliefs to make the action seem justifiable to themselves, the better to justify it to others. This process is called cognitive dissonance reduction, and it is a major tactic of self-deception.285 Social psychologists like Milgram, Zimbardo, Baumeister, Leon Festinger, Albert Bandura, and Herbert Kelman have documented that people have many ways of reducing the dissonance between the regrettable things they sometimes do and their ideal of themselves as moral agents.286 One of them is euphemism—the reframing of a harm in words that somehow make it feel less immoral.

The better angels that subdue these demons are the topic of the next chapter. Yet the mere process of identifying our inner demons may be a first step to bringing them under control. The second half of the 20th century was an age of psychology. Academic research increasingly became a part of the conventional wisdom, including dominance hierarchies, the Milgram and Asch experiments, and the theory of cognitive dissonance. But it wasn’t just scientific psychology that filtered into public awareness; it was the general habit of seeing human affairs through a psychological lens. This half-century saw the growth of a species-wide self-consciousness, encouraged by literacy, mobility, and technology: the way the camera follows us in slow-mo, the way we look to us all. Increasingly we see our affairs from two vantage points: from inside our skulls, where the things we experience just are, and from a scientist’s-eye view, where the things we experience consist of patterns of activity in an evolved brain, with all its illusions and fallacies.


pages: 52 words: 16,113

The Laws of Medicine: Field Notes From an Uncertain Science by Siddhartha Mukherjee

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Atul Gawande, cognitive dissonance, medical residency, randomized controlled trial, retrograde motion, stem cell, Thomas Bayes

The man responsible for this strange and illuminating idea was neither a doctor nor a scientist by trade. Born in Hertfordshire in 1702, Thomas Bayes was a clergyman and philosopher who served as the minister at the chapel in Tunbridge Wells, near London. He published only two significant papers in his lifetime—the first, a defense of God, and the second, a defense of Newton’s theory of calculus (it was a sign of the times that in 1732, a clergyman found no cognitive dissonance between these two efforts). His best-known work—on probability theory—was not published during his lifetime and was only rediscovered decades after his death. The statistical problem that concerned Bayes requires a sophisticated piece of mathematical reasoning. Most of Bayes’s mathematical compatriots were concerned with problems of pure statistics: If you have a box of twenty-five white balls and seventy-five black balls, say, what is the chance of drawing two black balls in a row?


pages: 226 words: 71,540

Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan's Army Conquered the Web by Cole Stryker

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4chan, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Chelsea Manning, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, commoditize, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Firefox, future of journalism, hive mind, informal economy, Internet Archive, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mason jar, pre–internet, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, wage slave, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

Sharing information, no matter how trivial, solidifies societal bonds and deepens relationships. These shared points of reference make up life as much as our inside jokes at work or gossip at church. Clay Shirky has made waves in the last few years as being a kind of Marshall McLuhan for the Web 2.0 era. Throughout his two books, Cognitive Dissonance and Here Comes Everybody, Shirky provides the kind of commentary that fills one with excitement for being a part of the web right now. We’re making things happen! It’s a new stage in human social evolution! Look at all the cool stuff the Internet lets us do! In Cognitive Dissonance, Shirky uses the lolcats found at http://www.icanhascheezburger.com as a convenient representative for what he calls “the stupidest possible creative act,” as opposed to, say, improving a Wikipedia entry or creating a platform for financing human rights projects in the third world.


pages: 208 words: 67,582

What About Me?: The Struggle for Identity in a Market-Based Society by Paul Verhaeghe

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Berlin Wall, call centre, cognitive dissonance, deskilling, epigenetics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, income inequality, invisible hand, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Louis Pasteur, market fundamentalism, Milgram experiment, new economy, post-industrial society, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, stem cell, The Spirit Level, ultimatum game, working poor

This also ties in seamlessly with the reduction of science to scientism: all results must be generalisable, based on objective and value-free research using accepted methods, independent of context. I shall confine myself to two observations. The selection of certain symptoms — increasingly, of certain behaviour — as indicators of mental illness is far from value-free; rather, the reverse. And the majority of research findings may be, as we know, refuted by other findings, but this is ignored by the dominant paradigm. The psychological explanation for this is known as ‘cognitive dissonance’. As far as the DSM is concerned: with the best will in the world, the scientific underpinning for its approach is extremely weak. The reason that so little attention is paid to the failure of current psychiatric diagnostics is thus fairly straightforward: the dominant paradigm allows no other viewpoint. The reason that labelling is such a success takes a bit more untangling. It has to do with the prevailing conviction that everyone can (and must) make a success of their lives, and that everyone is responsible for their own success or failure.

The current emphasis on competency-oriented education is driving our youngsters straight into the competition-and-career cluster, with all the associated values following in their wake. What the advocates of the system fail to realise is that this automatically undermines other norms and values. There is no such thing as competitive solidarity. Indeed, its impossibility is clearly illustrated by what psychologists call ‘cognitive dissonance’. When you hold strongly to a particular value-laden cluster, you simply can’t take in information that contradicts it, however objective and factual. Someone who sets great store by solidarity, public-spiritedness, and spirituality will find it almost impossible to take in information about the advantages of individualism, competitiveness, and materialism. And vice versa. We are all familiar with this phenomenon, by the way.


pages: 284 words: 79,265

The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date by Samuel Arbesman

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Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Wiles, bioinformatics, British Empire, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Chelsea Manning, Clayton Christensen, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, David Brooks, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Galaxy Zoo, guest worker program, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, index fund, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, life extension, Marc Andreessen, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Nicholas Carr, p-value, Paul Erdős, Pluto: dwarf planet, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, social graph, social web, text mining, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation

And even more than that, it can allow us to anticipate the shortcomings in what we each might know and help us to plan for these flaws in our knowledge. Facts are how we organize and interpret our surroundings. No one learns something new and then holds it entirely independent of what they already know. We incorporate it into the little edifice of personal knowledge that we have been creating in our minds our entire lives. In fact, we even have a phrase for the state of affairs that occurs when we fail to do this: cognitive dissonance. Ordering our surroundings is the rule of how we as humans operate. In childhood we give names to our toys, and in adulthood we give names to our species, chemical elements, asteroids, and cities. By naming, or, more broadly, by categorizing, we are creating an order to an otherwise chaotic and frightening world. And when we learn facts, we are doing the same thing. Facts—whether about our surroundings, the current state of knowledge, or even ourselves—provide us with a sense of control and a sense of comfort.

actuarial escape velocity, 53 Akaike Information Criterion, 69–70 Albert, Réka, 103 aluminum, 53 Ambient Devices, 195 amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), 98, 100–101 anatomy, 23 Anaxagoras, 201 Anaximander, 201 Andreessen, Marc, 123 Annals of Internal Medicine, 107 apatosaurus, 79–82 apoptosis (programmed cell death), 111, 194 Aral, Sinan, 143 Arbesman, Harvey, 96–98, 100–101 Arbesman, Samuel, 79 Ariely, Dan, 172 Asimov, Isaac, 35–36 asteroids, 22, 23, 51, 85–86, 183–84 athletes, 51 Atlantic, 86, 198 Australia, 57, 59, 60 automated discovery programs, 112–14 Automated Mathematician, 112 Babbage, Charles, 106–7 Back to the Future (film), 211 Bak, Per, 137–38 Barabási, Albert-László, 103 Battle of New Orleans, 70 Bede, 115–16 Being Wrong (Schulz), 174–75, 201–2 Berlin, 64 Berman, David, 81–82 Bettencourt, Luís, 135 Bingham, Alpheus, 96–97 biomarkers, 98 Black Death, 52, 64, 71, 73 board games, 2, 51 Bohemian Journal of Counting, 86 Bone Wars, 80, 169 bookkeeping, double-entry, 200 Book of Lost Books, The: An Incomplete History of All the Great Books You’ll Never Read (Kelly), 115 Boston Globe, 86 Bowers, John, 85–86 Boyle, Robert, 94 Bradley, David, 62–63 brain, 205, 207 branching process, 104 Bremer, Arthur, 66 British Medical Journal, 83, 212 brontosaurus, 79–82, 169 Brooks, David, 198 Brooks, Rodney, 46 bubonic plague, 52 Black Death, 52, 64, 71, 73 “Bully for Brontosaurus” (Gould), 82 calculations, 43–44 calculus, 67 Canterbury Tales, The (Chaucer), 90 Caplan, Bryan, 58 Cardarelli, François, 146 Carroll, Sean, 36–37 carrying capacity, 45 cell death, programmed, 111, 194 cell phone calls, 69, 77 Census of Marine Life, 37–39 Chabon, Michael, 184 Chabris, Christopher, 178 chain letters, 91–93 change: fast, 207–9 slow, 171, 172, 190, 191 change blindness, 177–79 Chaucer, Geoffrey, 90 chemical elements, 6, 22, 23, 50–51 atomic number of, 150–51 atomic weight of, 150–52 periodic table of, 50, 150–52, 182 thermal conductivity of, 33–35 Christakis, Nicholas, 21, 75 Christensen, Clayton, 45 chromosomes, 1–2, 89, 92, 143 cirrhosis, 28–30 Cisne, John, 116 citations, 17, 31–32, 90–91, 108 cities, 135–36, 202 citizen science, 19–21 Clarke, Arthur C., 18–19 classification systems, 204–5 Clay Mathematics Institute, 133 climate change, 203 clinical trials, 107–9, 157, 160 coelacanths, 26–27 cognitive biases, 175–76, 177, 188 cognitive dissonance, 4 Colbert, Stephen, 193 Cole, Jonathan, 48–49 Cole, Stephen, 162, 163 computation, human, 20 computers, 20, 41, 53, 110 automated discovery programs, 112–14 Babbage and, 106–7 games and, 2, 51 information transformation and, 43–44, 46 Moore’s Law and, 42 confirmation bias, 177 Consumer Price Index (CPI), 196 Cope, Edward, 80, 81, 169 Copernicus, Nicolaus, 206 CoPub Discovery, 110–12 Cosmos, 121, 129 Couric, Katie, 41 Courtenay-Latimer, Marjorie, 26–27 Cowen, Tyler, 23 cryptography, 134 cumulative knowledge, 56–57 Daily Show, The, 159 Darwin, Charles, 79, 80, 105, 166, 187 data science, 167–68 Davy, Humphry, 51 decline effect, 155–56, 157, 162 de Grey, Aubrey, 53 demographics, 204 Dessler, A.


pages: 258 words: 73,109

The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone, Especially Ourselves by Dan Ariely

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Bernie Madoff, Broken windows theory, cashless society, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, Donald Trump, fudge factor, new economy, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, shareholder value, Steve Jobs, Walter Mischel

They found that after giving a short lecture about the benefits of a certain drug, the speaker would begin to believe his own words and soon prescribe accordingly. Psychological studies show that we quickly and easily start believing whatever comes out of our own mouths, even when the original reason for expressing the opinion is no longer relevant (in the doctors’ case, that they were paid to say it). This is cognitive dissonance at play; doctors reason that if they are telling others about a drug, it must be good—and so their own beliefs change to correspond to their speech, and they start prescribing accordingly. The reps told us that they employed other tricks too, turning into chameleons—switching various accents, personalities, and political affiliations on and off. They prided themselves on their ability to put doctors at ease.

., 246 cashless society, implications for dishonesty in, 34 Catch Me If You Can (Abagnale), 173 certificates for (false) achievements, 153–54 Chance, Zoë, 145, 264 charitable behavior, 23–24 cheating: aggressive cheaters and, 239 altruistic, 222–23, 225–26, 227–28, 232 being made blatantly aware of, 156–57 being watched and, 223–25, 227 collaborative, see collaborative cheating desire to benefit from, 12–14, 27, 29, 237 ego depletion, 104–6, 111–12 fake products’ impact on, 125–31 in golf, 55–65 honor codes and, 41–45 increasing creativity to increase level of, 184–87 as infection, 191–216; see also infectious nature of cheating infidelity and, 244–45 on IQ-like tests, self-deception and, 145–49, 151, 153–54, 156–57 reducing amount of, 39–51, 248–54 removing oneself from tempting situation and, 108–11 signing forms at top and, 46–51 Ten Commandments and, 39–40, 41, 44 what-the-hell effect and, 127–31, 136 see also dishonesty China, cheating in, 241–42 Chloé accessories, studies with, 123–34 Civil War veterans, 152 classes, infectious nature of cheating in, 195–97 Coca-Cola, stealing money vs., 32–33 cognitive dissonance, 81 cognitive load: ability to resist temptation and, 99–100 judges’ parole rulings and, 102–3 Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT), 173–74 coin logic, 167–68 collaborative cheating, 217–35 altruism and, 222–23, 225–26, 227–28, 232 being watched or monitored and, 223–25, 227–28, 234–35 emphasis on working as group or team and, 217–18 infectious nature of cheating in relation to, 221–22 social utility and, 222–23 companies: being one step removed from money and, 34–37 irrationality of, 51 see also corporate dishonesty compliments, insincere, 159 conflicts of interest, 67–95, 238, 248 in academia, 82, 84–85 in dentistry, 67–71, 93, 94, 230 disclosure and, 88–92 dots task and, 129 eradication of, 92–95 exclusion of experimental data and, 86–88 expert witnesses and, 85–86 in financial services industry, 83–85, 93, 94 governmental lobbyists and, 77–78, 94 honesty threshold and, 130–31 inherent inclination to return favors and, 74–75 medical procedures and, 71–74, 92–94, 229 pharmaceutical companies’ influence in academia and, 82 pharma reps and, 78–82 what-the-hell effect and, 129–31 congressional staffers, cheating among, 243 Congress members, PAC money misused by, 208–10 contractors, 93 Conway, Alan, 150–51 Cooper, Cynthia, 215 Cornell University, 250–51 corpora callosa, 164–65 corporate dishonesty: cheating a little bit and, 239–40 Enron collapse and, 1–3, 192, 207, 215, 234 recent spread of, 192, 207–8 cost-benefit analysis, 4–5, 26–27, 237, 239 infectious nature of cheating and, 201–3, 205 see also Simple Model of Rational Crime counterfeits, see fake products creativity, 88, 163–89, 238 brain structure and, 164–65 dark side of, 187–89 fooling oneself and, 165–67 increasing, to increase level of cheating, 184–87 infidelity and, 244 intelligence vs., as predictor of dishonesty, 172–77 link between dishonesty and, 170–72, 186–89 logical-sounding rationales for choices and, 163–64 measures of, 171 moral flexibility and, 186–87 pathological liars and, 168–70 revenge and, 177–84 credit card companies, 239–40 crime, reducing, 52 cultural differences, 240–43 Danziger, Shai, 102 decision making: creating efficient process for, 167–68 effectiveness of group work in, 217–18 rationalization process and, 163–67 Denfield, George, 75 dentists: continuity of care and, 228–31 treating patients using equipment that they own, 67–68, 93–94 unnecessary work and, 67–71 depletion, see ego depletion dieting, 98, 109, 112–13, 114–15 what-the-hell effect and, 127, 130 “dine-and-dash,” 79 diplomas, lying about, 135–36, 153, 154 disabled person, author’s adoption of role of, 143–44 disclosure, 88–92, 248 study on impact of, 89–92 discounting, fixed vs. probabilistic, 194 dishonesty: causes of, 3–4, 5 collaborative, see collaborative cheating cultural differences and, 240–43 discouraging small and ubiquitous forms of, 239–40 importance of first act of, 137 infectious nature of, 191–216; see also infectious nature of cheating intelligence vs. creativity as predictor of, 172–77 link between creativity and, 170–72, 186–89 opportunities for, passed up by vast majority, 238 of others, fake products and assessing of, 131–34 rational and irrational forces in, 254 reducing amount of, 39–51, 248–54 society’s means for dealing with, 4–5 summary of forces that shape (figure), 245 when traveling, 183n see also cheating dissertation proposals and defenses, 101 distance factors, 238 in golf, 58–59 stealing Coca-Cola vs. money and, 32–33 token experiment and, 33–34 doctors: consulting for or investing in drug companies, 82, 93 continuity of care and, 228–29 lecturing about drugs, 81 pharma reps and, 78–82 treating or testing patients with equipment that they own, 92–94 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, 234 dots task: conflict of interest and, 129 description of, 127–29 link between creativity and dishonesty and, 171–72, 185–86 what-the-hell effect and, 129–31 downloads, illegal, 137–39 dressing above one’s station, 120–21 Ebbers, Bernie, 13 ego depletion, 100–116, 238, 249 basic idea behind, 101 cheating and, 104–6 in everyday life, 112–16 removing oneself from tempting situations and, 108–11, 115–16 of Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones, 103 sometimes succumbing to temptation and, 114–15 sudden deaths among students’ grandmothers at exam time and, 106–8 ego motivation, 27 England, cheating in, 242 Enron, 1–3, 192, 207, 215, 234 essay mills, 210–13 exams, sudden deaths among students’ grandmothers and, 106–8 exhaustion, 249 consumption of junk food and, 97–98 judges’ parole rulings and, 102–3 see also ego depletion experimental data, exclusion of, 86–88 expert witnesses, 85–86 explanations, logical-sounding, creation of, 163–65 external signaling, 120–22 dressing above one’s station and, 120–21 fake products and, 121–22 failures, tendency to turn blind eye to, 151 “fair,” determination of what is, 57 fake products, 119, 121–40, 238 illegal downloads and, 137–39 misrepresentation of academic credentials and, 135–36 rationalizations and, 134–35 self-signaling and, 123–26, 135 signaling value of authentic version diluted by, 121–22 suspiciousness of others and, 131–34 what-the-hell effect and, 127–31, 135 farmer’s market, benevolent behavior toward blind customer in, 23–24 fashion, 117–26 counterfeit goods and, 119, 121–22, 121–40, 123–26; see also fake products dressing above one’s station and, 120–21 external signaling and, 120–22 self-signaling and, 122–26 Fastow, Andrew, 2 favors, 74–82 aesthetic preferences and, 75–77 governmental lobbyists and, 77–78 inherent inclination to return, 74–75 pharma reps and, 78–82 see also conflicts of interest Fawal-Farah, Freeda, 117, 118 FBI, 215 Fedorikhin, Sasha, 99–100 Feynman, Richard, 165 financial crisis of 2008, 83–85, 192, 207, 234, 246–47 financial favors, aesthetic preferences and, 77 financial services industry: anonymous monitoring and, 234–35 cheating among politicians vs., 243 conflicts of interest in, 83–85, 93, 94 government regulation of, 234 fishing, lying about, 28 Frederick, Shane, 173 friends, invited to join in questionable behavior, 195 fudge factor theory, 27–29, 237 acceptable rate of lying and, 28–29, 91 distance between actions and money and, 34–37 getting people to cheat less and, 39–51 infidelity and, 244 rationalization of selfish desires and, 53 stealing Coca-Cola vs. money and, 32–33 Gazzaniga, Michael, 164–65 Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), 219–20 generous behavior, 23–24 Get Rich Cheating (Kreisler), 14 Gilovich, Tom, 250, 263–64 Gino, Francesca, 45, 104, 123, 127, 131, 145, 170, 184, 197, 225, 234–35, 242, 258–59 Glass, Ira, 6 Gneezy, Ayelet, 177, 257–58 golf, 55–65 cheating by “average golfer” vs. study participants and, 63–64 mistallying score in, 61–64 moving location of ball in, 58–59, 63 mulligans in, 60–61, 63–64 self-monitoring in, 56–57 survey on cheating in, 57–64 government regulations, 234 grandmothers, sudden deaths of, at exam time, 106–8 gray matter, 169–70 Green, Jennifer Wideman, 117 grocery shopping, ego depletion and, 109, 112–13 group or team work, 220–23 performance unaffected by, 233 possible benefits of, 223 predominance of, in professional lives, 217–18, 235 social utility and, 222–23 see also collaborative cheating Grüneisen, Aline, 210–11, 257 guilt, self-inflicted pain and, 250–52 Harford, Tim, 3–4 Harper’s Bazaar, 117–18 Harvard Medical School, 82 Harvey, Ann, 75 Henn, Steve, 209 heretics, external signaling of, 120 Hinduism, 25 honesty threshold, 130–31 honor codes, 41–45, 204 ideological organizations, 232n “I knew it all along” feeling, 149 illegal businesses, loyalty and care for customers in, 138–39 impulsive (or emotional) vs. rational (or deliberative) parts of ourselves, 97–106 cognitive load and, 99–100 ego depletion and, 100–106 exhaustion and, 97–98 Inbar, Yoel, 250, 264 infectious nature of cheating, 191–216, 249 bacterial infections compared to, 192–93 in class, 195–97 collaborative cheating in relation to, 221–22 Congress members’ misuse of PAC money and, 208–10 corporate dishonesty and, 192, 207–8 cost-benefit analysis and, 201–3, 205 essay mills and, 210–13 matrix task and, 197–204 positive side of moral contagion and, 215–16 regaining ethical health and, 214–15 slow and subtle process of accretion in, 193–94, 214–15 social norms and, 195, 201–3, 205–7, 209 social outsiders and, 205–7 vending machine experiment and, 194–95 infidelity, 244–45 “in good faith” notion, 219–20 Inside Job, 84–85 insurance claims, 49–51 intelligence: creativity vs., as predictor of dishonesty, 172–77 measures of, 173–75 IQ-like tests, cheating and self-deception on, 145–49 certificates emphasizing (false) achievement and, 153–54 increasing awareness of cheating and, 156–57 individuals’ tendency to turn a blind eye to their own failures and, 151 IRS, 47–49 Islam, 249 Israel, cheating in, 241 Italy, cheating in, 242 Jerome, Jerome K., 28 Jobs, Steve, 184 Jones, Bobby, 56 Jones, Marilee, 136 Judaism, 45, 249 judges, exhausted, parole decisions and, 102–3 junk food, exhaustion and consumption of, 97–98 Keiser, Kenneth, 135 Kelling, George, 214–15 John F.


pages: 82 words: 21,414

The Myth of Meritocracy: Why Working-Class Kids Still Get Working-Class Jobs (Provocations Series) by James Bloodworth

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Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Bob Geldof, cognitive dissonance, Downton Abbey, gender pay gap, glass ceiling, income inequality, light touch regulation, precariat, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, zero-sum game

One in twenty households could not afford to feed their children properly.120 Last year, almost two-fifths of teachers said they had seen children who had not had enough to eat turning up for lessons.121 Another recent poll found that nearly half of teachers had taken food in to school to feed ravenous pupils.122 Against this backdrop, all talk of meritocracy brings to mind Richard Tawney’s characterisation of those who preach equality of opportunity while ‘[resisting] most strenuously attempts to apply it’.123 Here is located the fissure on the left between those who genuinely seek to create a socially mobile society and those who pay lip service to it while pursuing policies antithetical to a meritocratic order. Because New Labour’s verbal commitment to social mobility lacked a corresponding drive to reduce inequality, its rhetoric gave off a strong whiff of cognitive dissonance. Thus, after thirteen years of Labour governments, Britain remained a society dominated by the privileged and, invariably, the children of the privileged. If social mobility was not notably worse in 2010 than it was in 1997, it was not demonstrably better either. The acceptance by New Labour of large inequalities of wealth, buttressed by the radical-sounding mantra of equality of opportunity, produced a society in which the odds remained firmly stacked against those from poorer homes.

The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy by Seth Mnookin

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Albert Einstein, AltaVista, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, en.wikipedia.org, illegal immigration, index card, Isaac Newton, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, neurotypical, pattern recognition, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, selection bias, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

If you assume, as I had, that human beings are fundamentally logical creatures, this obsessive preoccupation with a theory that has for all intents and purposes been disproved is hard to fathom. But when it comes to decisions around emotionally charged topics, logic often takes a back seat to what are called cognitive biases—essentially a set of unconscious mechanisms that convince us that it is our feelings about a situation and not the facts that represent the truth. One of the better known of these biases is the theory of cognitive dissonance, which was developed by the social psychologist Leon Festinger in the 1950s. In his classic book When Prophecy Fails, Festinger used the example of millennial cults in the days after the prophesied moment of reckoning as an illustration of “disconfirmed” expectations producing counterintuitive results: Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart; suppose further that he has a commitment to this belief, that he has taken irrevocable actions because of it; finally, suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong; what will happen?

Some of the others have been alluded to earlier in this book: When SafeMinds members set out to write an academic paper about a hypothesis they already believed to be true, they set themselves up for expectation bias, where a researcher’s initial conjecture leads to the manipulation of data or the misinterpretation of results, and selection bias, where the meaning of data is distorted by the way in which it was collected. In addition to being a natural reaction to the experience of cognitive dissonance, the hardening conviction on the part of vaccine denialists in the face of studies that undercut their theories is an example of the anchoring effect, which occurs when we give too much weight to the past when making decisions about the future, and of irrational escalation, which is when we base how much energy we’ll devote to something on our previous investment and discount new evidence indicating we were likely wrong.

., 9, 110, 204 Bush, Jenna, 110 Bush, Laura, 110 Bustin, Stephen, 290 Byers, Vera, 288, 294 Byrne, Rhonda, 269 caffeine, 93 California, 18n, 19, 36, 167, 186–87, 229, 272 vaccination rates in, 305 measles outbreak in, 19 mumps outbreak in, 306 pertussis outbreak in, 306 California, University of, at Los Angeles, 70 California, University of, at Santa Cruz, 235n California Department of Public Health, 306 Callous Disregard (Wakefield), 303–4 Calman, Kenneth, 100 calomel, 119–20 Campbell-Smith, Patricia, 288 Canada, 28 cancer, 58, 120, 260 breast, 138–40, 193, 270 drinking milk and, 48n Cardiff University, 163 Carnegie, Andrew, 41 Carrey, Jim, 14n, 256, 258 Carter, Jimmy, 65 case series, 110 Casey, Rhonda, 90, 91 Catholic Church, 81n, 100 cats, 40n, 120 causation, correlation and, 47, 48n, 209 Cedillo, Michael, 181–87, 190–91, 192, 285, 295–97 Cedillo, Michelle, 181–86, 192, 285–97 Omnibus Proceeding and, 190–91, 285, 290, 291, 295–97 Cedillo, Theresa, 181–87, 190–91, 192, 196, 285, 295–97 Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 54, 72, 108, 147–50, 195, 199, 221, 223, 280–81 1999 recommendations on thimerosal and, 6, 125–30, 140 Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of (ACIP), 152–53, 173 anonymous messages sent to, 200 Blaxill’s views on, 222 flu and, 62, 63, 64 Kirby’s book and, 207, 213 McCarthy and, 255 Morgellons syndrome and, 95–96 pertussis and, 280–81 “Unexplained Dermopathy Project” of, 96n vaccine compensation and, 147, 148 vaccine safety and, 148, 150, 170, 171, 173 central nervous system, 40, 120 cerebral palsy, 151, 164 Chadwick, Nicholas, 291–92 Chain, Ernst Boris, 36 Chávez, Hugo, 8 chelation therapy, 235, 260, 261, 263–64 Chen, Robert, 108, 110–11, 150 Kennedy on, 223, 226 Cherry, James, 70 Chicago, University of, 78n chicken pox vaccine, 7 childhood disintegrative disorder, 81 Childhood Neurology (textbook), 289 child rearing, obsession with, 6, 9–10 Chin-Caplan, Sylvia, 286, 292, 293n, 296–97 Chinese herbs, 288 cholera, 39–40 Christian Science, 33–34, 268 cigarette taxes, 210 Civil Registration System, Danish, 154 Clements, John, 150, 223–24 Clinton, Hillary, 95 clustering illusion, 193 CNN, 84, 88, 90, 204 Coalition for Sensible Action for Ending Mercury Induced Neurological Disorders, see SafeMinds Coast to Coast (radio show), 90n Coca-Cola Bottling Co., 51 cocaine, 94 coffee, 93 cognitive biases, 15, 193–95 cognitive defects, 121, 235n cognitive dissonance, 15, 194 cognitive relativism (truthiness), 9 Cohen, Richard, 66 Colbert, Stephen, 9 Colorado, 57, 83 “commonsense” assumptions, 18 Community Health Council, 101 compensation systems, vaccines, 12, 146–48, 175, 178, 179, 180, 220 Condé Nast, 74n confirmation bias, 194–95 Congress, U.S., 64, 65, 95, 125, 167, 257 drug safety and, 146 swine flu and, 147 vaccine compensation and, 148, 178 Connecticut, 305 conspiracy theories, 237 constipation, 116, 144 of Michelle Cedillo, 183 Consumer Protection Act, 102 Continental Army, 27–29 control studies, 109–10, 153 Copernicus, Nicolaus, 81n Cornell University, 235n correlation, causation and, see causation, correlation and coughing, 274–75, 276, 280–81 cowpox, 31–32 creationism, 197n “Crimes in the Cowpox Ring” (Little), 35 Crohn’s disease, 103–5 Crystals, 251, 253 Cure Autism Now (CAN), 137, 142, 228, 232, 233 Cure Within, The (Harrington), 268 Curtis, Valerie, 26 Cutter Laboratories (Cutter Incident), 46–47, 49–53, 55, 146 cysteine, 143 cytomegalovirus, 289 dancing cat disease, 120 Daniels, Mitch, 204 Darwin, Charles, 158n Davis, case study, 286–87 Dawbarns, 115–16 “Deadly Immunity” (Kennedy), 221–27 deafness, 20, 100 death threats, 200, 230 debates, interpretation of facts and, 198–99 Debold, Sam, 187–89 Debold, Vicky, 187–89, 196 decision making, emotions and, 192–93 Deer, Brian, 236, 237, 300, 302 Defeat Autism Now!


pages: 405 words: 121,531

Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini

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Albert Einstein, attribution theory, bank run, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, desegregation, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental subject, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, Ralph Waldo Emerson, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds

The social nature of the classical conditioning phenomena in people. Psychological Reports, 67, 331–334. Fenigstein, A., Scheier, M. F., & Buss, A. H. (1975). Public and private self-consciousness: Assessment and theory. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 43, 522–527. Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations, 7, 117–140. Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Festinger, L., Riecken, H. W., & Schachter, S. (1964). When prophecy fails. New York: Harper & Row. Fiske, S. T., & Neuberg, S. L. (1990). A continuum of impression formation: Influences of information and motivation on attention and interpretation. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 23, pp. 1–74). New York: Academic Press.

