cognitive dissonance

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pages: 410 words: 114,005

Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn From Their Mistakes--But Some Do by Matthew Syed

Airbus A320, Alfred Russel Wallace, Arthur Eddington, Atul Gawande, Black Swan, British Empire, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, crew resource management, deliberate practice, double helix, epigenetics, fear of failure, fundamental attribution error, Henri Poincaré, hindsight bias, Isaac Newton, iterative process, James Dyson, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Johannes Kepler, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, mandatory minimum, meta analysis, meta-analysis, minimum viable product, publication bias, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, Shai Danziger, Silicon Valley, six sigma, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, US Airways Flight 1549, Wall-E, Yom Kippur War

They also found the (neutral) statistics and methodology unimpressive. From reading exactly the same material, the two groups moved even further apart in their views. They had each reframed the evidence to fit in with their preexisting beliefs. Festinger’s great achievement was to show that cognitive dissonance is a deeply ingrained human trait. The more we have riding on our judgments, the more we are likely to manipulate any new evidence that calls them into question. Now let us take these insights back to the subject with which we started this chapter. For it turns out that cognitive dissonance has had huge and often astonishing effects on the workings of the criminal justice system. IV On March 20, 1987, a young girl was attacked in her home in Billings, Montana. The Innocence Project, the nonprofit organization set up by two New York lawyers, Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, to help prisoners obtain DNA tests, describes the crime as follows: The young girl was attacked by an intruder who had broken in through a window.

Imagine what it must be like to be confronted with evidence that they have assisted in putting the wrong person in jail; that they have ruined the life of an innocent person; that the wounds of the victim’s family are going to be reopened. It must be stomach churning. In terms of cognitive dissonance, it is difficult to think of anything more threatening. As Richard Ofshe, a social psychologist, has put it: “[Convicting the wrong person is] one of the worst professional mistakes you can make—like a physician amputating the wrong arm.”21 Just think of how desperate they would be to reframe the fatality. The theory of cognitive dissonance is the only way to get a handle on the otherwise bewildering reaction of prosecutors and police (and, indeed, the wider system) to exonerating DNA evidence. “It is almost like a state of denial,” Scheck says. “They just couldn’t see the new evidence for what it was.”

In other words, the victim had had consensual sex with another man, but had subsequently been raped by the prisoner, who had used a condom.22 This is the domino effect of cognitive dissonance: the reframing process takes on a life of its own. The presence of an entirely new man, not mentioned at the initial trial, for whom there were no eyewitnesses, and whom the victim often couldn’t remember having sex with, may seem like a desperate ploy to evade the evidence. But it has been used so often that it has been given a name by defense lawyers: “the unindicted co-ejaculator.” It is a term that usefully captures the power of cognitive dissonance. Schulz quotes from a fascinating interview with Peter Neufeld of the Innocence Project: We’ll be leaving the courtroom after an exoneration and the prosecutor will say “We still think your client is guilty and we are going to retry him.”


pages: 254 words: 79,052

Evil by Design: Interaction Design to Lead Us Into Temptation by Chris Nodder

4chan, affirmative action, Amazon Mechanical Turk, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, game design, haute couture, jimmy wales, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, late fees, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Netflix Prize, Nick Leeson, Occupy movement, pets.com, price anchoring, recommendation engine, Rory Sutherland, Silicon Valley, Stanford prison experiment, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, Tim Cook: Apple, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile

Maybe this new outlook is partially due to his award of the 2011 Ig Nobel mathematics prize (jointly with several other prophets) for “teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculations.” Provide reasons for people to use If you expect that users will be conflicted about the product or service you offer, provide them with many reasons they can use to resolve cognitive dissonance and keep their pride intact. Online, cognitive dissonance can be brought about by effects such as buyer’s remorse, in which the purchaser struggles to justify the high purchase price and their desire for an item in comparison to their subsequent feelings of the item’s worth. Sites help users resolve this cognitive dissonance by giving them reasons and evidence that bolster their satisfaction with the product (positive reviews; images of famous people using the product; and promises of hard-to-quantify benefits, such as social approval brought about by using the product) rather than letting them resolve the dissonance by returning the product.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The American Publishing Company, 1884. Pride Saint Augustine quote: “Humilitas homines sanctis angelis similes facit, et superbia ex angelis demones facit.” as quoted in Manipulus Florum (c. 1306), edited by Thomas Hibernicus. Cognitive dissonance Leon Festinger proposed the theory of cognitive dissonance after he studied the aftermath of Dorothy Martin’s December 21, 1954, end of the world prediction. Yes, these predictions seem to happen with alarming frequency: Leon Festinger. A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Illinois: Row, Peterson, 1957. Harold Camping quote: familyradio.com. Retrieved January 2012. Ig Nobel prize winners, by year: “Winners of the Ig Nobel Prize.” Improbable Research (improb.com). Retrieved November 2012. Social proof Apple Store photo credit: Chris Nodder.

If you can get people to make a public commitment to the new approach, it means they can no longer back down. The public commitment might set off more cognitive dissonance, but now, because they have openly aligned themselves with the new approach, the dissonant belief that will be expelled is the old one. At this point, the individual will start to rationalize their new behaviors. Now you are back in the position of wanting to leverage inertia again. You can assist by providing reasons that allow the individual to keep their self-esteem intact, and by showing social proof for the new behaviors. The individual whose mindset you just changed will be a willing participant in this process. They will tend to be selective in what data they look for and believe. Because they are now trying to remove cognitive dissonance in favor of the new idea that you introduced, they will seek out reviews, certification, and other social proof that supports that viewpoint in order to reach closure once again.


pages: 420 words: 98,309

Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris, Elliot Aronson

Ayatollah Khomeini, cognitive dissonance, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, Donald Trump, false memory syndrome, fear of failure, Lao Tzu, longitudinal study, medical malpractice, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, moral panic, Nelson Mandela, placebo effect, psychological pricing, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, social intelligence, telemarketer, the scientific method, trade route, transcontinental railway, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

New York: Pocket Books. CHAPTER 1 Cognitive Dissonance: The Engine of Self-justification 1 Press releases from Neal Chase, representing the religious group Baha'is Under the Provisions of the Covenant, in "The End Is Nearish," Harper's, February 1995, pp. 22, 24. 2 Leon Festinger, Henry W. Riecken, and Stanley Schachter (1956), When Prophecy Fails. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 3 Leon Festinger (1957), A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford: Stanford University Press. See also Leon Festinger and Elliot Aronson (1960), "Arousal and Reduction of Dissonance in Social Contexts," in D. Cartwright and Z. Zander (eds.), Group Dynamics (third ed.), New York: Harper & Row, 1960–1; and Eddie Harmon-Jones and Judson Mills (eds.) (1999), Cognitive Dissonance: Progress on a Pivotal Theory in Social Psychology, Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 4 Elliot Aronson and Judson Mills (1959), "The Effect of Severity of Initiation on Liking for a Group," Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 59, pp. 177–181. 5 See, for example, Harold Gerard and Grover Mathewson (1966), "The Effects of Severity of Initiation on Liking for a Group: A Replication," Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 2, pp. 278–287. 6 For a good review of the research on this bias and its many applications, see Raymond S.

Many of the group's members, who had not felt the need to proselytize before December 21, began calling the press to report the miracle, and soon they were out on the streets, buttonholing passersby, trying to convert them. Mrs. Keech's prediction had failed, but not Leon Festinger's. *** The engine that drives self-justification, the energy that produces the need to justify our actions and decisions—especially the wrong ones—is an unpleasant feeling that Festinger called "cognitive dissonance." Cognitive dissonance is a state of tension that occurs whenever a person holds two cognitions (ideas, attitudes, beliefs, opinions) that are psychologically inconsistent, such as "Smoking is a dumb thing to do because it could kill me" and "I smoke two packs a day." Dissonance produces mental discomfort, ranging from minor pangs to deep anguish; people don't rest easy until they find a way to reduce it.

It takes time, self-reflection, and willingness. The conservative columnist William Safire once described the "psychopolitical challenge" that voters face: "how to deal with cognitive dissonance."29 He began with a story of his own such challenge. During the Clinton administration, Safire recounted, he had criticized Hillary Clinton for trying to conceal the identity of the members of her health-care task force. He wrote a column castigating her efforts at secrecy, which he said were toxic to democracy. No dissonance there; those bad Democrats are always doing bad things. Six years later, however, he found that he was "afflicted" by cognitive dissonance when Vice President Dick Cheney, a fellow conservative Republican whom Safire admires, insisted on keeping the identity of his energy-policy task force a secret.


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Psychopath Free (Expanded Edition): Recovering From Emotionally Abusive Relationships With Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other Toxic People by Jackson MacKenzie

cognitive dissonance

This creates cognitive dissonance, causing you to have doubts about ending it. Compounding this is the fact that in the initial phase of the relationship, they did an excellent job of idealizing and love-bombing you. The vicious circle then comes in to play, in that you cannot see clearly who they are and the cognitive dissonance won’t leave you until you’ve done some No Contact time. But it’s hard to feel at peace with your decision to go No Contact while the cognitive dissonance is wreaking havoc in your mind. What worked for me to end the cognitive dissonance: Well, I went through utter hell inside this mental tug-of-war for the first six weeks of No Contact. Yet every single time I read the material available on psychopaths, narcissists, and sociopaths, all of my cognitive dissonance vanished.

This is, of course, the psychopath’s truth. So you oscillate back and forth as you think about your idealizer and your abuser. How could someone who thought you were perfect be the very same person who intentionally hurt you? How could they go from obsession to contempt in the blink of an eye? It isn’t possible. There’s no way you dated a psychopath. They loved you. Right? Cognitive Dissonance What I’ve just described is a psychological phenomenon known as cognitive dissonance. It’s a state of mind where your intuition is telling you two competing things. It’s totally natural after a psychopathic relationship, because you’re used to repeatedly being told things—instead of seeing them with your own two eyes, or feeling them in your heart. You constantly heard the psychopath make sweeping declarations of love and devotion, but you never actually felt them.

Then again, everyone deserves a second chance—you’ve always been taught not to hold grudges, and it’d be a lot more pleasant to remain friends with them. Plus, how could you forget those beautiful memories where you held hands as they said “I love you . . .” And that’s the danger of cognitive dissonance. It brings you back to the addictive love memories. It causes you to long for a broken dream, a manufactured lie. As you begin to work through these feelings, the diametrically opposed thoughts will become less and less extreme. But in the meantime, you are still very susceptible to their ongoing abuse. As long as you’re experiencing cognitive dissonance, make no mistake: they will be able to trick you again. All it takes is one sweet word to send you right back to the idealization phase. So how can you protect yourself? Two Masks Delayed arrogance is common in sociopaths.


pages: 289 words: 22,394

Virus of the Mind by Richard Brodie

cognitive dissonance, Douglas Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach, joint-stock company, New Journalism, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, publish or perish, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy

More on this in Chapter 9. 129 virus of the mind If you’re in a situation where you’re being rewarded for some behavior, think about what memes that operant conditioning is programming you with. Do they serve your purpose in life? Cognitive Dissonance Another programming technique is creating mental pressure and resolving it—cognitive dissonance. Why do high-pressure sales tactics exist even though people universally despise them? As with any “why” question in the world of memetics, the answer is: because the meme for it is good at spreading. Salespeople get infected with the high-pressure sales meme and go about acting on it, regardless of whether it’s the most effective means at their disposal. There’s no question, however, that it does work on some people some of the time. High-pressure sales work by making you mentally uncomfortable—by creating cognitive dissonance. You enter the situation with some strategy-memes that make you resist buying: perhaps they are something like Look before you leap or Shop around before you buy.

. — The second way is through a mechanism known as cognitive dissonance. When things don’t make sense, our minds struggles to make them make sense. Imagine, for example, that a friend is upset with you, but you don’t know why. You have two memes that conflict—that are inconsistent: friend and upset with me. You resolve the conflict, or dissonance, by creating new memes, by rearranging your memetic programming so that things make sense again. Ah, Bill’s upset because he’s paid for lunch the last three times, you might conclude. Right or wrong, you now have a new meme about Bill and lunch that will influence your future behavior. I’ve heard it said that geniuses develop their most brilliant original thoughts through self-imposed cognitive dissonance. As 126 How We Get Programmed you might guess, then, as a programming method it is particularly effective with intelligent people, because you actually believe that the new meme is your own idea. — The third way new memes enter our minds is by taking advantage of our genetic buttons in the manner of the Trojan horse.

