FAVORITE POSTS

We are all dancing pigeons

  In 1926, after B.F. Skinner graduated from Hamilton College with a degree in English, he moved to Greenwich Village in New York to attempt to become a writer, but soon became disillusioned with his abilities. After he got his hands on John B. Watson’s book Behaviorism, a book widely credited for starting the Behaviorist revolution in psychology,…

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The Relativity Theory of Motivation

This interview with Devon Price is the best that I’ve read in a while. Price, the author of Laziness Does Not Exist, started rethinking their entire view of productivity after reflecting on their pet chinchilla, Dumptruck. “He’s never been productive in his life… So I think animals help us remember that we shouldn’t have to…

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A Unifying Theory of Heuristics

First, a story: some kids spent Christmas break in 1955 playing with Radio Flyers or dolls. Katherine Frank helped develop artificial intelligence. Over Christmas vacation, 1955, Herbert Simon tested the viability of the Logic Theory Machine by means of what can only be described as analog. Simon gave various family members cards to hold up—each of…

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No one knows anything

It’s really easy to overestimate how much you know about a topic. Even—or especially—if you’re an expert. A lot of academics/psychologists I know or have worked with have a tendency to overlook what Daniel Kahneman called the most common bias: the “What You See is All There Is” bias.   “Moreover, for many current scientific fields,…

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Why It’s So Easy to Overestimate How Much You Know About a Topic

Based on years and years of writing about science and studying psychology, here is my Grand Unified Theory for Why It’s So Easy to Overestimate Our Knowledge of a Topic. Let’s say you want to learn about psychology/architecture/physiology. First, that’s easy! We’re all lifelong students of behavior/buildings/bodies. So you’re starting here: Then you start reading…

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How do we develop attitudes? The Scale: My favorite model explaining how we process information

“All models are wrong, but some are useful.” – George Box One of my favorite models explaining how we make decisions, evaluate things, and process information is the scale. When we have no opinion about something, the scale is empty, like so:               Learning about something is a process…

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Ants suffer from cognitive overload

Just a reminder: ants suffer from cognitive overload. “Individual ants made much worse decisions when faced with 8 options rather than 2 meaning that they experienced cognitive overload.” To deal with this, they engaged in collective decision-making. The ants “place the burden of making complicated decisions on the backs of the entire colony, rather than…

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First workshop for Making Numbers Count

Thank you to Women in Financial Services! My inaugural workshop for Making Numbers Count couldn’t have had a nicer audience. To find out how to communicate about your numbers in a way that everyone will understand, please get in touch!

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If not today, when are you going to have time to work that project?

Think about the next thing you really want to do: finalizing your divorce, working on your fitness, starting a new business, saving for retirement, moving abroad, reading/writing that book, reconnecting with friends, teaching your kids Spanish, learning a new skill, getting sober, taking that class, developing a meditation practice, blogging… If you don’t have time…

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40 Years of Stanford Research Found That Being Able to Delay Gratification Depends on Your Past Experiences

Have you ever felt cold in an office? Or noticed how many women complain about the office being chilly? That’s because the standard room temperature was devised using a 40-year-old man weighing 154 pounds to calculate the default metabolic rate. In fact, because of biological differences (some in a study here), on average, women prefer…

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