Lobbyists circle over capitol. The Arizona Republic, pp. A1, A6. Foushee, M. C. (1984). Dyads and triads at 35,000 feet: Factors affecting group process and aircraft performance. American Psychologist, 39, 885–893. Fox, M. W. (1974). Concepts in ethology: Animal and human behavior. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Freedman, J. L. (1965). Long-term behavioral effects of cognitive dissonance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 1, 145–155. Freedman, J. L., & Fraser, S. C. (1966). Compliance without pressure: The foot-in-the door technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4, 195–203. Frenzen, J. R., & Davis, H. L. (1990). Purchasing behavior in embedded markets. Journal of Consumer Research, 17, 1–12. Fromkin, H. L., & Brock, T. C. (1971). A commodity theory analysis of persuasion.

Interpersonal attraction and repeated exposure to rewards and punishers. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 3, 248–251. Szabo, L. (2007, February 5). Patient protect thyself. USA Today, p. 8D. Taylor, R. (1978). Marilyn’s friends and Rita’s customers: A study of party selling as play and as work. Sociological Review, 26, 573–611. Tedeschi, J. T., Schlenker, B. R., & Bonoma, T. V. (1971). Cognitive dissonance: Private ratiocination or public spectacle? American Psychologist, 26, 685–695. Teger, A. I. (1980). Too much invested to quit. Elmsford, NY: Pergamon. Tesser, A., Campbell, J., & Mickler, S. (1983). The role of social pressure, attention to the stimulus, and self-doubt in conformity. European Journal of Social Psychology, 13, 217–233. Teuscher, U. (2005, May). The effects of time limits and approaching endings on emotional intensity.

Stocks for the Long Run, 4th Edition: The Definitive Guide to Financial Market Returns & Long Term Investment Strategies by Jeremy J. Siegel

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asset allocation, backtesting, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, buy low sell high, California gold rush, capital asset pricing model, cognitive dissonance, compound rate of return, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, diversified portfolio, dividend-yielding stocks, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, German hyperinflation, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, Myron Scholes, new economy, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, popular capitalism, prediction markets, price anchoring, price stability, purchasing power parity, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, survivorship bias, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, tulip mania, Vanguard fund

After being fed an upbeat outlook by corporations for many years, analysts had no idea how to interpret the downbeat news, so most just ignored it. The propensity to shut out bad news was even more pronounced among analysts in the Internet sector. Many were so convinced that these stocks were the wave of the future that, despite the flood of ghastly news, many downgraded these stocks only after they had fallen 80 or 90 percent! The predisposition to disregard news that does not correspond to one’s worldview is called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort we encounter when we confront evidence that conflicts with our view or suggests that our abilities or actions are not as a good as we thought. We all display a natural tendency to minimize this discomfort, which makes it difficult for us to recognize our overconfidence. Prospect Theory, Loss Aversion, and Holding On to Losing Trades Dave: I see. Can we talk about individual stocks?

., 60i, 64 Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP) index, 45, 46i, 141 Central bank policy, 247 (See also Federal Reserve System [Fed]) Chamberlain, Lawrence, 82 Chamberlain, Neville, 78 Channels, 40 technical analysis and, 294 Chartists (see Technical analysis) Chevron, 176i, 177 ChevronTexaco, 55 Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT): closure due to Chicago River leak, 253, 254i, 255 stock market crash of 1987 and, 273 Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), 264–265 Volatility Index of, 281–282, 282i Chicago Gas, 47 in DJIA, 39i, 48 Chicago Mercantile Exchange, stopping of trading on, 276 Index Chicago Purchasing Managers, 244 China: global market share of, 178, 179i, 180, 180i sector allocation and, 177 China Construction Bank, 175 China Mobile, 177, 183 China National Petroleum Corporation, 182 Chrysler, 64 Chunghwa Telecom, 177 Cipsco (Central Illinois Public Service Co.), 48 Circuit breakers, 276–277 Cisco Systems, 38, 57n, 89, 104, 155, 157, 176i on Nasdaq, 44 Citigroup, 144, 175, 176i Clinton, Bill, 75, 227, 238 Clough, Charles, 86 CNBC, 48, 88 Coca-Cola Co., 59i, 61, 64 Cognitive dissonance, 328 Colby, Robert W., 295–296 Colgate-Palmolive, 59i Colombia Acorn Fund, 346 Comcast, 176 Common stock theory of investment, 82 Common Stocks as Long-Term Investments (Smith), 79, 83, 201 Communications technology, bull market and, 88 Compagnie Française des Pétroles (CFP), 184 Conference Board, 244 Conoco (Continental Oil Co.), 57 ConocoPhillips, 176i, 177, 183 Consensus estimate, 239 Consumer choice, rational theory of, 322 Consumer discretionary sector: in GICS, 53 global shares in, 175i, 176 Consumer Price Index (CPI), 245 369 Consumer staples sector: in GICS, 53 global shares in, 175i, 177 Consumer Value Store, 61 Contrarian investing, 333–334 Core earnings, 107–108 Core inflation, 245–246 Corn Products International, 47 Corn Products Refining, 47 Corporate earnings taxes, failure of stocks as long-term inflation hedge and, 202–203 Correlation coefficient, 168 Corvis Corporation, 156–157 Costs: agency, 100 effects on returns, 350 employment, 246 interest, inflationary biases in, failure of stocks as longterm inflation hedge and, 203–204 pension, controversies in accounting for, 105–107 Cowles, Alfred, 42, 83 Cowles Commission for Economic Research, 42, 83 CPC International, 47 Crane, Richard, 61 Crane Co., 59i, 60i, 61 Cream of Wheat, 62 Creation units, 252 Crowther, Samuel, 3 Cubes (ETFs), 252 Currency hedging, 173 Current yield of bonds, 111 Cutler, David M., 224n CVS Corporation, 61 Cyclical stocks, 144 DaimlerChrysler, 176 Daniel, Kent, 326n Dart Industries, 62 Dash, Srikant, 353n Data mining, 326–327 David, Joseph, 21 DAX index, 238 Day-of-the-week effects, 316–318, 317i Day trading, futures contracts and, 261 Dean Witter, 286 De Bondt, Werner, 302–303, 335 Defined benefit plans, 106–107 Defined contribution plans, 105–106 Delaware and Hudson Canal, 22 Deleveraging, 120 Del Monte Foods, 62 Department of Commerce, 203 Depreciation, failure of stocks as long-term inflation hedge and, 203 Deutsch, Morton, 324n Deutsche Post, 177 Deutsche Telekom, 177 Dexter Corp., 21n Diamonds (ETFs), 252 Dilution of earnings, 104 Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) Small Company fund, 142n Dimson, Elroy, 18, 19n, 20 Discounts, futures contracts and, 258 Distiller’s Securities Corp., 48 Distilling and Cattle Feeding, 47 in DJIA, 39i, 48 Diversifiable risk, 140 Diversification in world markets, 168–178 currency hedging and, 173 efficient portfolios and, 168–172, 169i–171i private and public capital and, 177–178 sector diversification and, 173–177, 174i The Dividend Investor (Knowles and Petty), 147 Dividend payout ratio, 101 Dividend policy, value of stock as related to, 100–102 370 Dividend yields, 145–149, 146i–149i interest rate on government bonds above, 95–97 ratio of market value to, 120, 120i Dodd, David, 77q, 83, 95q, 139q, 141, 145n, 150, 152, 289q, 304n, 334n Dogs of the Dow strategy, 147–149, 148i, 149i, 336 Dollar cost averaging, 84 Domino Foods, Inc., 47 Dorfman, John R., 147n Double witching, 260–261 Douvogiannis, Martha, 113n Dow, Charles, 38, 290–291 Dow Chemical, 58 Dow Jones & Co., 38 Dow Jones averages, computation of, 39–40 Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), 37, 47 breaks 2000, 85 breaks 3000, 85 breaks 8000, 87 crash of 1929 and, 4 creation of, 38 fall in 1998, 88 firms in, 38–39, 39i following Iraq’s defeat in Gulf War, 85 long-term trends in, 40–41, 41i Nasdaq stocks in, 38 during 1922–1932, 269, 270i during 1980–1990, 269, 270i original firms in, 47–49 original members of, 22 predicting future returns using trend lines and, 41–42 as price-weighted index, 40 Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Index, 45 Dow 10 strategy, 147–149, 148i, 149i, 336 Dow Theory (Rhea), 290 Index Dow 36,000 (Hassett), 88 Downes, John, 147 Dr.


pages: 505 words: 127,542

If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Happy? by Raj Raghunathan

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Broken windows theory, business process, cognitive dissonance, deliberate practice, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, fundamental attribution error, job satisfaction, Mahatma Gandhi, market clearing, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Phillip Zimbardo, placebo effect, science of happiness, Skype, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thorstein Veblen, Tony Hsieh, working poor, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Healy, “The Trouble with Overconfidence,” Psychological Review 115(2) (2008): 502. (3) Psychological closure: A. W. Kruglanski and D. M. Webster, “Motivated Closing of the Mind: ‘Seizing’ and ‘Freezing,’” Psychological Review 103(2) (1996): 263. (4) Decision avoidance: C. J. Anderson, “The Psychology of Doing Nothing: Forms of Decision Avoidance Result from Reason and Emotion,” Psychological Bulletin 129(1) (2003): 139. (5) Cognitive dissonance: L. Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, vol. 2 (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1962). And (6) Predecisional distortion: J. E. Russo, M. G. Meloy, and V. H. Medvec, “Predecisional Distortion of Product Information,” Journal of Marketing Research (1998): 438–52. clarity on the reasons for our decisions: A. Tversky and E. Shafir, “Choice Under Conflict: The Dynamics of Deferred Decision,” Psychological Science 3(6) (1992): 358–61.

For an audiovisual summary of the paper, see Killingworth’s TED talk: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qy5A8dVYU3k (the TED talk can be accessed by Googling “Killingsworth TED talk”). behavior affects attitude: This theoretical basis for this phenomenon is something called self-perception theory. The idea is that we infer our characteristics (attitudes, opinions, etc.) based on how we see ourselves behaving; see D. J. Bem, “Self-perception: An Alternative Interpretation of Cognitive Dissonance Phenomena,” Psychological Review 74(3) (1967): 183. See also a discussion of a related concept, the insufficient justification paradigm, discussed in R. E. Nisbett, and T. D. Wilson, “Telling More than We Can Know: Verbal Reports on Mental Processes,” Psychological Review 84(3) (1977): 231. something called self-perception: Bem, “Self-perception.” to make it a “happier brain”: S.


pages: 387 words: 120,155

Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference by David Halpern

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, availability heuristic, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, cognitive dissonance, collaborative consumption, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, happiness index / gross national happiness, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, libertarian paternalism, light touch regulation, market design, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, nudge unit, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, presumed consent, QR code, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Simon Kuznets, skunkworks, the built environment, theory of mind, traffic fines, World Values Survey

Similarly, vegetable production from the 50 million civilian ‘victory gardens’ is estimated to have exceeded that of commercial vegetable production. These persuasive campaigns, and the behaviour they encouraged, had a dual function. They generated useful resources but, perhaps more importantly, they created a sense of common purpose. An everyday assumption is that attitudes shape behaviours. Yet psychological studies have shown that very often it works the other way around: behaviours shape attitudes.7 It is what psychologists call cognitive dissonance: when there is a discrepancy between a person’s attitudes and their behaviour, such as when you find yourself doing a ‘boring’ task for little reward, your attitude will often move into line with your behaviour (e.g. you conclude that the task is not so dull after all, and that it enables you to relax and clear your mind). Similarly, someone who has invested in a government war bond, or ‘dug for victory’, may be more likely to come to believe in the value and objectives of the war itself.

Chapter 1: Early Steps 1 One of the most basic psychological effects is how familiarity breeds liking, from random sequences of notes to how much we like and trust institutions. 2 I’m grateful to Rory Sutherland for first drawing my attention to the fascinating example of how Frederick the Great encouraged Prussians to adopt the potato. 3 Quoted in Quarterly Journal of Military History, August 2009. 4 UCLA Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health; http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/snow/victoria.html. 5 The Rotherhithe Tunnel was opened around 1908, and today carries the A101 road from Limehouse to Rotherhithe. As its sharp turns are now considered dangerous, it has a speed limit of just 20 mph. 6 Heide, Robert, and Gilman, John, Home Front America: Popular Culture of the World War II Era. p.36 ISBN 0-8118-0927-7 OCLC 31207708. 7 Festinger, L. (1957). A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. A classic illustration of the effect, was a study in which students had to do a boring, repetitive task, but were then paid either $1 or $20 to persuade someone in the waiting room that it was fun. When subsequently asked to rate the experiment, those paid just $1 were much more likely to rate it as interesting than those paid $20. Festinger argued that those paid the smaller sum restructured their beliefs in line with their behaviour: it must have been interesting, since I did it and told someone else it was interesting, just for a measly $1.

(page numbers in italics refer to illustrations) advertising: and alcohol 100–1 and humour 100 and shock 98–100, 100 and smoking 99, 100 airport expansion 98 alcohol 100–1, 127 and calories 100 and pregnancy 126–7 Alexander, Danny 281 anaesthetics 17 ‘animal spirits’ 207, 210, 211 Aos, Steve 282 Ariely, Dan 96–7, 134, 325 Aristotle 221, 240 Armstrong, Hilary 34 Asch, Solomon 26 ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) 189 Ashford, Maren 57, 83 attentional spotlight 83–4 Ayres, Ian 142 Bazerman, Max 134, 325 Beales, Greg 36 Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) (see also nudging): arguments lost by 212–14 becomes social-purpose company 350 beginnings of x–xi, 50–8, 56, 58, 341 current numbers employed by xiii, 341 current trials by 341 expansion of xiii governments follow 11 initial appointments to 56–7, 56 initial scepticism towards 9 most frequent early criticisms of 333 naming of x–xi, 52–3 objectives of 54–5 and transparency, efficacy and accountability, see under nudging and webpage design 275–9, 276 World Bank’s request to 125 year of scepticism experienced by 274 behavioural predators 312–13 Benartzi, Shlomo 64 benefits, see welfare benefits Bentham, Jeremy 221–2 BIG lottery 283 ‘Big Society’ 43, 50, 142, 250 BIT, see Behavioural Insights Team Blair, Tony 151, 225 and behavioural approaches in government 302 Brown takes over from 36, 260–1 review into tenure of 34 Strategy Unit of 31 Tories’ admiration of 50 Bogotá 135, 146 Bohnet, Iris 123 Britton, John 188 Brown, Gordon 34 becomes PM 36, 260–1 Byrne, Liam 47 Cameron, David 151 BIT set up by 8 and Coalition Agreement 38 and data transparency 159 Hilton appointed by 43 and randomised controlled trials 274 and response to notes 186 and smoking 194 and well-being 225–8, 227, 250 car tax 3, 91, 92, 275–8 carrier bags 23 Centre for Ageing Better 282 Centre for Local Economic Growth (LEG) 282, 288 Chand, Raj 146 charities 116–20, 142–4, 144 and reciprocity 116 Chetty, Raj 64 childbirth, see pregnancy and childbirth Cialdini, Robert 34–6, 47, 107–8, 109, 113, 121–2, 308, 312 Clegg, Nick, and Coalition Agreement 38 Cochrane, Dr Archie 269–71, 295, 297 Cochrane Collaboration 271 cocktail-party effect 86 cognitive dissonance 21 cognitive psychology 27–9, 28 Colbourne, Tim 215 College of Policing 282, 289 Collins, Kevan 283, 285 Community First 254–5 commuting 219–20, 263–4 conflict and war 20–1, 27, 87, 344–5 consumer feedback 161–9, 167 improvements driven by 168–9 in public sector 163–9, 167 cooling-off periods 77 Council Tax 95 crime prevention (see also theft): ‘scared straight’ approach to 266–8, 267 and ‘What Works’ institutes 289 Darley, J. 27, 110 data transparency 153–84 and better nudges 179–80 and consumer feedback 161–9, 167 improvements driven by 168–9 in public sector 163–9, 167 and food labelling 172, 178 and machine-readable code 154, 157, 159 and RACAP 157 in restaurants 178 and understandable information 176–9 on cancer 178–9 on car safety 177–8 on financial products 177 and utility suppliers 154–60, 155 Davey, Ed 157 Deaton, Angus 243 decision fatigue 141 Deep Blue 7 Diener, Ed 231 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) 272 discontinuity design 161–2 doctors’ handwriting 72, 72 Dolan, Paul 47–8, 220 Down, Nick 113 drivers’ behaviour 18, 18 Duckworth, Angela 247 Dunn, Elizabeth 220, 237, 250, 256 Durand, Martine 243 Dweck, Carol 343 e-cigarettes 188–97, 193, 215 estimated years of life saved by 195, 216 and non-smokers 193–4 and quit rates 192–3, 193 by socio-economic grouping 195 Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) 282 EAST (Easy, Attractive, Social, Timely) framework 10, 60, 149, 349 Attractive 80–105, 81, 85, 94 Easy 62–79, 68, 72, 73 and jobcentres 200 Social 106–25, 115, 118, 120, 122 (see also social influence) Timely 126–49, 129 Easterlin, Richard 238 eating habits 139, 171, 307 (see also obesity/weight issues) and choice 306–7 and food pyramid/plate illustrations 41, 41 and food tax 301–2 and healthy/unhealthy food 41, 82, 101–2, 216, 302 ‘mindless’ 171 Economic and Social Research Council 283 economy, UK 205–12 econs 6–7, 178, 223 education 137, 282 financial 64 further 146–7 and timely intervention 146–7 and ‘What Works’ institutes 283–7, 284, 286 Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF) 282, 283–7, 284, 286 Effectiveness and Efficiency (Cochrane) 295 endowment effect 140 Energy Performance Certificate 179 energy ratings 135 energy and utility suppliers, see utility suppliers Enterprise Bill 159 Epley, Nick 260–1 established behaviour, see habits ethnicity, and recruitment 137–9, 344 experimental government 266–98, 270, 272, 276 and crime prevention 266–8, 267 ethics of 325–8 (see also nudging: and accountability) and growth vouchers 279–80 and organ donation 275–9, 276 and overseas health-aid programmes 273 and radical incrementalism 291 and ‘What Works’ institutes 281–90, 292–4 Centre for Ageing Better 282 Centre for Crime Reduction 289 Centre for Local Economic Growth (LEG) 282, 288 Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) 282, 288 Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF) 282, 283–7, 284, 286 experimental psychology 24–6 farmers 145 ‘fat tax’ 301–2 (see also eating habits) fertiliser 145 Feynman, Richard 296, 297 financial crisis 45, 46, 206, 336 (see also UK economy) financial products 177, 206 fines, collecting 3–4, 52, 89, 90–1 Fischhoff, Baruch ix Fisher, Ronald 291 Fiske, Susan 84, 86, 325, 345 food pyramid/plate illustrations 41, 41 forms, prefilling 73–4 fossils 35 Frederick the Great 15, 16 Freud, Lord 279 Gallagher, Rory 55, 88–9, 158, 197–8, 204, 343, 349 gender equality, and company boards 123 Genovese, Kitty 109–10 Gigerenzer, Gerd 178 Gilbert, Danny 139, 220 Gino, Francesca 347 giving 116–20, 142–4, 144, 250 God Complex 269 Gove, Michael 287 Grant, Adam 347 Green Book 46, 228, 258, 259 Grice, Joe 233 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) 222–4, 255 (see also UK economy) Grove, Rohan 211 growth vouchers 279–80 Gyani, Alex 197–8, 203, 204, 343, 349 habits: and early intervention 128–32 key moments to prompt or reshape 132–9 and tax payments 131 Hallsworth, Michael 48, 113 Hancock, Matthew 279 hand washing 99, 140 happy-slave problem 231 Haynes, Laura 56–7 hearing 25 Heider, Fritz 345 Helliwell, John 226–7, 232 Henry VIII 17 herd instinct 161 Heywood, Sir Jeremy 2, 215, 217, 281 The Hidden Wealth of Nations (Halpern) 44 Highway Code 20 Hillman, Nick 165 Hilton, Steve x, 43–4, 51, 53–4, 159, 190, 214, 215, 225–6, 247, 250 and randomised controlled trials 274 hindsight bias ix HMRC 2–3, 8, 87–8, 89, 113, 115, 118, 120, 181–2 (see also tax payments) BIT member’s secondment to 113 non-tax-related business communications sent via 210–11 and online tax forms 74 and randomised controlled trials 274 Homer, Lin 210 honesty 133–4 honours 98 horses’ behaviour 18–19, 19 hospitals: and doctors’ handwriting 72, 72 and patient charts 72–3, 73 Hume, David 221 Hunt, Stefan 209 Hurd, Nick 250 Hutcheson, Francis 221 hyperbolic discounting 139 imprinting 128–9, 129 infant development 128–30 (see also pregnancy and childbirth) and early mother–child ‘meshing’ 129 (see also imprinting) in geese 128–9, 129 and mother’s depression 129 Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Cialdini) 34–5, 312 Inglehart, Ronald F. 229 Inland Revenue, see HMRC Institute for Government 40, 46–50 J-PAL 294 jobcentres 120–1, 197–205, 200, 201, 343, 349 (see also unemployment) John, Peter 96 The Joyless Economy (Scitovsky) 223 judges 140 Kahneman, Daniel 27, 29–30, 32, 48, 220, 226, 230 BIT’s work commended by 11 Kasparov, Garry 7 Kennedy, Robert F. 218, 222 Kettle, Stuart 125 Keynes, John Maynard 210, 211–12 King, Dom 48, 72 Kirkman, Elspeth 121, 146 knife crime 122 Kuznets, Simon 222 Laibson, David 64–5, 245, 307 Latene, B. 27, 110 Layard, Richard 225, 242, 248 Lazy Town 82 Legatum Institute 242–3 letters/messages, simplifying 71–3 and handwriting 72 in hospitals 72–3, 73 and prefilled forms 73–5 Letwin, Oliver 213, 217, 281, 295 Life satisfaction (discussion paper) 225 (see also well-being) Linos, Elizabeth 137, 344 List, John 286 litter 23, 35, 94, 107–8, 114 Loewenstein, George 307, 324, 345 loft/wall insulation 3, 75–6 Lorenz, Konrad 128–9, 129 lotteries, as incentive 94–6 Luca, Michael 161–2, 166, 177 Lyard, Richard 238 Lyons, Michael 250 MacFadden, Pat 34 Mackenzie, Polly 51, 215 Major, John 46 Manzi, James 295–6 Marcel, Anthony 136 Martin, Steve 113 Matheson, Jill 227 Mayhew, Pat 66 Mazar, Nina 347 Meacher, Michael 224 mental health 246–9 Merkel, Angela 243 midata, see data transparency Milgram, Stanley 26, 327 Miliband, Ed 34 military recruitment advertising 87 Milkman, Katherine 323 Mill, John Stuart 221 MINDSPACE framework 49–50, 50, 60, 72 motorcycle helmets 66–7 Mulgan, Geoff 225, 301–2 Mullainathan, Sendhil 343 National Citizenship Service (NCS) 251–2, 251 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) 195, 271, 281, 290 Nesta 350 Nguyen, Sam 55, 197–8, 343 The Nicomachean Ethics (Aristotle) 240 nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) 193, 193 (see also smoking) 9/11 28 Norton, Mike 256, 347 Nudge (Thaler, Sunstein) ix–x, 6–7, 39, 157, 234 Nudge Unit, see Behavioural Insights Team nudging (see also Behavioural Insights Team; EAST framework): and accountability 324–5 and experimentation, ethics of 325–8 and the public voice 328–32, 329 defined and discussed 22–4 and efficacy 304, 315–24 and familiarity with approach 319–24 relative 318–19 improving, with better data 179–80 rediscovery of 13 and subconscious priming 136 and transparency 304–15 and behavioural predators 312–13 and choice 306, 314–15 and effective communication vs propaganda 307–11, 311 Nurse Family Partnership 129 Obama, Barack 39–40, 254 acceptance speech of 38 Obama, Michelle 101 obesity/weight issues 101, 170–3, 307 (see also eating habits) in children, levelling of 173 and food labelling 172 and ‘mindless’ eating 171 O’Donnell, Sir Gus (later Lord) 45–6, 47, 57, 225, 227, 227, 242, 258 OECD 293, 340 Office of War Information (US) 21 Olds, David 130 online shopping 109 Ord, Toby 273 organ donation 9, 37, 52, 275–9 Orwell, George 309, 311 Osborne, George 45 and data transparency 159 O’Shaughnessy, James 247 Overman, Henry 288 Paley, William 221 paternalism x, 33, 51, 316 Pelenur, Marcos 135 pensions xii, 9, 62–5, 331 and choice 307 PMSU’s paper on 33 people’s parliaments 332 perception 24–5, 25 Personality responsibility and behaviour change (discussion paper) 301–2 police, ethnic recruits into 137–9, 344 potato consumption 15–16 pregnancy and childbirth 126–7 (see also infant development) Prescott, John 302 Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit (PMSU) 31–3, 47, 53, 225, 337 and Personality responsibility and behaviour change paper 301–2 psychological operations (PsyOps) 30, 308–9, 333 Putnam, Robert 253 radical incrementalism 291 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) 8, 113, 132, 182, 252, 270, 274–5, 283, 297–8, 339 and HMRC 274 Raseman, Sophie 157 RECAP 157 recycling 35 Red Tape Challenge 57 Reeves, Richard 51 Revenue and Customs, see HMRC road fuel 23 road traffic, see vehicles Roberto, Christine 101, 178 Rogers, Todd 146, 321 Rolls-Royce 208 Roosevelt, Franklin D. 21 Ruda, Simon 125, 137, 214, 344 Sainsbury, Lord (David) 46–7 Sanders, Michael 57, 116, 119, 142–3, 146 Scheving, Magnús 81, 82–3 Scitovsky, Tibor 223 Scott, Stephen 247 Seligman, Marty 232, 247 Sen, Amartya 231 Service, Owain 2, 56, 69 Sesame Street 101 Shadbolt, Sir Nigel 158 Shafir, Eldar 343, 345 sight 24–5, 25 Silva, Rohan x–xi, 43–5, 51, 53–4, 159 Singer, Tania 345 small businesses 205–9 passim (see also UK economy) smart disclosure 157 smoke detectors 99 smoking 9, 23, 99, 100, 138 and e-cigarettes 188–97, 193, 215 estimated years of life saved by 195, 216 and non-smokers 193–4 and nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) 193 and pregnancy 126–7 prevalence of 189 and quit rates 192–3, 193 by socio-economic grouping 195 SNAP framework 48 social influence 26–7, 106–25 and bystander intervention 110 dark side of 109–10 and litter 107–8, 114 norms of: descriptive vs injunctive 108 picking apart 107–11 in policy 111–15 and online shopping 109 and personal touch 119–21 and reciprocity 115–17 social psychology 107 Soman, Dilip 337 Southern Cross station staircase 85 speed bumps 76–7 Sportacus 81–3, 81 Stanford Prison 26–7 Steinberg, Tom 254 stickk.com 142 subconscious priming 136 suicide 67–9, 68, 77 Sunstein, Cass ix–x, 6–7, 22, 39–42, 44, 57, 73, 305, 307, 314 and RACAP 157 supermarkets 80–1, 84, 86, 171–2 and food labelling 173, 178 Sutherland, Rory 187–8 tailored defaults. 307 tax payments 3, 8, 23, 52, 87–8, 88, 89, 112–14, 118, 120, 131, 181–2 in Central America 125 Council Tax 95 and habits 131 and lottery incentive 96–7 and online tax forms 74–5 and randomised controlled trials 274 road duty 3, 91, 92, 275–8 social-norm-based approach to 113, 115 Tetlock, Philip 192 Thaler, Richard 6–7, 22, 39, 44, 50, 51, 53, 57, 305 and BIT’s name 53 and RACAP 157 theft (see also crime prevention): mobile phones 173–6, 174, 175 and target-hardening 78, 214 vehicles: cars 169–70 motorcycles 66–7 time, perception of 128 time-inconsistent preferences 128, 139–45 Times 301–2 tobacco, see smoking Turner Lord (Adair) xii, 33, 331 Tversky, Amos 27, 29, 230 UK economy 205–12, 215, 216 (see also financial crisis; Gross Domestic Product) unemployment 120–1, 122, 197–205, 200, 201, 216, 343, 349 (see also jobcentres) and well-being 255–6 utilitarianism 221–2 utility suppliers: and data transparency 154–60 switching among 153–4, 155–6, 155, 160, 213 vehicles 18–20 safety of 177–8 and speeding 76–7, 92–5, 100 varied penalties for 147 thefts of: cars 169–70 motorcycles 66–7 Victoria, Queen 17 visas 132 Vlaev, Ivo 48 Volpe, Kevin 320 voter registration 95–6 Walsh, Emily 123 Wansink, Brian 171, 306 war 20–1 war and conflict 20–1, 27, 87, 344–5 weight, see obesity/weight issues welfare benefits 8 and conditional cash transfers 135, 145 and timing of payments 135 well-being 218–65 and community 249–55, 251 and commuting 219–20, 263–4 by country 229, 238, 243 drivers of 235–41 material factors 237–9 social factors 239–41 (see also well-being: and community) sunny disposition 235–7 early concepts of 220–2 and GDP 222–4, 255 and governance and service design 258–62 and happy-slave problem 231 and income, work and markets 255–7 and Life satisfaction paper 225 measuring 222–4 big questions concerning 231–3 subjective 228–31 and mental health 246–9 and National Citizenship Service programme 251–2, 251 by occupation 244 and policy 242–3, 258 subjective 224, 228–31 and giving 250 (see also giving) by occupation 244–5 and prostitutes 231–2 UK government’s programme on 226–8, 233–5, 234, 240 unemployment’s effects on 255–6 and utilitarianism 221–2 What Works institutes 281–90, 292–4, 340 Centre for Ageing Better 282 Centre for Crime Reduction 289 Centre for Local Economic Growth (LEG) 282, 288 Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) 282, 288 Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF) 282, 283–7, 284, 286 When Harry Met Sally 160–1 ‘wicked problems’ 170 Willetts, David 165 World Bank 125, 293, 309, 340 World Values Survey (WVS) 229 yelp.com 161–2 Young, Lord 279 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS THERE ARE MANY people who deserve thanks and credit for the work and results of the Behavioural Insights Team that this book describes, and a rather shorter list for the writing and editing of the book itself.


pages: 384 words: 118,572

The Confidence Game: The Psychology of the Con and Why We Fall for It Every Time by Maria Konnikova

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attribution theory, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, epigenetics, hindsight bias, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, Milgram experiment, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, publish or perish, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, side project, Skype, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, tulip mania, Walter Mischel

High off the optimism of the convincer, certain that good fortune is ours, we often take the second route. When we should be cutting our losses, we instead recommit—and that is entirely what the breakdown is meant to accomplish. Leon Festinger first proposed the theory of cognitive dissonance, today one of the most famous concepts in psychology, in 1957. When we experience an event that counteracts a prior belief, he argued, the resulting tension is too much for us to handle; we can’t hold two opposing beliefs at the same time, at least not consciously. “The individual strives,” Festinger wrote in A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, “toward consistency within himself.” True, here and there one might find exceptions. But overall, “It is still overwhelmingly true that related opinions or attitudes are consistent with one another. Study after study reports such consistency among one person’s political attitudes, social attitudes, and many others.”