Those new memes conflict with your old ones, and a mental tension is created. Your mind wants to resolve the conflict. It does so by creating a new meme. There are two ways to release the pressure caused by cognitive dissonance: buy in or bail out. If you bail out, it’s likely to be because you’ve resolved the dissonance by creating a meme such as The salesperson is a jerk. But some people buy, creating instead a meme like I really want to buy this. Once you create that meme, it’s yours, and a smart salesperson will reinforce it by telling you what 130 How We Get Programmed a smart decision you’ve made and even calling a few days later and congratulating you on your purchase. Cognitive dissonance can be used to create a meme of submission and loyalty to whatever authority is causing the dissonance. Fraternity hazings, boot camp, and some religious or spiritual disciplines put people through difficult tests and may demand demonstrations of loyalty before releasing the pressure.


pages: 288 words: 16,556

Finance and the Good Society by Robert J. Shiller

Alvin Roth, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, financial innovation, financial thriller, fixed income, full employment, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market design, means of production, microcredit, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Nelson Mandela, Occupy movement, passive investing, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, profit maximization, quantitative easing, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, self-driving car, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Simon Kuznets, Skype, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Vanguard fund, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar

If he should ever lift his nose out of the minutiae of his fascinating business and view its history whole, he would be forced to admit the sad truth that pitifully few nancial experts have ever known for two years (much less fteen) what was going to happen to any class of securities—and that the majority are usually spectacularly wrong in a much shorter time than that.4 Although Schwed’s book was anecdotal and presented no statistical evidence, it was an early and effective statement of the efficient markets theory. Cognitive Dissonance and Hypocrisy Cognitive dissonance, a term coined by social psychologist Leon Festinger, is a negative emotional response, a feeling of psychological pain, when something con icts with one’s stated beliefs—an emotional response that may lead to something other than a rational updating of the beliefs.5 In particular, when a person’s own actions are revealed to be inconsistent with certain beliefs, he or she often just conveniently changes those beliefs. Hypocrisy is one particular manifestation of cognitive dissonance, in which a person espouses opinions out of convenience and to justify certain actions, while often at some level actually believing them. The evidence that Festinger and his successors presented is solid: cognitive dissonance is a genuine phenomenon and leads with some regularity to human error—or at times to what we would label sleaziness.

The evidence that Festinger and his successors presented is solid: cognitive dissonance is a genuine phenomenon and leads with some regularity to human error—or at times to what we would label sleaziness. And yet there remains skepticism about cognitive dissonance in many quarters, particularly among people who feel committed to the fully rational model of human behavior. Recently a new form of evidence has appeared in support of Festinger’s theory. It has been found that brain structure is fundamentally tied to cognitive dissonance. Neuroscientist Vincent van Veen and his colleagues put human subjects in an experimental situation in which they were paid or otherwise incentivized to lie about their true beliefs as they were observed by functional magnetic resonance imaging. The researchers found that certain regions of the brain, the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and the anterior insula, were stimulated during this experience.

Importantly, those subjects with more activity in these regions showed a stronger tendency to change their actual beliefs to be consonant with the beliefs they were made to espouse.6 We thus have evidence of a physical structure in the brain whose actions are correlated with the outcome of cognitive dissonance, and that thus appears to be part of a brain mechanism that produces the phenomenon Festinger described based solely on his observations of human behavior. If hypocrisy is built into the brain, then there is a potential for human error that can be of great economic signi cance. A whole economic system can take as given certain assumptions, such as, for example, the belief in the years before the current nancial crisis that “home prices can never fall.” That theory was adopted by millions of people who would have experienced cognitive dissonance had they not done so, either because they were involved one way or another in a system that was overselling real estate or because they themselves had invested in real estate.


pages: 662 words: 180,546

Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown by Philip Mirowski

"Robert Solow", Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, business cycle, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, constrained optimization, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Brooks, David Graeber, debt deflation, deindustrialization, do-ocracy, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, full employment, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, incomplete markets, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, joint-stock company, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, liquidity trap, loose coupling, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market design, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, Nash equilibrium, night-watchman state, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Philip Mirowski, Ponzi scheme, precariat, prediction markets, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, random walk, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, school choice, sealed-bid auction, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Myth of the Rational Market, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, Vilfredo Pareto, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, working poor

What happens when a seductive synoptic ideology suffers “breakage,” as our commentators have it? It would be odd if this had not been a major topic of exploration, since it speaks so directly to our images of ourselves and others. While there have been many modes and idioms in which the question has been broached, for the sake of brevity we shall describe but one: the attempt to comprehend these responses as a case study in the social psychological problem of cognitive dissonance. The father of “cognitive dissonance theory” was the social psychologist Leon Festinger. In his premier work on the subject, he addressed the canonical problem situation which captures the predicament of the contemporary economics profession: Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart . . . suppose that he is then presented with unequivocal and undeniable evidence that his belief is wrong: what will happen?

The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before. Indeed, he may even show a new fervor about convincing and converting people.24 This profound insight, that confrontation with contrary evidence may actually augment and sharpen the conviction and enthusiasm of a true believer, was explained as a response to the cognitive dissonance evoked by a disconfirmation of strongly held beliefs. The thesis that humans are more rationalizing than rational has spawned a huge literature, but one that gets little respect in economics.25 Cognitive dissonance and the responses it provokes venture well beyond the literature in the philosophy of science that travels under the rubric of Duhem’s Thesis, in that the former plumbs response mechanisms to emotional chagrin, whereas the latter sketches the myriad ways in which auxiliary hypotheses may be evoked in order to blunt the threat of disconfirmation.

Predominantly, the long history of schooling, socialization, and past experience induces a stubborn inertia into cognitive processes. More commonly, people react to potential disconfirmation of strongly held views by adjusting their own understandings of the doctrine in question to accommodate the contrary evidence; this has been discussed in the social psychology literature under the rubric of “cognitive dissonance,” and in the philosophy literature as Duhem’s Thesis. Cognition sports an inescapable social dimension as well: people cannot vet and validate even a small proportion of the knowledge to which they subscribe, and so must of necessity depend heavily upon others such as teachers and experts and peers to underwrite much of their beliefs.23 And then there is a second major consideration relevant to our current conundrum, namely, the issue of whether most people who may subscribe to something like neoliberalism actually understand it to be constituted as a coherent doctrine with a spelled-out roster of propositions, or instead treat their notions as disparate implications of other beliefs.


pages: 340 words: 91,745

Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married by Abby Ellin

Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Burning Man, business intelligence, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, Donald Trump, double helix, dumpster diving, East Village, feminist movement, forensic accounting, fudge factor, hiring and firing, Internet Archive, longitudinal study, Lyft, mandatory minimum, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pink-collar, Ponzi scheme, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, telemarketer, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

But surely there must be some kind of allowance for new information that contradicts previously held beliefs and undermines the trust. That’s the question that still nags me about the Commander. How did I miss this? One answer is the psychological construct of cognitive dissonance, which posits discomfort when someone is faced with inconsistent evidence and driven to resolve the discrepancy. Like when my cousin told her eight-year-old son that she got pregnant with him because of sperm that swam fast to the finish line, and in the next breath told him the stork dropped him off in her lap. How could both be true? They could not. Still, somehow he managed to accept both ideas. That’s cognitive dissonance. The theory of cognitive dissonance was developed in the 1950s by Leon Festinger, a social psychologist who believed that humans needed internal consistency.20 He argued that we become psychologically uncomfortable with any kind of irregularity, and so we do everything in our power to diminish this dissonance.

Peg Streep, “The Trouble with Trust,” Psychology Today, March 25, 2014, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tech-support/201403/the-trouble-trust. 19. Telephone interview with author. 20. L. Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1957). 21. Leon Festinger, Henry W. Riecken, and Stanley Schachter, When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group That Predicted the Destruction of the World (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1956). 22. Ibid., 3. 23. Thea Buckley, “What Happens to the Brain During Cognitive Dissonance?,” Scientific American, n.d., https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-happens-to-the-brain-during-cognitive-dissonance1. 24. Jonathan Ellis, “Motivated Reasoning: A Philosopher on Confirmation Bias,” interview with Michel Martin, NPR, All Things Considered, January 28, 2017, https://www.npr.org/2017/01/28/512199352/confirmation-bias; Julie Beck, “This Article Won’t Change Your Mind: The Facts on Why Facts Alone Can’t Fight False Beliefs,” The Atlantic, March 13, 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/03/this-article-wont-change-your-mind/519093. 25.

Consequently, we avoid situations and information that might increase it.21 Festinger and his colleagues penetrated a cult run by Dorothy Martin, a self-proclaimed prophet who believed that a flood was imminent and that aliens called Guardians were on their way to scoop everyone up in their flying saucers. No little green men or heavy rains appeared. But Martin didn’t back down. Tomorrow, she promised. They’ll come tomorrow. Her followers stuck by her. In their 1956 book about the cult, When Prophecy Fails, Festinger and his coauthors concluded that “a man with a conviction is a hard man to change.” This applies to women, too, by the way.22 Cognitive dissonance is actually quite valuable, because it causes us to believe we have made intelligent, reasonable decisions.23 Our response is also called “motivated reasoning,” or motivated bias.24 It’s what we do when we seek out information that jibes with our previously held convictions. We discount anything that challenges our views. This response is particularly pronounced in politics. If our candidate utters a falsehood, we’re lenient.


pages: 199 words: 43,653

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

Airbnb, AltaVista, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, en.wikipedia.org, framing effect, game design, Google Glasses, IKEA effect, Inbox Zero, invention of the telephone, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Oculus Rift, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QWERTY keyboard, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, the new new thing, Toyota Production System, Y Combinator

Little investments, such as placing a tiny sign in a window, can lead to big changes in future behaviors. We Avoid Cognitive Dissonance In a classic Aesop’s fable, a hungry fox encounters grapes hanging from a vine. The fox desperately wants the grapes. Yet as hard as he tries, he cannot reach them. Frustrated, the fox decides the grapes must be sour and that therefore he would not want them anyway. The fox comforts himself by changing his perception of the grapes because it is too uncomfortable to reconcile the thought that the grapes are sweet and ready for the taking, and yet he cannot have them. To reconcile these two conflicting ideas, the fox changes his perception of the grapes and in the process relieves the pain of what psychologists term cognitive dissonance. The irrational manipulation of the way one sees the world is not limited to fictional animals in children’s stories.

Our innate reaction to these acquired tastes is to reject them, yet we learn to like them through repeated exposure. We see others enjoying them, try a little more, and over time condition ourselves. To avoid the cognitive dissonance of not liking something that others seem to take so much pleasure in, we slowly change our perception of the thing we once did not enjoy. • • • Together, the three tendencies just described influence our future actions: The more effort we put into something, the more likely we are to value it; we are more likely to be consistent with our past behaviors; and finally, we change our preferences to avoid cognitive dissonance. These tendencies of ours lead to a mental process known as rationalization, in which we change our attitudes and beliefs to adapt psychologically. Rationalization helps us give reasons for our behaviors, even when those reasons might have been designed by others.

User habits are hard to break and confer powerful competitive advantages to any company fortunate enough to successfully create them. REMEMBER & SHARE The investment phase is the fourth step in the Hook Model. Unlike the action phase, which delivers immediate gratification, the investment phase concerns the anticipation of rewards in the future. Investments in a product create preferences because of our tendency to overvalue our work, be consistent with past behaviors, and avoid cognitive dissonance. Investment comes after the variable reward phase, when users are primed to reciprocate. Investments increase the likelihood of users returning by improving the service the more it is used. They enable the accrual of stored value in the form of content, data, followers, reputation, or skill. Investments increase the likelihood of users passing through the Hook again by loading the next trigger to start the cycle all over again.


pages: 577 words: 149,554

The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey by Michael Huemer

Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, cognitive dissonance, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, experimental subject, framing effect, Gini coefficient, illegal immigration, impulse control, Isaac Newton, Julian Assange, laissez-faire capitalism, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, Milgram experiment, moral hazard, Phillip Zimbardo, profit maximization, profit motive, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Stanford prison experiment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, unbiased observer, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks

Thus, the widespread belief in political authority does not provide strong evidence for the reality of political authority, since that belief can be explained as the product of systematic bias. 6.3 Cognitive dissonance According to the widely accepted theory of cognitive dissonance, we experience an uncomfortable state, known as ‘cognitive dissonance’, when we have two or more cognitions that stand in conflict or tension with one another – and particularly when our behavior or other reactions appear to conflict with our self-image.15 We then tend to alter our beliefs or reactions to reduce the dissonance. For instance, a person who sees himself as compassionate yet finds himself inflicting pain on others will experience cognitive dissonance. He might reduce this dissonance by ceasing to inflict pain, changing his image of himself, or adopting auxiliary beliefs to explain why a compassionate person may inflict pain in this situation.

