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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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How to Stop Repeating Patterns in Relationships (part 1)

You’ve seen things, dammit—you’re not an isolated loner. You’ve studied self-help books. You have friends. You’ve taken a good look at your past, and have learned a lot from life. But there’s a problem if “the street” and our gut…

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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…

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How to get over a breakup

Why does getting dumped hurt so much? First, it’s an obvious blow to the self-esteem. If we assume that we’re always going to be accepted by others, we see no need to edit ourselves, and can just be… ourselves. There’s…

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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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