., ref1, ref2 Carnegie, Andrew ref1 Carnegie, Dale ref1, ref2 Carney, Bruce ref1 Carr, Sarah ref1 Carro, Gregory ref1 Catch Me If You Can, ref1 caterpillars ref1 Cayuga, HMCS ref1, ref2 Cerf, Moran ref1, ref2 Chabris, Christopher ref1 Chadwick, Cassie ref1 Chaiken, Shelly ref1 chameleon effect ref1 change strategies ref1, ref2, ref3 Chaucer, Geoffrey ref1 Chen, Peter ref1 choices ref1, ref2, ref3 Chonko, Lawrence ref1 Choong, Lee ref1, ref2 Christie, Richard ref1 Cialdini, Robert ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6 Clore, Gerald ref1 Codol, Jean-Paul ref1 cognitive dissonance ref1 Cohen, Steven ref1 coins ref1, ref2 commons ref1 communities ref1 Confidence Man, The (Melville), ref1 confirmation bias ref1, ref2, ref3 Consumer Fraud Research Group ref1 control, illusion of ref1 conversations ref1 convincer ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4 Cooke, Janet ref1 corporate fraud ref1 Craigslist ref1, ref2 credibility ref1 creeping determinism ref1 Crichton, Judy ref1 Crichton, Robert ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6, ref7, ref8 Crichton, Sarah ref1 cuckoo finch ref1 cults ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4 culture ref1 Cummine, Andrew ref1 Curry, Robert ref1 Dal Cin, Sonya ref1 dark triad of traits ref1, ref2 psychopathy ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4 Davis, Barbara ref1 Dean, Jeremy ref1 DeBruine, Lisa ref1 decision making ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5 Dedalus Foundation ref1, ref2 default effects ref1, ref2 Demara, Ferdinand Waldo, Jr., ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6, ref7, ref8, ref9, ref10, ref11, ref12, ref13 Crichton and ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6, ref7, ref8 at monasteries ref1, ref2, ref3 as navy surgeon ref1, ref2, ref3 “papering” tactic of ref1 as prison warden ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4 school gifts from ref1 Demara, Ferdinand Waldo, Sr., ref1 Demara, Mary McNelly ref1, ref2 determinism, creeping ref1 Deveraux, Jude ref1 De Védrines, Christine ref1 De Védrines, Ghislaine ref1, ref2 “Diddling” (Poe), ref1 disasters ref1 disrupt-then-reframe ref1 Dittisham Lady, ref1, ref2 door-in-the-face ref1, ref2 Drake, Francis ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5 Dunbar, Robin ref1, ref2, ref3 Dunning, David ref1 Dutch tulip mania ref1 Dylan, Bob ref1 Ebola crisis ref1 Egan, Michael ref1 Eiffel Tower ref1 Ekman, Paul ref1, ref2, ref3 elaboration likelihood model ref1 elder fraud ref1 Elizabeth I, Queen ref1 Emler, Nicholas ref1, ref2 emotions ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6, ref7 anticipation of ref1 donations and ref1 stories and ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6 endowment effect ref1, ref2 entrapment effect ref1 environment ref1 Epley, Nicholas ref1, ref2, ref3 Epstein, Seymour ref1, ref2 Erdely, Sabrina Rubin ref1 Evans, Elizabeth Glendower ref1 even-a-penny scenario ref1, ref2 exceptionalism ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4 expectancies ref1, ref2 exposure ref1, ref2 Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (Mackay), ref1 Eyal, Tal ref1 Facebook ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6, ref7 facial expressions ref1, ref2, ref3 Fallon, James ref1 familiarity ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4 Farms Not Factories ref1 FBI ref1, ref2, ref3 fear ref1 Feldman, Robert ref1 Fenimore, Karin ref1 Festinger, Leon ref1, ref2, ref3 Fetzer, Barbara ref1 Figes, Orlando ref1 Fischhoff, Baruch ref1, ref2 Fiske, Susan ref1 Fitzgerald, Alan and Eilis ref1 Fitzgerald, Elizabeth (Madame Zingara), ref1, ref2 fix ref1 Folt, Carol ref1 football ref1 foot-in-the-door ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4 Frampton, Anne-Marie ref1, ref2, ref3 Frampton, Paul ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6, ref7, ref8, ref9 Frank, Jerome ref1 Franklin, Benjamin ref1, ref2 Franklin Syndicate ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4 Fraser, Scott ref1 Freedman, Ann ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6, ref7 Freeman, Jonathan ref1 French, John ref1, ref2 Fund for the New American Century ref1 future ref1 predicting ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4 Galinsky, Adam ref1 gambler’s fallacy ref1, ref2 Gant, Robert ref1 Geis, Florence ref1 genetics ref1 Gerard, Harold ref1 Gerhartsreiter, Christian ref1 Gifford, Adam Lord ref1 Gilbert, Daniel ref1, ref2 Gilligan, Andrew ref1 Gilovich, Thomas ref1 Glass, Stephen ref1, ref2 Goetzinger, Charles ref1 Gondorf, Fred and Charles ref1 Goodrich, Judge ref1 Gordon, John Steel ref1 gorilla experiment ref1 gossip ref1, ref2, ref3 Goya, Francisco ref1 Grazioli, Stefano ref1 Great Imposter, The (Crichton), ref1, ref2, ref3 Green, Melanie ref1, ref2 Green Dot cards ref1 Greg ref1 grifter ref1 grooming ref1 groups, belonging to ref1 Guillotin, Joseph ref1 Gur, Ruben ref1 Gurney, Edmund ref1 Hancock, Jeffrey ref1 Hansen, Chris ref1 Hanson, Robert ref1 happiness ref1, ref2, ref3 Hare, Robert ref1 Harley, Richard ref1 Harlow, E.


pages: 692 words: 127,032

Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America by Shawn Lawrence Otto

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Berlin Wall, Brownian motion, carbon footprint, Cepheid variable, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, commoditize, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dean Kamen, desegregation, double helix, energy security, Exxon Valdez, fudge factor, ghettoisation, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, mutually assured destruction, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, sharing economy, smart grid, Solar eclipse in 1919, stem cell, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, University of East Anglia, War on Poverty, white flight, Winter of Discontent, working poor, yellow journalism, zero-sum game

FRAMING SCIENCE If it’s true that our brains process facts and Locke’s “but faith, or opinion” in essentially the same way, how can one ever hope to break through? The key lies in emphasizing the process, which granulates the frame from an authoritarian assertion to an antiauthoritarian exploration of the senses and intellect: “Look, see it yourself?” This has the same effect as Locke’s careful definition of knowledge: It removes science from a rhetorical frame conflict and refocuses the mind on observable reality, causing cognitive dissonance and questioning. When the evolution question is worded with the qualifier “according to the theory of evolution,” that emphasizes process. We could also ask it with the qualifier “according to observations of the fossil record” and would likely get a similar result. This is because science is a physical, objective subset of the broader worldviews that it was carved out from, and that’s okay.

Even people high in belief in a just world can handle these extremes if there’s a concrete solution. But without that, they find it paralyzing and are motivated to disregard the message.”23 SPEAKING CONSERVATESE When the just world belief is held along with a high level of patriotism, this effect seems to be multiplied, Willer and Feinberg found in a follow-up study.24 “Conservatives are on average more patriotic,” says Willer. “One thing that sets up is a great deal of cognitive dissonance when it comes to global warming. You think America is great, you know it’s a greenhouse-gas emitter, and then you’re told that greenhouse gases are bad for the world.” They found that if you experimentally increase people’s patriotism, their belief in global warming tends to go down. In other experiments, Feinberg and Willer found that liberals moralize environmental issues and conservatives don’t.25 So they wondered, “What if you tried to make conservatives think of global warming as a moral issue?

Win or lose, Sanders puts a face on science and elevates it in the discussion. Sometimes this process can take years to have an impact. But eventually, it does. “I went to the county fairs and I’d meet lots of people,” relates Sanders. “A not infrequent response was ‘Oh, since you’re a scientist you probably believe in global warming.’ This was from people who didn’t. So there was this cognitive dissonance. They know that my being a scientist would make me think that global warming was real, and they both didn’t believe it themselves and thought that there was some dispute about it. And they would maintain the position that it’s an open scientific question. But in person at least, I didn’t feel like they were hostile to me. It’s hard to know how sustained you have to be. “At Indiana county fairs there are a lot of church booths.


pages: 901 words: 234,905

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Defenestration of Prague, desegregation, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, Hobbesian trap, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, long peace, meta analysis, meta-analysis, More Guns, Less Crime, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Potemkin village, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Bork, Rodney Brooks, Saturday Night Live, speech recognition, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the new new thing, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, ultimatum game, urban renewal, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

They overestimate their contribution to a joint effort, chalk up their successes to skill and their failures to luck, and always feel that the other side has gotten the better deal in a compromise.81 People keep up these self-serving illusions even when they are wired to what they think is an accurate lie-detector. This shows that they are not lying to the experimenter but lying to themselves. For decades every psychology student has learned about “cognitive disson Sance reduction,” in which people change whatever opinion it takes to maintain a positive self-image.82 The cartoonist Scott Adams illustrates it well: Dilbert reprinted by permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc. If the cartoon were completely accurate, though, life would be a cacophony of spoinks. Self-deception is among the deepest roots of human strife and folly. It implies that the faculties that ought to allow us to settle our differences—seeking the truth and discussing it rationally—are miscalibrated so that all parties assess themselves to be wiser, abler, and nobler than they really are.

Among them I would include the following: The primacy of family ties in all human societies and the consequent appeal of nepotism and inheritance.20 The limited scope of communal sharing in human groups, the more common ethos of reciprocity, and the resulting phenomena of social loafing and the collapse of contributions to public goods when reciprocity cannot be implemented.21 The universality of dominance and violence across human societies (including supposedly peaceable hunter-gatherers) and the existence of genetic and neurological mechanisms that underlie it.22 The universality of ethnocentrism and other forms of group-against-group hostility across societies, and the ease with which such hostility can be aroused in people within our own society.23 The partial heritability of intelligence, conscientiousness, and antisocial tendencies, implying that some degree of inequality will arise even in perfectly fair economic systems, and that we therefore face an inherent tradeoff between equality and freedom.24 The prevalence of defense mechanisms, self-serving biases, and cognitive dissonance reduction, by which people deceive themselves about their autonomy, wisdom, and integrity.25 The biases of the human moral sense, including a preference for kin and friends, a susceptibility to a taboo mentality, and a tendency to confuse morality with conformity, rank, cleanliness, and beauty.26 It is not just conventional scientific data that tell us the mind is not infinitely malleable.

Strong reciprocity, human cooperation and the enforcement of social norms. Human Nature. Fehr, E., & Gächter, S. 2000. Fairness and retaliation: The economics of reciprocity. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 14, 159–181. Fernández-Jalvo, Y., Diez, J. C., Bermúdez de Castro, J. M., Carbonell, E., & Arsuaga, J. L. 1996. Evidence of early cannibalism. Science, 271, 277–278. Festinger, L. 1957. A theory of cognitive dissonance. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. Finch, C. E., & Kirkwood, T. B. L. 2000. Chance, development, and aging. New York: Oxford University Press. Fischoff, S. 1999. Psychology’s quixotic quest for the media-violence connection. Journal of Media Psychology, 4. Fisher, S. E., Vargha-Khadem, F., Watkins, K. E., Monaco, A. P., & Pembrey, M. E. 1998. Localisation of a gene implicated in a severe speech and language disorder.


pages: 411 words: 108,119

The Irrational Economist: Making Decisions in a Dangerous World by Erwann Michel-Kerjan, Paul Slovic

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Andrei Shleifer, availability heuristic, bank run, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cross-subsidies, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, experimental economics, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, George Akerlof, hindsight bias, incomplete markets, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Kenneth Arrow, Loma Prieta earthquake, London Interbank Offered Rate, market bubble, market clearing, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, placebo effect, price discrimination, price stability, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, source of truth, statistical model, stochastic process, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, transaction costs, ultimatum game, University of East Anglia, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto

A survey of law school students published in 2003 by economists Kip Viscusi and Richard Zeckhauser in the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, however, found that around 40 percent of respondents believed their personal risk assessment was higher before the attacks than currently.2 In another study of professional-school students and undergraduate business students in 2005, they showed that over two-thirds of respondents exhibited the same phenomenon.3 These respondents experienced a recollection bias, whereby after the occurrence of a low-probability event, one thinks that one’s prior risk assessment was much higher than it actually was. This could be due to an attempt to reduce cognitive dissonance, for self-justification, or simply to misremembering. It may also be a variant of hindsight bias, in which knowing the outcome alters an individual’s assessment of how likely it was to have occurred. For example, in a 1975 study by psychologist Baruch Fischhoff, who is also a contributor to this book, subjects were given passages to read about the Gurkha raids on the British in the early 1800s.

From an economic perspective this faith is unfounded, and Friedman in his role as a scholar was aware of this fact and even alluded to it in footnotes. But his followers were not aware of it, and are still not. From the perspective of an ardent free-marketer, environmental problems are a threat: They require government intervention in the economy. It’s hard to believe both that we need to solve environmental problems and that the government is the problem and not the solution! Believing both leads to cognitive dissonance. Many conservatives ignore environmental problems, pretending that they don’t exist. Roosevelt and Nixon did not have this conflict: In their day, conservatism was consistent with a role for the government. Compounding this ideological change is an empirical one: the rise of climate change as an issue. Climate change threatens the fossil fuel industry, the oil, coal, and gas industries.


pages: 537 words: 99,778

Dreaming in Public: Building the Occupy Movement by Amy Lang, Daniel Lang/levitsky

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Bay Area Rapid Transit, bonus culture, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate personhood, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, deindustrialization, facts on the ground, glass ceiling, housing crisis, Kibera, late capitalism, mass incarceration, Naomi Klein, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Port of Oakland, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Slavoj Žižek, structural adjustment programs, the medium is the message, too big to fail, trade liberalization, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, white flight, working poor

Oakland simply did what any self-respecting city does with such disfiguring blots on its honor: it occasionally sends the police out to chase them away and then it ignores them when they come back. And it longed for that plaza to be clean and picturesque in the way a good plaza should be: empty of people. But hey, did you see what I did there? I was talking about rats, and then suddenly I was talking about human beings. Did you notice it when you were reading it? Did you feel any cognitive dissonance? What kind of cognitive dissonance did you feel? If you didn’t, it’s probably because ‘rats’ and ‘vermin’ is a common way of talking and thinking about this country’s underclass, the human beings who, because they sell drugs or don’t have a stable home, don’t quite seem like the sort of people we have to care about. They seem dirty. We might even let ourselves get stupid enough to imagine them as parasites (as if we ever gave them anything).


pages: 307 words: 94,069

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath, Dan Heath

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Atul Gawande, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate social responsibility, en.wikipedia.org, fundamental attribution error, impulse control, medical residency, Piper Alpha, placebo effect, publish or perish, Richard Thaler, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs

For instance, when the Eiffel Tower was first erected, Parisians hated it. They thought it was a half-finished skeletal blight on their fair city, and they responded with a frenzy of protest. But as time went by, public opinion evolved from hatred to acceptance to adoration. The mere exposure principle assures us that a change effort that initially feels unwelcome and foreign will gradually be perceived more favorably as people grow accustomed to it. Also, cognitive dissonance works in your favor. People don’t like to act in one way and think in another. So once a small step has been taken, and people have begun to act in a new way, it will be increasingly difficult for them to dislike the way they’re acting. Similarly, as people begin to act differently, they’ll start to think of themselves differently, and as their identity evolves, it will reinforce the new way of doing things.

The “verbal grooming” quotation and other details are from an interview between Dan Heath and Amy Sutherland in January 2008. Psychologist Alan Kazdin. See Kazdin (2008), The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child: With No Pills, No Therapy, No Contest of Wills, New York: Houghton Mifflin. The quotations are from p. 34. Change isn’t an event; it’s a process. Chip Heath thanks Bo Brockman for teaching this idea. Steven Kelman. On pp. 22–24, Kelman explains why mere exposure and cognitive dissonance may cause people to resist change. Then, in an insightful analysis on pp. 123–127, he shows how the same factors make change hard to stop once they get going. See Kelman (2005), Unleashing Change: A Study of Organizational Renewal in Government, Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Acknowledgments Some readers gave us feedback on an early draft of the text. You helped us separate the wheat from the chaff and also saved us from a major Clocky miscue.


pages: 352 words: 104,411

Rush Hour by Iain Gately

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Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, Beeching cuts, blue-collar work, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, car-free, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, connected car, corporate raider, DARPA: Urban Challenge, Dean Kamen, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, don't be evil, Elon Musk, extreme commuting, Google bus, Henri Poincaré, Hyperloop, Jeff Bezos, low skilled workers, Marchetti’s constant, postnationalism / post nation state, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, telepresence, Tesla Model S, urban planning, éminence grise

Two-thirds of all drivers ‘rate themselves almost perfect in excellence as a driver (9 or 10 on a 10-point scale), while the rest consider themselves above average (6 to 8)’. In their own minds, they can’t put a wheel wrong when they’re on the road. As a consequence, while ‘70 per cent of drivers report being a victim of an aggressive driver’, only ‘30 per cent admit to being aggressive drivers’. Such mismatches between perception and reality suggest that cognitive dissonance rules the highways. Drivers operate in a parallel universe where they are perfect and everyone else is bad and dangerous. The territoriality, belligerence, vindictiveness and, above all, double standards that typify road-rage sufferers have been investigated in depth. It’s now treated as a problem in its own right that claims hundreds of casualties each year, and is in urgent need of solution.

The OECD Well-Being Index of thirty-six countries also rates commuting badly. Denmark, which tops its chart, wins partly because average commutes in that country are very short, and 34 per cent of Danish workers travel to their offices by bike. This combination boosts its scores on three counts – health (bicycle commuters have a 28 per cent lower mortality rate than the population average), environment and ‘work/life balance’. So are commuters all suffering from cognitive dissonance and, like smokers, addicted to a habit that will inevitably make them sick and possibly kill them? Some experts think so, and describe such blindness as a ‘weighting mistake’. We humans mess up our priorities: we invest our passions in trivia, and overlook important matters – we splash out on a new pair of shoes, and forget to pay our taxes. When it comes to commuting, we dream of having houses with gardens in the suburbs and sending our children to good schools, but forget that we’re spending a fortune on season tickets or fuel, and will seldom have time for our gardens or money to pay for private educations for our kids.


pages: 432 words: 85,707

QI: The Third Book of General Ignorance (Qi: Book of General Ignorance) by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson

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Albert Einstein, British Empire, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, dark matter, double helix, epigenetics, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, music of the spheres, out of africa, Ronald Reagan, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route

One suggestion is that lower temperatures during the ‘Little Ice Age’ of the late seventeenth century led to slower tree growth, producing denser wood with superior acoustic properties. Others believe Stradivarius added a secret ingredient to his varnish or used magically endowed wood from ancient churches. The human tendency to experience expensive things as ‘better’ is driven by the psychological phenomenon known as ‘cognitive dissonance’. We become uncomfortable if reality doesn’t live up to our expectations, so we adjust reality accordingly. And it works. If people pay a higher price for an energy drink, like Red Bull, they are able to solve more brain-teasers afterwards than those who paid a lower price for the same drink. They expect the more expensive drink to be more effective, and their brains make reality conform to this expectation.

K. 1 chickens 1, 2 childbirth 1 Chile 1, 2 chimpanzees 1 China, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 Chinchorro 1 chlorine 1 chlorofluorocarbons 1 chocolate 1 Cholula pyramid 1 Chopin, Frédéric 1 chopines 1 chromosomes 1 Christianity 1, 2, 3, 4 Christmas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Churchill, Winston S. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ciabatta 1 Cielo, César 1 cinnamon 1, 2 Cistercians 1 citrus fruit 1, 2 clams 1 Clare of Assisi, St 1 Clarke, Jeremiah 1 CLARKSON, JEREMY 1, 2, 3 claws 1 Clement X, Pope 1 Cleopatra 1 Clinton, Bill 1 cloacal kiss 1 cloning 1 Club 1 2 coal-fired power stations 1 cobras 1 coca leaves 1 cocaine 1 Cochabamba 1 Cochran, Josephine Garis 1 Cockerell, Christopher 1 cockroaches 1 coffee, 1 cognitive dissonance 1 Cold War 1 Coleridge, Samuel Taylor 1 COLES, RICHARD 1 Colosseum 1 colour 1, 2, 3 Columbus, Christopher 1, 2 comb jellies 1 Commonwealth 1 compost 1 Conan Doyle, Arthur 1, 2, 3 conception 1 conditioned response 1 conscription 1 conservation 1 Conservatives 1 contract law 1 Cook, Thomas 1 Cool Running (film) 1 COREN-MITCHELL, VICTORIA 1 Cornelius, Robert 1 Cornwall 1, 2, 3 corrugated iron 1 corsets 1 Corvan, Ned 1 Coryat, Thomas 1 Coutts, Thomas 1 Coventry 1 cowbirds 1 cowboys 1, 2 cows 1, 2 crabs 1, 2, 3, 4 Creighton, James George Aylwin 1 Crick, Francis 1 cricket 1, 2 crickets 1 crime rates 1 Croatia 1 crocodiles 1 Croton 1 Crown Court 1 crows 1, 2 crude oil 1 Cruikshank, John 1 Cruise, Tom 1 crusades 1 crushing 1 cryogenics 1 cryonics 1 Cuba 1, 2 cuckoos 1 Cup-a-Soup 1 Currey, Donald 1 Cyprus 1 Dakar Rally 1 damnatio ad bestias 1 dams 1 dangerous sports 1 Darius the Great 1 Darwin, Charles 1, 2, 3, 4 Darwin, Emma 1 Darwin, George 1 Darwin, William Erasmus 1 dating 1 dating systems 1 Dauger, Eustache 1 David, Jacques-Louis 1 DAVIES, ALAN 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 Dead Sea 1 deductive reasoning 1 DEE, JACK 1 Denmark 1, 2, 3, 4 Dennis the Small 1 deserts 1 diabetes 1, 2 diamonds 1 diarrhoea 1, 2 DiCaprio, Leonardo 1 dictionaries 1 Dienekes 1 Dietrich, Marlene 1 Digby, Everard 1 dinosaurs 1, 2, 3 Dionysus Exiguus 1 dishwashers 1 Disney, Walt 1 DNA 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Doctor Who 1 Dodge City 1 dogs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Dolbear, Amos 1 dolphins 1, 2 Don, Monty 1 Don Juan Pond 1 doves 1 dragonflies 1 Drake, Sir Francis 1, 2 drawings 1 driving tests 1 drowning 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 drunkenness 1 dugongs 1 Dumas, Alexandre 1 dumb laws 1 Duncan, King of Scotland 1 dunce 1 Dunlop, John Boyd 1 Duns Scotus 1 Dürer, Albrecht 1 Dutch language 1 dyeing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 E. coli 1 Ea 1 Earth 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 atmosphere 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 magnetic field 1, 2, 3 orbit 1, 2, 3 population 1, 2 earthquakes 1 earthshine 1 earthworms 1, 2, 3 Easter 1, 2 eating for two 1 Eaton, Cyrus 1 Ebola 1 echolocation 1 Edinburgh 1 Edward VII, King 1 Edward VIII, King 1 Edward the Confessor 1 eggs 1, 2 Egypt 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Einstein, Albert 1, 2 Eisenhower, Dwight D. 1 elasticity 1 Eleanor of Aquitaine 1 elections 1 electricity 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 electrolytes 1 elephants 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Elizabeth I, Queen 1, 2 Elizabeth II, Queen 1, 2, 3, 4 Ellis, Eric 1 emissions standards 1 Empire State Building 1, 2 energy 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 energy drinks 1 England 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 England, Bank of 1 English Civil War 1 English language 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 eons 1 Ephialtes 1 epigenetics 1 epochs 1 eras 1 ergs 1 Eriksson, Leif 1 Escoffier, Auguste 1 Ethiopia 1, 2 ethylene 1 EU 1 eucalyptus trees 1 Eugenie, Princess 1 euphemisms 1 Europe 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 European Convention on Human Rights 1 Eurytus 1 Evening Birds 1 Everest (Churchill’s nanny) 1 Everest (mountain) 1 Eves, Stuart 1 exosphere 1 extracellular matrix 1 eyelids 1 Fair Isle 1 Famous Five 1 Farrow, Mia 1 fascism 1 fashion 1 Faunce, Thomas 1 feathers 1 Federal Reserve 1 feeding of the 5,000 1 female franchise 1 Ferrero Rocher 1 Ferris, George Washington Gale 1 ferris wheels 1, 2 FIELDING, NOEL 1 Fiennes, Sir Ranulph 1 film-making 1 finches 1, 2 fingers 1 Finkelstein, Nat 1 Finland 1 Fiorelli, Giuseppe 1 fire extinguishers 1 First World War 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Fisher, John Arbuthnot 1 Fitzgerald, F.


pages: 271 words: 83,944

The Sellout: A Novel by Paul Beatty

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affirmative action, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, desegregation, El Camino Real, haute couture, illegal immigration, Lao Tzu, late fees, mass incarceration, p-value, publish or perish, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, telemarketer, theory of mind, War on Poverty, white flight, yellow journalism

I’m no longer party to that collective guilt that keeps the third-chair cellist, the administrative secretary, the stock clerk, the not-really-all-that-attractive-but-she’s-black beauty pageant winner from showing up for work Monday morning and shooting every white motherfucker in the place. It’s a guilt that has obligated me to mutter “My bad” for every misplaced bounce pass, politician under federal investigation, every bug-eyed and Rastus-voiced comedian, and every black film made since 1968. But I don’t feel responsible anymore. I understand now that the only time black people don’t feel guilty is when we’ve actually done something wrong, because that relieves us of the cognitive dissonance of being black and innocent, and in a way the prospect of going to jail becomes a relief. In the way that cooning is a relief, voting Republican is a relief, marrying white is a relief—albeit a temporary one. Uncomfortable with being so comfortable, I make one last attempt to be at one with my people. I close my eyes, place my head on the table, and bury my broad nose in the crook of my arm.