‘Kim Jong-il Keeps $4bn “Emergency Fund” in European Banks’, Sunday Telegraph, March 14, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/7442188/Kim-Jong-il-keeps-4bn-emergency-fund-in-European-banks.html. Accessed March 4, 2011. Aronson, Elliot. 1999. ‘Dissonance, Hypocrisy, and the Self-Concept’. Pp. 103–26 in Cognitive Dissonance: Progress on a Pivotal Theory in Social Psychology, ed. Eddie Harmon-Jones and Judson Mills. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Aronson, Elliot, and Judson Mills. 1959. ‘The Effect of Severity of Initiation on Liking for a Group’, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 59: 177–81. Aronson, Joshua, Geoffrey Cohen, and Paul R. Nail. 1999. ‘Self-Affirmation Theory: An Update and Appraisal’. Pp. 127–47 in Cognitive Dissonance: Progress on a Pivotal Theory in Social Psychology, ed. Eddie Harmon-Jones and Judson Mills. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Asch, Solomon E. 1956.

Some believe that it is dangerous to undermine belief in authority. 6.1.2 The appeal to popular opinion Some believe that the rejection of authority is too far from common-sense political beliefs to be taken seriously. 6.2 The Milgram experiments 6.2.1 Setup Milgram devised an experiment in which subjects would be ordered to administer electric shocks to helpless others. 6.2.2 Predictions Most people expect that subjects will defy the orders of the experimenter. 6.2.3 Results Two-thirds of subjects obey fully, even to the point of administering apparently lethal shocks. 6.2.4 The dangers of obedience The experiment shows that belief in authority is very dangerous. 6.2.5 The unreliability of opinions about authority The experiment also shows that people have a strong pro-authority bias. 6.3 Cognitive dissonance People may seek to rationalize their own obedience to the state by devising theories of authority. 6.4 Social proof and status quo bias People are biased toward commonly held beliefs and the practices of their own society. 6.5 The power of political aesthetics 6.5.1 Symbols The state employs symbols to create an emotional and aesthetic sense of its own power and authority. 6.5.2 Rituals Rituals serve a similar function. 6.5.3 Authoritative language Legal language and the language of some political philosophers serve to encourage feelings of respect for authority. 6.6 Stockholm Syndrome and the charisma of power 6.6.1 The phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome Kidnapping victims sometimes emotionally bond with their captors, as in the case of the Stockholm bank robbery. 6.6.2 Why does Stockholm Syndrome occur?


Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models by Gabriel Weinberg, Lauren McCann

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-pattern, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, business process, butterfly effect, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Attenborough, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Snowden, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, fear of failure, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, housing crisis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, illegal immigration, income inequality, information asymmetry, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Nash: game theory, lateral thinking, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, mail merge, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, p-value, Parkinson's law, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, Potemkin village, prediction markets, premature optimization, price anchoring, principal–agent problem, publication bias, recommendation engine, remote working, replication crisis, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Schrödinger's Cat, selection bias, Shai Danziger, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, survivorship bias, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, uber lyft, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons

By uncritically accepting evidence when it pleases us, and insisting on more when it doesn’t, we subtly tip the scales in our favor. The pernicious effects of confirmation bias and related models can be explained by cognitive dissonance, the stress felt by holding two contradictory, dissonant, beliefs at once. Scientists have actually linked cognitive dissonance to a physical area in the brain that plays a role in helping you avoid aversive outcomes. Instead of dealing with the underlying cause of this stress—the fact that we might actually be wrong—we take the easy way out and rationalize the conflicting information away. It’s a survival instinct! Once you start looking for confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance, we guarantee you will spot them all over, including in your own thoughts. A real trick to being wrong less is to fight your instincts to dismiss new information and instead to embrace new ways of thinking and new paradigms.

A real trick to being wrong less is to fight your instincts to dismiss new information and instead to embrace new ways of thinking and new paradigms. The meme on the next page perfectly illustrates how cognitive dissonance can make things we take for granted seem absurd. There are a couple of tactical mental models that can help you on an everyday basis to overcome your ingrained confirmation bias and tribalism. First, consider thinking gray, a concept we learned from Steven Sample’s book The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership. You may think about issues in terms of black and white, but the truth is somewhere in between, a shade of gray. As Sample puts it: Most people are binary and instant in their judgments; that is, they immediately categorize things as good or bad, true or false, black or white, friend or foe. A truly effective leader, however, needs to be able to see the shades of gray inherent in a situation in order to make wise decisions as to how to proceed.

Scott Fitzgerald once described something similar to thinking gray when he observed that the test of a first-rate mind is the ability to hold two opposing thoughts at the same time while still retaining the ability to function. This model is powerful because it forces you to be patient. By delaying decision making, you avoid confirmation bias since you haven’t yet made a decision to confirm! It can be difficult to think gray because all the nuance and different points of view can cause cognitive dissonance. However, it is worth fighting through that dissonance to get closer to the objective truth. A second mental model that can help you with confirmation bias is the Devil’s advocate position. This was once an official position in the Catholic Church used during the process of canonizing people as saints. Once someone is canonized, the decision is eternal, so it was critical to get it right.


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Surfaces and Essences by Douglas Hofstadter, Emmanuel Sander

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, Benoit Mandelbrot, Brownian motion, cognitive dissonance, computer age, computer vision, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, Flynn Effect, Georg Cantor, Gerolamo Cardano, Golden Gate Park, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, l'esprit de l'escalier, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, place-making, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, theory of mind, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, yellow journalism, zero-sum game

In the meantime, though, they all pooh-pooh the interest of such a goal… How to Reduce Cognitive Dissonance in a Fox Æsop’s fox-and-grapes fable, more than two millennia old, insightfully anticipated some rather recent ideas. From the 1950’s onwards, thanks to the pioneering work of social psychologist Leon Festinger, the notions of cognitive dissonance and its reduction have been part of psychology, and they are direct descendants of the fable, which, in expositions of the theory, is often given as a quintessential example. The basic idea of the contemporary theories is that the presence of conflicting cognitive states in an individual results in a state of inner tension that the individual tries to reduce by modifying one or another of their conflicting internal states. Thus, the fox is in a state of cognitive dissonance, since his desire to eat the grapes conflicts with his inability to reach them.

Much as the concept once bitten, twice shy contains the essence of the modern psychological notion that a traumatic experience leaves lasting after-effects in its wake, so the sour-grapes fable contains the essence of the notion of reduction of cognitive dissonance, and more generally, the notion of rationalization, where a painful situation is rendered less painful by the unconscious generation, after the fact, of some kind of arbitrary and often unlikely justification. The blatant nature of the fox’s lie makes the fable an ideal core member of the sour grapes category, and allows one to understand the structure of all sour grapes situations. The genius of Æsop was to have come up with such a simple, appealing situation in which dissonance is reduced. For this reason, his fable not only has survived many centuries but it also anticipated developments in modern psychology. To see how the sour-grapes fable relates to the notion of cognitive dissonance in its full generality, one can cast the notion of disparagement of an unrealized yearning, which is the fable’s crux, as a special case of the more general notion of regaining a peaceful frame of mind by distorting one’s perception of a troubling situation, which is what the reduction of cognitive dissonance is all about.

Here we’ll take an example involving Kellie and Dick, two friends who came from Boston to the house of the above-mentioned professore a number of years after he had returned to the United States, and who visited for a few days. As it happened, Kellie and Dick both used the term “your office” to designate the standard workplace of their host, while he himself would always call it “my study”. After he had put up with this cognitive dissonance for a couple of days, it occurred to him to ask them, “How come the two of you always go around talking about my ‘office’ when you both know perfectly well that I always call it my ‘study’?” This question caught the Bostonians by surprise, but they quickly hit upon an answer to it, and it was almost surely the answer. They said, “In our Boston house, the place where we work [they had a small public-relations firm that they ran from their house] is on the third floor — our house’s top floor — and we always call it our ‘office’.


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Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski Ph.d.

cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, delayed gratification, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, Skype, Snapchat, spaced repetition, the scientific method, twin studies

When Sex Becomes the Lion Sex and the Survivor Origin of Love The Science of Falling in Love Attachment and Sex: The Dark Side Attachment and Sex: Sex That Advances the Plot Attachment Style Managing Attachment: Your Feels as a Sleepy Hedgehog Survival of the Social The Water of Life 5. Cultural Context: A Sex-Positive Life in a Sex-Negative World Three Messages You Are Beautiful Criticizing Yourself = Stress = Reduced Sexual Pleasure Health at Every Size “Dirty” When Somebody “Yucks” Your “Yum” Maximizing Yum . . . with Science! Part 1: Self-Compassion Maximizing Yum . . . with Science! Part 2: Cognitive Dissonance Maximizing Yum . . . with Science! Part 3: Media Nutrition You Do You part 3 sex in action 6. Arousal: Lubrication Is Not Causation Measuring and Defining Nonconcordance All the Same Parts, Organized in Different Ways: “This Is a Restaurant” Nonconcordance in Other Emotions Lubrication Error #1: Genital Response = “Turned On” Lubrication Error #2: Genital Response Is Enjoying Lubrication Error #3: Nonconcordance Is a Problem Medicating Away the Brakes “Honey . . .

You’ll notice that your brain tries to list all the things you don’t like, but don’t include those. Do it again every week. Or twice a week. Or more. Each time, the things you like will become a little more salient and the noise will get a little quieter. Maybe even consider telling someone else about what you see and what you like. Better still, tell someone who also did the exercise! It’s an activity that gets labeled cognitive dissonance because it forces us to be aware of good things, when mostly we tend to be aware of the “negative” things. Try it. 2. Ask your partner, if you have one, to have a close look. Turn on the light, take off your clothes, get on your back, and let them look. Ask them what they see, how they feel about it, what memories they have of your vulva. Let your partner know what you’ve felt worried about, and ask for help to see what they see.

Like body self-criticism, disgust is so entrenched in the sexual culture that it’s difficult to know what our sexual wellbeing would be like without it. But there’s growing evidence that disgust is impairing our sexual wellbeing, much as body self-criticism does, and there are things you can do to weed it out, if you want to. And that’s what I’ll talk about in the last section of this chapter. I’ll describe research-based strategies for creating positive change in both self-criticism and disgust: self-compassion, cognitive dissonance, and basic media literacy. The goal is to help you recognize what you’ve been taught, deliberately or otherwise, in order to help you choose whether to continue believing those things. You may well choose to keep a lot of what you learned—what matters is that you choose it, instead of letting your beliefs about your body and sex be chosen for you by the accident of the culture and family you were born into.


Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City by Richard Sennett

Buckminster Fuller, car-free, clean water, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, creative destruction, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, Downton Abbey, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, Frank Gehry, ghettoisation, housing crisis, illegal immigration, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Masdar, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, open borders, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Richard Florida, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the High Line, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, urban planning, urban renewal, Victor Gruen

Incomplete knowledge leads to asking what-if questions, because the questioner has treated reality as undetermined; it’s up to you to make sense of it. Another track of cognition studies – dealing with contradictions – arrived at this same end. We owe this work to Leon Festinger, the psychologist who developed the modern understanding of ‘cognitive dissonance’. This term refers to a situation in which there are contradictory rules of behaviour, or rules which are confusing. How will the subject respond? Festinger was a man of the experimental laboratory, making use of animals – he preferred pigeons – but he was thinking always about the application of his findings to human beings. He recognized, though, that cognitive dissonance, a condition which he created for the pigeons, is a painful state that people create for themselves. Aesop’s fable ‘The Fox and the Grapes’ is a classic instance of this. The fox sees a cluster of grapes high up, which he cannot reach; unable to snatch them, he decides they are not worth eating because they are probably sour – though he has no way of knowing this.

But the fox still does, really; if the grapes fell to the ground he would devour them greedily. One way out of this bind, Festinger writes, is for ‘the person to try to reduce the dissonance and achieve consonance’. This mentality can mean that ‘when dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance’. That’s the negative side of cognitive dissonance: the subject avoids its complexities whenever possible. The fox craves grapes but in time comes to lie about his craving: ‘I really don’t like grapes.’ Any ex-smoker will recognize this line.19, 20 There is also a positive way to respond to frustrating or contradictory experience. Knowing of my interest in complex environments, Festinger led me one day through a laboratory filled with caged pigeons trying to peer around obstacles hiding their watering tubes, or to make sense of feed troughs the experimenters had angled oddly.

Florian Znaniecki recognized that neophytes are made uncomfortable by the silence of a subject, and are tempted to jump in with statements like, ‘In other words, Mrs Schwarz, what you mean to say is…’. Znaniecki counselled, don’t put words in their mouths; to do so is the cardinal sin of sociology. Since the time of the Chicago School, techniques have evolved for spotlighting meanings which are left inarticulate or contradictory; listening for cognitive dissonances figures in the education of the modern ethnographer. The fact that a subject contradicts him- or herself cannot be taken as a sign he or she is stupid or ignorant; rather, following Bakhtin, it is the context of the speech act that is crooked and contradictory. Little would be gained by the interviewer saying, ‘Mrs Schwarz, you contradict yourself’; that makes the difficulty her problem rather than one of the situation she finds herself in.


