When the psychologists asked siblings if their parents had been harder on the older or younger child, their answers depended largely on their own position in the family. In 2012, that number had increased by only 13 minutes. The world is terrible enough — why pay money to endure more terror? On the one hand, this intuition has a logical sheen. One day, a gadget maker will give people what they really want: a machine that doesn’t hijack the brain. Why doesn’t reappraisal help when we can influence the situation? Here are the scientists: “In 1965, individuals with children spent about two hours per day with both their spouse and child(ren); by 2012 this had increased 50 minutes to almost three hours.” Instead of bowling with neighbors, we’re taking our kids to soccer practice. The women tossing astragali in Breughel’s “Children Games”, Why are these small animal bones such a universal relic? (They had to press the “a” and “b” buttons on their keyboard as quickly as possible for ten minutes.) And it won fast. ‘No reason,’ said the dean. In 2004, McPherson found that the percentage had fallen to 11.8. It’s possible, then, that experts might perform better in a narrower setting, attempting to predict the outcomes of experiments in their own field. PLOS ONE 11, no. However, the effect size shrank to zero when Kalla and Broockman looked at attempts to influence voters during the general election. As Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach write in their book The Knowledge Illusion, “The attempt to explain caused their positions to converge.”, The practical lesson is that political persuasion isn’t just about slick videos and clever framing. The science of attachment theory is a powerful reminder of those similarities. The astragalus is also one of the most common archaeological artifacts, found in ancient dig sites all over the world. But here’s the question: do you still notice it? The last visit to the lab combined these two measures. It’s not that ignorance is bliss—it’s just better than knowing that life can be shitty and full of suffering. However, it is very important to remember that this scandal is still very much unfolding and, like the Kaavya Viswanathan scandal before it, it’s likely that additional details will trickle out over time, even though Lehrer has said that all of the secrets are out. What explains this counterintuitive result? For proof of that, look at the comments on my first article on Lehrer. Winners, losers, etc. Just imagine how memorable it is when the feed is drawn from our actual friends. What’s more, the differences persisted even after the scientists corrected for a raft of possible confounding variables, such as demographics, childhood SES, body mass index, etc. By making the lottery explicit, students and schools would at least be forced to have a candid conversation about the role of luck in life. "Offspring of parents who were separated and not speaking to one another have reduced resistance to the common cold as adults." The difference now is that we’ve engineered a technology that’s simply too irresistible—software evolves far faster than our hardware—which is why we end up spending more time staring at our phones than we do parenting, exercising or eating combined. However, the researchers found that many cognitive skills are easily replaced by cheap machines. On their second visit, the men were given an arduous mental task. Why might technology be cratering our public discourse? Can Love Help You Forget Painful Memories? Catalini, Christian, Christian Fons-Rosen, and Patrick Gaulé. At the time Lehrer was a rising star in science journalism. But here’s the thing: the college application process is already a crapshoot. In short, The New Yorker almost gave an ethically-challenged journalist a free pass to write at one of the country’s most prestigious publications and, if it hadn’t been for other reporters doing what should have been their job, he might still be there today. The second limitation is the lack of causal data. On November 30, 1939, 450,000 Soviet troops stormed across the Finnish border, setting off nearly five years of brutal conflict. Such a lottery system, Schwartz writes, would offer multiple advantages over our current fake meritocracy. Most hospitals limited parental visits to a single hour on Sundays, with no visits allowed for those under the age of three. Ignoring it outright is simply inviting greater disaster. This research comes with enormous practical implications. Research by Coltan Scrivner, John Johnson, Jens Kjeldgaard-Christiansen and Mathias Clasen suggests that the best way to deal with our pandemic anxiety is to lean into it, seeking out bleak entertainments that match the headlines. In 1972, Head sold his skiing company and settled into retirement. However, the boost in collaboration was far larger among engineers who were within driving distance of each other. Davidai and Gilovich argue that this particular mnemonic flaw comes with serious practical consequences. Rhodes scholar and neuroscience boy wonder, Jonah Lehrer has a knack for taking highly technical cognitive research and making it relevant to the day's news. Entire media empires have been built on this depressing insight. (Just