His grandmamma slaps him so hard she almost knocks him down. ‘Don’t you ever say that,’ she says. ‘Now what did you learn?’ The boy starts rubbing his cheek and says, ‘I learned that I’ve been white for only ten minutes and I hate you niggers already!’” The kids couldn’t tell whether he was joking or just ranting, but they laughed anyway, each finding something funny in his expressions, his inflections, the cognitive dissonance in hearing the word “nigger” coming from the mouth of a man as old as the slur itself. Most of them had never seen his work. They just knew he was a star. That’s the beauty of minstrelsy—its timelessness. The soothing foreverness in the languid bojangle of his limbs, the rhythm of his juba, the sublime profundity of his jive as he ushered the kids into the farm, retelling his joke in Spanish to an uncaptive audience running past him, cups and thermoses in hand, scattering the damn chickens.


pages: 291 words: 90,200

Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age by Manuel Castells

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access to a mobile phone, banking crisis, call centre, centre right, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, currency manipulation / currency intervention, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, housing crisis, income inequality, microcredit, Mohammed Bouazizi, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Port of Oakland, social software, statistical model, We are the 99%, web application, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, young professional, zero-sum game

Among the causes for this extraordinary reversal of public opinion were the austerity policies implemented responsibly by the social democratic government in order to restore the economy; the pro-European Union stand of the governing coalition, in contrast to the nationalistic, xenophobic attitude of traditional Icelandic parties; and the resentment of the majority of the population against their deep indebtedness as a result of the mortgage crisis and the inefficiency of the government in resolving the debt crisis. But perhaps the main source of discontent was the cognitive dissonance between the hopes of the social movement and the grim reality of institutional politics, a recurrent theme in the history of social movements. As a result, the new parliament tabled the project of constitutional reform and one of the most daring experiments in constitutional democracy became yet another faded dream. However, if the crisis of political legitimacy continues to expand throughout the world, and if citizens everywhere keep looking for inspiration in their search for real democracy, the cultural and technological bases for the deepening of representative democracy might have been laid out in a small country made of ice and fire on a North Atlantic island.

It benefitted to some extent from the opinion created by the Gezi movement, but it is usually perceived as a platform created by the Kurdish party to attract votes in the west of the country, and so it only obtained 2 percent of the votes at the ballot box as most of the non-Kurdish population would be suspicious of HDP’s attachment to Kurdish nationalism. Confirming the pre-eminence of AKP in Turkish politics, the first presidential election held in 2014 after a constitutional change to establish a more presidential regime was easily won by Erdogan, the leader of AKP and the most direct adversary of the Gezi movement. A number of reasons have been advanced to explain this cognitive dissonance between the popularity of the Gezi movement in June 2013 and the undisputed electoral success of AKP and Erdogan in 2014. Beyond specific circumstances that would require a complex analytical journey through the intricacies of Turkish politics, the most convincing explanation is the persistence of fundamental cleavages in the Turkish society that are fixed in rigid political alignments. These include the historically rooted hostility between secularism and religion (expressed in the opposition between CHP and AKP); the confrontation between nationalism (supported by the still Kemalist armed forces) and the pro-democracy movement that brings together the democratic aspirations of the middle class and the need of the Islamists to use democratic institutions as a protective shield against secularist armed forces; the significant split between the Turkish population, and particularly Turkish nationalism, and the Kurdish minority, in search for national autonomy and ultimately for independence.


pages: 297 words: 96,509

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

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Albert Einstein, cognitive dissonance, Drosophila, endowment effect, impulse control, indoor plumbing, loss aversion, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Chen, “Omission, Commission, and Dissonance Reduction: Overcoming Regret in the Monty Hall Problem,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 21: 182–90 (1995). 22. H. B. Gerard and G. C. Mathewson, “The Effects of Severity of Initiation on Liking for a Group: A Replication,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 2: 278–87 (1966). 23. P. G. Zimbardo, “Control of Pain Motivation by Cognitive Dissonance,” Science 151: 217–19 (1966). 24. See also E. Aronson and J. Mills, “The Effect of Severity of Initiation on Liking for a Group,” Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 59: 177–81 (1958); J. L. Freedman, “Long-Term Behavioral Effects of Cognitive Dissonance,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1: 145–55 (1965); D. R. Shaffer and C. Hendrick, “Effects of Actual Effort and Anticipated Effort on Task Enhancement,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 7: 435–47 (1971); H. R. Arkes and C. Blumer, “The Psychology of Sunk Cost,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 35: 124–40 (1985); and J.


pages: 297 words: 96,509

Time Paradox by Philip, John Boyd Zimbardo

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Albert Einstein, cognitive dissonance, Drosophila, endowment effect, impulse control, indoor plumbing, loss aversion, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Chen, “Omission, Commission, and Dissonance Reduction: Overcoming Regret in the Monty Hall Problem,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 21: 182–90 (1995). 22. H. B. Gerard and G. C. Mathewson, “The Effects of Severity of Initiation on Liking for a Group: A Replication,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 2: 278–87 (1966). 23. P. G. Zimbardo, “Control of Pain Motivation by Cognitive Dissonance,” Science 151: 217–19 (1966). 24. See also E. Aronson and J. Mills, “The Effect of Severity of Initiation on Liking for a Group,” Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 59: 177–81 (1958); J. L. Freedman, “Long-Term Behavioral Effects of Cognitive Dissonance,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1: 145–55 (1965); D. R. Shaffer and C. Hendrick, “Effects of Actual Effort and Anticipated Effort on Task Enhancement,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 7: 435–47 (1971); H. R. Arkes and C. Blumer, “The Psychology of Sunk Cost,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 35: 124–40 (1985); and J.


pages: 104 words: 34,784

The Trouble With Brunch: Work, Class and the Pursuit of Leisure by Shawn Micallef

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big-box store, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, deindustrialization, ghettoisation, Jane Jacobs, knowledge worker, liberation theology, Mason jar, McMansion, new economy, post scarcity, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Thorstein Veblen, urban sprawl, World Values Survey

Anyone who remembers the first dot-com bubble of the late 1990s is familiar with this kind of workspace. And though that bubble burst in the early 2000s, the aesthetic it spawned – which disguises work as play – remains popular. Does it make it easier to give up our leisure time when a meeting room is called a granny flat and designed in floral prints with easy chairs? What happens when work is going badly and a workspace that looks leisurely is suddenly a place of great stress? There is a cognitive dissonance in form and function here, perhaps the reason an event like brunch becomes such an overt act of leisure, even if in practice it isn’t leisurely. Many other people don’t have anything resembling a workspace at all. Work happens everywhere now. Many of us work from home, or from actual cafés, freelance vagabonds who move from one rickety table to the next, renting the space with our coffee purchases, getting more wired as the day goes on.


pages: 740 words: 217,139

The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama

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Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, currency manipulation / currency intervention, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, endogenous growth, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, invention of agriculture, invention of the printing press, Khyber Pass, labour market flexibility, land reform, land tenure, means of production, offshore financial centre, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, principal–agent problem, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Right to Buy, Scramble for Africa, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), spice trade, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transaction costs, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game

On the other hand, the fact that societies are so enormously conservative with regard to institutions means that when the original conditions leading to the creation or adoption of an institution change, the institution fails to adjust quickly to meet the new circumstances. The disjunction in rates of change between institutions and the external environment then accounts for political decay or deinstitutionalization. Legacy investments in existing institutions lead to failures not simply in changing outmoded institutions but also in the very ability to perceive that a failure has taken place. This phenomenon is described by social psychologists as “cognitive dissonance,” of which history is littered with examples. 18 If one society is getting more powerful militarily, or wealthier, as a result of superior institutions, members of a less competitive society have to correctly attribute those advantages to the underlying institutions if they are to have any hope of surviving. Social outcomes are inherently multicausal, however, and it is always possible to come up with alternative explanations for social weakness or failure that are plausible—but wrong.

The ministry has its own vision of how to manage the Japanese economy and at times has manipulated its political bosses rather than being subordinated by them. It is therefore often seen as a paradigmatic case of an autonomous institution. See Peter B. Evans, Embedded Autonomy: States and Industrial Transformation (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995). 18 Leon Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1962). See also Carol Tavris, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts (New York: Mariner Books, 2008). 19 This is the argument made about twentieth-century Britain in Mancur Olson, The Rise and Decline of Nations (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982). This book is based on the more general theory of collective action he outlined in The Logic of Collective Action. 20 Steven LeBlanc, private conversation. 21 See, for example, Bates, Prosperity and Violence; Bates, Greif, and Singh, “Organizing Violence”; North, Weingast, and Wallis, Violence and Social Orders. 30: POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT, THEN AND NOW 1 For background, see Nils Gilman, Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), chap. 1.

The Nuer: A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Institutions of a Nilotic People. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ———. 1951. Kinship and Marriage Among the Nuer. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ———. 1981. A History of Anthropological Thought. New York: Basic Books. Feldman, Noah. 2008. The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Festinger, Leon. 1962. A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Finer, S. E. 1997. The History of Government, Vol. 1: Ancient Monarchies and Empires. New York: Oxford University Press. Fiorina, Morris P., et al., eds. 2010. Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America. 3rd ed. Boston: Longman. Flannery, Kent V. 1972. “The Cultural Evolution of Civilizations.” Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 3:399–426.


pages: 1,737 words: 491,616

Rationality: From AI to Zombies by Eliezer Yudkowsky

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-pattern, anti-work, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, cellular automata, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological constant, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, discovery of DNA, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, effective altruism, experimental subject, Extropian, friendly AI, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, Nash equilibrium, Necker cube, NP-complete, P = NP, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, planetary scale, prediction markets, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific mainstream, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Solar eclipse in 1919, speech recognition, statistical model, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the map is not the territory, the scientific method, Turing complete, Turing machine, ultimatum game, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

The Unarian cult, still going strong today, survived the nonappearance of an intergalactic spacefleet on September 27, 1975. Why would a group belief become stronger after encountering crushing counterevidence? The conventional interpretation of this phenomenon is based on cognitive dissonance. When people have taken “irrevocable” actions in the service of a belief—given away all their property in anticipation of the saucers landing—they cannot possibly admit they were mistaken. The challenge to their belief presents an immense cognitive dissonance; they must find reinforcing thoughts to counter the shock, and so become more fanatical. In this interpretation, the increased group fanaticism is the result of increased individual fanaticism. I was looking at a Java applet which demonstrates the use of evaporative cooling to form a Bose-Einstein condensate, when it occurred to me that another force entirely might operate to increase fanaticism.

You may also think that making things illegal just makes them more expensive, that regulators will abuse their power, or that her individual freedom trumps your desire to meddle with her life. But, as a matter of simple fact, she’s still going to die. We live in an unfair universe. Like all primates, humans have strong negative reactions to perceived unfairness; thus we find this fact stressful. There are two popular methods of dealing with the resulting cognitive dissonance. First, one may change one’s view of the facts—deny that the unfair events took place, or edit the history to make it appear fair. (This is mediated by the affect heuristic and the just-world fallacy.) Second, one may change one’s morality—deny that the events are unfair. Some libertarians might say that if you go into a “banned products shop,” passing clear warning labels that say THINGS IN THIS STORE MAY KILL YOU, and buy something that kills you, then it’s your own fault and you deserve it.

Just shift downward a little, and wait for more evidence. If the theory is true, supporting evidence will come in shortly, and the probability will climb again. If the theory is false, you don’t really want it anyway. The problem with using black-and-white, binary, qualitative reasoning is that any single observation either destroys the theory or it does not. When not even a single contrary observation is allowed, it creates cognitive dissonance and has to be argued away. And this rules out incremental progress; it rules out correct integration of all the evidence. Reasoning probabilistically, we realize that on average, a correct theory will generate a greater weight of support than countersupport. And so you can, without fear, say to yourself: “This is gently contrary evidence, I will shift my belief downward.” Yes, down. It does not destroy your cherished theory.


pages: 484 words: 131,168

The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart by Bill Bishop, Robert G. Cushing

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1960s counterculture, affirmative action, American Legislative Exchange Council, assortative mating, big-box store, blue-collar work, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, demographic transition, desegregation, Edward Glaeser, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial cluster, Jane Jacobs, knowledge economy, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, music of the spheres, New Urbanism, post-industrial society, Post-materialism, post-materialism, Ralph Nader, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, union organizing, War on Poverty, white flight, World Values Survey

Self-reinforcing majorities grow larger, while isolated and dispirited minorities shrink. Majorities gain confidence in their opinions, which grow more extreme over time. As a result, misunderstanding between Republicans and Democrats grows as they seclude themselves. Americans' political lives are baffling. Reconciling the narrowness of recent national elections with the lopsidedness of local results produces mass cognitive dissonance. The facts we see on television—a nearly fifty-fifty Congress, a teetering Electoral College, and presidential elections decided by teaspoons of votes—simply don't square with the overwhelming majorities we experience in our neighborhoods. In focus groups held in Omaha, University of Nebraska political scientist Elizabeth Theiss-Morse revealed how confused people are by the consensus they see in their neighborhoods versus the conflict they see at large in the nation.

Two geographers studying the 2004 U.S. presidential election said that they were "motivated by the striking similarity between U.S. electoral polarization and [O'Loughlin's] finding of significant geographic variations of local populations' effects on the outcome of the critical Nazi vote " Ian Sue Wing and Joan Walker, "The 2004 Presidential Election from a Spatial Perspective" (unpublished paper, 2005) [back] *** *Another example of this is a 1951 experiment in which students at Princeton and Dartmouth watched a film of a football game between the two schools. The students were asked to take note of foul play. "Dartmouth students saw mostly Princeton's offenses; Princeton students saw mostly Dartmouth's," reported the Wall Street journal (Cynthia Crossen, '"Cognitive Dissonance' Became a Milestone in 1950s Psychology," Wall Street Journal, December 4, 2006, p. B1) [back] *** *In early 2007, when the Pew Research Center charted views of "traditional values" championed by the Republican Party, the polls showed an increasing number of Americans holding more liberal views on abortion and sexual orientation, for example. If Republicans have found their traditional base to be eroding, it may have something to do with the failures of George W Bush or the war in Iraq But the change is also the result of a post-materialist shift in American culture.


pages: 363 words: 123,076

The Gang That Wouldn't Write Straight: Wolfe, Thompson, Didion, Capote, and the New Journalism Revolution by Marc Weingarten

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1960s counterculture, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, Donner party, East Village, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Haight Ashbury, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Menlo Park, New Journalism, non-fiction novel, Norman Mailer, pre–internet, rent control, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Stewart Brand, upwardly mobile, working poor, yellow journalism

In Hue, Herr saw a dead Vietnamese man whose skull had been sheared off by shrapnel debris, so that the top of his head resembled an open flap loosely hinged to the back of his head. The image spooked him. “I knew that if I stayed here he would drift in over me that night, grinning and dripping, all rot and green-black bloat.” Herr now viewed Vietnam as a bifurcated war: “There are two Vietnams, the one that I’m up to my ass in here and the one perceived in the States by people who’ve never been here. They are mutually exclusive.” Herr was appalled at the cognitive dissonance that existed between the cushy major press outlets in Saigon, with their lavish budgets and extensive R&R excursions, their “$3,000 a month digs at the Continental or the Caravelle,” and the horrors that were taking place within the city and nearly every other major city in the South. “I have colleagues in the press corps here, some of them incredible fakes, fantastic hacks, who live so well on their expense accounts that they may never be able to adjust to peace.”

The Mojave Desert, the West’s last untouched frontier, had been colonized by the greed-mongers, and nobody at the keno tables seemed bothered by the rising body count in Vietnam. For Sal Paradise/Kerouac, the characters on his cross-country trip are an affirmation of the beatitude and bedrock virtue of the underclass; the freak parade of humanity that Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo encounters is merely bestial and overfed on excess. Raoul Duke/Thompson’s cognitive dissonance in Vegas is most acute when he and Dr. Gonzo attend the National District Attorneys’ Association conference on narcotics and dangerous drugs in the ballroom of the Dunes Hotel. Thompson, who was registered as an accredited journalist for the event, ducked out to score mescaline from a Vegas contact, only to return to a ballroom of fifteen hundred vehemently antidrug cops loudly deriding the use of controlled substances: Their sound system looked like something Ulysses S.


pages: 538 words: 121,670

Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress--And a Plan to Stop It by Lawrence Lessig

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asset-backed security, banking crisis, carried interest, circulation of elites, cognitive dissonance, corporate personhood, correlation does not imply causation, crony capitalism, David Brooks, Edward Glaeser, Filter Bubble, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, invisible hand, jimmy wales, Martin Wolf, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Pareto efficiency, place-making, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, upwardly mobile, WikiLeaks, Zipcar

The vast majority of Americans (70 percent) either believe the answer to the latter question is no or they don’t know.14 Part of that belief comes from the same sort of confidence I’ve just described—we’ve had cell phone technology for almost fifty years; certainly someone must have determined whether the radiation does any damage. Part of that belief could also come from reports of actual studies—hundreds of studies of cell phone radiation have concluded that cell phones cause no increased risk of biological harm.15 And, finally, part of that belief comes from a familiar psychological phenomenon: cognitive dissonance—it would be too hard to believe to the contrary. Like smokers who disbelieved reports about the link between smoking and lung cancer, we cell phone users would find it too hard to accept that this essential technology of modern life was in fact (yet) another ticking cancer time bomb. Yet, once again, the research raises some questions. Depending on how you count, there have been at least three hundred studies related to cell phone safety—or, more precisely, studies that try to determine if there is any “biologic effect” from cell phone radiation.

Indeed, in a number of polls I’ve seen, the idea is more popular among Republicans than among Democrats. That’s because, for many Republicans, the idea of special-interest influence is the corrupting force in government today. Everything they complain about is tied to that idea. Beltway Republicans are different of course. The party of Tom DeLay had to make some pretty awful deals with the devil in order to raise the money they needed to win. They’ve developed a fairly complicated, cognitively dissonant account that justifies selling government to the highest bidder. Outside the Beltway, citizen Republicans aren’t similarly burdened. Citizen Republicans care about the ideals of the party. And those ideals resonate well with the objective of removing the influence of cash in political campaigns. Citizen Republicans identify with those who attack systematic corruption—government that organizes itself to hand out favors to the privileged so as to strengthen its own power.


pages: 500 words: 145,005

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard H. Thaler

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3Com Palm IPO, Albert Einstein, Alvin Roth, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrei Shleifer, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Atul Gawande, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black-Scholes formula, capital asset pricing model, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Glaeser, endowment effect, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, George Akerlof, hindsight bias, Home mortgage interest deduction, impulse control, index fund, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, late fees, law of one price, libertarian paternalism, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market clearing, Mason jar, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, More Guns, Less Crime, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, New Journalism, nudge unit, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, presumed consent, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, zero-sum game

We invited three groups of people: distinguished psychologists who were willing to endure a day spent talking to economists, some senior economists who were known to have an open mind about new approaches to doing economics, and the few hard-core folks who were engaged in doing research. Eric is a persuasive guy, and as a result of his charm and arm-twisting, the collection of psychologists who showed up at our initial meeting was truly astonishing. We had not just Amos and Danny, but also Walter Mischel, of the Oreo and marshmallow experiment fame, Leon Festinger, who formulated the idea of cognitive dissonance, and Stanley Schachter, one of the pioneers of the study of emotions. Together they were the psychology version of the dream team. Some of the friendly economists who agreed to participate were also an all-star cast: George Akerlof, William Baumol, Tom Schelling, and Richard Zeckhauser. The hard-core group was Colin, George, Bob, and me. Eric also invited Larry Summers to come to the inaugural meeting, but Larry couldn’t come and suggested inviting one of his recent students, Andrei Shleifer.

(Lamont and Thaler), 250 capital asset pricing model (CAPM), 226–29, 348 “CAPM is Wanted, Dead or Alive, The” (Fama and French), 228 Car Talk, 32 Case, Chip, 235 Case-Shiller Home Price Index, 235 cashews, 21, 24, 42, 85–86, 92, 100, 102–3, 107n casinos, 49n cautious paternalism, 323 Census Bureau, 47 Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP), 208, 221 charity, 66, 129 cheap stocks, 219–21 Checklist Manifesto, The (Gawande), 356 Chen, Nai-fu, 243 Chetty, Raj, 320, 357–58 Chicago, University of, 255–56 behavioral economics conference at, 159–64, 167–68, 169, 170, 205 conference on 1987 crash at, 237 debate on behavioral economics at, 159–63, 167–68, 169, 170, 205 finance studied at, 208 offices at, 270–76, 278 Chicago Bulls, 19 Chicago police department, 260 chicken (game of), 183 choice: number of, 21, 85, 99–103 preferences revealed by, 86 choice architecture, 276, 326–27, 357 Choices, Values, and Frames, xiv Chrysler, 121, 123, 363 Cialdini, Robert, 180, 335, 336 Clegg, Nick, 333 Clinton, Hillary, 22 closed-end funds, 238–39, 239, 240 puzzles of, 240–43, 244, 250 coaches, 292–93 Coase, Ronald, 261 Coase theorem, 261–62, 264–65, 264, 267–68 Cobb, David, 115 Cobb, Michael, 115, 116, 117, 118n, 119, 120, 123 Coca-Cola, 134–35 cognitive dissonance, 178 commitment strategies, 100, 102–3, 106–7 compliance (medical), 189–90 COMPUSTAT, 221 computing power, 208 concert tickets, 18–19, 66 conditional cooperators, 146, 182, 335n “Conference Handbook, The” (Stigler), 162–63 confirmation bias, 171–72 Conservative Party, U.K., 330–33 constrained optimization, 5–6, 8, 27, 43, 161, 207, 365 “Consumer Choice: A Theory of Economists’ Behavior” (Thaler), 35 consumers, optimization problem faced by, 5–6, 8, 27, 43, 161, 207, 365 consumer sovereignty, 268–69 consumer surplus, 59 consumption function, 94–98, 106, 309 “Contrarian Investment, Extrapolation, and Risk” (Lakonishok, Shleifer and Vishny), 228 cooperation, 143–47 conditional, 146, 182, 335n Prisoner’s Dilemma and, 143–44, 145, 301–5, 302 Copernican revolution, 169 Cornell University, 42, 43, 115, 140–43, 153–55, 157 Costco, 63, 71–72 Council of Economic Advisors, 352 coupons, 62, 63, 67–68, 120 credit cards, 18, 74, 76–77 late fees for, 360 crime, 265 Daily Mail, 135 Daily Show, The, 352 Dallas Cowboys, 281 data: financial, 208 collection and recording of, 355–56 Dawes, Robyn, 146 Deal or No Deal, 296–301, 297, 303 path dependence on, 298–300 deals, 61–62 De Bondt, Werner, 216–18, 221, 222–24, 226n, 233, 278 debt, 78 default investment portfolio, 316 default option, 313–16, 327 default saving rate, 312, 316, 319, 357 delayed gratification, 100–102 De Long, Brad, 240 Demos, 330 Denmark, 320, 357–58 descriptive, 25, 30, 45, 89 Design of Everyday Things, The (Norman), 326 Diamond, Doug, 273, 276 Diamond, Peter, 323 Dictator Game, 140–41, 142, 160, 182, 301 diets, 342 diminishing marginal utility, 106 of wealth, 28, 30 diminishing sensitivity, 30–34 discount, surcharge vs., 18 discounts, returns and, 242–43 discounted utility model, 89–94, 99, 110, 362 discretion, 106 Ditka, Mike, 279, 280 dividends, 164–67, 365 present value of, 231–33, 231, 237 Dodd, David, 219 doers, planners vs., 104–9 Donoghue, John, 265n “Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?”


pages: 401 words: 119,488

Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

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Air France Flight 447, Asperger Syndrome, Atul Gawande, Black Swan, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, digital map, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, hiring and firing, index card, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, statistical model, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, theory of mind, Toyota Production System, William Langewiesche, Yom Kippur War

“The Confidence of Choice: Evidence for an Augmentation Effect on Self-Perceived Performance,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 25, no. 11 (1999): 1405–16; Jack W. Brehm, “Postdecision Changes in the Desirability of Alternatives,” The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 52, no. 3 (1956): 384; Leon Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, vol. 2 (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1962); Daryl J. Bem, “An Experimental Analysis of Self-Persuasion,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1, no. 3 (1965): 199–218; Louisa C. Egan, Laurie R. Santos, and Paul Bloom, “The Origins of Cognitive Dissonance: Evidence from Children and Monkeys,” Psychological Science 18, no. 11 (2007): 978–83. longer than their peers E. J. Langer and J. Rodin, “The Effects of Choice and Enhanced Personal Responsibility for the Aged: A Field Experiment in an Institutional Setting,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 34, no. 2 (1976): 191–98.


pages: 559 words: 155,372

Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez

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Airbnb, airport security, always be closing, Amazon Web Services, Burning Man, Celtic Tiger, centralized clearinghouse, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, drone strike, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, financial independence, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, hive mind, income inequality, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, intermodal, Jeff Bezos, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, second-price auction, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, social web, Socratic dialogue, source of truth, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, urban renewal, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, éminence grise

The cult’s membership grew in time, and as the apocalyptic date approached, the members left jobs, let properties and businesses languish, and alienated their disbelieving families in expectation of the end times. When the flying saucers and ensuing apocalypse failed to appear on the appointed date, the cult’s believers did not lose faith. On the contrary, the experience bolstered their beliefs, annealing them into an intimate confederacy of false belief. Vestiges of the cult persist even to this day. This study would lay the groundwork for Festinger’s theory of “cognitive dissonance”: the mental stress people suffer when presented with realities contrary to their deeply held beliefs. The key takeaway is that humans naturally avoid this discomfort, skirting situations that aggravate it, or ignoring data that make their mental contradiction more apparent. Note: The purpose of the following exposition is not a neener-neener troll of Facebook, reveling in an embarrassing fiasco for the sadistic glee of it.