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Split-Second Persuasion: The Ancient Art and New Science of Changing Minds by Kevin Dutton

availability heuristic, Bernie Madoff, call centre, Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, credit crunch, different worldview, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, equity premium, fundamental attribution error, haute couture, job satisfaction, loss aversion, Milgram experiment, placebo effect, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile

Hey, you think, as you scrunch up the receipt and toss it into the bin, it’s not so bad after all. I guess. But there’s no magic at work here – rather, the hand of cognitive dissonance. Two incontrovertible and antithetical cognitions – ‘I have spent X amount on this particular purchase’ on the one hand, and ‘I don’t like it and can’t change it’ on the other – are forced to cohabit the same bit of brainspace until one of two things happens. They either get their act together and sort out their differences. Or one of them packs its bags. Nine times out of ten, they learn to get along. The Neurology Of Influence The effects of cognitive dissonance demonstrate quite clearly how the propositional aspects of belief are closely tied in with emotion. 9But a recent experiment conducted by Sam Harris and his colleagues at the University of California in Los Angeles goes one better – and shows how belief, emotion and influence are possibly tied up in the brain.

It was either that, as Festinger pointed out, or face the unspeakable alternative. That there never had been a custom-built flying saucer. That the master plan to spirit them all off into the cosmos had never existed in the first place. And that the jobs, spouses and houses had all been abandoned in vain. 8Festinger’s exposé of Keech’s divinations precipitated an avalanche of research into the dynamics of cognitive dissonance. The flagship study, conducted by Festinger himself in 1959, did much to get things moving. The study consisted of three key ingredients: the obligatory cohort of students, a series of meaningless and mind-numbingly tedious tasks, and a downright whopper of a lie: the students had to perform the tasks and then rope in subsequent ‘participants’ (in reality, associates of the researchers) by claiming that they were actually interesting.

The students, in the absence of any other justification for their behaviour, were forced to internalise the attitude they were induced to express – and came, in so doing, genuinely to believe that the tasks they had performed were enjoyable. On the other hand, those in the $20 group had reason to believe there was external justification for their behaviour – they were in it for the money. No confusion there over job satisfaction. Why We Love The Things We Hate (Especially If We Can’t Get A Refund) The perils of cognitive dissonance should feature uppermost in the mind of any prospective persuader. Especially in situations where there’s a lot at stake and the person whom one is persuading has much to lose. Festinger’s study – these days considered a classic – provided, for the very first time, concrete evidence of something that we now take for granted: powerful gravitational forces deep within our brains keep the orbits of both belief and behaviour in close psychological alignment.


pages: 476 words: 134,735

The Unpersuadables: Adventures With the Enemies of Science by Will Storr

Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, battle of ideas, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, call centre, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, David Attenborough, David Brooks, death of newspapers, full employment, George Santayana, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, Simon Singh, Stanford prison experiment, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, twin studies

A series of unconscious biases flares up around then – haloes surround ‘our’ people, which magnify their virtues and minimise their faults. A dark, opposing magic happens to our view of those who are on the ‘out’. But as damaging as it can be, we need prejudice. It is the shape of our models, the starting point for our guesses about the world. When our brains are told things that contradict their models, we often enter a state known as ‘cognitive dissonance’. In their book Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) social psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson describe this as ‘a state of tension that occurs whenever a person holds two cognitions (ideas, attitudes, beliefs, opinions) that are inconsistent, such as “smoking is a dumb thing to do because it could kill me” and “I smoke two packs a day”. Dissonance produces mental discomfort, ranging from minor pangs to deep anguish; people don’t rest easy until they find a way to reduce it.’

They had no trouble seeing the contradictions for the opposition candidate, rating his inconsistencies close to a four. For their own candidate, however, ratings averaged closer to two, indicating minimal contradiction.’ But that was just the beginning. Westen also had his scans to consult. He wanted to know exactly what happened on the neurological level when new data arrived that conflicted with internal models; when their minds were blasted into a state of cognitive dissonance. As he expected, the unpleasant emotion was soothed away quickly. ‘But the political brain also did something we didn’t predict,’ he writes. ‘Once participants had found a way to reason to false conclusions, not only did neural circuits involved in negative emotions turn off, but circuits involved in positive emotions turned on. The partisan brain didn’t seem just satisfied in feeling better.

Psychics, homeopathy, chiropractors, ghosts, God – they don’t believe a word of it and that is one of their favourite things to do. The fallibility of human belief is the base upon which the Skeptics build their activism. As bracingly incredible as it was to me, it is highly likely that the ordinary Skeptic would have discovered nothing new in the chapter that precedes this one. Confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance, unconscious ego-bolstering and the many illusions of vision are their foundational texts, their Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Skeptics rely on the findings of science, rather than the dubious anecdotes of individuals, to inform them about the world. They are knights of hard intellect whose ultimate goal is a world free of superstitious thinking. Do not make the mistake of doubting how seriously some take this task.


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Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell

barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, business cycle, cognitive dissonance, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, deskilling, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, fear of failure, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, Howard Zinn, income inequality, interchangeable parts, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge economy, loss aversion, market design, means of production, mental accounting, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, Pearl River Delta, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price discrimination, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, washing machines reduced drudgery, working poor, yield management, zero-sum game

We rail against exploitation of low-paid workers in Asia as we drive twenty minutes to the Big Box to save three bucks on tube socks and a dollar on underpants. We fume over the mistreatment of animals by agribusiness but freak out at an uptick in food prices. We lecture our kids on social responsibility and then buy them toys assembled by destitute child workers on some far flung foreign shore. Maintaining cognitive dissonance is one way to navigate a world of contradictions, and on an individual basis there’s much to be said for this. But somehow the Age of Cheap has raised cognitive dissonance to a societal norm. On May 1, 2008, the New York Times ran a cover story in its Styles section headlined “Is This the World’s Cheapest Dress?: How Steve & Barry’s Became a $1 Billion Company Selling Celebrity Style for $8.98.” Reporter Eric Wilson reveals the secret of the store’s success with a quote from co-owner Steve Shore: “‘To be great, you have to have these ridiculous, insane prices, and not sacrifice quality,’ [Steve] ‘The question we constantly ask ourselves is how to hit the price point that even Wal-Mart is not hitting.’ ” How, indeed?

Shore and Prevor kept their operation afloat by locating stores in struggling malls and charging them an up-front fee for the favor of attracting foot traffic. Since these mall fees were essential to its survival, the company was required to expand continuously. In a sense, the company relied for its existence on a fully legal variation of a Ponzi scheme. Business plans like this are not built on a foundation of frugality. They are built on a platform of cognitive dissonance. Three months after boasting of their great success to the New York Times, Steve and Barry filed for bankruptcy. THRIFT MAY BE a bedrock American virtue, but it is no more branded into our DNA than it is branded into the DNA of any other culture. Benjamin Franklin, whose most famous homily translates roughly into “A penny saved is a penny earned,” confessed that thrift would elude even him were it not for Deborah, his frugal and hardworking wife.

American corporate interests have chipped away at those standards and wages in order to maximize profits and influence, and to serve their shareholders. The chronic disregard for workers’ rights in China’s foreign-invested private sector threatens wages and working conditions around the globe, including the hard-won gains of American workers. Labor scholar Robert Bruno, a political economist at the University of Illinois, has observed that most Americans tend not to think of themselves as “workers.” This demands some level of cognitive dissonance because most of us do work for a living. But in a society where salesclerks in discount stores are called “associates” and garbage collectors “sanitary engineers,” the term “worker” has lost meaning. Bruno is certain that this is no accident, and explained why in one of several conversations we had over many months. “The Labor Department classifies 45 percent of Americans as ‘working class,’ but Americans all consider themselves part of the middle class.


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How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker

affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, double helix, experimental subject, feminist movement, four colour theorem, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hedonic treadmill, Henri Poincaré, income per capita, information retrieval, invention of agriculture, invention of the wheel, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, lake wobegon effect, lateral thinking, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Necker cube, out of africa, pattern recognition, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, random walk, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, scientific worldview, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, sexual politics, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, Turing machine, urban decay, Yogi Berra

Darwin’s anti-Darwinism: Fridlund, 1992. 415 Voluntary and involuntary facial expressions, method acting, and the brain: Damasio, 1994. 415 Honest signaling in animals: Dawkins, 1976/1989; Trivers, 1981; Cronin, 1992; Hauser, 1996; Hamilton, 1996. 416 Emotions and the body: Ekman & Davidson, 1994; Lazarus, 1991; Etcoff, 1986. 417 Theory of mad love: Frank, 1988. 417 Marriage market: Buss, 1994; Fisher, 1992; Hatfield & Rapson, 1993. 419 Tactics for controlling self and others: Schelling, 1984. 420 Grief as a deterrent: Tooby & Cosmides, 1990a. 421 Self-deception: Trivers, 1985; Alexander, 1987a; Wright, 1994a; Lockard & Paulhaus, 1988. Self-deception and Freudian defense mechanisms: Nesse & Lloyd, 1992. 422 Split brains: Gazzaniga, 1992. 422 Lake Wobegon effect: Gilovich, 1991. 422 Beneffectance: Greenwald, 1988; Brown, 1985. Cognitive dissonance: Festinger, 1957. Cognitive dissonance as self-presentation: Aronson, 1980; Baumeister & Tice, 1984. Beneffectance and cognitive dissonance as self-deception: Wright, 1994a. 424 Argument between husband and wife: Trivers, 1985, p. 420. 424 Explaining Hitler: Rosenbaum, 1995. 7. Family Values 426 Greening of America controversy: Nobile, 1971. 426 Nineteenth-century Utopias: Klaw, 1993. 427 Human universals: Brown, 1991. 427 The thirty-six dramatic situations: Polti, 1921/1977. 427 Darwinian competitors: Williams, 1966; Dawkins, 1976/1989, 1995. 428 Homicide rates: Daly & Wilson, 1988.

When they are fooled in a fake experiment into thinking they have delivered shocks to another subject, they derogate the victim, implying that he deserved the punishment. Everyone has heard of “reducing cognitive dissonance,” in which people invent a new opinion to resolve a contradiction in their minds. For example, a person will recall enjoying a boring task if he had agreed to recommend it to others for paltry pay. (If the person had been enticed to recommend the task for generous pay, he accurately recalls that the task was boring.) As originally conceived of by the psychologist Leon Festinger, cognitive dissonance is an unsettled feeling that arises from an inconsistency in one’s beliefs. But that’s not right: there is no contradiction between the proposition “The task is boring” and the proposition “I was pressured into lying that the task was fun.”

But that’s not right: there is no contradiction between the proposition “The task is boring” and the proposition “I was pressured into lying that the task was fun.” Another social psychologist, Eliot Aronson, nailed it down: people doctor their beliefs only to eliminate a contradiction with the proposition “I am nice and in control.” Cognitive dissonance is always triggered by blatant evidence that you are not as beneficent and effective as you would like people to think. The urge to reduce it is the urge to get your self-serving story straight. Sometimes we have glimpses of our own self-deception. When does a negative remark sting, cut deep, hit a nerve? When some part of us knows it is true. If every part knew it was true, the remark would not sting; it would be old news. If no part thought it was true, the remark would roll off; we could dismiss it as false. Trivers recounts an experience that is all too familiar (at least to me).


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What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith, Mark Reiter

business process, cognitive dissonance, financial independence, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, knowledge worker, loss aversion, shareholder value, zero-sum game

There’s a reason for this, and it’s one of the best-researched principles in psychology. It’s called cognitive dissonance. It refers to the disconnect between what we believe in our minds and what we experience or see in reality. The underlying theory is simple. The more we are committed to believing that something is true, the less likely we are to believe that its opposite is true, even in the face of clear evidence that shows we are wrong. For example, if you believe your colleague Bill is a jerk, you will filter Bill’s actions through that belief. No matter what Bill does, you’ll see it through a prism that confirms he’s a jerk. Even the times when he’s not a jerk, you’ll interpret it as the exception to the rule that Bill’s a jerk. It may take years of saintly behavior for Bill to overcome your perception. That’s cognitive dissonance applied to others. It can be a disruptive and unfair force in the workplace.

