THUNK – 126. Debiasing: How to Change Your Mind

Critical thinking is well and good, but it only really helps if you’re willing & able to change your mind!

-Links for the Curious-

Giving Debiasing Away: Can Psychological Research on Correcting Cognitive Errors Promote Human Welfare? (Lilienfeld et al, 2009) – www3.nd.edu/~ghaeffel/Lilienfeld2009%20Perspectives%20on%20Psychological%20Science.pdf

Debiasing (Larrick, 2004) – psych.colorado.edu/~vanboven/teaching/p7536_heurbias/p7536_readings/larrick_debias.pdf

A User’s Guide to Debiasing (Soll et al, 2013) – opim.wharton.upenn.edu/~kmilkman/Soll_et_al_2013.pdf

The Polarizing Impact of Science Literacy and Numeracy on Perceived Climate Change Risks (Braman et al, 2012) – scholarship.law.gwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1298&context=faculty_publications

Considering the opposite: a corrective strategy for social judgment (Lord et al, 1984) – www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6527215

Overcoming Intuition: Metacognitive Difficulty Activates Analytic Reasoning (Alter et al, 2007) – pdfs.semanticscholar.org/526d/fb9f8715d48fa79d0f766caa5cd9151cf074.pdf

The Foreign-Language Effect: Thinking in a Foreign Tongue Reduces Decision Biases (Keysar et al, 2012) – mdl.uchicago.edu/sites/keysarlab.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/Keysar%202012.pdf

Neural correlates of maintaining one’s political beliefs in the face of counterevidence (Kaplan et al, 2016) – www.nature.com/articles/srep39589

Evaluating the Effectiveness of the PreMortem Technique on Plan Confidence (Veinott et al, 2010) – idl.iscram.org/files/veinott/2010/1049_Veinott_etal2010.pdf

A Scientist-Practitioner Model of Psychological Assessment: Implications for Training, Practice and Research (Spengler et al, 1995) – journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0011000095233009

The effects of perspective-taking on prejudice: the moderating role of self-evaluation (Galinsky & Ku, 2004) – citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.588.9179&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Debiasing Decisions: Improved Decision Making With a Single Training Intervention (Morwedge et al, 2015) – careymorewedge.com/papers/Morewedgeetal2015DebiasingwithTraining.pdf

LessWrong, an online community & blog archive for fans of debiasing & rationality – lesswrong.com/

The Center for Applied Rationality – rationality.org/

THUNK – 125. What Is Consciousness?

There’s much ado about “consciousness,” but what even is it? What’s the big deal? How hard could it be? @_@

-Links for the Curious-

If you are *at all* interested in this topic, please please please read the SEP entry on consciousness, it’s just fantastic – plato.stanford.edu/entries/consciousness/

What It Is Like to Be a Bat (Nagel, 1974) – organizations.utep.edu/portals/1475/nagel_bat.pdf

Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness (Chalmers, 1995) – consc.net/papers/facing.html

A summary of Paul Churchland’s “Matter and Consciousness,” specifically oriented at summarizing common positions about the mind/body problem (Blackman) – reidblackman.com/pdf/reidBlackman.churchland.pdf

Continuity, Consciousness, and Identity in Hume’s Philosophy (Yandell) – www.humesociety.org/hs/issues/v18n2/yandell/yandell–v18n2.pdf

Telling More Than We Can Know: Verbal Reports on Mental Processes (Nisbett & Wilson, 1977) – people.virginia.edu/~tdw/nisbett&wilson.pdf

Introspection and verbal reports on cognitive processes—Two approaches to the study of thinking: A response to Howe (Ericsson & Crutcher, 1991) –
www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0732118X9190041J

For a contrasting opinion: “When Does Introspection Bear Fruit? Self-Reflection, Self-Insight, and Interpersonal Choices” (Hixon & Swann, 1993) – www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8421251

What is Consciousness? (Vsauce, 2012) – www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjfaoe847qQ

 

THUNK – 124. Play Theory

All work & no play make Jack not only dull, but also less productive, healthy, neurologically developed…