imagine the consequences for baseball if pitchers invented a breaking ball with five times more spin. And so Patrick constructed an elaborate routine instead, telling himself over and over again that “his mother would soon come for him, she would put on his overcoat and would take him home with her again.” As the days turned into months, Patrick’s monologue became increasingly detailed and desperate: “She will put on my overcoat and leggings, she will zip up the zipper, she would put on my pixie hat.” When the nursemaids asked Patrick to stop talking, he began mouthing the words silently to himself in the corner. What accounts for this asymmetry? As the scientists write, “Erroneous intuitions about the nature of spoilers may persist because individual readers are unable to compare spoiled and unspoiled experiences of a novel story. It didn’t take long before Bowlby realized that these separations were traumatic. (senior author Peter Koval) in Psychological Science provides new evidence for the strategy-situation fit model. And this brings us back to the power of intermittent reinforcement. After all, we're a brain embedded in this larger set of structures. For instance, a recent meta-analysis showed that the technique is only modestly useful at modulating negative emotions. For proof of that, look at the comments on my first article on Lehrer. In the 1950s, the American Political Association published a report fretting about the lack of ideological distinction between the two parties. Here’s my question: does reading or watching terrifying non-fiction—say, stories about the Holocaust, Gulag and Black Plague—also confer resilience? One of the recurring themes of attachment theory—the psychological theory Bowlby pioneered with Mary Ainsworth and others—is the enduring damage of early separation from one’s parents. (This helps explain why previous research has found that more active Facebook users tend to get their information from a smaller number of news sources.) To borrow the famous framework of Rene Descartes, the human mind is a “thinking thing,” composed of an immaterial substance. The second possibility is that divorce heightens the inflammatory response post-infection, thus triggering the annoying symptoms (mucus, sore throat, mild fever, etc.) The modern metaphor of the human mind is that it’s a biological computer, three pounds of meaty microchips. What they fail to realize is that much of this information isn’t predictive, and that it’s almost certainly framed by the same biases and blind spots that limit our assessments of other people in everyday life. I’ve written before about the research of Isaac Kohane, a professor at Harvard Medical School. Perhaps the very sentences that are so effortlessly generated are, for that reason, the same ones that are readily remembered.” While traditional media companies assume people want clean and professional prose, it turns out that we’re compelled to remember the casual and flippant. But what history teaches us is that nobody knows anything. This leads Haines et al. One possibility is that the rise of teams is a response to the increasing complexity of modern science. (More than $2.5 billion was spent just on the presidential contest.) Head, after all, invented the composite racket to help old guys like himself hit good shots; it was supposed to level the playing field. Ugh, Jonah Lehrer is apologizing next to a live Twitter feed of people mocking him. Nevertheless, multiple studies have found that those Finnish children who were sent away have had to deal with the more severe long-term consequences. The subjects were shown 100 of these stimuli for three seconds each. We think we know how toilets work because we flush them several times a day, but almost nobody could explain the ingenious siphoning action used to purge the bowl. (McPherson found, for instance, that the percentage of Americans who said their spouse was their “only confidant” nearly doubled between 1985 and 2004.) According to this data, the key element might be finding some way to constructively communicate with our former spouse, at least in matters relating to childcare. Once their brain was sufficiently run down, Macrae then had them perform a difficult cycling workout. If this technology becomes even more popular, we can expect these detrimental effects to increase.”. As documented in a pair of Science papers by Stefan Wuchty, Benjamin Jones and Brian Uzzi, modern science is increasingly a team sport: more than 80 percent of science papers are now co-authored. 