It can be a disruptive and unfair force in the workplace. Yet cognitive dissonance actually works in favor of successful people when they apply it to themselves. The more we are committed to believing that something is true, the less likely we are to believe that its opposite is true, even in the face of evidence that shows we may have chosen the wrong path. It’s the reason successful people don’t buckle and waver when times get tough. Their commitment to their goals and beliefs allows them to view reality through rose-tinted glasses. That’s a good thing in many situations. Their personal commitment encourages people to “stay the course” and to not give up when the going gets tough. Of course, this same steadfastness can work against successful people when they should change course. How Our Success Makes Us Superstitious These four success beliefs—that we have the skills, the confidence, the motivation, and the free choice to succeed—make us superstitious.

It’s not enough to tell everyone that you want to get better; you have to declare exactly in what area you plan to change. In other words, now that you’ve said you’re sorry, what are you going to do about it? I tell my clients, “It’s a lot harder to change people’s perception of your behavior than it is to change your behavior. In fact, I calculate that you have to get 100% better in order to get 10% credit for it from your coworkers.” The logic behind this is, as I’ve explained in Chapter 3, cognitive dissonance: To recap, we view people in a manner that is consistent with our previous existing stereotypes, whether it is positive or negative. If I think you’re an arrogant jerk, everything you do will be filtered through that perception. If you do something wonderful and saintly, I will regard it as the exception to the rule; you’re still an arrogant jerk. Within that framework it’s almost impossible for us to be perceived as improving, no matter how hard we try.


pages: 486 words: 148,485

Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz

affirmative action, anti-communist, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, car-free, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, conceptual framework, cosmological constant, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, desegregation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, lake wobegon effect, longitudinal study, mandatory minimum, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ronald Reagan, six sigma, stem cell, Steven Pinker, Tenerife airport disaster, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, trade route

., 128, 152, 174–75, 176, 214 buyer’s remorse, 281–82 car accidents, 63 Carey, Susan, 290n, 384n Carson, Anne, 330 categories (categorization), 12, 19–21, 120 Catholicism (Catholic Church), 7, 13–14, 114n, 146, 209 Catt, Carrie Chapman, 134 causation, inductive reasoning for, 120 certainty, 159–80 characteristics of, 159–64 cognitive dissonance, 179 defenses of, 165–70 James’ hypothetical scenario, 165–66 Jews of Judaea, 159–61 knowledge vs., 163–64 zealotry and, 161–63 Chabris, Christopher, 62 Challenger, 72–73, 355n Chambers, Whittaker, 285–88, 294 checkerboard illusion, 58–60, 65, 352n child development, 100–101, 119–20, 289–92, 307, 385n chimerism, 235 Chomsky, Noam, 119n Christie, Agatha, 220 Clark, William, 48 Clement IV, Pope, 137 Clifford, William, 363n Clinton, Bill, 88 Coetzee, J. M., 258, 382n cogito, ergo sum, 318 cognitive development, 197–98 cognitive dissonance, 179, 179n, 194–95 “cognitive illusions,” 346n coherencing, 57–58 Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 37, 47, 371n Collins, Phil, 260, 261 Columbia, 128 comedy, 321–26, 389–90n Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare), 323–24, 325, 331n Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 90 communication, 252–53.

One obstacle to doing so is the feeling of being right, shored up as it is by everything from our sensory impressions to our social relations to the structure of human cognition. But a second and paradoxical obstacle is our fear of being wrong. True, certainty cannot protect us from error, any more than shouting a belief can make it true. But it can and does shield us, at least temporarily, from facing our fallibility. The psychologist Leon Festinger documented this protective effect of certainty in the 1950s, in the study that gave us the now-famous term “cognitive dissonance.” Along with several colleagues and hired observers, Festinger infiltrated a group of people who believed in the doomsday prophecies of a suburban housewife named (actually, pseudonymed) Marian Keech. Keech claimed that she was in touch with a Jesuslike figure from outer space who sent her messages about alien visits, spaceship landings, and the impending destruction of the world by flood.

.* The fact is, with the exception of our own minds, no power on earth has the consistent and absolute ability to convince us that we are wrong. However much we might be prompted by cues from other people or our environment, the choice to face up to error is ultimately ours alone. Why can we do this sometimes but not others? For one thing, as we saw earlier, it’s a lot harder to let go of a belief if we don’t have a new one to replace it. For another, as Leon Festinger observed in his study of cognitive dissonance, it’s a lot harder if we are heavily invested in that belief—if, to borrow a term from economics, we have accrued significant sunk costs. Traditionally, sunk costs refer to money that is already spent and can’t be recovered. Let’s say you shelled out five grand for a used car, and three weeks later it got a flat tire. When you take it to the mechanic, he tells you that you need both rear tires replaced and the alignment adjusted.


pages: 198 words: 57,703

The World According to Physics by Jim Al-Khalili

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, butterfly effect, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, dark matter, double helix, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, germ theory of disease, gravity well, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Murray Gell-Mann, publish or perish, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Stephen Hawking, supercomputer in your pocket, the scientific method

In a very real sense, conspiracy theories are the polar opposite of scientific theories in that they seek to assimilate whatever evidence there is against them and interpret it in a way that supports rather than repudiates their core idea, thus making them unfalsifiable. Many who hold such views will always try to interpret and favour evidence in a way that confirms their pre-existing hypotheses. This is known as confirmation bias. Often, in the case of ideological beliefs, we also hear the term ‘cognitive dissonance’, whereby someone will feel genuine mental discomfort when confronted with evidence supporting a view contrary to their own. This potent combination of confirmation bias and the avoidance of cognitive dissonance works to reinforce pre-existing beliefs. So, trying to persuade someone in this frame of mind with scientific evidence can often prove to be a waste of time. Many people, facing an avalanche of widely different views through both the mainstream and social media, understandably find it difficult to know what to believe.

INDEX absolute zero, 102 Adams, Douglas, 5 AdS/CFT (anti–de Sitter/conformal theory correspondence; gauge/ gravity duality), 232–33 alpha particles, 101–2 Anderson, Carl, 103–4 Anderson, Philip, 47 Andromeda galaxy, 98 antigravity, 212–13 antimatter, 7, 13, 103–5 antiquarks, 96n1, 176n2 Anu (Sumerian god), 1 Archimedes, 16, 25 Aristotle, 16, 45, 57–58, 74, 77 artificial intelligence (AI), 161, 235, 240, 250, 255, 256–57 atomic clocks, 39 atomism, 16–17, 45 atoms, 15; composition of, 224; types of, 16–17 axions, 200 Banks, Joseph, 108 Bell, John, 126–27 beta radioactivity, 94, 96 Big Bang, 7, 32, 34, 98–101, 103, 150; cosmology model of, 179; in eternal inflation theory, 216; verification of, 269–70 binary data, 251 binary pulsars, 226 biology, 21, 111, 161, 236, 242–44 biomass, 151 biophysics, 242 bits, 251 black holes, 195, 221, 223, 233; entropy of, 279; evaporation of, 215, 220; formation of, 106; gravitational pull from, 72; Hawking radiation emitted from, 24, 220 block universe model, 68–69, 70–71, 79–81 Bohm, David, 136 Bohr, Niels, 122–23, 124, 125, 132 Boltzmann, Ludwig, 46 Born’s rule, 124 Bose-Einstein condensates, 226 bosons, 6–7, 13, 25, 93, 96–97, 181 Broglie, Louis de, 136 bubble universes, 217–18 Bullet Cluster, 197 butterfly effect, 157–58, 160 carbon, 106 celestial mechanics, 55 CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), 174, 228 chaos, 21, 160–61 chemistry, 21, 91, 236, 241–42, 256; quantum theory and, 9, 117, 173, 246 Classical Physics, 111–12 climate, 151, 240, 271, 272–73 cloud technology, 255 COBE satellite, 199 cognitive dissonance, 272 cold dark matter, 179, 200 colour charge, 95–96, 175–76 comets, 18 complexity, 21 complex systems, 161 computer science, 241, 246, 250–58 concordance model, 179 condensed matter, 232, 233, 236 confirmation bias, 272, 277 conformal cyclic cosmology, 215–16 conservation, laws of, 41 consistent histories interpretation, 127 conspiracy theories, 271–72 constrained minimal supersymmetry, 231 Copenhagen interpretation, xiii, 123, 125, 127, 128 Copernican (heliocentric) model, 4, 26–27, 126 Copernicus, Nicolaus, 27 Cosmic Background Explorer (Explorer 66), 199n2 cosmic inflation, 208–19, 276 cosmic microwave background (CMB), 34, 101, 197, 198–99 cosmological constant, 203 cosmology, 12 creation myths, 1 Crick, Francis, 243 CT (computed tomography), 246 curved spacetime, 64n2, 78, 82, 187, 234; dark matter and, 196; gravitational field linked to 72–73, 163, 170; inflation and, 209 dark energy, 7, 9, 193, 202–5, 210, 226, 276 dark matter, 7, 9, 42, 105–6, 179, 193–201, 231, 276 de Broglie–Bohm theory, 137 decoherence, 133, 135 Delbrück, Max, 243 Democritus, 16, 44–45 Descartes, René, 55, 57–58, 59–60, 74, 77 determinism, 155–58 diffraction, 114 Dirac, Paul, 13, 14, 103, 171–72 Dirac notation, 124 disorder, 21 DNA, 243, 249 Doppler effect, 63 double helix, 243 doubt, in scientific inquiry, 266–67, 274 dwarf galaxies, 197 dynamical collapse interpretation, 127 economics, 161 Einstein, Albert, xiv, 124, 222–23, 280; field equations of, 82, 129; light quanta hypothesized by, 112–13; Newtonian theory replaced by, 8, 36, 61; nonlocality and entanglement mistrusted by, 131–32; as philosophical realist, 130; photoelectric effect explained by, 29–30; thought experiments by, 56.


pages: 478 words: 126,416

Other People's Money: Masters of the Universe or Servants of the People? by John Kay

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, buy and hold, call centre, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, Irish property bubble, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, light touch regulation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, low cost airline, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, market design, millennium bug, mittelstand, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, NetJets, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Piper Alpha, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, Yom Kippur War

The tailgater persuades himself, and perhaps others, that his success is the result of his skilful driving. Crashes occur (the accident rate on French roads is so high that a French transport minister notoriously appealed to his compatriots to drive ‘comme les anglais’). But an element of cognitive dissonance creeps into accounts of the crash. The accident victim blames someone else for his misfortune: usually with some justification. The accidents that result from tailgating are triggered by some other immediate cause – an obstruction on the road, a mistake by another driver. The same cognitive dissonance enabled many bankers to persuade themselves – and some others – that the global financial crisis was not caused by their imprudent behaviour. The distribution of returns from tailgating shows a high probability of small gain and a low probability of large loss.

What was lost, in the end, was mostly other people’s money. By 2007–8 it became apparent that even the most senior tranche of a package of mortgages sold to people who were in default and whose houses were difficult to sell was likely to be worth very little. The story of that collapse has been told in detail in many places.6 Mozilo would settle charges levelled against him by the SEC with a payment of $67.5 million. With the cognitive dissonance of the tailgater, he would explain that the considerably larger amount he had received for his services as chief executive of Countrywide was justified by the profits that his company had reported from the sale of mortgages before the borrowers failed to pay them back. I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone. With the decline of thrifts, bank examiners had assumed the role formerly played by the Office of Thrift Supervision (although this famously incompetent regulator continued in existence and AIG Financial Products, issuer of credit default swaps, discovered a loophole that enabled it to operate under the Office’s feeble oversight).