QUICK NOTE: The most commonly-cited explanation for animal play (practicing direct analogs of survival behavior) doesn’t square with all the evidence. Check out this paper: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0163104780924565

-Links for the Curious-

“Taking Play Seriously,” by Robin Marantz Henig – www.nytimes.com/2008/02/17/magazine/17play.html?pagewanted=all

Juvenile peer play experience and the development of the orbitofrontal and medial prefrontal cortices (Bell, Pellis, & Kolb 2009) – www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166432809005609

“More Play, Please – The Perspective of Kindergarten Teachers on Play in the Classroom” (Lynch 2015) – www.journalofplay.org/sites/www.journalofplay.org/files/pdf-articles/7-3-article-more-play-please.pdf

“Vygotsky Meets Neuroscience – The Cerebellum and the Rise of Culture through Play” (Vandervert 2015)
www.journalofplay.org/sites/www.journalofplay.org/files/pdf-articles/9-2-article-3-vygotsky-meets-neuroscience.pdf

“Plans Unveiled for Star Wars-Inspired Themed Resort at Walt Disney World,” by Jennifer Fickley-Baker – disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2017/07/plans-unveiled-for-star-wars-inspired-themed-resort-at-walt-disney-world/

The National Institute for Play, a nonprofit dedicated to advocating play for adults & children – www.nifplay.org/science/pattern-play/

“Symbolic Play: The Development of Social Understanding” (Bretherton 1984) – goo.gl/J1hMxe

“The Ambiguity of Play” (Sutton-Smith, 1987) – goo.gl/H7oZNz

“How Play Makes for a More Adaptable Brain, a Comparative & Neural Perspective” (Pellis, Pellis, & Himmler 2015) – files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1043959.pdf

“The Nature of Play – An Overview” (Henricks 2008) –
www.journalofplay.org/sites/www.journalofplay.org/files/pdf-articles/1-2-article-the-nature-of-play.pdf

“Animal Play: Evolutionary, Comparative, and Ecological Perspectives” (Summary by Bekoff & Beyers, 1998) – cogweb.ucla.edu/Abstracts/Bekoff_Byers_98.html

“Examining playfulness in adults: Testing its correlates with personality, positive psychological functioning, goal aspirations, and multi-methodically assessed ingenuity” (Proyer 2012) – www.psychologie-aktuell.com/fileadmin/download/ptam/2-2012_20120628/01_proyer.pdf

 

THUNK – 123. Personal Identity & the Transporter Paradox

What makes me “me?” How can I still be me, even though I change over time? Is Starfleet taking applications yet?

-Links for the Curious-

CGP Grey’s amazing “The Trouble with Transporters” – www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQHBAdShgYI

PhilosophyTube’s very thorough (& speedy!) coverage of personal identity – www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYVFep0xFYs

The SEP’s brilliant article on personal identity (including major problems & possible solutions) – plato.stanford.edu/entries/identity-personal/#ProPerIde

“Teletransportation Paradox,” via Wikipedia – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teletransportation_paradox

Thomas Reid’s scathing letter to Lord Kames regarding the Resurrection (the OG transporter paradox) – goo.gl/KREL2F

A brief summary of Hume’s work on personal identity (aka bundle theory) – www3.nd.edu/~jspeaks/courses/2006-7/20208/hume-personal-identity.html

THUNK – 121. Teleological Bias

Teleology: explaining things via their intended purpose. Turns out we’ve a tendency to use it *everywhere.*

-Links for the Curious-

“Why Are Rocks Pointy? Children’s Preference for Teleological
Explanations of the Natural World” (Kelemen, 1999) – www.bu.edu/cdl/files/2013/08/1999_Kelemen_PointyRocks.pdf

“Intuitions About Origins: Purpose and Intelligent Design in Children’s Reasoning About Nature” (Kelemen & DiYanni, 2005) – www.bu.edu/cdl/files/2013/08/2005_KelemenDiYanni.pdf

“The Human Function Compunction: Teleological explanation in adults” (Kelemen 2009)

Students’ preconceptions in introductory mechanics (Clement, 1981) –
www.physics.utoronto.ca/~key/PHY1600/PER%20Papers/Student%20Preconceptions%20-%20Clement.pdf

“Why we evolved the urge to explain,” via the Rationally Speaking Podcast – rationallyspeakingpodcast.org/show/rs-186-tania-lombrozo-on-why-we-evolved-the-urge-to-explain.html

“Explanada,” Tania Lombrozo’s Blog- www.psychologytoday.com/blog/explananda

THUNK – 120. Business Networking

Networking is an essential part of career advancement in business today, but should it be?