See also Internet advertising; marketing brand, 39–40 budgets, 461 business model, 191, 325 direct-mail, 381, 385–86, 391 direct-response, 362–63 display, 154 fuzzy world, 388 immature markets, 318 as inducement, 450 investors, 83 Jobs and, 485 mathematics for, 28 as name-calling, 380–81 newspaper, 36–37 ROAS, 81 truth in, 54 Zuckerberg knowledge, 393–94 AdWords, 106, 186, 222, 286, 300, 364 Airbnb for cars, 241 founders, 78 Internet advertising, 25 logo, 124 success, 50 taking off, 198 as visionary, 164 alpha products, 44 Altman, Sam, 160–62, 178 Amazon Amazon Web Services, 103, 155, 233 meeting with A9 team, 429–30 mobile commerce, 484 scheming, 382 shopping cart, 328 AmEx, 301 Amit, Alon, 217 analytics software, 448 Andreessen, Marc, 25, 47 Andretti, Mario, 94 Android phones, 198, 282 angel investors, 110–13, 115, 117, 154, 206 Animal House, 399 antibiotics, 293 Apple Apple OS X, 47 joining, 346 platform control, 485 product launches, 365 scheming, 382 application programming interface (API), 186 aQuantive, 454 Arjay Miller Scholar, 110 Association for Computing Machinery, 368 Atari, 124, 149 Atlas, 383, 453–55 AT&T, 315, 324 Audience Network (AN), 486 August Capital, 154, 156, 159 Ayala, 496 Badros, Greg, 3, 410, 454, 457 Bain, Adam, 184, 188–90, 203, 478–79, 494 Baker Scholar, 110 Bakshy, Eytan, 368 bar-code reading, 51 batch, 105 Battles, Matt, 430 Beacon, 335 bedroom communities, 338 beer and diapers, 363 Beltway Boomers, 385 Belushi, John, 399 Best Buy, 328 best effort, 418 beta products, 44 Bezos, Jeff, 428 Big Brother, 384, 402 Bin Laden, Osama, 384 birth, 59–60 black-hat hackers, 314 Blackwell, Trevor, 60 Bluebeard (Vonnegut), 43 BMW, 31, 39, 130, 218, 265, 372 Boland, Brian, 382, 398 digital marketing and, 389 first meeting, 3–4 in great debate, 459–61 on integration, 443 middle manager, 463–64 reporting to, 277 seducing, 408 slides, 7–8 Sponsored Stories and, 371 stripping of duties, 452 Bolshevism, 356 Bond, Jon, 173 boot camp, 269 Bosworth, Andrew (“Boz”), 2, 444–46, 457–60, 473–74 Boyd, John, 436, 437 The Boy Kings (Losse), 445 brand advertising, 39–40 Brazil, 377–78 Brazil, Alan, 22–23 British Trader babies, 58–59, 170, 304–5 child support to, 306–7 family, 84 meeting, 54–56 relationship, 165, 168, 245 separating, 169–70, 303 Brogramming, 400 Bronson, Po, 308 Brown, Bonnie, 357 bugs, 269 Bulfinch, Thomas, 447 bumping phones, 218 Burberry, 39, 362, 372 Burke, Galyn, 349 Bushnell, Nolan, 149–50 business development, 429–30, 464, 494 Business Insider, 101 Campbell, Joseph, 259 Candy Crush, 383, 384 cap, 114–17 capitalism beef with, 411–12 extremes, 355–56 marching onward, 22 Silicon Valley, 74 spectacle, 181 speed of, 25 victorious, 124 wheels of, 36 work of, 23 Car and Driver, 261 Carrey, Jim, 424 Carthago delenda est, 288–90, 428, 492–93 Casablanca, 418 Castro, Fidel, 65, 354, 456 Cato the Elder, 289 Century 21, 21 channeling, 360 chaos monkey, 103 character development, 190 Charles River Ventures, 126–27 China, 374–75 Choe, David, 333 Chrome, 484 Chrysler, 349 Church of Latter Day Saints, 356 Churchill, Winston, 167, 411 Citibank, 57 CityVille, 228 class-action lawsuits, 81 Clavier, Jean-François (“Jeff”), 160 Clickable, 83 clickbait-y publishing, 81, 101 clickthrough rates, 309, 368, 450–51, 487 clown car, 428–29 Clune, David, 312 Coca-Cola, 311 Coelius, Zach, 396–99 cognitive dissonance, 361 Cole, Rodger, 132–34, 138 Comcast Ventures, 105 common investors, 397 communism, 355–56 company culture, 74 company-wide Q&A, 348–49 conference names, 311 connected world, 285 consultancy firms, 70 consumption patterns, 385, 412 conversion data, 318 turning data into cash, 274 tracking software, 222 Conway, Ron, 98 cookies data, 392 dropping, 387 pool, 484 reading, 6, 387 retargeting, 381–82 corporate culture, 88, 262, 332, 335, 464 corporate development, 97, 180, 209, 254, 256, 494 corporate mergers, 341 cost per mille (CPM), 275, 348, 386, 424, 486 countdown clock, 347 Country Casuals, 385 Coupa Cafe, 84 Cox, Chris, 278, 356 leadership, 410 at on-boarding, 260–64 Craigslist, 52, 54, 99 The Creamery, 229 credit derivatives, 20, 26–27 credit-default swap (CDS), 19–20 Crowe, Russell, 202 CrunchBase, 43 Crusades, 356 Cuba, 227–28, 354–55 culture company, 74 corporate, 88, 262, 332, 335, 464 cultural fit, 220 engineering, 285 Facebook, 268–69, 334–35, 345 hacker, 284 Silicon Valley engineering-first, 262, 283 tech companies’ cultural fit, 220 Cureton, Aileen, 331 Custom Audiences (CA) data matching, 452, 465 expanded version, 440 FBX versus, 439, 459–62 impact, 482 introduction, 388 losing as product, 452 open plan and, 442–43 as vulture, 401–2 working of, 394–95 customer acquisition cost (CAC), 486–87 customer relations management (CRM), 384–85 cyclists, 338 cynicism, 264 DabbleDB, 236–37 Dalal, Yogen, 154, 162–63 Daniel, Rob, 391 data conversion, 318 cookies, 392 turning data into cash, 274 data-per-pixel, 274 Facebook buying, 328 geographic, 301 Irish Data Privacy Audit, 278, 320–23 joining, 465 matching, 452, 465 mobile, 382, 477, 484, 486 on-boarding, 386–87 real-time synchronization, 38 sprawl, 321 targeting, 318, 485 third-party, 390, 423, 440, 484 velocity, 319 data protection agency (DPA), 320 Datalogix, 386, 388 Debord, Guy, 32, 353 defection, 255 Deloitte, 70 demand-side platform (DSP), 396, 423–24 democracy digital, 326–27 form of government, 411 Dempster, Mark, 122–23 derivatives, 19–20, 24 Derman, Emanuel, 16 desengaño, 239 Deutsche Bank, 57 development AdGrok, 234 business, 429–30, 464, 494 character, 190 corporate, 97, 180, 209, 254, 256, 494 costs, 487 defined, 95 dev team, 234–35 environment, 270 mobile, 79 product, 47, 94, 191, 220, 334, 370, 389 software, 455 technical, 156 technology, 294 tools, 336 Dhawan, Rohit, 217 DiggBar, 85 digital advertising, 448 digital democracy, 326–27 digital marketing, 388–89 digital monetization, 184 Direct Marketing News, 173 direct response (DR), 39 direct-mail advertising, 381, 385–86, 391 direct-response advertising, 362–63 Disk Operating System (DOS), 149 Dixon, Chris, 101–2 Docker, 119 dogfooding, 43 dominoes, 227 Dorsey, Jack, 177, 464, 490 Dostoyevsky, Fyodor, 190, 291 DotCloud, 119 Dove, 496 Dr.


pages: 505 words: 142,118

A Man for All Markets by Edward O. Thorp

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3Com Palm IPO, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, beat the dealer, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Brownian motion, buy low sell high, carried interest, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, compound rate of return, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, Edward Thorp, Erdős number, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, George Santayana, German hyperinflation, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, High speed trading, index arbitrage, index fund, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jeff Bezos, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, Livingstone, I presume, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, Mason jar, merger arbitrage, Murray Gell-Mann, Myron Scholes, NetJets, Norbert Wiener, passive investing, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, publish or perish, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, statistical arbitrage, stem cell, survivorship bias, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Predators' Ball, the rule of 72, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Vanguard fund, Vilfredo Pareto, Works Progress Administration

Although we lost touch in the mid-1990s, I was astonished in 2008 to find that he and his family were on the government’s list of Madoff’s investors. Moreover, a mutual acquaintance told me that Ned, who had made hundreds of millions advising clients, was still directing investors to Madoff the same week that the latter confessed. Having once known Ned well, I thought back to get more insight into why he believed in Madoff. In my opinion Ned was not a crook. Instead, I think he suffered from so-called cognitive dissonance. That’s where you want to believe something enough that you simply reject any information to the contrary. Nicotine addicts will often deny that smoking endangers their health. Members of political parties react mildly to lies, crimes, and other immorality by their own but are out for blood when the same is done by politicians in the other party. I also learned early that when I gave Ned my opinion on anything, no matter how careful or reasoned, it didn’t have much impact.

corresponding economic loss These extra taxable gains or losses will be offset later if you liquidate your investment. to catch up Taxes leave me with 70 percent of my sales price. To get back to $100, $70 has to increase by $30 or 42.6 percent. CHAPTER 26 beat the market This sounds nonsensical at first. What it means is that no one has any information whatsoever that has predictive value. to the contrary They display the well-known characteristic known as cognitive dissonance. and hundreds of books An excellent history of these meanderings is Justin Fox’s book The Myth of the Rational Market. all the future earnings Interpreted as net value paid out or accumulated for the benefit of a sole owner. on inside information As chronicled by James Stewart in Den of Thieves, Connie Bruck in The Predators’ Ball, and others. this type profitably Tobias, Andrew, Money Angles, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1984, pp. 71–72.


The Diet Myth: Why America's Obsessions With Weight Is Hazardous to Your Health by Paul Campos

cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, feminist movement, moral hazard, moral panic, profit maximization, Saturday Night Live, upwardly mobile

“Most of the obesity research community has deemed such data [on the risks of weight loss] compelling—but not enough to state that weight-loss attempts by obese 46 Fat Science people are dangerous . . . Nowadays it is not uncommon to hear ‘Diets don’t work.’ In fact, diets do work. It is prescriptions to diet that fail, because patients usually do not follow them.” A better illustration of rampaging cognitive dissonance, as well as of the classic “the operation was a success but the patient died” line of argument, would be difficult to find. As we have seen, such conclusions can be explained by the economic structure of obesity research. As a practical matter, obesity research must be funded either by the weight loss industry or by government grants. Government grant money is supposed to ameliorate the obviously distorting effects that arise when a big pharmaceutical firm is paying researchers to do work that will justify the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars the firm has invested in developing a particular “cure” for the “disease” of a higher-than-average weight.

But then it all goes wrong: “A sexy woman is a woman who likes her body so of course she takes care of it which makes her lose weight which makes her like her body even more which makes her even sexier which makes her exercise more which makes her lose more weight . . .” A more precise description of the theoretical pretzel logic behind the practice of anorexia and bulimia would be difficult to formulate. Even within the context of the doublethink so characteristic of the diet culture, the level of cognitive dissonance at the center of Estrich’s arguments is breathtaking. Again, at the same time that she recognizes such truths as that there isn’t “a single woman alive who doesn’t do better, personally and professionally, when she feels great about herself,” and that the key to a fulfilling life is to choose “to be your best, to be happy with yourself, to be fit and strong and self-confident for however long you are blessed to be here” she steadfastly refuses to acknowledge the empirically undeniable fact that, for almost all people— indeed, for Susan Estrich herself, until a couple of years before she wrote 212 Fat Politics this book—feeling great about themselves and being fit and strong and self-confident precludes the whole idea of dieting, which at its core is all about weakness and self-loathing and endless dissatisfaction.


pages: 213 words: 61,911

In defense of food: an eater's manifesto by Michael Pollan

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back-to-the-land, cognitive dissonance, Community Supported Agriculture, Gary Taubes, placebo effect, Upton Sinclair

It’s no wonder that omega-3 fatty acids are poised to become the oat bran of our time as food scientists rush to microencapsulate fish and algae oil and blast it into such formerly all-terrestrial foods as bread and pasta, milk and yogurt and cheese, all of which will soon, you can be sure, spout fishy new health claims. (I hope you remember the relevant rule.) By now you’re probably feeling the cognitive dissonance of the supermarket shopper or science-section reader as well as some nostalgia for the simplicity and solidity of the first few words of this book. Words I’m still prepared to defend against the shifting winds of nutritional science and food-industry marketing, and will. But before I do, it’s important to understand how we arrived at our present state of nutritional confusion and anxiety.


pages: 153 words: 45,871

Distrust That Particular Flavor by William Gibson

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AltaVista, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, cuban missile crisis, edge city, informal economy, means of production, megastructure, pattern recognition, proxy bid, telepresence, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

In 2001, I was writing a book that became Pattern Recognition, my seventh novel, though it only did so after 9-11, which I’m fairly certain will be the real start of every documentary ever to be made about the present century. I found the material of the actual twenty-first century richer, stranger, more multiplex, than any imaginary twenty-first century could ever have been. And it could be unpacked with the toolkit of science fiction. I don’t really see how it can be unpacked otherwise, as so much of it is so utterly akin to science fiction, complete with a workaday level of cognitive dissonance we now take utterly for granted. Zero History, my ninth novel, will be published this September, rounding out that third set of three books. It’s set in London and Paris, last year, in the wake of global financial collapse. I wish that I could tell you what it’s about, but I haven’t yet discovered my best likely story, about that. That will come with reviews, audience and bookseller feedback (and booksellers are especially helpful, in that way).


pages: 209 words: 54,638

Team Geek by Brian W. Fitzpatrick, Ben Collins-Sussman

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anti-pattern, barriers to entry, cognitive dissonance, Dean Kamen, en.wikipedia.org, fear of failure, Guido van Rossum, Paul Graham, publish or perish, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, web application

If I do get fired, this is the wrong employer to work for in the first place. So, either way, I win. That is my career strategy. I discovered where I got this rebel streak from only very recently. I realized I inherited it from my dad, which was very strange to me because when I was growing up, I perceived my dad as an establishment figure, part of the very establishment I was rebelling against, so it was a severe cognitive dissonance for me to think of my dad as a rebel. But rebel he was. My dad started his career as a child laborer (yes, one of those millions of faceless children in developing countries you read about occasionally in National Geographic), but by mid-career, he rose up the ranks to become one of the most senior military officers in all of Singapore. I recently learned that one reason he was so successful was because he was unafraid to speak the unpleasant truth to his superiors to their faces, including Defense Ministers and Prime Ministers.


pages: 223 words: 52,808

Intertwingled: The Work and Influence of Ted Nelson (History of Computing) by Douglas R. Dechow

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3D printing, Apple II, Bill Duvall, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, game design, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, linked data, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, pre–internet, RAND corporation, semantic web, Silicon Valley, software studies, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, Whole Earth Catalog

ZigZag is more of an environment that the user inhabits. Depending on what someone builds into a ZigZag data space, you could wander along many multisensory paths, taking unexpected turns down the dimensions of color then branching off into textures or shapes, or from a sound to a flavor… Maybe multivoice music-like counterpoint could also be explored in the paths through ZigZag’s spaces, with cognitive dissonance resolving to cognitive harmony—or whatever. I could see my Music Mouse software running around inside a ZigZag space. Transpublishing and the way linking would have been done were Ted to have designed the Web, these deserve much more thought than they’re getting. One of the great deficits of the existing public web, with its one way links is that there is no way to trace anything back to its origin, no provenance.


pages: 184 words: 53,625

Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age by Steven Johnson

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Airbus A320, airport security, algorithmic trading, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Donald Davies, future of journalism, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, Jane Jacobs, John Gruber, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, mega-rich, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Occupy movement, packet switching, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, pre–internet, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Tim Cook: Apple, urban planning, US Airways Flight 1549, WikiLeaks, William Langewiesche, working poor, X Prize, your tax dollars at work

Facebook is a private corporation; the social graph that Zuckerberg celebrates is a proprietary technology, an asset owned by the shareholders of Facebook itself. And as far as corporations go, Facebook is astonishingly top-heavy: the S-1 revealed that Zuckerberg personally controls 57 percent of Facebook’s voting stock, giving him control over the company’s destiny that far exceeds anything Bill Gates or Steve Jobs ever had. The cognitive dissonance could drown out a Sonic Youth concert: Facebook believes in peer-to-peer networks for the world, but within its own walls, the company prefers top-down control centralized in a charismatic leader. If Facebook is any indication, it would seem that top-down control is a habit that will be hard to shake. From Henry Ford to Jack Welch to Steve Jobs to Zuckerberg himself, we have long associated corporate success with visionary and inspiring executives.


pages: 200 words: 60,314

Beer Money: A Memoir of Privilege and Loss by Frances Stroh

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cognitive dissonance, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Golden Gate Park, Kickstarter, new economy, nuclear winter, South of Market, San Francisco, urban renewal

Our family was like one of those hand-painted road signs that point in a multitude of directions at once: laziness and bad genes were the problem, according to my mother; according to my father and Whitney, Charlie himself was the problem; Charlie would have it that our father alone was the problem; while, according to Bobby and me, an unfortunate alchemy of both Charlie’s and our father’s problems was to blame. The cognitive dissonance between my parents’ versions of the story and ours simply could not be reconciled. I had written a paper to be presented on a panel at the gallery discussing my piece in purely conceptual terms, yet now I was unearthing a truth that could not be bound by any intellectual discussion. Looking at the piece as an outsider, I liked the tension of the raw emotional material pressing up against the cool, minimalist look I’d chosen—those six rectangular screens displaying enormous talking mouths—but these had nothing to do with me, with what went on inside of me when I myself watched the tapes: the horror, the shock of recognition.

On Palestine by Noam Chomsky, Ilan Pappé, Frank Barat

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Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, David Brooks, facts on the ground, failed state, ghettoisation, Naomi Klein, one-state solution, Stephen Hawking

I hope that the world has become more opened with what happened in the Arab world as well. You thought that these were closed societies who would not know what is going on, so I hope this is going to change, but for us, we were like in a bubble, we did not know that there was a different existence; it was very difficult to get out of it. FB: I guess the older generation, your generation and Nurit’s, the amount of cognitive dissonance as well when you’ve believed in something so strongly all your life, even though the facts show after a while that you are wrong, it is so hard to accept that you were wrong for, let’s say, thirty or forty years of your life. You see that all the time, at events when you always see the same people coming to every single Palestinian event, I always think, they know as much as I do about Palestine and they know the facts.


pages: 223 words: 58,732

The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce

3D printing, affirmative action, Airbnb, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, call centre, carried interest, centre right, cognitive dissonance, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, computer age, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, George Santayana, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, illegal immigration, imperial preference, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, knowledge economy, liberal capitalism, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, moral panic, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, offshore financial centre, one-China policy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, precariat, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, software is eating the world, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, TaskRabbit, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, unpaid internship, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, white flight, World Values Survey, Yogi Berra

‘They are fed up to the back teeth with the cardboard cut-out careerists in Westminster,’ said Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader, of his party’s voter base. ‘The spot-the-difference politicians. Desperate to fight the middle ground, but can’t even find it. Focus groupies. The triangulators. The dog whistlers. The politicians who daren’t say what they really mean.’30 Britain’s London-centric elites got into the habit of compartmentalising signs of a backlash. Cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing. Long before the 2016 referendum, there were plenty of signs that Britain’s malaise went far deeper than the antics of fringe activists. In the 2001 general election, British voter turnout fell to an historic low of just 59 per cent. This ought to have sounded alarms. Much of the drop was due to rising apathy among working-class voters, who felt Labour put more energy into promoting multiculturalism than to addressing their concerns.


pages: 266 words: 67,272

Fun Inc. by Tom Chatfield

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Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer age, credit crunch, game design, invention of writing, moral panic, publication bias, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, upwardly mobile

Indeed, as is often the way with modern video games, dissident voices have begun to be heard within the game itself, with a number of members of the public choosing to make ‘virtual protests’ against the actions of the US military by, among other things, registering accounts under the names of soldiers killed while on active duty in Iraq. Think too long or hard about the ethical intricacies of a simulated environment modelling a combat situation and you’re certain to experience a peculiarly modern kind of cognitive dissonance. It’s something described in detail in reporter Evan Wright’s Generation Kill, an account published in 2004 of the author’s experience of being ‘embedded’ with the First Recon unit of Marines on combat duty during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The young men he watched fighting represented, he writes, ‘more or less America’s first generation of disposable children. More than half of the guys in the platoon come from broken homes and were raised by absentee, single, working parents.


pages: 261 words: 16,734

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams by Tom Demarco, Timothy Lister

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A Pattern Language, cognitive dissonance, interchangeable parts, job satisfaction, knowledge worker, Parkinson's law, performance metric, skunkworks, supply-chain management, women in the workforce

The company formed a group of these particularly talented testers and gave them the charter to do final testing on critical software before it was sent to the customers. Thus was born the legendary Black Team. The Black Team was initially made up of people who had proved themselves to be slightly better at testing than their peers. They were slightly more motivated. They also were testing code that had been written by someone else, so they were free of the cognitive dissonance that hampers developers when testing their own programs. All in all, those who formed the team might have expected it to achieve at least a modest improvement in product quality, but they didn’t expect more than that. What they got was much more than that. The most surprising thing about the Black Team was not how good it was at the beginning, but how much it improved during the next year.


pages: 300 words: 79,315

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

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Albert Einstein, asset allocation, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, Everything should be made as simple as possible, George Santayana, index card, knowledge worker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex

“What’s the weather like?” “Should we change clothes?” “Is there gas in the car?” “How hungry are we?” That was brainstorming. Those questions were part of the naturally creative process that happens once you commit to some outcome that hasn’t happened yet. Your brain noticed a gap between what you were looking toward and where you actually were at the time, and it began to resolve that “cognitive dissonance” by trying to fill in the blanks. This is the beginning of the “how” phase of natural planning. But it did the thinking in a somewhat random and ad hoc fashion. Lots of different aspects of going to dinner just occurred to you. You almost certainly didn’t need to actually write all of them down on a piece of paper, but you did a version of that process in your mind.2 Once you had generated a sufficient number of ideas and details, you couldn’t help but start to organize them.


pages: 274 words: 75,846

The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You by Eli Pariser

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, A Pattern Language, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Black Swan, borderless world, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, disintermediation, don't be evil, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, fundamental attribution error, global village, Haight Ashbury, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Metcalfe’s law, Netflix Prize, new economy, PageRank, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, RFID, Robert Metcalfe, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, social software, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the scientific method, urban planning, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

The faster the system learns from you, the more likely it is that you can get trapped in a kind of identity cascade, in which a small initial action—clicking on a link about gardening or anarchy or Ozzy Osbourne—indicates that you’re a person who likes those kinds of things. This in turn supplies you with more information on the topic, which you’re more inclined to click on because the topic has now been primed for you. Especially once the second click has occurred, your brain is in on the act as well. Our brains act to reduce cognitive dissonance in a strange but compelling kind of unlogic—“Why would I have done x if I weren’t a person who does x—therefore I must be a person who does x.”Each click you take in this loop is another action to self-justify—“Boy, I guess I just really love ‘Crazy Train.’ ” When you use a recursive process that feeds on itself, Cohler tells me, “You’re going to end up down a deep and narrow path.” The reverb drowns out the tune.


pages: 297 words: 77,362

The Nature of Technology by W. Brian Arthur

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Andrew Wiles, business process, cognitive dissonance, computer age, creative destruction, double helix, endogenous growth, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, haute cuisine, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, locking in a profit, Mars Rover, means of production, Myron Scholes, railway mania, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

The old principle lives on because practitioners are not comfortable with the vision—and promise—of the new. Origination is not just a new way of doing things, but a new way of seeing things. And the new threatens. It threatens to make the old expertise obsolete. Often in fact, some version of the new principle has been already touted or already exists and has been dismissed by standard practitioners, not necessarily because of lack of imagination but because it creates a cognitive dissonance, an emotional mismatch, between the potential of the new and the security of the old. The sociologist Diane Vaughan talks of this psychological dissonance: [In the situations we deal with as humans, we use] a frame of reference constructed from integrated sets of assumptions, expectations, and experiences. Everything is perceived on the basis of this framework. The framework becomes self-confirming because, whenever we can, we tend to impose it on experiences and events, creating incidents and relationships that conform to it.


pages: 259 words: 73,193

The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection by Michael Harris

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4chan, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Burning Man, Carrington event, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, en.wikipedia.org, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Google Glasses, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, Loebner Prize, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, moral panic, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, pre–internet, Republic of Letters, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social web, Steve Jobs, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test

This, I tell myself with a shot of glee, will fade. And then what will a constantly distracted fifty-year-old really bring to the table, except a facility with the technology that made him or her that way? But that, of course, is a fantasy; that fifty-year-old will be a multitasker in a multitasking world. And my own idea of a work ethic will be outmoded. No two generations in history have experienced such a highlighted cognitive dissonance, because never has change occurred at so rapid a pace. Look at the rate of penetration—the amount of time it takes for a new technology to be adopted by fifty million people. Radio took thirty-eight years to reach that mark; the telephone took twenty years; and television took thirteen. More recently, the World Wide Web took four years, Facebook took 3.6, Twitter took three, and the iPad took only two.


pages: 229 words: 67,869

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

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4chan, AltaVista, Berlin Wall, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, Clive Stafford Smith, cognitive dissonance, Desert Island Discs, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Google Hangouts, illegal immigration, Menlo Park, PageRank, Ralph Nader, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, urban planning, WikiLeaks

‘I think he’s broken and that people mistake it for shamelessness,’ I said. People really were very keen to imagine Jonah as shameless, as lacking in that quality, as if he were something not quite human that had adopted human form. I suppose it’s no surprise that we feel the need to dehumanize the people we hurt - before, during, or after the hurting occurs. But it always comes as a surprise. In psychology it’s known as cognitive dissonance. It’s the idea that it feels stressful and painful for us to hold two contradictory ideas at the same time (like the idea that we’re kind people and the idea that we’ve just destroyed someone). And so to ease the pain we create illusory ways to justify our contradictory behaviour. It’s like when I used to smoke and I’d hope the tobacconist would hand me the pack that read ‘Smoking Causes Ageing Of The Skin’ instead of the pack that read ‘Smoking Kills’, because ageing of the skin?


pages: 262 words: 65,959

The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets by Simon Singh

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Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Benoit Mandelbrot, cognitive dissonance, Donald Knuth, Erdős number, Georg Cantor, Grace Hopper, Isaac Newton, John Nash: game theory, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, P = NP, Paul Erdős, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rubik’s Cube, Schrödinger's Cat, Simon Singh, Stephen Hawking, Wolfskehl Prize, women in the workforce

There are bonus points if either of these punch lines make you smile: Joke 7 “The share of the hypertense muse equals the sum of the shares of the other two brides.” 2 points Joke 8 “The squire of the high pot and noose is equal to the sum of the squires of the other two sides.” 2 points TOTAL – 20 POINTS CHAPTER 5 Six Degrees of Separation While visiting Los Angeles in October 2012, I was lucky enough to attend a table-read of an upcoming episode of The Simpsons titled “Four Regrettings and a Funeral.” This involved the cast reading through the entire episode in order to iron out any problems before the script was finalized in preparation for animation. It was bizarre to see and hear a fully grown Yeardley Smith delivering lines with little Lisa’s voice. Similarly, I experienced extreme cognitive dissonance when I heard the voices of Homer, Marge, and Moe Szyslak, whose tones and diction are so familiar from years of watching The Simpsons, emerge from the all-too-human forms of Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, and Hank Azaria. Although there is much else to appreciate in “Four Regrettings and a Funeral,” it is sadly lacking in mathematical references. However, that same day I was given a preliminary script for another upcoming episode, “The Saga of Carl,” which contained an entire scene dedicated to the mathematics of probability.

The Techno-Human Condition by Braden R. Allenby, Daniel R. Sarewitz

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airport security, augmented reality, carbon footprint, clean water, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, decarbonisation, facts on the ground, friendly fire, industrial cluster, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, Peter Singer: altruism, planetary scale, prediction markets, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, smart grid, source of truth, stem cell, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, Whole Earth Catalog

Given our enslavement to our own individual consciousnesses (at least until redesign), what lies between the Scylla of Level I narcissism and the Charybdis of Level III resignation and despair? What could it meant to engage authentically-fearlessly, openly, honestly-in a world that seems not only to render the individual meaningless but also to make comprehension impossible? It means that authenticity must build on a foundational cognitive dissonance. One must accept the validity of one's own experience, upbringing, culture, and other contributions to one's own grounding while simultaneously understanding that one is 186 Chapter 8 a partial and contingent reflection of the evolving and incomprehensible complexity that is out there. The continual temptation offered by the Enlightenment is to escape this dilemma through resort to ideas and ideals of progress, especially the expansion of knowledge about our world.

Free as in Freedom by Sam Williams

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Asperger Syndrome, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, Debian, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, Guido van Rossum, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Markoff, Larry Wall, Marc Andreessen, Maui Hawaii, Murray Gell-Mann, profit motive, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, slashdot, software patent, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, urban renewal, VA Linux, Y2K

Despite the best efforts of Stallman and other hackers to remind people that the word "free" in free software stood for freedom and not price, the message still wasn't getting 138 through. Most business executives, upon hearing the term for the first time, interpreted the word as synonymous with "zero cost," tuning out any follow up messages in short order. Until hackers found a way to get past this cognitive dissonance, the free software movement faced an uphill climb, even after Netscape. Peterson, whose organization had taken an active interest in advancing the free software cause, offered an alternative: open source. Looking back, Peterson says she came up with the open source term while discussing Netscape's decision with a friend in the public relations industry. She doesn't remember where she came upon the term or if she borrowed it from another field, but she does remember her friend disliking the term.5 At the meeting, Peterson says, the response was dramatically different.


pages: 223 words: 77,566

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, blue-collar work, cognitive dissonance, late fees, medical malpractice, obamacare, payday loans, Peter Thiel, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, unbiased observer, upwardly mobile, working poor

We’ll get fired for tardiness, or for stealing merchandise and selling it on eBay, or for having a customer complain about the smell of alcohol on our breath, or for taking five thirty-minute restroom breaks per shift. We talk about the value of hard work but tell ourselves that the reason we’re not working is some perceived unfairness: Obama shut down the coal mines, or all the jobs went to the Chinese. These are the lies we tell ourselves to solve the cognitive dissonance—the broken connection between the world we see and the values we preach. We talk to our children about responsibility, but we never walk the walk. It’s like this: For years I’d dreamed of owning a German shepherd puppy. Somehow Mom found me one. But he was our fourth dog, and I had no clue how to train him. Within a few years, all of them had vanished—given to the police department or to a family friend.


pages: 1,157 words: 379,558

Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris by Richard Kluger

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air freight, Albert Einstein, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, corporate raider, desegregation, double entry bookkeeping, family office, feminist movement, full employment, ghettoisation, Indoor air pollution, medical malpractice, Mikhail Gorbachev, Plutocrats, plutocrats, publication bias, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, trade route, transaction costs, traveling salesman, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, War on Poverty

For youth or adult alike, the habit may serve to compensate for profound feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, or an abiding bitterness that stems from degraded social status, low occupational achievement, certifiable injustice, or paranoid delusion. Such victims of social pathology are suspected of smoking not in spite of the hazards associated with it but because of them. Even better-adjusted smokers, though, are susceptible to the perverse condition that behavioral specialists call “cognitive dissonance,” acting in direct and self-destructive contradiction of known truths or indisputable fact. And all smokers are gifted at rationalizing their habit. Many smokers, for example, readily acknowledge, even insist, that they are hopelessly hooked. But as addictions go, they may argue, it is pretty benign. Even as the mild kick of the inhaled cigarette does not compare with heroin’s euphoric high or the giddiness induced by marijuana or the sudden brightening of spirits that alcohol can bring on, neither does smoking result in any of the acute physical impairments or social disruptions of those more powerful narcotics.