Carbolic Smoke Ball Company 61, 316n13 Carnegie, Andrew 52 Carney, Mark 288 Carroll, Lewis: Through the Looking Glass 111 ‘carry trades’ 129 Carville, James 248, 249, 252 Casablanca (film) 292 Cassano, Joe 120, 293 Cayman Islands 122 Cayne, Jimmy 90 Central Banks 43, 75, 98, 183, 184, 242–6 Chacoan civilisation 277 Challenger space shuttle 276, 327n3 Channel Tunnel 158 chartism 110 Chelsfield 158 Chequers country residence, Buckinghamshire 231 Chesterton 158 Chicago Board of Trade 17 Chicago Butter and Egg Board 17, 19 Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) 19–20, 23, 31 China, economic growth in 53, 69 Chinese Revolution (1949) 3 Citibank 51, 166, 186 Citicorp 33–4, 37, 38, 48 Citigroup 1, 34, 35, 48, 49, 51, 57, 59, 91, 124, 134–5, 138, 191, 242, 293, 300 Citizens United case (2010) 304 City of Glasgow Bank 292 City of London 1, 20, 262, 263, 266, 268, 303, 305 careers in 12, 15 a pre-eminent financial centre 13 staffing of 217 Civil Aeronautics Board 238 civilisations, collapse of 277 Cleveland, Grover 233, 237 Clinton, Bill 5, 57, 205 closet indexation 206 Coca-Cola 108 ‘code staff’ 266 cognitive dissonance 102, 152 coin-tossing game 96, 105 Colbert, Jean-Baptiste 59–60, 63 collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) 40, 63–4, 73, 101, 131, 244, 303 Collins, Senator S.M. 114, 117 commercial banks acquisitions 24 capital strength 28 investment banks within 22 payments system 25 public companies 30 short-term lending 25 structure of 30 commercial paper 163 Commerzbank 169 Commodity Futures Modernization Act (2000) 119 Commodity Futures Trading Commission 57, 288 Communist states 3, 39 company directors 84 competition 111–14 Confucius 270 Conrad, Joseph: Typhoon 233, 235 consumer debt 175 consumer protection 259–62 contactless payment cards 181, 186 corporate treasurer 164 corporation tax 266 correlation 96, 97–8 Corrigan, E.


pages: 256 words: 60,620

Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition by Michael J. Mauboussin

affirmative action, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, butter production in bangladesh, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, Clayton Christensen, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, disruptive innovation, Edward Thorp, experimental economics, financial innovation, framing effect, fundamental attribution error, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Akerlof, hindsight bias, hiring and firing, information asymmetry, libertarian paternalism, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, Murray Gell-Mann, Netflix Prize, pattern recognition, Philip Mirowski, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, presumed consent, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, statistical model, Steven Pinker, The Wisdom of Crowds, ultimatum game

Failure to reflect reversion to the mean is the result of extrapolating earlier performance into the future without giving proper weight to the role of chance. Models based on past results forecast in the belief that the future will be characteristically similar to history. In each case, our minds—or the models our minds construct—anticipate without giving suitable consideration to other possibilities. When in Doubt, Rationalize Your Decision Cognitive dissonance is one facet of our next mistake, the rigidity that comes with the innate human desire to be internally and externally consistent.14 Cognitive dissonance, a theory developed in the 1950s by Leon Festinger, a social psychologist, arises when “a person holds two cognitions—ideas, attitudes, beliefs, opinions—that are psychologically inconsistent.”15 The dissonance causes mental discomfort that our minds seek to reduce. Many times we resolve the discomfort by figuring out how to justify our actions, for example, the man who recognizes that wearing a seat belt improves safety but who doesn’t do it.

The cult was to release this “Christmas message” to the newspapers immediately and in complete detail. So the exhausted members, led by Mrs. Keech, started calling newspapers, radio stations, and wire services. From then on, the cult opened up. “The house was crowded with the nowwelcome horde of newspaper, radio, and television representatives,” the scientists wrote, “and visitors streamed in and out the door.”18 While cognitive dissonance is about internal consistency, the confirmation bias is about external consistency. The confirmation bias occurs when an individual seeks information that confirms a prior belief or view and disregards, or disconfirms, evidence that counters it.19 Robert Cialdini, a social psychologist at Arizona State University, notes that consistency offers two benefits. First, it permits us to stop thinking about an issue, giving us a mental break.


Adam Smith: Father of Economics by Jesse Norman

"Robert Solow", active measures, Andrei Shleifer, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Broken windows theory, business cycle, business process, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, centre right, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, Corn Laws, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial intermediation, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, George Akerlof, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, incomplete markets, information asymmetry, intangible asset, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, lateral thinking, loss aversion, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, moral panic, Naomi Klein, negative equity, Network effects, new economy, non-tariff barriers, Northern Rock, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, random walk, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, scientific worldview, seigniorage, Socratic dialogue, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Nature of the Firm, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, time value of money, transaction costs, transfer pricing, Veblen good, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, working poor, zero-sum game

In general, according to Smith, the desired identity is of someone who is ‘lovely… or the natural and proper object of love’, and the judgement by the impartial spectator of what is lovely will always be as in the eyes of others. But what happens when such a person does something at odds with their identity—something that they know is not lovely in the eyes of others? The result, according to the great American social psychologist Leon Festinger, is cognitive dissonance: that is, a feeling of discomfort which encourages the individual to rationalize their action as having somehow been right all along. For Smith, this is seen in the excuses offered for infanticide in ancient Greece, that it ‘is commonly done, and they seem to think this a sufficient apology for what, in itself, is the most unjust and unreasonable conduct’. Festinger predicted—and his findings have been widely replicated—that the greater the dissonance, the more extreme the need for self-justification.

To take a recent example, when it was shown that weapons of mass destruction did not exist in Iraq in 2003, and therefore that the stated rationale for the US-led invasion of Iraq had been groundless, supporters of the invasion generally did not accept this; instead they insisted that the war had been a success anyway, was justified for other reasons, had brought peace, had increased international security and the like. Festinger’s work on cognitive dissonance, and his earlier work on social comparison, sit at the heart of much modern social psychology; and they revisit ideas to be found in Adam Smith. But Smith’s work also hints at a deeper explanation for these phenomena. Recall that for Smith someone’s reputation or public character is part of their personal property, under what he calls the jus sincerae aestimationis, or right to an unspoiled reputation.

This private internal reputation can be a hugely useful asset in supporting someone’s belief in their value in the world, their will to make things happen and their resilience in the face of adversity. But it also leads directly to the patterns of defensive self-justification described by Festinger. Treating people’s core beliefs and moral identity as property assets, perhaps hard-won, in Smithian fashion makes it easier to understand their reluctance to give them up in the face of cognitively dissonant behaviour. But this approach can also help to explain many other kinds of behaviour as well. People who see themselves as rich in the assets of moral identity tend to behave in a more entitled way. They are more likely to ‘coast’, that is, to give themselves licence to misbehave in later situations, while those who see themselves as depleted may take up worthy causes: privately in an effort to renew their identity capital, or publicly to renew their reputation with others.


Science Fictions: How Fraud, Bias, Negligence, and Hype Undermine the Search for Truth by Stuart Ritchie

Albert Einstein, anesthesia awareness, Bayesian statistics, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, coronavirus, correlation does not imply causation, COVID-19, Covid-19, crowdsourcing, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, Growth in a Time of Debt, Kenneth Rogoff, l'esprit de l'escalier, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Milgram experiment, mouse model, New Journalism, p-value, phenotype, placebo effect, profit motive, publication bias, publish or perish, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, replication crisis, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Stanford prison experiment, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Pinker, Thomas Bayes, twin studies, University of East Anglia

As with statcheck, GRIM errors can have benign causes, but they are red flags that signal the need for further investigation. The number 3.08 in my example was a deliberate choice, because it’s a notable one from the history of the GRIM test – and psychology research in general. In 2016, the psychologist Matti Heino applied the GRIM test to one of the most famous psychology papers of all time: Leon Festinger and James Carlsmith’s 1959 paper on ‘cognitive dissonance’13. This is the now widely known idea that forcing someone to say or do something inconsistent with their true beliefs will make them psychologically uncomfortable and they’ll do their best to alter those beliefs to make them fit with what they’ve been made to say or do. In the 1959 study, participants were made to complete some tedious, pointless tasks, such as endlessly twisting pegs around on a pegboard.

They’d reduced their dissonance, in other words, by making themselves believe they’d had fun.14 Alas, Heino’s use of the GRIM test showed that it wasn’t just the participants’ beliefs that were inconsistent – it was Festinger and Carlsmith’s numbers.15 They reported an average score of 3.08 for a sample of twenty people filling in a scale of 0-to-10, which as we just saw isn’t possible, alongside several other averages that failed the GRIM test. Cognitive dissonance is a remarkably useful concept that makes intuitive sense, and the experiment was clever and memorable. But would the thousands of researchers who’ve cited Festinger and Carlsmith’s study over the years have done so if they’d known it was riddled with impossible numbers?16 The story reminds us once more that even ‘classic’ findings from the scientific literature – the ones that you would hope had been examined most rigorously – can be wholly unreliable, with what should be the most important part, the numbers and the data, acting as mere window-dressing in service of an attention-grabbing story.

You can try it with a calculator, or use the app at: http://nickbrown.fr/GRIM 13.  Leon Festinger & James M. Carlsmith, ‘Cognitive Consequences of Forced Compliance’, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 58, no. 2 (1959): pp. 203–10; https://doi.org/10.1037/h0041593 14.  There was actually a third group, who were paid $20. They reported finding the task as tedious as did those who weren’t paid anything – supposedly because they had reduced their cognitive dissonance by thinking of all that nice money, rather than by altering their beliefs. 15.  Matti Heino, ‘The Legacy of Social Psychology’, Data Punk, 13 Nov. 2016; https://mattiheino.com/2016/11/13/legacy-of-psychology/ 16.  As of January 2020, the paper has over 4,200 citations, according to Google Scholar. 17.  Carlisle (2012), Anaesthesia. See also this profile of Carlisle: David Adam, ‘How a Data Detective Exposed Suspicious Medical Trials’, Nature 571, no. 7766 (July 2019): pp. 462–64; https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-02241-z 18.  


pages: 239 words: 68,598

The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning by James E. Lovelock

Ada Lovelace, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, continuous integration, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, discovery of DNA, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Henri Poincaré, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, short selling, Stewart Brand, University of East Anglia

To be sure they hedge their bets with green‐sounding invocations and aim for sustainable development, but can this do more than the prayers they offer in Parliament? I am not a contrarian; instead I greatly respect the climate scientists of the IPCC and would prefer to accept as true their conclusions about future climates. I do not enjoy argument for its own sake but I cannot ignore the large differences that exist between their predictions and what is observed. In human affairs we know that ‘he who hesitates is lost’; social scientists talk of ‘cognitive dissonance’, which the composer of the phrase, Leon Festinger, defined as the feeling of discomfort we feel when trying to hold two contradictory ideas simultaneously and the urge to reduce the dissonance by modifying or rejecting one of the ideas. It operates when we choose between two almost equal objects and, having chosen, invest our choice with superlative advantage over the alternative so that we can happily reject it.

The decision process must be part of our genetic inheritance; we need that certainty in human transactions. We have to choose and then have faith in our choice; this applies to the jobs we take, how we vote, the purchases we make, and the marriages to which we commit ourselves. It applies also to a judge or jury, but it is worse than useless in science. However, scientists are human and we never entirely escape the pull of cognitive dissonance. The range of forecasts by the different models of the IPCC is so large that it is difficult to believe that they are reliable enough to be used by governments to plan policy for ameliorating climate change. It is a brave try at an exceedingly difficult scientific task and probably we are expecting too much from them: it would be wrong to expect the view of the panel to be truly authoritative.

(If you are curious to know more about this side of my life it is in my autobiography Homage to Gaia.) This third component of my knowledge base has taught me that above all humans hate any conspicuous change in their daily way of life and view of the future. As Bertrand Russell put it, ‘The average man would rather face death or torture than think.’ The overwhelming wish to continue with business as usual applies far beyond the marketplace and may be a consequence of the cognitive dissonance I wrote about earlier. Business as usual is unfortunately how most of science is done even though we know that it has no place in science’s probabilistic world. For practical and administrative reasons we cannot suddenly change the direction of research of a large and expensive laboratory built around a costly assembly of instruments, computers and specialized staff; this may be part of the reason why our forecasts do not agree well with expectations drawn from the history of the Earth.


pages: 235 words: 62,862

Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders, and a 15-Hour Workweek by Rutger Bregman

autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Branko Milanovic, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Graeber, Diane Coyle, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Gilder, George Santayana, happiness index / gross national happiness, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, income inequality, invention of gunpowder, James Watt: steam engine, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, low skilled workers, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, precariat, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wage slave, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, wikimedia commons, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey

So opens Leon Festinger’s account of these events in When Prophecy Fails, first published in 1956 and a seminal text in social psychology to this day. “Tell him you disagree and he turns away,” Festinger continues. “Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.” It’s easy to scoff at the story of Mrs. Martin and her believers, but the phenomenon Festinger describes is one that none of us are immune to. “Cognitive dissonance,” he coined it. When reality clashes with our deepest convictions, we’d rather recalibrate reality than amend our worldview. Not only that, we become even more rigid in our beliefs than before.1 Mind you, we tend to be quite flexible when it comes to practical matters. Most of us are even willing to accept advice on how to remove a grease stain or chop a cucumber. No, it’s when our political, ideological, or religious ideas are at stake that we get the most stubborn.

When just one other person in the group stuck to the truth, the test subjects were more likely to trust the evidence of their own senses. Let this be an encouragement to all those who feel like a lone voice crying out in the wilderness: Keep on building those castles in the sky. Your time will come. Long Was the Night In 2008, it seemed as if that time had finally come when we were confronted with the biggest case of cognitive dissonance since the 1930s. On September 15, the investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. Suddenly, the whole global banking sector seemed poised to tumble like a row of dominoes. In the months that followed, one free market dogma after another crashed and burned. Former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan, once dubbed the “Oracle” and the “Maestro,” was gobsmacked. “Not only have individual financial institutions become less vulnerable to shocks from underlying risk factors,” he had confidently asserted in 2004, “but also the financial system as a whole has become more resilient.”9 When Greenspan retired in 2006, everyone assumed he would be immortalized in history’s financial hall of fame.