-Links for the Curious-

Networking, Corruption, and Subversion (Ned Dobos, 2015) – papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2771599

A general summary by Dobos on his paper – www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/just-what-are-you-trying-to-pull-20130928-2ul2m.html

Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of “Blind” Auditions on Female Musicians (Goldin & Rouse, 1997) – www.nber.org/papers/w5903

Do informal contacts increase labor market inequality? Social ties, job access and wages for the unemployed (Oesch & von Ow, 2015) – www.lives-nccr.ch/sites/default/files/pdf/publication/38_lives_wp_oesch_informalcontacts_ip4.pdf

The Impact of Social Structure on Economic Outcomes (Granovetter, 2005) – web.stanford.edu/group/scspi/_media/pdf/Reference%20Media/Granovetter_2005_Social%20Networks.pdf

Sifting and Sorting: Personal Contacts and Hiring in a Retail Bank (Fernandez & Weinberg, 1997) – www.jstor.org/stable/2657345?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Three quarters of whites don’t have any non-white friends (WSJ, Christopher Ingraham, 2014) – www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/08/25/three-quarters-of-whites-dont-have-any-non-white-friends/

Manager Race and the Race of New Hires (Giuliano, Levine, & Leonard, 2006) – irle.berkeley.edu/files/2006/Manager-Race-and-the-Race-of-New-Hires.pdf

Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity (BLS Reports, 2012) – www.bls.gov/opub/reports/race-and-ethnicity/archive/race_ethnicity_2012.pdf

41 CFR 60-300.5 – Equal opportunity clause (Via Cornell Law School) – www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/41/60-300.5

Structured Interviewing: Avoiding Selection Problems (Pursell, Camplon, & Gaylord, 1980) – www.krannert.purdue.edu/faculty/campionm/Structured_Interviewing_Avoiding.pdf

Summary of Research on the Selection Interview Since 1964 (Wright Jr., 1969) – onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1744-6570.1969.tb00340.x/abstract

How AI Is Changing Your Job Hunt (Fortune, Alsever, 2017) – fortune.com/2017/05/19/ai-changing-jobs-hiring-recruiting/

THUNK – 119. The Limits of Order & Harmony

Un/satisfying gif albums are scratching a very human itch. Where does it come from, & does it mean anything?

-Links for the Curious-

Perception of Symmetry in Infancy, Bornstein et al – www.princeton.edu/~cggross/Dev_Psych_1981.pdf

Bilateral symmetry & sexual selection: a meta-analysis, Møller & Thornhill www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18811416

Sorting preference in children with autism: the dominance of concrete features, Ropar & Peebles – www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16897382

The Existential Satisfaction of Things Fitting Perfectly Into Other Things, Julie Beck – www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/08/the-existential-satisfaction-of-things-fitting-perfectly-into-other-things/401213/

The Dollar Auction Game: A Paradox in Noncooperative Behavior & Escalation, Martin Shubik – www.math.toronto.edu/mpugh/Teaching/Sci199_03/dollar_auction_1.pdf

What is Godel’s Theorem?, Melvin Henriksen – www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-godels-theorem/

Pythagorean Tuning – www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehmXCaJ8-Ts

The Square Root of Two, Numberphile – www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sKah3pJnHI

Creepy Out of Tune Piano – www.youtube.com/watch?v=qv2my4a331A

THUNK Episodes Now Available as MP3’s!

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while: if you’d like to listen to an episode of THUNK on the go, I’ve converted all the YouTube videos into MP3 format. I’ll try to keep it updated as I release more episodes, although I’ll reiterate: I’ve been meaning to do this for a while.