8 (2016): e0159641. The assumption of these warnings, of course, is that people don’t want to know, at least when it comes to narratives. “I am not saying that what takes place in the muscles is irrelevant,” Noakes writes in his autobiography, Challenging Beliefs. Probably not. What’s more, the trauma followed a predictable arc, much like the progression of a physical disease. That’s a benign aspiration, but what it often means in practice is that the software filters out dissent and dissonance. Hopefully this case will show that, even if you don’t think self-plagiarism by itself is an issue or even something that exists, this case does highlight it as a warning sign. Donald Trump is not the latest face of our factional republic—he’s the first political figure to fully take advantage of these new information technologies. In mid-June, he was accused of … Those older tennis players probably thought the oversize racket would help them compete with younger players, compensating for their slight decline in athleticism and speed. found. In many respects, party affiliation has become the lens through which we see the world; even the Super Bowl can’t escape the stink of politics. Why meet in person when there’s Google Docs? This doesn’t mean campaigns are irrelevant. Candidates can still shape voters’ preferences by changing their policy positions and influencing the media narrative. "Technological Change and Obsolete Skills: Evidence from Men’s Professional Tennis." These are athletes, after all, whose performance has been measured by a dizzying array of advanced stats; they have been scouted for years and run through a gauntlet of psychological and physical assessments. Rather, it was largely due to the “remarkable memorability” of the Facebook posts. Not really. This early shock had lifelong consequences. This means that the best athletes don’t just have better bodies – they also have minds that don’t hold them back. According to Derek’s mother, this separation changed her son. In 1937, John Bowlby began working at the Child Guidance Clinic, a mental hospital for youth in North London. The goal of all this spending was simple: to persuade more Americans to vote for them. But there’s also some compelling evidence that our intuitions about regretting future knowledge are wrong. The takeaway is straightforward: there might be predictive value in a diverse group of academics, but you’d be foolish to trust the forecast of a single one. (Recent research by David Hagmann and George Loewenstein shows that "expressions of doubt and acknowledgment of opposing views increases persuasiveness," especially in the context of motivated reasoning.) It’s not about how much information we can process, because there’s always a machine that can process more. Because if it were easy, somebody else would have made the decision and somebody else would have solved it.”. While these enhanced socio-emotional abilities might not translate to improved academic performance, there’s evidence that they remain linked to adult outcomes such as employment, earnings and mental health. And of course there is Twitter, where, if you search #JonahLehrer prepare your scrolling finger for a severe workout to make it through the endless list of tweets. How are all these pictures affecting our experience? This includes in journalism, academia and elsewhere. Half of the tourists were assigned to the photo condition: they were given a digital camera and told to take at least ten pictures of their experience. I can’t tell you how many applicants we reject for no reason.’”, For Schwartz, such stories are a sign of a broken system. In addition, levels of ATP—the molecule used to transport energy within our cells—almost never fall below 60 percent of their resting value. We should invest in classrooms that teach students how to work together and handle their feelings, even if such soft skills are harder to assess. Consider Snapchat, the social network du jour. The pretend terrors help us cope with real ones. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 111.6 (2016): 835. Let’s say, for instance, that you are stuck in traffic and are running late to your best friend’s birthday party. "The loser's curse: Decision making and market efficiency in the National Football League draft." I realize my complaints are a cliché; it’s easy to hate on these splendid gadgets. I am, however, slightly encouraged by recent research on human ignorance. The same logic seems to apply to horror movies. And it’s not just Facebook: the rise of the smartphone has encouraged a parallel rise in informal messaging. To answer this question, a new paper in PLOS ONE by a team of Italian researchers at the IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca and Brian Uzzi at Northwestern looked at 12 million users of Facebook and YouTube. Every year, professional football teams invest a huge amount of time and effort into choosing which college players to take with their draft picks. And since we tend to neglect our God given advantages—good parents, silver spoons, etc.—we discount the role they played in our success. But even here the body/mind distinction proves illusory. We’re all searching for ways to be more mindful and present, less distracted by the noise all around. There are many legitimate questions about what lies next for for Lehrer, as with other well-known plagiarists, but a lot more questions about what this means for journalism in general. You just have to do something boring first.”