On Wall Street, bankers are seeing the highest bonus payments since the crash.12 And the banks’ capital buffers are as minuscule as ever. Joris Luyendijk, a journalist at The Guardian who spent two years looking under the hood of London’s financial sector, summed up the experience in 2013 as follows: “It’s like standing at Chernobyl and seeing they’ve restarted the reactor but still have the same old management.”13 You have to wonder: Was the cognitive dissonance from 2008 even big enough? Or was it too big? Had we invested too much in our old convictions? Or were there simply no alternatives? This last possibility is the most worrying of all. The word “crisis” comes from ancient Greek and literally means to “separate” or “sieve.” A crisis, then, should be a moment of truth, the juncture at which a fundamental choice is made. But it almost seems that back in 2008 we were unable to make that choice.


pages: 114 words: 30,715

The Four Horsemen by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett

3D printing, Andrew Wiles, cognitive dissonance, cosmological constant, dark matter, Desert Island Discs, en.wikipedia.org, phenotype, Richard Feynman, stem cell, Steven Pinker

And then they would think, ‘Oh, this is one of those cosmic shifts that Dennett and Dawkins and Harris and Hitchens are talking about. Oh, right! And they think this is somehow illicit.’ Just to create a little more awareness in them of what a strange thing it is that they’re doing. HITCHENS: I’m afraid to say that I think that cognitive dissonance is probably necessary for everyday survival. Everyone does it a bit. DENNETT: You mean tolerating cognitive dissonance? HITCHENS: No, practising it. Take the case of someone who’s a member of MoveOn.org.*4 They think the United States government is a brutal, militaristic, imperial regime. It crushes the poor and invades other people’s countries. But they pay their taxes, and it’s very, very rare that they don’t. They send their children to [public] school.


pages: 123 words: 32,382

Grouped: How Small Groups of Friends Are the Key to Influence on the Social Web by Paul Adams

Airbnb, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, information retrieval, invention of the telegraph, planetary scale, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, sentiment analysis, social web, statistical model, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application, white flight

The larger number of choices were good for getting people’s attention, but were ultimately far worse for sales.2 In a study on how people select pension funds, when 95 funds were offered, about 60 percent of people participated, but when only 2 funds were offered, the rate of participation jumped to 75 percent.3 When Procter & Gamble reduced the number of Head & Shoulders products from 26 to 15, they saw a 10 percent increase in sales.4 Often it is better to offer fewer choices. Although we want more information, when we have two or more conflicting ideas in our head, we become overwhelmed. This is known as cognitive dissonance and we often experience it when shopping. When this happens, we often pick the option that matches our current beliefs, and disregard all other options without evaluating them properly. When we buy things, in particular expensive things, we often feel discomfort after the purchase because we’re not sure if the purchase was a good decision. Instead of returning the item, we’re much more likely to reduce the dissonance by telling everyone how great the purchase was, and convincing ourselves in the process.

When we’re sad or scared we want what’s familiar and will avoid what’s new.8 How to change people’s habits We often use advertising to try to persuade people that there are better alternatives to what they currently do. Yet, presenting them with evidence that what they currently do is a bad choice is one of the worst ways to change people’s behavior or attitude. At best, this has little influence, as we automatically ignore information counter to our beliefs. At worst, the conflicting evidence brings about cognitive dissonance, and because we don’t like to hold opposing views in our head, we become more ingrained in what we believed before. It’s incredibly hard to change people’s attitudes. It’s much easier to invoke behavioral change first, and then attitudinal change later. Changes in behavior almost always lead to changes in attitude. But before people will change their behavior, they have to be ready to try something new.


pages: 459 words: 103,153

Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure by Tim Harford

Andrew Wiles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, car-free, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, Deep Water Horizon, Deng Xiaoping, disruptive innovation, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Fermat's Last Theorem, Firefox, food miles, Gerolamo Cardano, global supply chain, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, John Harrison: Longitude, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Netflix Prize, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, PageRank, Piper Alpha, profit motive, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, rolodex, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, web application, X Prize, zero-sum game

It would have been easy for someone of her stature to reject outright the critics’ views, refuse to change the show, lose her investors’ money, set back the careers of her young dancers, and go to the grave convinced that the world had misunderstood her masterpiece. Why is denial such a natural tendency? Psychologists have a name for the root cause which has become famous enough that many non-psychologists will recognise the term: cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance describes the mind’s difficulty in holding two apparently contradictory thoughts simultaneously: in Tharp’s case, ‘I am a capable, experienced and respected choreographer’ and ‘My latest creation is stupefyingly clichéd.’ This odd phenomenon was first pinned down in an ingenious laboratory experiment half a century ago. Leon Festinger and James Carlsmith asked their experimental subjects to perform a tedious task – emptying and refilling a tray with spools, using one hand – for half an hour.

Carlsmith, ‘Cognitive consequences of forced compliance’, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 58 (1959), 203–10. 252 ‘It means that the sperm found’: Carol Tavris & Elliot Aronson, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) (London: Pinter & Martin, 2008), p. 150. 252 Bromgard had spent fifteen years in prison: Kathryn Schulz, Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error (London: Portobello, 2010), pp.233–8. 253 ‘One of the worst professional errors’: Tavris & Aronson, Mistakes Were Made, p.130. 253 ‘I didn’t promote myself as a star’: Twyla Tharp, Push Comes to Shove (New York: Bantam, 1992), p. 82. 253 ‘That experience remains intensely painful’: Tharp, Push Comes to Shove, p. 84. 253 ‘Bob and I had lost a baby’: Tharp, Push Comes to Shove, p. 98. 255 Naturally the subject usually chose: M. D. Lieberman, K. N. Ochsner, D. T. Gilbert, & D. L. Schacter, ‘Do amnesics exhibit cognitive dissonance reduction? The role of explicit memory and attention in attitude change’, Psychological Science, 12 (2001), 135–40. 255 ‘Happiness being synthesised’: Dan Gilbert at TED, February 2004, http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy.html 256 Taught Petraeus that everyone is fallible: David Cloud & Greg Jaffe, The Fourth Star (New York: Crown, 2009), p. 43. 257 ‘She didn’t try to console me’: Tharp & Reiter, The Creative Habit, p. 221. 257 The reviews are harsh but fair: Reviews by Hedy Weiss, Michael Phillips & Sid Smith, references above. 257 ‘All you need are people’: Tharp & Reiter, The Creative Habit, p. 229. 258 People with regular jobs tend to receive feedback: Andrew Oswald, ‘What is a happiness equation?’