Enjoy!

THUNK – 117. SETI & Dyson Spheres

Why are so many smart people interested in finding alien intelligence…and where should we look for them?

*Links for the Curious*

“Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation,” by Freeman Dyson – science.sciencemag.org/content/131/3414/1667

“How Japan Plans to Build an Orbital Solar Farm,” by Susumu Sasaki – spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/solar/how-japan-plans-to-build-an-orbital-solar-farm

The SETI Institute YouTube Channel (Very Highly Recommended!) – www.youtube.com/user/setiinstitute

“Frontiers in Artifact SETI: Waste Heat, Alien Megastructures & Tabbys Star,” by Jason Wright – www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEDR-G2EDRM

THUNK – 116. The War on Science

The so-called “War on Science” isn’t about hostility, it’s a simple case of forgetting how science is different.

-Links for the Curious-

The March for Science Website – www.marchforscience.com/

“The War on Science,” by Shawn Otto, a very thorough analysis of the history & causes of the political & social efforts to deliberately undermine scientific authority – www.amazon.com/War-Science-Waging-Matters-About/dp/1571313532

Scientific American: “Is There Really a War on Science?” – www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-there-really-a-war-on-science/

Slate: “The war on science is a trap. The science march should step carefully.” – www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2017/02/the_war_on_science_is_a_trap.html

91. Spanking & Anecdotal Evidence – www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hlGKudCCnc

88. Hume’s Guillotine & Rational Morality – www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwkSA8nqmdI

90. Science vs. Philosophy, an Ancient (Non-)Debate – www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CGQrt_5n60

79. Science, Pseudoscience, & the Demarcation Problem – www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dmOmprI0v4

Some great examples of how bias can cause us to wander away from the scientific method (thanks Your2ndPlanB!):

Gender bias in research: how does it affect evidence based medicine? by Anita Holdcroft – journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/014107680710000102

A framework to analyse gender bias in epidemiological research – jech.bmj.com/content/61/Suppl_2/ii46.short

THUNK – 115. The Motte & Bailey Fallacy

Motte & Bailey Arguments: because defending your actual position is *way* harder than defending a trivial one.

-Links for the Curious-

“The Vacuity of Postmodernist Methodology,” by Nicholas Shackel – philpapers.org/archive/SHATVO-2.pdf

“Archaeology of Knowledge,” by Michel Foucault, Shackel’s ur-punching bag for Motte-and-Bailey-ing – monoskop.org/images/9/90/Foucault_Michel_Archaeology_of_Knowledge.pdf

“The Social Construction of Reality,” by Berger & Luckmann – perflensburg.se/Berger%20social-construction-of-reality.pdf

“All in All, Another Brick in the Motte,” by Scott Alexander – slatestarcodex.com/2014/11/03/all-in-all-another-brick-in-the-motte/

“Motte & Baileys Explained,” by Lagan History – www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxANUa0XHkA

THUNK – 114. Shades of Skepticism

Skepticism is an essential tool for rational thought, but knowing when & how to use it is hard…I think???

(NOTE: the form of skepticism described here is sometimes known as “radical skepticism.”)

-Links for the Curious-

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Skepticism – plato.stanford.edu/entries/skepticism/

Science Curiosity and Political Information Processing, Kahan et al, 2017 – onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pops.12396/full

Skepticism on RationalWiki (a resourse of the “skeptic” community, essentially advocates of scientific primacy) – rationalwiki.org/wiki/Skepticism

THUNK 18 – Skepticism & Empiricism (where I cover an alternate version of skepticism called Pyrrhonian skepticism) – www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y78EScMnTsk

THUNK 86 – Cognitive Biases & the Socratic Method – www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO-CGN78gdY

THUNK 58 – The Problem of Induction – www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu6kkLJ58Z0

THUNK – 113. Memetics & Punching Nazis


In the constant struggle between memes, the punching of Nazis barely scratches the surface of the conflict.