Their fears of withdrawal symptoms are surpassed in many cases, furthermore, by the dread of assault from life’s countless vicissitudes, which they have convinced themselves they could not cope with if denied a cigarette at the next stressful moment. Smokers are thus classic rationalizers and hiders from fact when unwelcome word arrives about the perils of the one thing they think lets them cope with life. They are the very model of the type described by Leon Festinger in his 1957 treatise, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance—people who act in ways that deny knowledge of the consequences of hurtful or self-destructive acts. Yet for all the conflict they endure over their dependency, most smokers deeply resent the ever more widely held suspicion by smoke-free society that they suffer from flawed characters or emotional instability because they persist in what they shouldn’t. The more articulate of them reply with two basic arguments.

Even when the warning labels went on, she refused to believe it. The antismoking commercials ordered by the FCC soon followed, and Tony often pointed them out to her. She remembered one that went, “Smoking—it’s a matter of life and breath,” and got lectured by her granddaughter, who told her, “Grandma, smoking kills.” Yet she kept on. Rose Cipollone, in short, had a textbook case of what academics termed “cognitive dissonance”. A pair of social psychologists, Harold Kasarjian and Joel Cohen, both of whom would testify in the Cipollone trial, had suggested in the autumn 1965 issue of California Management Review how smokers dwelled in a constant state of disequilibrium because their dependency conflicted with the human impulse to survive and continued “in the face of undeniable and overwhelming evidence that cancer is directly attributable” to smoking.


pages: 898 words: 266,274

The Irrational Bundle by Dan Ariely

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, air freight, Albert Einstein, Alvin Roth, assortative mating, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, business process, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, end world poverty, endowment effect, Exxon Valdez, first-price auction, Frederick Winslow Taylor, fudge factor, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lake wobegon effect, late fees, loss aversion, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, Peter Singer: altruism, placebo effect, price anchoring, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, second-price auction, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, young professional

Ellen Langer, “The Illusion of Control,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 32, no. 2 (1975): 311–328. Anne Preston, “The Nonprofit Worker in a For-Profit World,” Journal of Labor Economics 7, no. 4 (1989): 438–463. Chapter 3: The IKEA Effect: Why We Overvalue What We Make Based on Gary Becker, Morris H. DeGroot, and Jacob Marschak, “An Experimental Study of Some Stochastic Models for Wagers,” Behavioral Science 8, no. 3 (1963): 199–201. Leon Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1957). Nikolaus Franke, Martin Schreier, and Ulrike Kaiser, “The ‘I Designed It Myself’ Effect in Mass Customization,” Management Science 56, no. 1 (2009): 125–140. Michael Norton, Daniel Mochon, and Dan Ariely, “The IKEA Effect: When Labor Leads to Love,” manuscript, Harvard University, 2010. Additional readings Hal Arkes and Catherine Blumer, “The Psychology of Sunk Cost,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 35, no. 1 (1985): 124–140.

They found that after giving a short lecture about the benefits of a certain drug, the speaker would begin to believe his own words and soon prescribe accordingly. Psychological studies show that we quickly and easily start believing whatever comes out of our own mouths, even when the original reason for expressing the opinion is no longer relevant (in the doctors’ case, that they were paid to say it). This is cognitive dissonance at play; doctors reason that if they are telling others about a drug, it must be good—and so their own beliefs change to correspond to their speech, and they start prescribing accordingly. The reps told us that they employed other tricks too, turning into chameleons—switching various accents, personalities, and political affiliations on and off. They prided themselves on their ability to put doctors at ease.

., 246 cashless society, implications for dishonesty in, 34 Catch Me If You Can (Abagnale), 173 certificates for (false) achievements, 153–54 Chance, Zoë, 145, 264 charitable behavior, 23–24 cheating: aggressive cheaters and, 239 altruistic, 222–23, 225–26, 227–28, 232 being made blatantly aware of, 156–57 being watched and, 223–25, 227 collaborative, see collaborative cheating desire to benefit from, 12–14, 27, 29, 237 ego depletion, 104–6, 111–12 fake products’ impact on, 125–31 in golf, 55–65 honor codes and, 41–45 increasing creativity to increase level of, 184–87 as infection, 191–216; see also infectious nature of cheating infidelity and, 244–45 on IQ-like tests, self-deception and, 145–49, 151, 153–54, 156–57 reducing amount of, 39–51, 248–54 removing oneself from tempting situation and, 108–11 signing forms at top and, 46–51 Ten Commandments and, 39–40, 41, 44 what-the-hell effect and, 127–31, 136 see also dishonesty China, cheating in, 241–42 Chloé accessories, studies with, 123–34 Civil War veterans, 152 classes, infectious nature of cheating in, 195–97 Coca-Cola, stealing money vs., 32–33 cognitive dissonance, 81 cognitive load: ability to resist temptation and, 99–100 judges’ parole rulings and, 102–3 Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT), 173–74 coin logic, 167–68 collaborative cheating, 217–35 altruism and, 222–23, 225–26, 227–28, 232 being watched or monitored and, 223–25, 227–28, 234–35 emphasis on working as group or team and, 217–18 infectious nature of cheating in relation to, 221–22 social utility and, 222–23 companies: being one step removed from money and, 34–37 irrationality of, 51 see also corporate dishonesty compliments, insincere, 159 conflicts of interest, 67–95, 238, 248 in academia, 82, 84–85 in dentistry, 67–71, 93, 94, 230 disclosure and, 88–92 dots task and, 129 eradication of, 92–95 exclusion of experimental data and, 86–88 expert witnesses and, 85–86 in financial services industry, 83–85, 93, 94 governmental lobbyists and, 77–78, 94 honesty threshold and, 130–31 inherent inclination to return favors and, 74–75 medical procedures and, 71–74, 92–94, 229 pharmaceutical companies’ influence in academia and, 82 pharma reps and, 78–82 what-the-hell effect and, 129–31 congressional staffers, cheating among, 243 Congress members, PAC money misused by, 208–10 contractors, 93 Conway, Alan, 150–51 Cooper, Cynthia, 215 Cornell University, 250–51 corpora callosa, 164–65 corporate dishonesty: cheating a little bit and, 239–40 Enron collapse and, 1–3, 192, 207, 215, 234 recent spread of, 192, 207–8 cost-benefit analysis, 4–5, 26–27, 237, 239 infectious nature of cheating and, 201–3, 205 see also Simple Model of Rational Crime counterfeits, see fake products creativity, 88, 163–89, 238 brain structure and, 164–65 dark side of, 187–89 fooling oneself and, 165–67 increasing, to increase level of cheating, 184–87 infidelity and, 244 intelligence vs., as predictor of dishonesty, 172–77 link between dishonesty and, 170–72, 186–89 logical-sounding rationales for choices and, 163–64 measures of, 171 moral flexibility and, 186–87 pathological liars and, 168–70 revenge and, 177–84 credit card companies, 239–40 crime, reducing, 52 cultural differences, 240–43 Danziger, Shai, 102 decision making: creating efficient process for, 167–68 effectiveness of group work in, 217–18 rationalization process and, 163–67 Denfield, George, 75 dentists: continuity of care and, 228–31 treating patients using equipment that they own, 67–68, 93–94 unnecessary work and, 67–71 depletion, see ego depletion dieting, 98, 109, 112–13, 114–15 what-the-hell effect and, 127, 130 “dine-and-dash,” 79 diplomas, lying about, 135–36, 153, 154 disabled person, author’s adoption of role of, 143–44 disclosure, 88–92, 248 study on impact of, 89–92 discounting, fixed vs. probabilistic, 194 dishonesty: causes of, 3–4, 5 collaborative, see collaborative cheating cultural differences and, 240–43 discouraging small and ubiquitous forms of, 239–40 importance of first act of, 137 infectious nature of, 191–216; see also infectious nature of cheating intelligence vs. creativity as predictor of, 172–77 link between creativity and, 170–72, 186–89 opportunities for, passed up by vast majority, 238 of others, fake products and assessing of, 131–34 rational and irrational forces in, 254 reducing amount of, 39–51, 248–54 society’s means for dealing with, 4–5 summary of forces that shape (figure), 245 when traveling, 183n see also cheating dissertation proposals and defenses, 101 distance factors, 238 in golf, 58–59 stealing Coca-Cola vs. money and, 32–33 token experiment and, 33–34 doctors: consulting for or investing in drug companies, 82, 93 continuity of care and, 228–29 lecturing about drugs, 81 pharma reps and, 78–82 treating or testing patients with equipment that they own, 92–94 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, 234 dots task: conflict of interest and, 129 description of, 127–29 link between creativity and dishonesty and, 171–72, 185–86 what-the-hell effect and, 129–31 downloads, illegal, 137–39 dressing above one’s station, 120–21 Ebbers, Bernie, 13 ego depletion, 100–116, 238, 249 basic idea behind, 101 cheating and, 104–6 in everyday life, 112–16 removing oneself from tempting situations and, 108–11, 115–16 of Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones, 103 sometimes succumbing to temptation and, 114–15 sudden deaths among students’ grandmothers at exam time and, 106–8 ego motivation, 27 England, cheating in, 242 Enron, 1–3, 192, 207, 215, 234 essay mills, 210–13 exams, sudden deaths among students’ grandmothers and, 106–8 exhaustion, 249 consumption of junk food and, 97–98 judges’ parole rulings and, 102–3 see also ego depletion experimental data, exclusion of, 86–88 expert witnesses, 85–86 explanations, logical-sounding, creation of, 163–65 external signaling, 120–22 dressing above one’s station and, 120–21 fake products and, 121–22 failures, tendency to turn blind eye to, 151 “fair,” determination of what is, 57 fake products, 119, 121–40, 238 illegal downloads and, 137–39 misrepresentation of academic credentials and, 135–36 rationalizations and, 134–35 self-signaling and, 123–26, 135 signaling value of authentic version diluted by, 121–22 suspiciousness of others and, 131–34 what-the-hell effect and, 127–31, 135 farmer’s market, benevolent behavior toward blind customer in, 23–24 fashion, 117–26 counterfeit goods and, 119, 121–22, 121–40, 123–26; see also fake products dressing above one’s station and, 120–21 external signaling and, 120–22 self-signaling and, 122–26 Fastow, Andrew, 2 favors, 74–82 aesthetic preferences and, 75–77 governmental lobbyists and, 77–78 inherent inclination to return, 74–75 pharma reps and, 78–82 see also conflicts of interest Fawal-Farah, Freeda, 117, 118 FBI, 215 Fedorikhin, Sasha, 99–100 Feynman, Richard, 165 financial crisis of 2008, 83–85, 192, 207, 234, 246–47 financial favors, aesthetic preferences and, 77 financial services industry: anonymous monitoring and, 234–35 cheating among politicians vs., 243 conflicts of interest in, 83–85, 93, 94 government regulation of, 234 fishing, lying about, 28 Frederick, Shane, 173 friends, invited to join in questionable behavior, 195 fudge factor theory, 27–29, 237 acceptable rate of lying and, 28–29, 91 distance between actions and money and, 34–37 getting people to cheat less and, 39–51 infidelity and, 244 rationalization of selfish desires and, 53 stealing Coca-Cola vs. money and, 32–33 Gazzaniga, Michael, 164–65 Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), 219–20 generous behavior, 23–24 Get Rich Cheating (Kreisler), 14 Gilovich, Tom, 250, 263–64 Gino, Francesca, 45, 104, 123, 127, 131, 145, 170, 184, 197, 225, 234–35, 242, 258–59 Glass, Ira, 6 Gneezy, Ayelet, 177, 257–58 golf, 55–65 cheating by “average golfer” vs. study participants and, 63–64 mistallying score in, 61–64 moving location of ball in, 58–59, 63 mulligans in, 60–61, 63–64 self-monitoring in, 56–57 survey on cheating in, 57–64 government regulations, 234 grandmothers, sudden deaths of, at exam time, 106–8 gray matter, 169–70 Green, Jennifer Wideman, 117 grocery shopping, ego depletion and, 109, 112–13 group or team work, 220–23 performance unaffected by, 233 possible benefits of, 223 predominance of, in professional lives, 217–18, 235 social utility and, 222–23 see also collaborative cheating Grüneisen, Aline, 210–11, 257 guilt, self-inflicted pain and, 250–52 Harford, Tim, 3–4 Harper’s Bazaar, 117–18 Harvard Medical School, 82 Harvey, Ann, 75 Henn, Steve, 209 heretics, external signaling of, 120 Hinduism, 25 honesty threshold, 130–31 honor codes, 41–45, 204 ideological organizations, 232n “I knew it all along” feeling, 149 illegal businesses, loyalty and care for customers in, 138–39 impulsive (or emotional) vs. rational (or deliberative) parts of ourselves, 97–106 cognitive load and, 99–100 ego depletion and, 100–106 exhaustion and, 97–98 Inbar, Yoel, 250, 264 infectious nature of cheating, 191–216, 249 bacterial infections compared to, 192–93 in class, 195–97 collaborative cheating in relation to, 221–22 Congress members’ misuse of PAC money and, 208–10 corporate dishonesty and, 192, 207–8 cost-benefit analysis and, 201–3, 205 essay mills and, 210–13 matrix task and, 197–204 positive side of moral contagion and, 215–16 regaining ethical health and, 214–15 slow and subtle process of accretion in, 193–94, 214–15 social norms and, 195, 201–3, 205–7, 209 social outsiders and, 205–7 vending machine experiment and, 194–95 infidelity, 244–45 “in good faith” notion, 219–20 Inside Job, 84–85 insurance claims, 49–51 intelligence: creativity vs., as predictor of dishonesty, 172–77 measures of, 173–75 IQ-like tests, cheating and self-deception on, 145–49 certificates emphasizing (false) achievement and, 153–54 increasing awareness of cheating and, 156–57 individuals’ tendency to turn a blind eye to their own failures and, 151 IRS, 47–49 Islam, 249 Israel, cheating in, 241 Italy, cheating in, 242 Jerome, Jerome K., 28 Jobs, Steve, 184 Jones, Bobby, 56 Jones, Marilee, 136 Judaism, 45, 249 judges, exhausted, parole decisions and, 102–3 junk food, exhaustion and consumption of, 97–98 Keiser, Kenneth, 135 Kelling, George, 214–15 John F.


pages: 1,009 words: 329,520

The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co. by William D. Cohan

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, bank run, carried interest, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, credit crunch, diversification, Donald Trump, East Village, fear of failure, fixed income, hiring and firing, interest rate swap, intermodal, Joseph Schumpeter, late fees, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, market bubble, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, Yogi Berra

"I would say, Mr. Chairman, that of the major, reputable investment banking firms that perform functions in this area, you would find most of the major investment banking firms in this business, I would say, being 10 or 15 firms of a major character." Felix would return often to this public obsession with the moral and ethical conduct of his fellow investment bankers--seemingly so fraught with cognitive dissonance--even as recently as July 2004, some thirty-five years after his testimony before the Celler commission. In a New York Times interview, he opined, "You should come to the business with a moral code. You're certainly not going to learn it later on. If people conduct themselves in ways that could be deemed immoral, I really wouldn't blame Wall Street, I would blame the individuals themselves who by and large should know better."

A typical defense came from Stephen Friedman, then a leading M&A adviser at Goldman Sachs, who later led the prestigious firm with Robert Rubin before each entered national politics: "These fees don't come from widows and orphans. They come from people who are more than capable of strenuously negotiating over the amount of the fee. Fees are the purest form of competition. The companies have full knowledge of what other banks are getting for similar deals and the service provided, and they are not shy." Felix, though, having perfected the art of cognitive dissonance, alone among his peers criticized the growing fees. "The level of fees is so different depending on what happens--and that's the unhealthy element," he told the Times. An apex of sorts was clearly reached during one of the most infamous takeover battles of all time--the 1982 fight for Bendix between Martin Marietta, Allied, and United Technologies. Bendix, led by its charismatic CEO, William Agee, took the offensive by launching a hostile offer for Martin Marietta, another aerospace company.

He also criticized the many Lazard competitors that were using their own capital to make risky bridge loans to help their clients complete leveraged acquisitions. "Market conditions may occur under which a bridge loan cannot be refinanced," he correctly predicted. As to the concern about foreign acquisitions, Felix simply acknowledged that it "is becoming an area of increasing economic and political importance," and then sought clarification on the rules of engagement. Afterward, more than one of his partners remarked on the level of cognitive dissonance that Felix must be able to withstand after, on the one hand, actively participating in the acquisition of American companies by Japanese companies and, on the other hand, being able to testify before senators trying to come to terms with the phenomenon--and not even acknowledge before them his own role. Maybe it was because he was not yet finished playing that role. In the fall of 1990, Felix's friend and literary agent, Mort Janklow, asked him to lunch at the Four Seasons restaurant to meet Michael Ovitz, the uber-Hollywood talent agent, who was then the head of the Creative Artists Agency.


pages: 467 words: 503

The omnivore's dilemma: a natural history of four meals by Michael Pollan

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additive manufacturing, back-to-the-land, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Community Supported Agriculture, double entry bookkeeping, Gary Taubes, Haber-Bosch Process, index card, informal economy, invention of agriculture, means of production, new economy, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, transaction costs, Upton Sinclair, Whole Earth Catalog

There are few things humans eat that are quite so elemental—a handful of leaves, after all, consumed raw. » 167 168 * THE O M N I V O R E ' S DILEMMA When we're eating salad we're behaving a lot like herbivores, drawing as close as we ever do to all those creatures who bend their heads down to the grass, or reach up into the trees, to nibble on plant leaves. We add only the thinnest veneer of culture to these raw leaves, dressing them in oil and vinegar. Much virtue attaches to this kind of eating, for what do we regard as more wholesome than tucking into a pile of green leaves? The contrast of the simplicity of this sort of eating, with all its pastoral overtones, and the complexity of the industrial process behind it produced a certain cognitive dissonance in my refrigerated mind. I began to feel that I no longer understood what this word I'd been following across the country and the decades really meant—I mean, of course, the word "organic." It is an unavoidable and in some ways impolite question, and very possibly besides the point if you look at the world the way Gene Kahn or Drew and Myra Goodman do, but in precisely what sense can that box of salad on sale in a Whole Foods three thousand miles and five days away from this place truly be said to be organic?

Such has been the genius of capitalism, to re-create something akin to a state of nature in the modern supermarket or fast-food outlet, throwing us back on a perplexing, nutritionally perilous landscape deeply shadowed again by the omnivore 's dilemma. • 303 SEVENTEEN THE ETHICS OF EATING ANIMALS 1. THE STEAKHOUSE DIALOGUES The first time I opened Peter Singer's Animal Liberation I was dining alone at the Palm, trying to enjoy a rib-eye steak cooked medium rare. If that sounds like a recipe for cognitive dissonance, if not indigestion, well, that was sort of the idea. It had been a long time since this particular omnivore had felt any dilemma about eating meat, but then I had never before involved myself so directly in the processes of turning animals into food: owning a steak-bound steer, working the killing cones in Joel Salatin's processing shed, and now preparing to hunt a wild animal. The steak dinner in question took place on the evening before steer number 534's slaughter, the one event in his life I was not allowed to witness or even learn anything about, save its likely date.


pages: 603 words: 182,781

Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay

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3D printing, air freight, airline deregulation, airport security, Akira Okazaki, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blood diamonds, borderless world, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, digital map, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, food miles, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, fudge factor, full employment, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, gravity well, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, inflight wifi, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, invention of the telephone, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Kangaroo Route, knowledge worker, kremlinology, labour mobility, Marchetti’s constant, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, microcredit, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pink-collar, pre–internet, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, Seaside, Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, telepresence, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, trade route, transcontinental railway, transit-oriented development, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

The history of every airport in the United States will tell you this will happen,” promised a developer who spent two years wrangling with the FAA for the right to build closer to the fence. “Are there really people who want to live close to an airport? Yeah, there are. That’s been proven around the country too. They travel a lot on business, or whatever it is they do, but they’re connected to the airport in some way, shape, or form. Somehow.” Clearly, cognitive dissonance is at work. We loudly decry the noise, pollution, and congestion of airports, and yet our fundamental quality-of-life decision—where and how to live—seems predicated on having one close at hand, even if we rarely fly. It helps that especially massive ones like DIA and DFW double as enormous publicly financed infrastructure investments galvanizing private developers—much like what I-70 and I-225 had done for Aurora in its 1970s and 1980s heyday.

The last holdouts are likely to be the airlines, which require a dense and ferocious amount of energy to defy the laws of physics. From an efficiency standpoint, the best solution for halving transportation’s share of carbon emissions is to electrify cars from renewable sources, leaving whatever oil is left for aviation. Its share of emissions would look progressively worse while the total shrinks, but we’d get over the cognitive dissonance. “We are driven as humans to adapt to new technologies, and we’re blessed with the ability to transfer them quickly across societies,” Kasarda told me in Beijing. “But people don’t change their ideas and beliefs nearly as fast. In anthropology, it’s known as ‘cultural lag.’ And the lag in this case means we’re able to envision disaster but not the future. Will we find alternatives? Absolutely.

Evidence-Based Technical Analysis: Applying the Scientific Method and Statistical Inference to Trading Signals by David Aronson

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Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, asset allocation, availability heuristic, backtesting, Black Swan, capital asset pricing model, cognitive dissonance, compound rate of return, computerized trading, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, distributed generation, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, hindsight bias, index fund, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Long Term Capital Management, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, p-value, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price stability, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nelson Elliott, random walk, retrograde motion, revision control, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, riskless arbitrage, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sharpe ratio, short selling, source of truth, statistical model, systematic trading, the scientific method, transfer pricing, unbiased observer, yield curve, Yogi Berra

It also implies that TA practitioners most experienced with a useless method will be the least able to recognize its flaws because of more lengthy exposure to the method’s chancebased successes. Motivational Factors The confirmation bias is also driven by motivational factors. TA practitioners have a large emotional and financial investment in their favored method. This is especially true of practitioners whose professional lives are tied to a particular method. There is also a strong motive to maintain consistency within our system beliefs and attitudes. The theory of cognitive dissonance formulated by Festinger78 contends that people are motivated to reduce or avoid psychological inconsistencies.79 The discomfort provoked by evidence that contradicts what we believe makes it hard to digest such evidence. Biased Questions and Search The confirmation bias also slants the way questions are framed, thereby biasing the search for new evidence. This search bias increases the chance of encountering new evidence that supports the prior belief while reducing the possibility of encountering nonconfirming or contradictory facts.

Park, Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000). G.T. Wilson and D. Abrams, “Effects of Alcohol on Social Anxiety and Psychological Arousal: Cognitive versus Pharmacological Processes,” Cognitive Research and Therapy 1 (1975), 195–210. Gilovich, How We Know, 50. M. Jones and R. Sugden, “Positive Confirmation Bias in the Acquisition of Information,” Theory and Decision 50 (2001), 59–99. L. Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1957). S. Plous, The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993), 23. Practitioners who actually trade on their predictions do get clear feedback on results, but as pointed out in this chapter this feedback can be diluted by other cognitive distortions (e.g., self-attribution bias). A bull trap, or breakout failure, occurs when shortly after the breakout penetration occurs, prices repenetrate the breakout level in the opposite direction.


pages: 687 words: 189,243

A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy by Joel Mokyr

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Andrei Shleifer, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Copley Medal, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, Deng Xiaoping, Edmond Halley, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, framing effect, germ theory of disease, Haber-Bosch Process, hindsight bias, income inequality, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, land tenure, law of one price, Menlo Park, moveable type in China, new economy, phenotype, price stability, principal–agent problem, rent-seeking, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, survivorship bias, the market place, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, ultimatum game, World Values Survey, Wunderkammern

Like all successful innovating entrepreneurs, cultural entrepreneurs combined an ability to “read” their market with their original insights, altering the culture by adding items to the menu of cultural choices but not being so outrageously different as to become ineffectual. Some of them did so by sensing a latent demand: a dissatisfaction with some cultural beliefs or knowledge, or diffuse and incoherent earlier attempts to cope with a new reality. For cultural entrepreneurs to be successful, some disconnect must exist between the prevalent cultural elements and some new information that does not quite square with it. This is much like Thomas Kuhn’s cognitive dissonance or what he called “awareness of anomaly,” caused by the accumulation of evidence inconsistent with the current paradigm and thus leading to scientific revolutions. What was true for astronomy in the sixteenth century was equally true for anatomy and theology. Because such dissonances evolved independently, they elicited responses that tended at first to be diffuse and required coordination and standardization.

., 154 Chan, Hok-lam, 299 Chandos, Duke of, 205 Chaney, Eric, 67, 131, 256 Chaptal, Jean-Antoine, 241 Chapter Coffee House, 222 Charles II, King, 232 Charles V, Emperor, 195 Châtelet, Emilie du, 110 chemical school in medicine, 252 chemistry, 220 Newton’s influence on, 102 Chen Chianzhang, 336 Chen Hongmou, 330, 331 Chen Menglei, 333 Chen Yuanlong, 334 Cheng Hao, 300, 303 Cheng Tingzuo, 335 Cheng Yi, 300, 303 Cheng-Zhu school,330 see also neo-Confucianism Chevreul, Eugène, 269 Cheyne, George, 102 Childrey, Joshua, 80 chiliasm, 266 China, 135, 147, 149, 158, 169, 274, 287-338 and the Enlightenment, 321 books in, 293 commercial integration in, 129 economy in the 18th century, 290 education in, 293 China, Qing, 291 China, Song, 248, 292 chinaware, 145, 163 Chinese language, 311 Chinese scholarship, agenda of, 338 Chinese science, 149 Chinese technology, adopted in the West, 298 Ching, Julia, 303, 311 chinoiserie, 145 Chitnis, Anand, 79 Chow, Kai-wing, 293, 294 Christianity, 132 and progress, 266 and resistance to innovation, 19 Christina, Queen, 204 Christina of Florence, Duchess, 152 Christopoulou, Rebekka, 35, 38 Cipolla, Carlo, 53, 132, 137, 160 cities, and the Republic of Letters, 174 civil service, Chinese, 308 Civil Service, ranks in the Chinese, 306 civil service examinations, Chinese, 165, 303, 304, 324, 332 civil society, 132 Clairaut, Alexis-Claude, 107, 211 Clark, Gregory, 7, 22, 36 Clark, Peter, 42, 222 Clarke, John, 255 Clarke, Samuel, 110, 114 classical canon, under attack, 151 classical culture, in education, 254 classical learning, declining respect for, 254 see also respect classics, 156, 181, 192, 217, 302 Chinese, 293, 303, 319, 324, 330 in the Enlightenment, 253 respect for, 258 veneration of, 254 classifying, 275 Clavius, Christopher, 130, 205, 211, 239 Clement VIII, Pope, 174 Clifton, Gloria, 108 clock and watchmaking industry, 233 Clusius, Carolus, 206 Coase, Ronald, 62 Cobb, Matthew, 188 codifiable knowledge, 160, 183, 193 coercion bias, 131,165, 337 coevolution, 46 in knowledge systems, 317 of culture and institutions, 10 of different kinds of knowledge, 143 of genes and culture, 43 coexistence, of competing hypotheses, 220 coffeehouses, 42, 217, 222 and public science, 196 cognitive dissonance, 63 Cohen, Bernard I., 237 Cohen, Floris, 32, 66, 68, 75, 79, 81-84, 130, 149, 150, 156, 162, 170, 182, 191, 220, 228, 237, 240, 270, 298, 299, 314 Cohen, Jack, 30 Cohn, Norman, 266 Cohn, Tobias, 257 Colbert, Jean Baptiste, 196 Colie, Rosalie, 74 collectivist values, 18 Collegio Romano, 211 Collins, Randall, 194 Columbus, Christopher, 15 Comenius, Jan Amos, 77, 88, 95, 96, 154, 175, 188, 235, 239 commerce, growth of, 161 commercial law, and religion, 128 common-pool resource, 122 commons resource, community management of, 185 competition, 130, 131, 155, 166, 197, 204, 260, 313, 341 among states, 167, 169 in education, 130, 234 in market for ideas, 157, 181-183, 199, 208-211, 215, 268, 283, 306 political, 150, 167-169, 189, 183 religious, 131, 234, 291, 292, 300 Comte, Auguste, 250, 266 Condé, Prince de, 204, 207 Condorcet, Nicolas Marquis de, 130, 248, 262, 264, 276 Confirmation bias, 131 Confucianism, 136, 299 Confucius, 298, 319, 323, 330 Constant, Edward, 22 content bias, 101, 107, 131, 157, 158, 212, 216, 220 contestability, 50, 92, 108, 157, 160, 189, 191, 210, 218 in the Republic of Letters, 202 of ideas in China, 310 contingency, 32, 170, 219, 232 contract enforcement, 122 Cook, Harold, 62, 122, 161, 243 cooperation, and religion, 128, 129 cooperative behavior, in the Republic of Letters, 199 Copenhaver, Brian T., 211, 220 Copernican cosmology, 169 Copernicanism, 130, 156 Copernicans, 157 Copernicus, Nicolaus, 19, 72, 148, 157, 158, 170, 173, 188, 197, 212, 257, 302 Cormack, Lesley B., 205 corn, 145 corporations, 172, 174 Corpuscularianism, 156, 211 correspondence, 160, 181, 183, 184, 194-196, 281 corruption, public sector, 16 Cort, Henry, 276 Cortesian army, 23, 59, 119, 215 Corydalleus, Theophilos, 188 Cosimo II, Grand Duke, 206 Cosmides, Leda, 47 Cotes, Roger, 108 Coulomb, Charles-Augustin de, 242 Counter-Reformation, 165 Cowan, Brian, 196, 222 Cowley, Abraham, 68, 89 craftsmen, 81, 119 Cranmer-Byng, J.L., 335 Cremonini, Cesare, 127, 281 Crimean War, 167 critical junctures, 61 Cromwell, Oliver, 93, 145, 233 Cross, Rob, 191 Cullen, Christopher, 329 Cullen, William, 83, 111, 242, 274 cultural beliefs, 7, 11-14, 18, 31, 37 and economic growth, 122 cultural dynamics, 44 cultural elements, 44 cultural entrepreneurs, 59, 60, 62, 64-66, 83, 100, 158, 159, 175, 233, 267, 297, 319 in China, 337 cultural evolution, 22-33 choice-based, 34–36, 48, 62 models of, 232 cultural features, transmission of, 41 cultural menus, 38, 46 cultural transmission, horizontal, 36 cultural transmission, intergenerational, 34 cultural transmission, vertical, 36 cultural variants equilibrium, 209 culture, 3–15 and institutions, 11 and modern economics, 7 child, 39 definition of, 8, 11 economics of, 13 of useful knowledge, 142 culture, Chinese, 296 curiosities, 154 curiosity, 153 Da Gama, Vasco, 161 Dai Zhen, 330 d’Alembert, Jean le Ronde, 96, 181, 182, 272 Dalton, John, 241, 245 damasks, 145 Daniel, Stephen, 177 Daoism, 299 Daoist thought, 310 Darby, Abraham, 185 Darnton, Robert, 186, 197, 333 Darwin, Charles, 19, 24, 44, 60, 66, 158 Darwin, Erasmus, 265 Darwinian models, 22, 23 Darwinian selection, 23, 36, 43 Darwinism, 9, 51 Dasgupta, Partha, 192, 202, 203 Daston, Lorraine,186, 193, 203 data, concept of, 279 David, Paul A., 181, 183, 192, 199, 202, 203 Davids, Karel, 124, 136, 169, 338 Davy, Humphry, 79, 82, 90 Dawkins, Richard, 24, 30, 46 De Bary, W.