. It’s an appealing approach, rooted in CBT’s larger philosophy that the way an individual perceives a situation is often more predictive of his or her feelings than the situation itself. They quarantined 201 healthy adults and gave them nasal drops containing rhinovirus 39, a virus that causes the common cold. It doesn’t matter where a child comes from: we know what will happen when we separate them from their parents. This research helps explain the value of Facebook, which is currently the 7th most valuable company in the world. Instead, what George Vaillant and other scientists discovered after tracking the men for nearly seven decades is that "the capacity for love turns out to be a great predictor of mortality." Now you get to finish this interesting podcast. Since Instagram launched in 2010, over 40 billion photos have been shared on the site. What’s driving this shift? As Rozenblit and Keil write, “Most people feel they understand the world with far greater detail, coherence and depth than they really do.” They called this mistake the illusion of explanatory depth. * That’s why we get on a plane. "Cassandra’s regret: The psychology of not wanting to know." Nina Subin/Courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt hide caption Open.) By the late 1990s, that number was down to eight, “a decline of 45 percent in barely two decades.”. In fiction as in life: we assume our pleasure depends on ignorance. When it comes to our self-understanding, we have been held back by an extraordinary philosophical mistake. I don’t know Lehrer personally, and I have only read one of his books in part and a few of his articles. This is what we remember. Longman, Daniel, Jay T. Stock, and Jonathan CK Wells. The stream appeared to be uncensored — a test Twitter post with the #infoneeds hashtag appeared in just a few seconds — and the tweets were relentless. In a little over a decade, the smartphone has transformed the nature of human attention, consuming gobs of our mental bandwidth. Will it be a friend or a stranger? What’s worse, there’s suggestive evidence that, in some contexts, reappraisal may actually backfire. Rather, to the extent persuasion seems possible, it seems to be conditional on voters recognizing their own lack of knowledge, or at least grappling with the complexity of the issues. It was also unforgettable. When it was time to vote in the general, he knew that partisanship would dominate, and that even those offended Republicans would hold their noses and vote for their guy. A recent paper in JPSP by the psychologists Kristin Diehl, Gal Zuberman and Alixandra Barasch provides some useful answers. After all, unless you admit the enormous mental component of physical performance then won’t be able to train effectively. (Physicists increase their collaborations by 26 percent, while biologists seem to really love cheap airfare: their collaborations increase by 85 percent.) According to the data, the Facebook posts were much more memorable than the published sentences. Did it work? While companies had experimented with slightly larger rackets—more surface area meant a bigger sweet spot—they were ultimately constrained by the weight of wood. The end result is a permanent state of distraction, a mental life defined by its addictive interruptions. Some read the story with a spoiler carefully embedded in the actual text, as if Chekhov himself had given away the end. We remember random updates from our news feed for the same reason we remember all the names of the Pitt-Jolie children: we are gossipy creatures, perpetually interested in the lives of others. One of the children under Bowlby’s care was a six-year old named Derek, who had been sent to the Clinic for “persistent thieving, truancy and staying out late.” At first glance, Derek’s childhood appeared normal and happy; his parents were loving and well-adjusted. NPR's Neda Ulaby looks at … Robert Putnam, for instance, has used the DDB Needham Life Style Surveys to show that the average married couple entertained friends at home approximately fifteen times per year in the 1970s. It was only a few generations ago that most Americans got their news from a few old white men on television. NBER Working Paper, 2016. One hundred and forty-nine diners participated in the study; half were assigned to the photo condition and asked to take at least three pictures of their “eating experience.” The other half were left alone with their meals. (They made it through The Shining; they can make it through Covid.) In reality, though, it’s a story tilted towards resentment, since it’s so much easier for us to remember every slight, wound and obstacle. Others b… Which setup worked best? We easily remember who hurt us; we soon forget who helped us. As the scientists point out, these Facebook “microblogs” are full of quickly composed comments and photos, an impulsive record of everyday life. These teams are also producing the most influential research, as papers with multiple authors are 6.3 times more likely to get at least 1000 citations. The first thing they found is that composite rackets dramatically shifted the demographics of the pro tour. Howard Kurtz talks to Michael Moynihan about his piece in Tablet, which unearths Jonah Lehrer's lies. We’re so focused on changing our thoughts—think positive!