CW: Physical assault

-Links for the Curious-

Spencer punched while explaining his Pepe the Frog pin – www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rh1dhur4aI

Dawkins on Memes – www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BVpEoQ4T2M

CGP Grey on Complementary Outrage – www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE3j_RHkqJc

PBS Idea Channel on Pepe the Frog – www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uXYIdvV1CU

Dan Dennett on Dangerous Memes – www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzGjEkp772s

“On Liberty,” by John Stuart Mill, an important building block of our current understanding of free speech & harm – www.gutenberg.org/files/34901/34901-h/34901-h.htm

The SEP’s fantastic summary of the nuances of freedom of speech – plato.stanford.edu/entries/freedom-speech/

THUNK – 111. Populism


Donald Trump’s election is another victory for a worldwide trend of populism…what is it & why is it happening?

QUICK NOTE: I really gloss over the identity component of populist rhetoric here – the “purity” of the groups in question (be they red-blooded ‘Muricans or blonde blue-eyed “Aryans”) is a critical component of a lot of this rhetoric. I didn’t want to invoke tribal sensitivity to accusations of racism – race frequently serves this role, but it’s a broader effect than that.

*Links for the Curious*

Foreign Affairs, “The Power of Populism,” a collection of neat articles highlighting some of the potential causes of the global populist trend – www.foreignaffairs.com/issues/2016/95/6

The Economist Explains: What is Populism? – www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2016/12/economist-explains-18

“Right-wing vs. progressive populism: How to win in these populist Trump times” by Jonathan Matthew Smucker – www.salon.com/2016/11/13/right-wing-vs-progressive-populism-how-to-win-in-these-populist-trump-times_partner/

THUNK – 110. Physicalism & Decoding Minds


Even if the mind *is* totally entailed by the physics of the brain, we’ve got a long way to go to understand it.

-Links for the Curious-

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Physicalism – plato.stanford.edu/entries/physicalism/

Could a Neuroscientist Understand a Microprocessor? – journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pcbi.1005268

Google’s image recognition neural network – research.google.com/pubs/pub42455.html

THUNK – 109. Psychology, Transparency, & Journalism


Some say that transparency is the ideological future of journalism, but our brains might not be up to the task.

-Links for the Curious-

Should Journalism Be Objective? Serial: Part 2 | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT0yRXWo6UU

Neural correlates of maintaining one’s political beliefs in the face of counterevidence. By Jonas T. Kaplan, Sarah I. Gimbel & Sam Harris, Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 39589 (2016): www.nature.com/articles/srep39589

Priming us and them: Automatic assimilation and contrast in group attitudes. By Ledgerwood, Alison; Chaiken, Shelly
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 93(6), Dec 2007, 940-956: psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2007-17941-003

Transparency is the New Objectivity, by David Weinberger (via Joho): www.hyperorg.com/blogger/2009/07/19/transparency-is-the-new-objectivity/

The View from Nowhere Q&A, by Jay Rosen (via PressThink): pressthink.org/2010/11/the-view-from-nowhere-questions-and-answers/

Nature’s peer-review policy: www.nature.com/authors/policies/peer_review.html

The Blur Between Analysis and Opinion, by Clark Hoyt (via The New York Times): www.nytimes.com/2008/04/13/opinion/13pubed.html

Wikipedia’s “Neutral Point of View” Editing Standard: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view

PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL SCIENTIFIC FIGURES ARE COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS NAMED IN THE EPISODE. PLEASE DO NOT REPRODUCE OR DISTRIBUTE THESE FIGURES WITHOUT THE AUTHORS’ CONSENT.

Josh’s Gemsbok Interview!

I recently did an interview with Daniel Podgorski over on his philosophy-oriented blog The Gemsbok, which included some questions about my philosophical leanings & what I absolutely hate about my show.

For internet logicians, there are plenty of possible outlets, from article sites (like The Gemsbok) to online journals (academic and otherwise) to conventional blogging platforms (like free WordPress and Tumblr blogs). What is it about video as a medium, and in particular YouTube, that feels like the right fit for you and your style?

JP: My hair. I mean, look at it. You can’t convey this magnitude of hair in text. @:) See? It just doesn’t work.

Check it out here!