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What Went Wrong: How the 1% Hijacked the American Middle Class . . . And What Other Countries Got Right by George R. Tyler

8-hour work day, active measures, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Black Swan, blood diamonds, blue-collar work, Bolshevik threat, bonus culture, British Empire, business process, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate personhood, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, Diane Coyle, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, income inequality, invisible hand, job satisfaction, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, lake wobegon effect, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, minimum wage unemployment, mittelstand, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, performance metric, pirate software, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, precariat, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent-seeking, reshoring, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transcontinental railway, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game

The safety net was weak, however, an outcome of the pecuniary nature of American politics, which—then, as now—bestows outsized influence on the affluent donor class including the business community. And so we arrive at 1981. A wave of new politicians crowded into Washington, determined to unravel this grand agreement so painfully and thoughtfully pieced together in the 1930s and 1940s. Suffering with cognitive dissonance toward economic history, unwilling to learn from the Great Depression, and enthralled by the certitude of powerful personalities pursuing an ideological agenda, they launched the Reagan era. What was their biggest mistake? They threw Adam Smith under the bus, ignoring his warning that “The government of an exclusive company of merchants is, perhaps, the worst of all governments for any country whatever.”

Surveys by Michael Norton and Ariely found that respondents believe the top 20 percent own less than 60 percent of American wealth, when their actual share is close to 90 percent.18 Reform hinges on new rules from Washington. Yet, despite the 2012 election outcome, many voters remain distrustful of government, the lingering effects of decades of demonization. This attitude is reinforced by the rather pervasive cognitive dissonance of Americans regarding the sizable role played by government in their lives, documented in research by economist Suzanne Mettler of Cornell University. She found that 44 percent of Social Security recipients, 43 percent of those receiving unemployment benefits, and 40 percent of both Medicare and GI Bill beneficiaries say they “have not used a government program.”19 Even so, American voters are not fools and realize they are economically downtrodden.


pages: 321 words: 85,893

The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability by Lierre Keith

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British Empire, car-free, clean water, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, Drosophila, dumpster diving, en.wikipedia.org, Gary Taubes, Haber-Bosch Process, McMansion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, peak oil, placebo effect, Rosa Parks, the built environment

The unreal love of the sentimentalist reaches no further than the self and gives precedence to pleasures and pains of its own, or else invents for itself a gratifying image of the pleasures and pains of its object.101 The quote is from Roger Scruton’s Animal Rights and Wrongs, a book that to me was the equivalent of prodding Sappho’s rubble on the beach, and yes, I am squeamish. I’m uneasy criticizing a movement that is working to stop torture. And it leaves me with a wrenching sense of moral cognitive dissonance to find my criticism expressed by someone who is otherwise repugnant to me. But sometimes your enemies are your best critics, and Scruton is precisely right about sentimentality. The AR movement is liberal individualism applied to animals. It is a reflection of human needs and desires, not the needs and desires of animals themselves. The animals, for instance, want to hunt. They want to eat the food evolution has designed them for.


pages: 398 words: 86,855

Bad Data Handbook by Q. Ethan McCallum

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Amazon Mechanical Turk, asset allocation, barriers to entry, Benoit Mandelbrot, business intelligence, cellular automata, chief data officer, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, commoditize, conceptual framework, database schema, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Flash crash, Gini coefficient, illegal immigration, iterative process, labor-force participation, loose coupling, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, recommendation engine, selection bias, sentiment analysis, statistical model, supply-chain management, survivorship bias, text mining, too big to fail, web application

So it might make sense that a sentiment classifier should be biased the same way, and all else being equal, favor pos classifications over neg. But there’s a design problem here: if a sentiment classifier is more biased towards the pos class, it will produce more false positives. And if you plan on surfacing these positive reviews, showing them to normal people that have no insight into how a sentiment classifier works, you really don’t want to show a false positive review. There’s a lot of cognitive dissonance when you claim that a business is highly rated and most people like it, while at the same time showing a negative review. One of the worst things you can do when designing a user interface is to show conflicting messages at the same time. So by balancing the pos and neg categories, I was able to reduce that bias and decrease false positives. This was accomplished by simply pruning the number of pos reviews until it was equal to the number of neg reviews.


pages: 293 words: 89,712

After Zionism: One State for Israel and Palestine by Antony Loewenstein, Ahmed Moor

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Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, drone strike, facts on the ground, ghettoisation, land reform, Naomi Klein, one-state solution, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, young professional

Indeed, Israelis, fed up with the economic situation in Tel Aviv, demanded to change the game unilaterally, with no discussion of the occupation or the deep-seated separation principle which has taken over Israeli society. The simple fact apparently lost on many Israelis is that Israeli and Palestinian society is more connected now than at any other time. Israelis have been able to maintain their society and its willing ignorance of the situation in the West Bank only through collective cognitive dissonance. This explains the bitter reaction of many tent protesters when presented with the paradox of demanding social justice without discussion of the occupation. It also explains the generally negative sentiment towards the joint struggle, as well as the low numbers of Israelis who join the protests. What is unavoidably clear from the protest climate in Israel/Palestine is that pockets of civil society are taking political matters into their own hands.


pages: 364 words: 99,613

Servant Economy: Where America's Elite Is Sending the Middle Class by Jeff Faux

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back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, centre right, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, lake wobegon effect, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, McMansion, medical malpractice, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, new economy, oil shock, old-boy network, Paul Samuelson, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, price stability, private military company, Ralph Nader, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, South China Sea, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade route, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, working poor, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War

It sustained the suffragist when prison guards pumped a force-feeding tube down her throat. Optimism has also had its liabilities, collective blind spots of complacency that ultimately produced recessions, depressions, and financial collapses; the dead and maimed of Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan; and bodies floating in the streets of New Orleans. Continuing your patterns of behavior in the face of evidence that you will end up badly is a well-known psychological construct. Cognitive dissonance, in which people feel discomfort when they hold conflicting ideas simultaneously, can sometimes be a variant of this. Denial of what is objectively apparent is another. Psychologists have catalogued numerous ways in which people would rather hunker down in their present dysfunctional jobs, relationships, or lifestyles that are leading to personal disaster than risk the discomfort and uncertainty that come with taking responsibility for their futures.


pages: 390 words: 96,624

Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom by Rebecca MacKinnon

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, digital Maoism, don't be evil, Filter Bubble, Firefox, future of journalism, illegal immigration, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, national security letter, online collectivism, Parag Khanna, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, WikiLeaks

Part of our reason for being here at this meeting is to talk about the lack of a similar infrastructure for platforms for free expression, because this has been an area where we believe that in the past the legislation has not paid enough attention. We do believe in the protection of intellectual property. We also believe in the balance that permits a free and vibrant platform for free expression.” Wong’s arguments were met with dubious frowns on the faces of the elected representatives of the American people. The cognitive dissonance on display at that hearing highlighted an inconvenient reality: politicians throughout the democratic world are pushing for stronger censorship and surveillance by Internet companies to stop the theft of intellectual property. They are doing so in response to aggressive lobbying by powerful corporate constituents without adequate consideration of the consequences for civil liberties, and for democracy more broadly.


pages: 289 words: 99,936

Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age by Virginia Eubanks

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affirmative action, Berlin Wall, call centre, cognitive dissonance, creative destruction, desegregation, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of work, game design, global village, index card, informal economy, invisible hand, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, low-wage service sector, microcredit, new economy, post-industrial society, race to the bottom, rent control, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, South of Market, San Francisco, telemarketer, Thomas L Friedman, trickle-down economics, union organizing, urban planning, web application, white flight, women in the workforce, working poor

It was, many believed, the American Dream manifest: all you needed was a good idea, some sweat equity, and a garage, and the digital economy would bestow on you its mighty gifts. I understood the itch for 4 Chapter 1 the million. Straightforward greed was not what was tying my brain in knots. What I had trouble wrapping my head around was Silicon Valley’s unique way of combining utopian fervor with blatant dissociation from reality, a cognitive dissonance that led me to a personal crisis of conscience and eventually drove me out of the Bay Area. People around me seemed to believe that the high-tech economy was going to lift all boats—lead to better outcomes for everyone—but they were ignoring the obvious evidence of increasing economic inequality that I saw around me every day. How could people simultaneously think they were all going to get filthy rich and make the world a better place for everyone?


pages: 339 words: 105,938

The Skeptical Economist: Revealing the Ethics Inside Economics by Jonathan Aldred

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airport security, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, clean water, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Diane Coyle, endogenous growth, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, framing effect, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, libertarian paternalism, new economy, Pareto efficiency, pension reform, positional goods, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, school choice, spectrum auction, Thomas Bayes, trade liberalization, ultimatum game

Our sympathy might lead us to say that the mother deserves to be given time off or a reduced workload because of her bereavement. It would be very odd to say she deserved to be paid more. 40 See Dick (1975) for further discussion of the difficulties. 41 See Wolff (2003) and Moriarty (2005). 42 Rawls (1999), p89. 43 Sher (2003) shows how hard it is to define effort in a way that leaves it entirely within our control. 44 Frey (1997). 45 Fehr and Gachter (2000). 46 That is, cognitive dissonance is reduced once it is recognized that tax brings benefits as well as being unavoidable. 47 Torgler (2007). Chapter 5 1 John Adams, second President of the United States. In Adams (1850—1856), p193. 2 Kahneman (1999), p22. 3 Kahneman (1999), p3. 4 See Frey and Stutzer (2007) for further details and full references. 5 Davidson et al (2000), Davidson (2000, 2004). Throughout, for the sake of simplicity in summarizing the neuroscience, I only describe results for right-handed people. 6 Coghill et al (2003). 7 Inglehart (1990). 8 Shao (1993). 9 Uttal (2001). 10 Uttal (2001). 11 See Farah (1994), Adolphs (2003) and Tingley (2006). 12 Veenhoven (2000). 13 This paragraph and the next two draw heavily on Wierzbicka (2004).


pages: 311 words: 94,732

The Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross

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3D printing, Ayatollah Khomeini, butterfly effect, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, Credit Default Swap, dematerialisation, Drosophila, epigenetics, Extropian, gravity well, greed is good, haute couture, hive mind, margin call, negative equity, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, telepresence, Turing machine, Turing test, union organizing

He’s surprisingly gentle and deft for such an inappropriately big entity. “To win, you’ve got to find a better argument and convince everybody. Oh, and you need to get to present it in court, but that’s not so hard. If your argument were better, 639,219 would agree with you, right?” “No!” Huw tenses angrily, but is brought up short by a knot. “She’s a traitor—” “No, she’s you. A version of you with a different value system, is all. Her stimulus led to cognitive dissonance and she dealt with it by changing her mind. It’s fun; you should try it some time. Not,” he adds hastily, “right now, but in principle. What do you wash this with, baking soda?” “You’re telling me I have to change her mind,” Huw manages to say through gritted teeth. “Something like that would do, yes. And to do it, you’ll need to come up with a better argument to explain why, oh, this lump of rock you’re so attached to is worth keeping around as something other than convenient lumps of computronium.


pages: 370 words: 94,968

The Most Human Human: What Talking With Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive by Brian Christian

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4chan, Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, carbon footprint, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, complexity theory, crowdsourcing, David Heinemeier Hansson, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, George Akerlof, Gödel, Escher, Bach, high net worth, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, job automation, l'esprit de l'escalier, Loebner Prize, Menlo Park, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Skype, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

A machine defeats the world champion. Kasparov, of course, immediately proposes a 1998 “best out of three” tiebreaker match for all the marbles—“I personally guarantee I will tear it in pieces”—but as soon as the dust settles and the press walks away, IBM quietly cuts the team’s funding, reassigns the engineers, and begins to slowly take Deep Blue apart. Doc, I’m a Corpse When something happens that creates a cognitive dissonance, when two of our beliefs are shown to be incompatible, we’re still left with the choice of which one to reject. In academic philosophy circles this has a famous joke: A guy comes in to the doctor’s, says, “Doc, I’m a corpse. I’m dead.” The doctor says, “Well, are corpses … ticklish?” “Course not, doc!” Then the doctor tickles the guy, who giggles and squirms away. “See?” says the doctor.


pages: 366 words: 107,145

Fuller Memorandum by Stross, Charles

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Beeching cuts, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, congestion charging, dumpster diving, finite state, Firefox, HyperCard, invisible hand, land reform, linear programming, peak oil, security theater, sensible shoes, side project, Sloane Ranger, telemarketer, Turing machine

Fuller I'M NOT GOING TO EXPLAIN HOW I GOT HERE FROM THERE: JUST take it as given that it is now ten o'clock in the morning, I am still in the office (but called Mo half an hour ago to see she's okay), I haven't shaved or slept, and there's a BLOODY BARON meeting in five minutes. I've got Amarok running on my desktop (playing "Drowning in Berlin" on endless repeat, because I need a pounding beat to keep me awake) and I've plowed through the CODICIL BLACK SKULL file that Angleton left me, and then on into a bunch of tedious legwork for this morning's session. I'm suffering from severe cognitive dissonance; every so often you think you've got a handle on this job, on the paper clip audits and interminable bureaucracy and committee meetings, and then something insane crawls out of the woodwork and gibbers at you, something crazy enough to give James Bond nightmares that just happen to be true. I close the CBS file and I'm just sticking it back in my secure document safe when Iris pops her head round the door.


pages: 265 words: 15,515

Nomad Citizenship: Free-Market Communism and the Slow-Motion General Strike by Eugene W. Holland

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capital controls, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, deskilling, Firefox, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, peak oil, price mechanism, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, slashdot, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, wage slave, working poor

For the State at war commands loy­ alty not just by demanding that its citizens consent to kill others; it also does so by demanding that they consent to sacrifice—their well-being and, ultimately, their lives—for the sake and at the behest of the State. The Death-State, in other words, specifically aggravates the very vulner­ ability it transforms into irrevocable loyalty to itself and to the cause of war. The strategic effectiveness of repeated calls to “support the troops” was clear evidence, based on the staggering power of cognitive dissonance, that people become incapable of questioning a cause to which citizens’ lives are sacrificed—because of the very fact o fth at sacrifice; and it is tes­ timony to the strength of their abject identification with the Death-State. State power thus derives not just from being in the position to decide and declare who is friend and who is enemy but from being in the position to demand the ultimate sacrifice: to give one’s life for one’s country.


pages: 326 words: 94,046

The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly: A Physician's First Year by Matt McCarthy

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cognitive dissonance, index card, sensible shoes, upwardly mobile

“Fine,” she said, “let me.” I opened my mouth, but nothing came out. She had short-circuited my one ironclad logical point. Let her die? What was I supposed to say? I could treat her HIV and what appeared to be neurosyphilis, but how was I supposed to treat whatever made her favor dying over taking the pills? Standing before her, I felt the glare of my colleagues. Chanel must have sensed my cognitive dissonance. She sat down on the edge of the bed. “Can we talk about this later, one-on-one?” “You can talk,” Dre said, “talk all you want.” “Very well,” Chanel said. “I’ll come back later.” We stepped out of the room and discussed the approach to this difficult patient. Everyone agreed that a multidisciplinary approach would be necessary, incorporating psychiatry, social work, nursing, and potentially a host of other specialists.


pages: 363 words: 108,670

Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith and Love by Dava Sobel

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Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, cognitive dissonance, Dava Sobel, Defenestration of Prague, Edmond Halley, germ theory of disease, Hans Lippershey, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Murano, Venice glass, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Peace of Westphalia, retrograde motion

“I am thinking about treating this topic very extensively,” confessed Galileo, “in opposition to heretics, the most influential of whom I hear accept Copernicus’s opinion; I would want to show them that we Catholics continue to be certain of the old truth taught us by the sacred authors, not for lack of scientific understanding, or for not having studied as many arguments, experiments, observations, and demonstrations as they have, but rather because of the reverence we have toward the writings of our Fathers and because of our zeal in religion and faith.” Italian astronomers, in other words, could tolerate the cognitive dissonance of admiring Copernicus on a theoretical level, while rejecting him theologically. “Thus, when they [Protestants] see that we understand very well all their astronomical and physical reasons, and indeed also others much more powerful than those advanced till now, at most they will blame us as men who are steadfast in our beliefs, but not as blind to and ignorant of the human disciplines; and this is something which in the final analysis should not concern a true Catholic Christian—I mean that a heretic laughs at him because he gives priority to the reverence and trust which is due to the sacred authors over all the arguments and observations of astronomers and philosophers put together.”


pages: 518 words: 107,836

How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet (Information Policy) by Benjamin Peters

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Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Benoit Mandelbrot, bitcoin, Brownian motion, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, continuation of politics by other means, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Davies, double helix, Drosophila, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, hive mind, index card, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, linear programming, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, scientific mainstream, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technoutopianism, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, transaction costs, Turing machine

For the market to be the ideal organizational mode, some economists assume that rational actors will rank the order of their preferences linearly: if rational actors prefer option A over B as well as option B over C, they also will prefer option A over C. Yet this view of the market has been challenged in recent decades. Markets hide transaction costs and information asymmetries. Behavioral economists have demonstrated how under a number of conditions (such as fear, regret, the threat of loss, cognitive dissonance, or peer pressure) the rational homo economicus is a fiction: a person may prefer apples to bananas, bananas to cantaloupes, and cantaloupes to apples, and there is no guarantee that there exists a rational solution to voting systems or daily choices involving three or more actors.24 By contrast, the concept of hierarchy (from the Greek term ἱεραρχία, “rule by priests”) reaches back fifteen centuries to religious roots.


pages: 324 words: 91,653

The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

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augmented reality, cognitive dissonance, gravity well, haute couture, music of the spheres

She smiles. The thought of the place she put me in before does make her look a little like the Oortian dark god of the void. ‘Perhonen will show you your quarters.’ When the thief is gone, Mieli lies down in the pilot’s crèche. She feels exhausted, even though the biot feed of her body – that has been waiting for her with Perhonen, for months – tells her she is perfectly rested. But the cognitive dissonance is worse. Was it me who was in the Prison? Or another? She remembers the long weeks of preparation, days of subjective slowtime in a q-suit, getting ready to commit a crime just so she could be caught by the Archons and enter the Prison: the eternity in her cell, mind wrapped in an old memory. The violent escape, hurled through the sky by the pellegrini, waking up in a new body, shaking and raw.


pages: 332 words: 89,668

Two Nations, Indivisible: A History of Inequality in America: A History of Inequality in America by Jamie Bronstein

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, blue-collar work, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, ending welfare as we know it, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gini coefficient, income inequality, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, labor-force participation, land reform, land tenure, low skilled workers, low-wage service sector, mandatory minimum, mass incarceration, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, moral panic, mortgage debt, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, obamacare, occupational segregation, Occupy movement, oil shock, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price discrimination, race to the bottom, rent control, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Simon Kuznets, single-payer health, strikebreaker, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, wage slave, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration

“In all probability a much more massive unfree or limited service would have been drafted into the plantation colonies from the ranks of white convicts and other outcasts—in which case the planters’ privileges would unmistakably have rested on the labour of landless workers with small hope of advancement for themselves and their children.”25 Plantation owners were paternalistic in their language, referring to their slaves as part of their families, but they calculated slaves as property and did not hesitate to sell them, distribute them in wills, or take any other steps that were necessary to maximize profit.26 If slaves are counted both as wealth and as potential owners of wealth, then inequality in the entire pre-Civil-War period is even more extreme than scholars of American inequality have calculated.27 Nor was the society in which slaves lived a monolith; rather, occupation, gender, the size of the community in which slaves lived, and geography created inequalities.28 The existence of slavery in a “free” country entailed a certain amount of cognitive dissonance. James L. Huston argues that from the outset, slavery conflicted with the notion of receiving the fruits of one’s labor that was essential to Republicanism, and that writers including Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson realized this.29 But the Founders did not let their hesitation about labor’s rewards get in the way of a federal Constitution that enshrined and perpetuated slavery. And the Northern states enjoyed the benefits of a prosperous South.


pages: 316 words: 106,321

Switched On: My Journey From Asperger's to Emotional Awakening by John Elder Robison

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Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, cognitive dissonance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, Minecraft, neurotypical, placebo effect, zero-sum game

“Those are good questions you’re asking. Keep it up.” Some of my words even sparked lengthy discussions. After we were done the chairperson asked if I’d be willing to serve on other committees. “We could use more of your insights,” she told me. I was proud to have done a good job and honoured that she’d asked. As I pictured my staff putting water pumps on Land Rovers the next day, I thought of the phrase “cognitive dissonance,” and I wondered if I was facing a similar mental situation now, having to function effectively in two different worlds. The early committee service led to other appointments and my increased involvement in autism science. My world was becoming so different, so fast. I was proud of my contribution, and of acceptance in a new world, but I was often terrified and also lonely. For the first time in quite a few years, Martha was not beside me in a new field of endeavour.


pages: 324 words: 93,175

The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home by Dan Ariely

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Alvin Roth, assortative mating, Burning Man, business process, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, end world poverty, endowment effect, Exxon Valdez, first-price auction, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, happiness index / gross national happiness, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loss aversion, Peter Singer: altruism, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, second-price auction, software as a service, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, young professional

Ellen Langer, “The Illusion of Control,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 32, no. 2 (1975): 311–328. Anne Preston, “The Nonprofit Worker in a For-Profit World,” Journal of Labor Economics 7, no. 4 (1989): 438–463. Chapter 3: The IKEA Effect: Why We Overvalue What We Make Based on Gary Becker, Morris H. DeGroot, and Jacob Marschak, “An Experimental Study of Some Stochastic Models for Wagers,” Behavioral Science 8, no. 3 (1963): 199–201. Leon Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1957). Nikolaus Franke, Martin Schreier, and Ulrike Kaiser, “The ‘I Designed It Myself’ Effect in Mass Customization,” Management Science 56, no. 1 (2009): 125–140. Michael Norton, Daniel Mochon, and Dan Ariely, “The IKEA Effect: When Labor Leads to Love,” manuscript, Harvard University, 2010. Additional readings Hal Arkes and Catherine Blumer, “The Psychology of Sunk Cost,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 35, no. 1 (1985): 124–140.


pages: 286 words: 82,065

Curation Nation by Rosenbaum, Steven

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Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, future of journalism, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, means of production, PageRank, pattern recognition, postindustrial economy, pre–internet, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, social web, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, Yogi Berra

The annual value of the NBA’s television rights was pegged at $400 million a year through 2008, and that doesn’t include the future clip royalties. Then, after a stint at Viacom and Barry Diller’s Studios USA, Miller took on the unenviable task of fixing AOL. It was 2005, and the problems were written large on the front door. AOL was an ISP (a dial-up Internet service provider) in a world that was going broadband. You didn’t have to wake up in the morning and have cognitive dissonance around that. AOL knew it couldn’t sell its dial-up business and that it was going to go to zero—and fast. And, since parent company TimeWarner owned cable, the broadband business was already taken. Miller needed to imagine a new AOL with a new focus: “There aren’t a huge number of options, but I thought, ‘How do you figure out how to make a lot of content that people want to consume, since you’re essentially an aggregator of lots of other peoples’ content and services?’”


pages: 314 words: 101,452

Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis

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barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate raider, financial independence, financial innovation, fixed income, Home mortgage interest deduction, interest rate swap, Irwin Jacobs, John Meriwether, London Interbank Offered Rate, margin call, mortgage tax deduction, nuclear winter, Ponzi scheme, The Predators' Ball, yield curve

But a few of the old hands within Salomon Brothers suffered a more complicated response to their money. Not that they ever doubted they were worth every penny they got. But they were uneasy with the explosion of debt in America. (In general, the better they recalled the Great Depression, the more suspicious they were of the leveraging of America.) The head of bond research at Salomon, Henry Kaufman, was, when I arrived, our most acute case of cognitive dissonance. He was the guru of the bond market and also the conscience of our firm. He told investors whether their fast-moving bonds were going up or down. He was so often right that the markets made him famous if not throughout the English-speaking world then at least among the sort of people who read the Wall Street Journal. Yet Kaufman was known as Dr. Gloom. The party had been thrown in his honor, but he seemed to want it to end.


pages: 398 words: 109,479

Redrobe by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

air freight, Burning Man, clean water, cognitive dissonance, music of the spheres

But she wanted Joan back, not for the world but for herself. Get yourself cloned and any half-decent clinic could suck up memories from a soul chip and spit them back into a fresh cortex. Feelings were something else. And the problem with straight copying was you know what happened to you, maybe even why it happened. What you didn’t get from a soul chip is what you felt while it was happening. It brought a whole new meaning to cognitive dissonance. Joan was fifty-five. So her brain would have processed the equivalent of 300 million books. Which sounded big but came out as around ten terrabites of memory, not remotely hard for five chips. But dreams are like feelings. Just as you can’t chip the flickering dendritic matrix that ties emotionally-rich events into a shifting web of neural connections, so it’s impossible to hardcopy the rush that kicks in during REM sleep when the frontal lobes shut down, emotional centres fire up and the brain swims with acetyl-choline.


pages: 410 words: 101,260

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, availability heuristic, barriers to entry, business process, business process outsourcing, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, double helix, Elon Musk, fear of failure, Firefox, George Santayana, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, job-hopping, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, minimum viable product, Network effects, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, risk tolerance, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Wisdom of Crowds, women in the workforce

“We find it more rewarding when someone’s initially negative feelings toward us gradually become positive than if that person’s feelings for us were entirely positive all along.” While we’ll have an especially strong affinity toward our converted rivals, will they feel the same way toward us? Yes—this is the second advantage of converting resisters. To like us, they have to work especially hard to overcome their initial negative impressions, telling themselves, I must have been wrong about that person. Moving forward, to avoid the cognitive dissonance of changing their minds yet again, they’ll be especially motivated to maintain a positive relationship. Third, and most important, it is our former adversaries who are the most effective at persuading others to join our movements. They can marshal better arguments on our behalf, because they understand the doubts and misgivings of resisters and fence-sitters. And they’re a more credible source, because they haven’t just been Pollyanna followers or “yes men” all along.


