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About Blinky

  • Birthday 04/04/1987

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    Prague, Czech Republic
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    Psychology (especially judgement, decision making, relationships, happiness, methodology), Biology (esp. neurobiology, evolution), Economics (esp. behavioral economics, neuroeconomics, game theory), Philosophy (e. Objectivism), Physics (e. quantum physics)... <br />Music (metal, classical)<br />Squash<br />Drawing

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    Charles University (Psychology, Biology), University of Economics (Business Administration)
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  1. There is a new nice site by Google, where one can find out how frequent were different words in different times in books. You can find it here. Description of one paper to be published in Science is here. Several searches as examples: Ayn Rand and Objectivism Several intelectuals Ultimate fight Books by Ayn Rand (bigger smoothing just to show a trend)
  2. I still don't fully understand why the claim that emotions stems from cognitive appraisal is not in the realm of science. I think that it may be otherwise (examples of other theories here) and that by experimentation one can discern between those possibilities. I have to say that I think that some kind of cognitive theory of emotions is largely correct (i.e. something as AR claimed), but as far as I know some experiments suggests that processes described by other theories may be in play as well (at least in some occasions). Thanks
  3. I am a bit confused about this as well. Can you please elaborate what is meant as "knowledge"? For instance, would understanding of causality or permanence of objects be considered knowledge?
  4. Yes. In other elections the probability of casting decisive vote is higher. On the other hand, you have to consider the importance of changing the result. That would be less in smaller scale elections.
  5. Well, when the complaint is concerned with the lack of evidence then the natural response for that concern is to provide the evidence. I see that there is a problem that some of the criticism is rather vague, but at least two concerns are specified (i.e. nonexistence of innate predispositions and emotions being solely a product of ideas). It may be that both are invalid for some reason, but then the reason can be provided. Now, I think that there is a problem with a lack of evidence in AR's claims in both mentioned matters. I don't think that those claims somehow follows from other premises. On the other hand, they seem to me as assertions about human nature that can be otherwise and are testable in principle. Furthermore, as far as I know, strong versions of both claims don't seem to be supported by facts (i.e. psychology experiments). However, unfortunately I don't know what are exactly the thoughts of AR in those matters so I can't tell that she was wrong because I suspect that her claims were not as strict as were stated in cited criticism.
  6. Blinky


    I have not read the study but from the article several things strike me as somewhat suspicious. First of all the data can be explained differently then by stating that men are smarter than women. Since the research was done with results of university aptitude test, selection might have easily played a role. If more women try to go to university (that means those who are not that smart as well) you would find better results of men than women as well and it would have nothing to do with men being smarter. Other possible explanation is based on the "fact" that intelligence of men is more variable than that of women. If only people with IQ bigger than some value try to go to university (and do the test) than that may lead to men having higher test scores. An example might be helpful: Suppose that there are three boys and three girls with same mean IQ and boys having bigger variability of IQ. Boys may have IQ for example 90, 100, 110 and girls 95, 100, 105 (both sexes have mean IQ of 100). But suppose that there is a threshold for those who try to go to university (or do the test) of 92. Then the most stupid boy does not do the test and mean IQ of boys rise to 105, while IQ of girls stays at 100 because all of them have higher IQ than the threshold. The explanations I described would explain why the difference was found in study of adolescents but not in the study of childs (about which is written in the article as well). Furthermore bigger variability of men's IQ explains why there are more exceptional chess players, scientists and so on and on in male population than in women population. Some of evolutionary explanations at the end of the article are just plain stupid, ex post, and useless. Note that I don't know whether some of my concerns weren't adressed in his article (if the research was published). I do think that political correctness harms science and sex and race differences are good examples, but bad research and unfounded conclusions don't help either. Hope I clarified the issue at least a bit and forgive my English (if I made any mistakes).
  7. Maybe, the volunteers would be easier to find, if every summary were made by different person, i.e. volunteers would change weekly, bi-weekly or monthly (depending on how often would the summaries be made). That would mean that volunteering wouldn't be an obligation for a long-term work (I remember seeing this concept on some site summarizing neuroscientific blog posts).
  8. It's obviously a stupid article without precise information, however it should be noted that they talk about median not arithmetic mean.
  9. That's basically the point. As far as I know, it has been found that more choice is worse in cases because the chooser ruminate about other possibilities. He thinks about what he could have had and how much better it would have been and that diminishes his satisfaction from the chosen product (or alternative in general). What is interesting is that people often choose to have more options and that leave them worse of because they don't anticipate that they will ruminate about the choice aftewards. (I think that Dan Gilbert talks about it in this TED talk). Those are some of the conclusions I don't agree with. I don't think that the problem is that much in indecisiveness. And there are probably many people like him and I don't think that philosophy hepls that much in this case. What may help on the other hand is knowing the underlying mechanism of this effect. That's why I think it may be unwarranted just to say that the talk is bullshit and not take anything from it. There is some kind of test which should measure how much choice has detrimental effect on satisfaction. It's based on the explanation that it's the rumination what leads to lower satisfaction with more choice. The test measure whetehr you are a satisficer or maximizer and it hase been shown that maximizers derive less pleasure form more choices and it's because they want the best one alternative which is quite hard when they have a lot of them. (I may be a bit mistaken there, haven't read the studies, but I think this is basically the idea)
  10. It may be easy to throw away his views as false and stupid just because you don't like them, however you may do so unjustifiably. There are experiments which show some of points he is discussing (e.g. this). That doesn't mean that I agree with everything he says. On the contrary, I think that his conclusions are sometimes wrong, but that doesn't make the whole talk untrue.
  11. It's a bit off-topic, however IQ tests have quite a good validity in many occasions. For instance you may have a look at validity in personnel selection here and see that IQ test are almost the most valid of various methods.
  12. You can find other universities which may have free courses available here (but I have to admit that I didn't use any other than Yale, MIT and Berkeley so I don't know whether you will find anything interesting). And you can search for courses and other educational material here.
  13. Berkeley has probably the most courses - here. I did not find it on your list.
  14. Behavioral therapist or cognitive behavioral therapist would od somthing like this with you. And in fact it is very effective and doesn't take a lot of time (and thus money). You can try something like that on your own too. However there might be problems if you do not know how to proceed or if your fear is too big.
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