—that we forget to seek an effective solution. He has resigned his post at The New Yorker and copies of his most recent bestseller have been recalled by his publisher.. (In the 1920s, the British physiologist and Nobel laureate Archibald Hill began writing about the effect of “oxygen debt” and the accumulation of lactic acid during intense exercise.) Plagiarism Today is a website aimed at webmasters and other creators to help them address the issues of plagiarism, copyright infringement and other forms of content misuse online. As Kalla and Broockman write, “When it comes to providing voters with new arguments, frames, and information, by the time election day arrives, voters are likely to have already absorbed all the arguments and information they care to retain from the media and other sources.”. Schwartz, Barry (2016) “Why Selective Colleges Should Become Less Selective—And Get Better Students,” Capitalism and Society: Vol. But there’s another possibility. That number shrank to 7.9 percent two decades later. Though many simply wanted to let Lehrer go, the truth is that an investigation was warranted. Like Descartes, we tend to assume that mental events have mental causes—you are sad because your brain is sad—and that physical events have physical causes. (In one case, the candidate himself knocked on doors, while the other intervention relied on an onerous survey that most voters would never answer.). This is for the obvious reason: picks are extremely valuable. Their brains were tired, and that shaped their performance.”, Macrae argues that these findings have practical implications for training. If teams could reliably assess talent, this strategy would make little sense, since it would mean giving up on superstars. But these researchers didn’t look at wartime evacuations – they looked at divorce. While we typically treat stories as a pleasurable distraction—Netflix is a vacation from the universe—this research suggests that narratives actually prepare us for adversity, allowing us to simulate all sorts of calamities without ever leaving the comfort of the couch. And some read the story with a spoiler disclaimer in the preface. Although more than 60 years had passed since the war, these temporary orphans were also significantly more likely to have high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, elevated levels of stress hormone and severe depressive symptoms. What makes these questions interesting is that DellaVigna and Pope already knew the answers: they’d run these motivational studies on nearly 10,000 subjects. To explore this practical mystery, Murphy et al. How did these bitter separations during childhood impact the response of the adult subjects to a cold virus? Suniya Luthar, a professor of psychology at Arizona State University, has spent the last several years documenting the emotional toll of the college competition on upper-middle class children. The limitations of expertise are best revealed by the failure of the experts to foresee their own shortcomings. The same principle also applies to the good stuff: we think we'll be less happy if we know about our happiness in advance. As a result, so-called non-cognitive skills—a catch-all category that includes everything from teamwork to self-control—are becoming increasingly valuable. When the academics were surveyed by DellaVigna and Pope, they predicted that high-citation experts would be significantly more accurate. A new paper in Psychological Review by Gerd Gigerenzer and Rocio Garcia-Retamero explores the motives of our willful ignorance. As a result, it’s been difficult to determine the underlying cause of the correlations. This jives with related research from the United States labor market, showing that employment growth in “cognitively demanding occupations” slowed down dramatically in the 21st century. But this is precisely the wrong approach. The Tablet article cites questions raised by philosopher Jonathon Keats claiming inaccuracies in a narrative Lehrer published in his first book. They might have avoided the acute stress of war, but they had to cope with the chronic stress of separation. After mining the data, DellaVigna and Pope were able to identify their own superforecasters. Instead of paying attention to my actual experience—even when it’s the experience of waiting in line or eating lunch—I find myself staring into these lit pixels, thumbing the screen for more. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Given the advances in genetic testing and biomarkers, the Aristotelian model would predict that we’d all become subscribers to 23andMe. This pairing process was repeated six times. Kalla, Joshua L., and David E. Broockman. The pragmatist philosopher Richard Rorty argued that the ultimate goal of liberalism was the elimination of cruelty. (2018). In 1985, 18.5 percent of subjects had important conversations with their neighbors. This trend is particularly visible among married couples with children. Needless to say, this second hypothesis is far more depressing. As with the toilet, it wasn’t until people tried to explain their knowledge, along with the impact of their chosen policies, that they realized how little they actually knew. Reporter Michael C. Moynihan turned up evidence that Lehrer, in his book “Imagine: How Creativity Works”, had fabricated several quotes from musician Bob Dylan. Other studies have reached similar conclusions. Whether or not you think that self plagiarism is an ethical violation, let alone one worth terminating a career over, it is definitely a warning sign. 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