pages: 404 words: 134,430

Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time by Michael Shermer

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Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anesthesia awareness, anthropic principle, butterfly effect, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological principle, discovery of DNA, false memory syndrome, Gary Taubes, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, laissez-faire capitalism, life extension, moral panic, Murray Gell-Mann, out of africa, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

But if the process of joining is common among most humans, why do some people join while others do not? The answer is in the persuasive power of the principles of influence and the choice of what type of group to join. Cult experts and activists Steve Hassan (1990) and Margaret Singer outline a number of psychological influences that shape people's thoughts and behaviors that lead them to join more dangerous groups (and that are quite independent of intelligence): cognitive dissonance; obedience to authority; group compliance and conformity; and especially the manipulation of rewards, punishments, and experiences with the purpose of controlling behavior, information, thought, and emotion (what Hassan 2000 calls the "BITE model"). Social psychologist Robert Cialdini (1984) demonstrates in his enormously persuasive book on influence, that all of us are influenced by a host of social and psychological variables, including physical attractiveness, similarity, repeated contact or exposure, familiarity, diffusion of responsibility, reciprocity, and many others.


pages: 538 words: 141,822

The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom by Evgeny Morozov

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, don't be evil, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Google Earth, illegal immigration, invention of radio, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Marshall McLuhan, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, peer-to-peer, pirate software, pre–internet, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Sinatra Doctrine, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, social graph, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, The Wisdom of Crowds, urban planning, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

If the only conclusion about the power of the Internet that Western policymakers have drawn from the Iranian events is that tweets are good for social mobilization, they are not likely to outsmart their authoritarian adversaries, who have so far shown much more sophistication in the online world. It’s becoming clear that understanding the full impact of the Internet on the democratization of authoritarian states would require more than just looking at the tweets of Iranian youngsters, for they only tell one part of the story. Instead, one needs to embark on a much more thorough and complex analysis that would look at the totality of forces shaped by the Web. Much of the current cognitive dissonance is of do-gooders’ own making. What did they get wrong? Well, perhaps it was a mistake to treat the Internet as a deterministic one-directional force for either global liberation or oppression, for cosmopolitanism or xenophobia. The reality is that the Internet will enable all of these forces—as well as many others—simultaneously. But as far as laws of the Internet go, this is all we know.


pages: 484 words: 136,735

Capitalism 4.0: The Birth of a New Economy in the Aftermath of Crisis by Anatole Kaletsky

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bank run, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, BRICs, Carmen Reinhart, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, global rebalancing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, market design, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, paradox of thrift, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, statistical model, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game

Conventional economics assumes the financial system is a linear, continuous, rational machine and these false assumptions are built into the risk models used by many of the world’s banks.1 Despite the success achieved by fractal geometry and nonlinear modeling in the study of earthquakes, weather, evolution, ecology, and other complex systems, Mandelbrot always faced the same objection from economists when he proposed applying similar techniques to markets. These non-Gaussian mathematical methods could only provide approximations, as opposed to the precise answers offered by the Efficient Market Hypothesis and Gaussian statistics.2 The fact that the exact answers of EMH bore no relation to reality did not seem to deter “scientific” economists. Another striking example of the cognitive dissonance in the use of mathematics by scientific economists is provided by Roman Frydman and Michael Goldberg, two U.S. economists who have pioneered a research program they describe as Imperfect Knowledge Economics (IKE). This approach explicitly challenges the most important—and most implausible—assumption of rational expectations: the idea that there is one best model of how the economy works, which every rational economic agent will find out about.


pages: 205 words: 18,208

The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? by David Brin

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affirmative action, airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, data acquisition, death of newspapers, Extropian, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, informal economy, information asymmetry, Iridium satellite, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, means of production, mutually assured destruction, offshore financial centre, open economy, packet switching, pattern recognition, pirate software, placebo effect, Plutocrats, plutocrats, prediction markets, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Robert Bork, Saturday Night Live, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telepresence, trade route, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game, Zimmermann PGP

For instance, some people will program their home computers/entertainment centers to sift the Web for only those news articles, shows, and magazines that agree with opinions they already have, or reduce all opponents to caricatures. We already see this trend in channels devoted to specific ethnic and religious groups, and in the cult followings of pundits like Rush Limbaugh. According to Paul Steiger, managing editor of the Wall Street Journal. “The ability of people with like minds to talk to each other [on the Internet] is wonderful. But if only people of like minds talk to each other, you get the kind of cognitive dissonance that is destructive to a democracy.” As individuals use such new tools to tailor privacy guardians and personalized data sieves, choosing which sympathetic voices will be allowed into their home and which dissenting ones will be blocked out, the result may be nearly perfect isolation in walled-off worlds of the mind. David Shaw of the Los Angeles Times posed the dilemma thus: What will happen to our already fragmented sense of community if everyone is reading different stories on different subjects, seeing different advertisements for different products and, in essence, communicating by e-mail and in online chat rooms only with people who share their own interests?


pages: 462 words: 150,129

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

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23andMe, agricultural Revolution, air freight, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, feminist movement, financial innovation, Flynn Effect, food miles, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, packet switching, patent troll, Pax Mongolica, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Productivity paradox, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Silicon Valley, spice trade, spinning jenny, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, working poor, working-age population, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

People do not apply this to their own lives, interestingly: they tend to assume that they will live longer, stay married longer and travel more than they do. Some 19 per cent of Americans believe themselves to be in the top 1 per cent of income earners. Yet surveys consistently reveal individuals to be personally optimistic yet socially pessimistic. Dane Stangler calls this ‘a non-burdensome form of cognitive dissonance we all walk around with’. About the future of society and the human race people are naturally gloomy. It goes with the fact that they are risk-averse: a large literature confirms that people much more viscerally dislike losing a sum of money than they like winning the same sum. And it seems that pessimism genes might quite literally be commoner than optimism genes: only about 20 per cent of people are homozygous for the long version of the serotonin transporter gene, which possibly endows them with a genetic tendency to look on the bright side.

A Sea in Flames: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout by Carl Safina

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big-box store, clean water, cognitive dissonance, energy security, Exxon Valdez, hydraulic fracturing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), North Sea oil, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Piper Alpha, Ronald Reagan

“But,” he says, “two things went off the scale: one was the total amount of oil; the other was that when the protocols were written, no one envisioned injecting dispersants at depths of five thousand feet. “And we had what I call ‘the social and political nullification’ of the National Contingency Plan,” he says. In other words, the public and politicians weren’t buying the constraints of the law. Main case in point: “The National Contingency Plan says the spiller is the ‘responsible party.’ That means they have to be there with you. But having BP with us created cognitive dissonance with the public. People didn’t understand; how could BP be part of the command structure? But that was what the law required.” He thinks it would be best to have a third party—not the oil company, not government—in charge of spill response. “Too much perception of conflicts of interest otherwise,” he says. Another problem: “BP’s efforts to just keep writing checks to state and local governments—you can describe it any way you want—allowed those folks to act outside of federal coordination.


pages: 459 words: 118,959

Confidence Game: How a Hedge Fund Manager Called Wall Street's Bluff by Christine S. Richard

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activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, Donald Trump, family office, financial innovation, fixed income, forensic accounting, glass ceiling, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, money market fund, moral hazard, old-boy network, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, short selling, statistical model, white flight, zero-sum game

“You mentioned that these notes may have been taken in a subsequent conversation with someone else other than a meeting with the company,” said Minor. “Who could those people have been?” “Well, the most obvious candidate is Bill Ackman.” After a few hours, the tone of the questions was less aggressive. The attorneys seemed to be running through a checklist of issues. When Tilson got up to leave, one of the attorneys asked him, “Are you really friends with Bill Ackman?” “The idea seemed to create incredible cognitive dissonance for him,” Tilson recalls. WHEN ACKMAN RETURNED to the attorney general’s office to talk about Farmer Mac, the tension rose again. The lawyers turned their attention to Ackman’s comments in his research report on Farmer Mac, which suggested the company was funding long-term assets with high levels of short-term debt. “Where are you getting your numbers to show what percent of the company’s debt is short term?”


pages: 542 words: 132,010

The Science of Fear: How the Culture of Fear Manipulates Your Brain by Daniel Gardner

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Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, Doomsday Clock, feminist movement, haute couture, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), mandatory minimum, medical residency, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, placebo effect, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, Tunguska event, uranium enrichment, Y2K, young professional

This goes for the pharmaceutical industry, security companies, and all the others who promote and profit from fear. In fact, I’m quite sure that in most cases those promoting fear are sincere, for the simple reason that humans are compulsive rationalizers. People like to see themselves as being basically good, and so admitting that they are promoting fear in others in order to advance their interests sets up a nasty form of cognitive dissonance: I know I’m basically a nice person; what I’m doing is awful and wrong. Those are two thoughts that do not sit comfortably in the same head and the solution is rationalization: Suburban housewives really are at risk if they don’t buy my home alarm, and I’m doing them a service by telling them so. Self-interest and sincere belief seldom part company. The marketing of fear for political advantage has become so ubiquitous that the phrase “the politics of fear” is almost a cliché, but still many doubt the power of fearful messages to influence voters.


pages: 489 words: 148,885

Accelerando by Stross, Charles

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call centre, carbon-based life, cellular automata, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, Conway's Game of Life, dark matter, dumpster diving, Extropian, finite state, Flynn Effect, glass ceiling, gravity well, John von Neumann, knapsack problem, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, means of production, packet switching, performance metric, phenotype, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, reversible computing, Richard Stallman, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, South China Sea, stem cell, technological singularity, telepresence, The Chicago School, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, web of trust, Y2K, zero-sum game

I bet you never even bothered to check what it felt like from inside –" "– I did –" Sirhan freezes for a moment, personality modules paging in and out of his brain like a swarm of angry bees – "make a fool of myself," he adds quietly, then slumps back in his seat. "This is so embarrassing … " He covers his face with his hands. "You're right." "I am?" Rita's puzzlement slowly gives way to understanding; Sirhan has finally integrated the memories from the partials they hybridized earlier. Stuck-up and proud, the cognitive dissonance must be enormous. "No, I'm not. You're just overly defensive." "I'm –" Embarrassed. Because Rita knows him, inside out. Has the ghost-memories of six months in a simspace with him, playing with ideas, exchanging intimacies, later confidences. She holds ghost-memories of his embrace, a smoky affair that might have happened in real space if his instant reaction to realizing that it could happen hadn't been to dump the splinter of his mind that was contaminated by impure thoughts to cold storage and deny everything.


pages: 752 words: 131,533

Python for Data Analysis by Wes McKinney

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backtesting, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Debian, Firefox, Google Chrome, Guido van Rossum, index card, random walk, recommendation engine, revision control, sentiment analysis, Sharpe ratio, side project, sorting algorithm, statistical model, type inference

Take the for loop in the above quicksort algorithm: for x in array: if x < pivot: less.append(x) else: greater.append(x) A colon denotes the start of an indented code block after which all of the code must be indented by the same amount until the end of the block. In another language, you might instead have something like: for x in array { if x < pivot { less.append(x) } else { greater.append(x) } } One major reason that whitespace matters is that it results in most Python code looking cosmetically similar, which means less cognitive dissonance when you read a piece of code that you didn’t write yourself (or wrote in a hurry a year ago!). In a language without significant whitespace, you might stumble on some differently formatted code like: for x in array { if x < pivot { less.append(x) } else { greater.append(x) } } Love it or hate it, significant whitespace is a fact of life for Python programmers, and in my experience it helps make Python code a lot more readable than other languages I’ve used.


pages: 415 words: 125,089

Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein

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Albert Einstein, Alvin Roth, Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Bayesian statistics, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, buttonwood tree, capital asset pricing model, cognitive dissonance, computerized trading, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, endowment effect, experimental economics, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, Fermat's Last Theorem, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, index fund, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, linear programming, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, mental accounting, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Nash equilibrium, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, spectrum auction, statistical model, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Bayes, trade route, transaction costs, tulip mania, Vanguard fund, zero-sum game

But even as the search for risk-management techniques was gaining popularity, the 1970s and the 1980s gave rise to new uncertainties that had never been encountered by people whose world view had been shaped by the benign experiences of the postwar era. Calamities struck, including the explosion in oil prices, the constitutional crisis caused by Watergate and the Nixon resignation, the hostage-taking in Teheran, and the disaster at Chernobyl. The cognitive dissonances created by these shocks were similar to those experienced by the Victorians and the Edwardians during the First World War. Along with financial deregulation and a wild inflationary sleighride, the environment generated volatility in interest rates, foreign exchange rates, and commodity prices that would have been unthinkable during the preceding three decades. Conventional forms of risk management were incapable of dealing with a world so new, so unstable, and so frightening.


pages: 404 words: 124,705

The Village Effect: How Face-To-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter by Susan Pinker

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assortative mating, Atul Gawande, Bernie Madoff, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, facts on the ground, game design, happiness index / gross national happiness, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, neurotypical, Occupy movement, old-boy network, place-making, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, Ray Oldenburg, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steven Pinker, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tony Hsieh, urban planning, Yogi Berra

A house full of people; a crowded table ranging across the generations; four-hand music at the piano; nonstop conversation and cooking; baseball games and swimming in the afternoon; long walks after dinner; a poker game or Diplomacy or charades in the evening, all these activities mixing adults and children—that was our idea of a well-ordered household and more specifically of a well-ordered education.… Home was not to be thought of as the nuclear family.5 Lasch wasn’t engaging in some loopy utopian fantasy as much as he was voicing some cognitive dissonance about the future. Despite our being increasingly tethered to the devices that connect us virtually, there has not been a corresponding uptick in well-being. In fact, it’s the reverse. By and large we’re lonelier and unhappier than we were in the decades before the Internet age.6 Psychologists don’t know why that is exactly, though we do know that close relationships are the strongest drivers of happiness, and that being alone and unaffiliated makes us the most unhappy.


pages: 488 words: 148,340

Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson

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back-to-the-land, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, dark matter, epigenetics, gravity well, mandelbrot fractal, microbiome, traveling salesman, Turing test

Those who agreed with Aram formed a separate line to speak, and the organizers of the assembly began to let people from the two lines speak in alternation, until it became clear from the muttering from the crowd, including even short bursts of laughter as each new talk began, that the effect of the alternation was unhelpful. Contemplating two starkly different futures back and forth was perhaps too much like a debating society exercise, but because the topic debated was life or death for them, the back-and-forth engendered first cognitive dissonance, then estrangement: some laughed, others looked sick. Existential nausea comes from feeling trapped. It is an affect state resulting from the feeling that the future has only bad options. Of course every human faces the fact of individual death, and therefore existential nausea must be to a certain extent a universal experience, and something that must be dealt with by one mental strategy or another.


pages: 481 words: 125,946

What to Think About Machines That Think: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Age of Machine Intelligence by John Brockman

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3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, constrained optimization, corporate personhood, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, dark matter, discrete time, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, endowment effect, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, Flash crash, friendly AI, functional fixedness, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, Internet of things, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, loose coupling, microbiome, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Thaler, Rory Sutherland, Satyajit Das, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

“I think I’ll go to the store,” and “I think it’s raining,” and “I think, therefore I am,” and “I think the Yankees will win the World Series,” and “I think I’m Napoleon,” and “I think he said he would be here, but I’m not sure”—all use the same word to mean entirely different things. Which of them might a machine do someday? I think that’s an important question. Could a machine get confused? Experience cognitive dissonance? Dream? Wonder? Forget the name of that guy over there and at the same time know that it really knows the answer and if it just thinks about something else for a while, it might remember? Lose track of time? Decide to get a puppy? Have low self-esteem? Have suicidal thoughts? Get bored? Worry? Pray? I think not. Can artificial mechanisms be constructed to play the part in gathering information and making decisions that human beings now play?


pages: 286 words: 94,017

Future Shock by Alvin Toffler

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Albert Einstein, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, corporate governance, East Village, global village, Haight Ashbury, information retrieval, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, Menlo Park, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, post-industrial society, RAND corporation, the market place, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog, zero-sum game

It irritates and upsets us, even though we know that "Aunt Ethel doesn't know any better." We banish it hastily to the top shelf of the closet. Aunt Ethel's toaster or tablewear is not important, in and of itself. But it is a message from a different subcultural world, and unless we are weak in commitment to our own style, unless we happen to be in transition between styles, it represents a potent threat. The psychologist Leon Festinger coined the term "cognitive dissonance" to mean the tendency of a person to reject or deny information that challenges his preconceptions. We don't want to hear things that may upset our carefully worked out structure of beliefs. Similarly, Aunt Ethel's gift represents an element of "stylistic dissonance." It threatens to undermine our carefully worked out style of life. Why does the life style have this power to preserve itself?

Foundation and Earth by Isaac Asimov

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active measures, cognitive dissonance, Magellanic Cloud

The door closed behind it. “It’s an elevator,” said Pelorat, with a pleased air of discovery. “So it is,” said Bander. “Once we went underground, we never truly emerged. Nor would we want to, though I find it pleasant to feel the sunlight on occasion. I dislike clouds or night in the open, however. That gives one the sensation of being underground without truly being underground, if you know what I mean. That is cognitive dissonance, after a fashion, and I find it very unpleasant.” “Earth built underground,” said Pelorat. “The Caves of Steel, they called their cities. And Trantor built underground, too, even more extensively, in the old Imperial days. —And Comporellon builds underground right now. It is a common tendency, when you come to think of it.” “Half-humans swarming underground and we living underground in isolated splendor are two widely different things,” said Bander.


pages: 490 words: 117,629

Unconventional Success: A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment by David F. Swensen

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asset allocation, asset-backed security, capital controls, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, diversification, diversified portfolio, fixed income, index fund, law of one price, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, money market fund, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, pez dispenser, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Ballmer, survivorship bias, technology bubble, the market place, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, yield curve, zero-sum game

The savvy mutual-fund investor recognizes the inherent conflict between the profit motive and fiduciary responsibility. In the case of fund management companies organized on a not-for-profit basis, no conflict exists between serving investor goals and generating corporate income. When evaluating a not-for-profit investment manager, investors begin with the comfort of knowing that they sit on the same side of the table as the fund management company. While for-profit fund managers suffer the cognitive dissonance created by divergent goals, not-for-profit fund managers enjoy single-minded focus on discharging fiduciary responsibilities. When the quest for profits disappears, abuse of investors dissipates. Excessive management fees abate, Rule 12b-1 fees vanish, portfolio turnover declines, and asset gathering stops. Not-for-profit fund management companies avoid product-placement fees, counter market-timing traders, and avoid soft-dollar usage.


pages: 443 words: 123,526

Glasshouse by Stross, Charles

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cognitive dissonance, experimental subject, gravity well, loose coupling, peer-to-peer, phenotype, prisoner's dilemma, sensible shoes, theory of mind, white picket fence

"I'm going, I'm going," I say, and I shuffle away from poor, damaged Cass. Cass who I thought was Kay, obsessing over her, when all the time Kay was sleeping in the next room, and Cass was living in a nightmare. I have a problem with the ethics here, I think. Hanta's not bad. But she collaborates with Fiore and Yourdon. What kind of person would do that? I shake my head, wincing at the cognitive dissonance. One who'd perform illegal memory surgery then implant the recollection of giving informed consent in the victim's mind? I shake my head again. I don't really think Hanta would do that, but I can't be sure. If the patient agrees with the practitioner afterward, is it really abuse? IT'S a bright, sunny Thursday morning when Hanta comes and sits by my bedside with a clipboard. "Well!" Her smile is fresh and approving.


pages: 465 words: 134,575

Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces by Radley Balko

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anti-communist, call centre, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, desegregation, edge city, mass incarceration, Menlo Park, moral panic, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan

Head shots, head shots. . . . Kill the sons of bitches.”34 That was G. Gordon Liddy, giving his listeners home defense advice on his syndicated radio show in August 1994. It was some remarkable language to be coming from the guy who helped create ODALE, the Nixon-era office that sent narcotics task forces barreling into homes to make headline-grabbing drug busts. And Giddy was still suffering from cognitive dissonance. In the same interview, he lamented that it wasn’t a federal felony to possess a personal use amount of illicit drugs.35 And of course narcotics cops hit the wrong house many, many more times than ATF agents did. Liddy wasn’t offended by the tactics as much as he was by the mission (gun control) and the people who were calling the shots at the time (Bill Clinton and Janet Reno). Still, this was part of something new.


pages: 433 words: 125,031

Brazillionaires: The Godfathers of Modern Brazil by Alex Cuadros

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affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, big-box store, BRICs, cognitive dissonance, creative destruction, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, family office, high net worth, index fund, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, NetJets, offshore financial centre, profit motive, rent-seeking, risk/return, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, short selling, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, We are the 99%, William Langewiesche

Another worker died in March when he fell from a high row of bleachers he was installing. This meant the temporary seating for twenty thousand of the sixty thousand fans now in the stadium had never been fully tested. In the event, though, nothing collapsed on live TV. And the Seleção beat Croatia three–one. And that night, despite the general ill will, Brazilians all around the country celebrated the win, and much cachaça and beer was consumed with varying degrees of cognitive dissonance. Normally, weeks in advance of the World Cup, people would hang the Brazilian flag from their windows and paint their streets green and yellow. This time São Paulo looked as it usually does, beige. A lot of Brazilians had decided to root against the national team. A friend of mine, Vinícius, put it like this: “The thing is that if we win, people are going to say it was all somehow worth it.”


pages: 548 words: 147,919

How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales From the Pentagon by Rosa Brooks

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airport security, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, big-box store, clean water, cognitive dissonance, continuation of politics by other means, drone strike, Edward Snowden, facts on the ground, failed state, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, John Markoff, Mark Zuckerberg, moral panic, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, personalized medicine, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Turing test, unemployed young men, Valery Gerasimov, Wall-E, War on Poverty, WikiLeaks

Some of the language from my congressional testimony also found its way into the Stimson Commission’s report on U.S. drone policy, for which I served as primary author. See Rosa Brooks, “Drone Wars: The Constitutional and Counterterrorism Implications of Targeted Killing,” Hearing Before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights of the Subcommittee on the Judiciary, 113th Cong., April 23, 2013; Rosa Brooks, ”Drones and Cognitive Dissonance,” in Peter L. Bergen and Daniel Rothenberg, eds., Drone Wars: Transforming Conflict, Law, and Policy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 230–52; John P. Abizaid, Rosa Brooks, and Rachel Stohl, “Recommendations and Report of the Task Force on US Drone Policy,” Stimson Center, May 12, 2014, www.stimson.org/spotlight/recommendations-and-report-of-the-stimson-task-force-on-us-drone-policy/. 4.


pages: 479 words: 144,453

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

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23andMe, agricultural Revolution, algorithmic trading, Anne Wojcicki, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, call centre, Chris Urmson, cognitive dissonance, Columbian Exchange, computer age, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, drone strike, European colonialism, experimental subject, falling living standards, Flash crash, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, glass ceiling, global village, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, mutually assured destruction, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, too big to fail, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, ultimatum game, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

Modern liberals believe that individual free choices provide life with meaning. They are all equally delusional. Doubts about the existence of free will and individuals are nothing new, of course. Thinkers in India, China and Greece argued that ‘the individual self is an illusion’ more than 2,000 years ago. Yet such doubts don’t really change history unless they have a practical impact on economics, politics and day-to-day life. Humans are masters of cognitive dissonance, and we allow ourselves to believe one thing in the laboratory and an altogether different thing in the courthouse or in parliament. Just as Christianity didn’t disappear the day Darwin published On the Origin of Species, so liberalism won’t vanish just because scientists have reached the conclusion that there are no free individuals. Indeed, even Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker and the other champions of the new scientific world view refuse to abandon liberalism.


pages: 515 words: 142,354

The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe by Joseph E. Stiglitz, Alex Hyde-White

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bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, cashless society, central bank independence, centre right, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, currency peg, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, housing crisis, income inequality, incomplete markets, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, light touch regulation, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market friction, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, neoliberal agenda, new economy, open economy, paradox of thrift, pension reform, pensions crisis, price stability, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, working-age population

The recovery strategy takes into account the need for social justice and fairness, both across and within generations. . . . The Greek programme rests upon very strong foundations.” Was it irrational optimism, a belief that things would really work out that way? Or bureaucrat hypocrisy—they knew what they were supposed to say, and the incongruence between the world and these words was of little moment. Call it cognitive dissonance run wild, or dishonesty, as you will. There is something in the last memorandum, signed soon after the Greek voters had rejected essentially the same program by an overwhelming vote of 61 percent, a vote supported by the Greek government, which provides more than a hint that it was sheer hypocrisy: the agreement begins by affirming, “Success requires ownership of the reform agenda programme by the Greek authorities,” and suggesting that there is that ownership.


pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman

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23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, basic income, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, drone strike, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, lifelogging, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

There’s something in common between Smith’s everyday activities—his political activism and the institutional racism he’s observed in these communities—and his Twitter project. (When we spoke, Smith said he was working on a book project that would also examine the history of racism in public policy in the South.) His account is particularly interesting because he seeks out people who start by hedging their comments—“I’m not racist, but . . .”—only to spill out remarkably prejudiced comments. Each of these tweets arrives with a sort of cognitive dissonance baked into it—a prophylactic denial of being racist followed by a clear example of that very sin. Smith explained how widespread he’s found this phenomenon to be: “It’s really opened my eyes to how many people, especially young people, don’t seem to understand the concept of racism. It seems like they think that unless you’re out there lynching somebody or burning a cross in someone’s yard, then you’re not a racist.”


pages: 468 words: 123,823

A People's History of Poverty in America by Stephen Pimpare

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affirmative action, British Empire, car-free, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dumpster diving, East Village, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Gilder, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, index card, Jane Jacobs, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, payday loans, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, union organizing, urban renewal, War on Poverty, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration

Some white doctors, perhaps sympathetic to plantation owners’ desire for abundant, cheap labor, encouraged black women to bear many children, and others even prescribed sexual activity to preteen girls “as a way of keeping fit.”78 As Orleck reports, in the early 1960s: In Chicago, single women who had babies while on AFDC were threatened with jail time, but caseworkers were prohibited from sending them to Planned Parenthood clinics that dispensed free contraceptives.79 Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to be a member of the U.S. Congress, called it “compulsory pregnancy” for poor women.80 And yet, by the early 1930s the forced sterilization of the “unfit” and the “feeble-minded” had been expressly permitted in thirty states, and twenty-two states still had such laws on the books in 1973.81 Perhaps this reveals a national cognitive dissonance regarding black women: their fertility is, on the one hand, a perceived threat to the public purse and to white domination, yet their ample reproduction can help the continued production of a cheap, docile labor force. As with so much, debates about birth control take many forms. A 1968 statement by the Black Unity Party of Peekskill, New York:The Brothers are calling on the Sisters not to take the pill.


pages: 515 words: 126,820

Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott

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Airbnb, altcoin, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Google bus, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, litecoin, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, money market fund, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, off grid, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, performance metric, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price mechanism, Productivity paradox, QR code, quantitative easing, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, seigniorage, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, smart grid, social graph, social software, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, unorthodox policies, wealth creators, X Prize, Y2K, Zipcar

And if you can rig your own rooftop weatherNode that happens to provide more accurate data, well, good for you! You innovated on the edge, and the market rewards you for it. The incentives for innovation on open networks are aligned to increase efficiency better than closed networks. Dueling Bots What about conflicts of interest? If the weatherNode started expanding its capability and entered the crop insurance marketplace, wouldn’t it have cognitive dissonance? Farmer weatherNodes want to emphasize the impact of droughts, and insurer weatherNodes claim droughts are minimal. The owners and designers of agents need transparency of operations. If both are filtering sensor data through a biased screen, then their respective reputations will drop. Vitalik Buterin points out that autonomous agents are challenging to create, because to survive and succeed they need to be able to navigate in a complicated, rapidly changing, or even hostile environment.


pages: 432 words: 127,985

The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry by William K. Black

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, business climate, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate raider, Donald Trump, fear of failure, financial deregulation, friendly fire, George Akerlof, hiring and firing, margin call, market bubble, money market fund, moral hazard, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, short selling, The Market for Lemons, transaction costs

We are grateful to those who help us, particularly in times of greatest need. We are sensitive to the criticism that we are too negative; we like to say positive things. We deal constantly with the industry and make friends. We are reluctant to see our friends as crooks, and we know how embarrassing it would be if the CEO we recruited and praised turned out to be a fraud. We are subject to cognitive dissonance. The combination of these factors meant that Bank Board supervisors were very unlikely to expose the goodwill accounting scams. Two other things compounded this problem. Very few people, even within the Bank Board, understood how the scam worked. I don’t want to overstate this point—many people were skeptical that goodwill was real—but only a handful knew how goodwill and mark-to-market virtually guaranteed substantial fictitious profits if the insolvency of the acquired S&L was large relative to the size of the acquirer.


pages: 537 words: 158,544