., 55, 59, 71 catastrophe experts, 184–6, 191, 194–5, 208 Cave-Brown-Cave, Air Commodore Henry, 81, 83, 85, 88, 114 centralised decision making, 70, 74–5, 226, 227, 228; warfare and, 46–7, 67–8, 69, 71, 76, 78–9 centrally planned economies, 11, 21, 23–6, 68–9, 70 Challenger shuttle disaster, 184 Charles, Prince, 154 Chernobyl disaster, 185 Chile, 3, 69–72, 76, 148 China, 11, 94, 131, 143, 147, 150, 152 Christensen, Clayton, 239–40, 242, 245 Chuquicamata mine (Chile), 3 Churchill, Winston, 41–2, 82, 85 Citigroup, 205131 Clay Mathematics Institute, 110 climate change, 4, 20; carbon dioxide emissions and, 132, 156, 159–65, 166–9, 173, 176, 178–80; ‘carbon footprinting’, 159–66; carbon tax/price idea, 167–9, 178–80, 222; environmental regulations and, 169–74, 176, 177; ‘food miles’ and, 159, 160–1, 168; governments/politics and, 157–8, 163, 169–74, 176, 180; greenhouse effect and, 154–6; individual behaviour and, 158–63, 164, 165–6; innovation prizes and, 109, 179; methane and, 155, 156, 157, 159–60, 173, 179, 180; new technologies and, 94–5; simplicity/complexity paradox, 156, 157–8; Thaler-Sunstein nudge, 177–8; uncertainty and, 156 Coca-Cola, 28, 243 Cochrane, Archie, 123–7, 129, 130, 140, 238, 256 cognitive dissonance, 251–2 Cold War, 6, 41, 62–3 Colombia, 117, 147 complexity theory, 3–4, 13, 16, 49, 72103, 237 computer games, 92–3 computer industry, 11–12, 69, 70–1, 239–42 corporations and companies: disruptive technologies and, 239–44, 245–6; environmental issues and, 157–8, 159, 161, 165, 170–1, 172–3; flattening of hierarchies, 75, 224–5, 226–31; fraud and, 208, 210, 212–13, 214; innovation and, 17, 81–2, 87–9, 90, 93–4, 95–7, 108–11, 112, 114, 224–30, 232–4; limited liability, 244; patents and, 95–7, 110, 111, 114; randomised experiments and, 235–9; skunk works model and, 89, 91, 93, 152, 224, 242–3, 245; strategy and, 16, 18, 27–8, 36, 223, 224–34; see also business world; economics and finance cot-death, 120–1 credit-rating agencies, 188, 189, 190 Criner, Roy, 252 Crosby, Sir James, 211, 214, 250, 256 Cuban Missile Crisis, 41, 63 Cudahy Packing, 9 dairy products, 158, 159–60, 164–5, 166 Darwin, Charles, 86 Dayton Hudson, 243 de Montyon, Baron, 107–8 Deal or No Deal (TV game show), 33–5, 253 decentralisation, 73, 74–8, 222, 224–5, 226–31; Iraq war and, 76–8, 79; trial and error and, 31, 174–5, 232, 234 decision making: big picture thinking, 41, 42, 46, 55; consistent standards and, 28–9; diversity of opinions, 31, 44–5, 46, 48–50, 59–63; doctrine of unanimous advice, 30–1, 47–50, 62–3, 64, 78; grandiosity and, 27–8; idealized hierarchy, 40–1, 42, 46–7, 49–50, 55, 78; learning from mistakes, 31–5, 78, 119, 250–1, 256–9, 261–2; local/on the ground, 73, 74, 75, 76–8, 79, 224–5, 226–31; reporting lines/chain of command, 41, 42, 46, 49–50, 55–6, 58, 59–60, 64, 77–8; supportive team with shared vision, 41, 42, 46, 56, 62–3; unsuccessful, 19, 32, 34–5, 41–2; see also centralised decision making Deepwater Horizon disaster (April 2010), 36, 216–19, 220 Democratic Republic of Congo, 139–40 Deng Xiaoping, 1 Denmark, 148 Department for International Development (DFID), 133, 137–8 development aid: charter cities movement, 150–3; community-driven reconstruction (CDR), 137–40; corruption and, 133–5, 142–3; economic ‘big push’ and, 143–5, 148–9; feedback loops, 141–3; fundamentally unidentified questions (FUQs), 132, 133; governments and, 118, 120, 143, 144, 148–9; identification strategies, 132–5; microfinance, 116, 117–18, 120; Millennium Development Villages, 129–30, 131; product space concept, 145–8; randomised trials and, 127–9, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135–6, 137–40, 141; randomistas, 127–9, 132, 133, 135–40, 258; selection principle and, 117, 140–3, 149; SouthWest project in China, 131; success and failure, 116, 118–20, 130–1; Muhammad Yunus and, 116, 117–18 digital photography, 240–1, 242 Dirks, Ray, 211–12, 213 disk-drive industry, 239–40, 242 Djankov, Simeon, 135 domino-toppling displays, 185, 200–1 Don Basin (Russia), 21–2, 24, 27 dot-com bubble, 10, 92 Dubai, 147, 150 Duflo, Esther, 127, 131, 135, 136 Dyck, Alexander, 210, 213 eBay, 95, 230 econometrics, 132–5 economics and finance: banking system as complex and tightly coupled, 185, 186, 187–90, 200, 201, 207–8, 220; bankruptcy contingency plans, 204; Basel III regulations, 195; bond insurance business, 189–90; bridge bank/rump bank approach, 205–6; capital requirements, 203, 204; centrally planned economiepos=0000032004 >11, 21, 23–6, 68–9, 70; CoCos (contingent convertible bonds), 203–4; complexity and, 3–4; decoupling of financial system, 202, 203–8, 215–16, 220; Dodd-Frank reform act (2010), 195; employees as error/fraud spotters, 210, 211, 212, 213, 215; energy crisis (1970s), 179; evolutionary theory and, 14–17, 18–19, 174–5; improvements since 1960s, 215; inter-bank payments systems, 207; latent errors and, 209–10, 215; ‘LMX spiral’, 183–4, 189; narrow banking approach, 206–7, 215; need for systemic heat maps, 195–6; reinsurance markets, 183; zombie banks, 201–2; see also business world; corporations and companies; financial crisis (from 2007) Edison, Thomas, 236, 238 Eliot, T.S., 260 Elizabeth House (Waterloo), 170–1, 172 Endler, John, 221–2, 223, 234, 239 Engineers Without Borders, 119 Enron, 197–8, 200, 208, 210 environmental issues: biofuels, 84, 173, 176; clean energy, 91, 94, 96, 245–6; corporations/companies and, 159, 161, 165, 170–1, 172–3; renewable energy technology, 84, 91, 96, 130, 168, 169–73, 179, 245; see also climate change Equity Funding Corporation, 212 Ernst and Young, 199 errors and mistakes, types of, 208–10; latent errors, 209–10, 215, 218, 220 European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), 188 European Union, 169, 173 Evans, Martin, 100 evolutionary theory, 6, 12–13, 15–17, 174, 258; business world and, 14–17, 174–5, 233–4; Darwin and, 86; digital world and, 13–14, 259–60; economics and, 14–17, 174–5; Endler’s guppy experiments, 221–2, 223, 239; fitness landscapes, 14–15, 259; Leslie Orgel’s law, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 180; problem solving and, 14–15, 16; selective breeding and, 175–6 expertise, limits of, 6–8, 16, 17, 19, 66 extinction events, biological, 18–19 Exxon (formerly Jersey Standard), 9, 12, 188, 245 F-22 stealth fighter, 93 Facebook, 90, 91 failure: in business, 8–10, 11–12, 18–19, 36, 148–9, 224, 239–46; chasing of losses, 32–5, 253–4, 256; in complex and tightly coupled systems, 185–90, 191–2, 200, 201, 207–8, 219, 220; corporate extinctions, 18–19; denial and, 32, 34–5, 250–3, 255–6; disruptive technologies, 239–44, 245–6; of established industries, 8–10; government funding and, 148–9; hedonic editing and, 254; honest advice from others and, 256–7, 258, 259; learning from, 31–5, 78, 119, 250–1, 256–9, 261–2; modern computer industry and, 11–12, 239–42; as natural in market system, 10, 11, 12, 244, 245–6; niche markets and, 240–2; normal accident theory, 219; recognition of, 36, 224; reinterpreted as success, 254–5, 256; shifts in competitive landscape, 239–46; ‘Swiss cheese model’ of safety systems, 186–7, 190, 209, 218; types of error and mistake, 208–10; willingness to fail, 249–50, 261–2; of young industries, 10 Fearon, James, 137, Federal Aviation Administration, 210 Federal Reserve Bank, 193–4 feedback, 25, 26, 42, 178, 240; in bureaucratic hierarchies, 30–1; development and, 141–3; dictatorships’ immunity to, 27; Iraq war and, 43–5, 46, 57–8, 59–62; market system and, 141; praise sandwich, 254; public services and, 141; self-employment and, 258; yes-men and, 30 Feith, Douglas, 44, 45 Ferguson, Chris ‘Jesus’, 32 Fermi nuclear reactor (near Detroit), 187 Festinger, Leon, 251 financial crisis (from 2007), 5, 11, 25; AIG and, 189, 193–5, 215–16, 228; bankers’ bonuses, 198; banking system as complex and tightly coupled, 185, 186, 187–90, 200, 201, 207–8, 220; bond insurance business and, 189–90; collateralised debt obligations (CDOs), 190, 209; credit default swaps (CDSs), 187–9, 190, 194; derivatives deals and, 198, 220; faulty information systems and, 193–5; fees paid to administrators, 197; government bail-outs/guarantees, 202, 214, 223; Lehman Brothers and, 193, 194, 196–200, 204–5, 208, 215–16; ‘LMX spiral’ comparisons, 183–4, 189; Repo 105 accounting trick, 199 Financial Services Authority (FSA), 214 Firefox, 221, 230 Fleming, Alexander, 83 Food Preservation prize, 107, 108 Ford Motor Company, 46–7 fossil record, 18 Fourier, Joseph, 155 fraud, corporate, 208, 210, 212–13, 214 Friedel, Robert, 80 Frost, Robert, 260 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (musical), 248 Gage, Phineas, 21, 27 Galapagos Islands, 86, 87 Gale (US developer), 152 Galenson, David, 260 Galileo, 187 Galland, Adolf, 81 Gallipoli campaign (1915), 41–2 Galvin, Major General Jack, 62, 256 game theory, 138, 205 Gates, Bill, 110, 115 Gates, Robert, 59, 64, 78 Gates Foundation, 110 Geithner, Tim, 193–5, 196 GenArts, 13 General Electric, 9, 12, 95 Gilbert, Daniel, 255, 256 GlaxoSmithKline, 95 Glewwe, Paul, 127–8 Global Positioning System (GPS), 113 globalisation, 75 Google, 12, 15, 90, 91, 239, 245, 261; corporate strategy, 36, 231–4; Gmail, 233, 234, 241, 242; peer monitoring at, 229–30 Gore, Al, An Inconvenient Truth, 158 Göring, Hermann, 81 government and politics: climate change and, 157–8, 163, 169–74, 176, 180; development aid and, 118, 120, 143, 144, 148–9; financial crisis (from 2007) and, 193–5, 198–9, 202, 214, 215–16, 223; grandiosity and, 27–8; ideal hierarchies and, 46pos=00002pos=0000022558 >7, 49–50, 62–3, 78; innovation funding, 82, 88, 93, 97, 99–101, 102–3, 104, 113; lack of adaptability rewarded, 20; pilot schemes and, 29, 30; rigorous evaluation methods and, 29* Graham, Loren, 26 Grameen Bank, 116, 117 Greece, 147 Green, Donald, 29* greenhouse effect, 154–6 Gulf War, first, 44, 53, 65, 66, 67, 71; Battle of 73 Easting, 72–3, 74, 79 Gutenberg, Johannes, 10 Haldane, Andrew, 195, 258 Halifax (HBOS subsidiary), 211 Halley, Edmund, 105 Halliburton, 217 Hamel, Gary, 221, 226, 233, 234 Hanna, Rema, 135 Hannah, Leslie, 8–10, 18 Hanseatic League, 150 Harrison, John, 106–7, 108, 110, 111 Harvard University, 98–9, 185 Hastings, Reed, 108 Hausmann, Ricardo, 145 Hayek, Friedrich von, 1, 72, 74–5, 227 HBOS, 211, 213, 214 healthcare sector, US, 213–14 Heckler, Margaret, 90–1 Henry the Lion, 149, 150, 151–2, 153 Hewitt, Adrian, 169 Hidalgo, César, 144–7, 148 Higginson, Peter, 230 Hinkley Point B power station, 192–3, 230–1 Hitachi, 11 Hitler, Adolf, 41, 82, 83, 150 HIV-AIDS, 90–1, 96, 111, 113 Holland, John, 16, 103 Hong Kong, 150 Houston, Dame Fanny, 88–9, 114 Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), 101–3, 112 Hughes (computer company), 11 Humphreys, Macartan, 136, 137, 138–40 Hurricane aircraft, 82* IBM, 11, 90, 95–6 In Search of Excellence (Peters and Waterman, 1982), 8, 10 India, 135, 136, 143, 147, 169 individuals: adaptation and, 223–4, 248–62; climate change and, 158–63, 164, 165–6; experimentation and, 260–2; trial and error and, 31–5 Indonesia, 133–4, 142, 143 Innocentive, 109 innovation: corporations and, 17, 81–2, 87–9, 90, 93–4, 95–7, 108–11, 112, 114, 224–30, 232–4; costs/funding of, 90–4, 99–105; failure as price worth paying, 101–3, 104, 184, 215, 236; government funding, 82, 88, 93, 97, 99–101, 102–3, 104, 113; grants and, 108; in health field, 90–1, 96; large teams and specialisation, 91–4; market system and, 17, 95–7, 104; new technologies and, 89–90, 91, 94–5; parallel possibilities and, 86–9, 104; prize methodology, 106–11, 112, 113–14, 179, 222–3; randomistas and, 127–9, 132, 133, 135–40, 258; return on investment and, 83–4; skunk works model, 89, 91, 93, 152, 224, 242–3, 245; slowing down of, 90–5, 97; small steps and, 16, 24, 29, 36, 99, 103, 143, 149, 153, 224, 259–60; space tourism, 112–13, 114; specialisation and, 91–2; speculative leaps and, 16, 36, 91, 99–100, 103–4, 259–60; unpredictability and, 84–5 Intel, 11, 90, 95 International Christelijk Steunfonds (ICS), 127–9, 131 International Harvester, 9 International Rescue Committee (IRC), 137–8, 139 internet, 12, 15, 63, 90, 113, 144, 223, 233, 238, 241; randomised experiments and, 235–6, 237; see also Google Iraq war: al Anbar province, 56–7, 58, 64, 76–7; civil war (2006), 39–40; Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP), 77; counterinsurgency strategy, 43, 45, 55–6, 58, 60–1, 63–4, 65; decentralisation and, 76–8, 79; feedback and, 43–5, 46, 57–8, 59–62; FM 3–24 (counter-insurgency manual), 63; Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), 51–3, 57, 65; Haditha killings (19 November 2005), 37–9, 40, 42, 43, 52; new technologies and, 71, 72, 74, 78–9, 196; Samarra bombing (22 February 2006), 39; Tal Afar, 51, 52, 53–5, 61, 64, 74, 77, 79; trial and error and, 64–5, 66–7; US turnaround in, 35, 40, 46, 50–1, 53–6, 57–8, 59–61, 63–5, 78; US/allied incompetence and, 38, 39–40, 42–5, 46, 50, 64, 67, 79, 223; Vietnam parallels, 46 J&P Coats, 9 Jacobs, Jane, 87 James, Jonathan, 30 Jamet, Philippe, 192 Janis, Irving, 62 Japan, 11, 143, 176, 204, 208 Jay-Z, 119 Jo-Ann Fabrics, 235 Jobs, Steve, 19 Joel, Billy, 247–8, 249 Johnson, President Lyndon, 46, 47, 49–50, 60, 62, 64, 78 Jones, Benjamin F., 91–2 Joyce, James, 260 JP Morgan, 188 Kahn, Herman, 93 Kahneman, Daniel, 32, 253 Kantorovich, Leonid, 68–9, 76 Kaplan, Fred, 77 Karlan, Dean, 135 Kauffmann, Stuart, 16, 103 Kay, John, 206–7, 208, 215, 259 Keller, Sharon, 252 Kelly, Terri, 230 Kennedy, President John F., 41, 47, 62–3, 84, 113 Kenya, 127–9, 131 Kerry, John, 20 Keynes, John Maynard, 181 Kilcullen, David, 57, 60–1 Klemperer, Paul, 96, 205 Klinger, Bailey, 145 Kotkin, Stephen, 25 Kremer, Michael, 127–8, 129 Krepinevich, Andy, 45 Lanchester, John, 188 leaders: decision making and, 40–2; failure of feedback and, 30–1, 62; grandiosity and, 27–8; ignoring of failure, 36; mistakes by, 41–2, 56, 67; need to believe in, 5–6; new leader as solution, 59 Leamer, Ed, 132* Leeson, Nick, 184–5, 208 Lehman Brothers, 193, 194, 196–200, 204–5, 208, 215–16 Lenin Dam (Dnieper River), 24 Levine, John, 48–9 Levitt, Steven, 132–3 Liberia, 136–9 light bulbs, 162, 177 Lind, James, 122–3 Lindzen, Richard, 156 Livingstone, Ken, 169 Lloyd’s insurance, 183 Lloyds TSB, 214 Local Motors, 90 Lockheed, Skunk Works division, 89, 93, 224, 242 Lomas, Tony, 196, 197–200, 204, 205, 208, 219 Lomborg, Bjorn, 94 longitude problem, 105–7, 108 Lu Hong, 49 Lübeck, 149–50, 151–2, 153 Luftwaffe, 81–2 MacFarland, Colonel Sean, 56–7, 64, 74, 76–7, 78 Mackay, General Andrew, 67–8, 74 Mackey, John, 227, 234 Madoff, Bernard, 208212–13 Magnitogorsk steel mills, 24–5, 26, 153 Malawi, 119 Mallaby, Sebastian, 150, 151 management gurus, 8, 233 Manhattan Project, 82, 84 Manso, Gustavo, 102 Mao Zedong, 11, 41 market system: competition, 10–11, 17, 19, 75, 95, 170, 239–46; ‘disciplined pluralism’, 259; evolutionary theory and, 17; failure in as natural, 10, 11, 12, 244, 245–6; feedback loops, 141; innovation and, 17, 95–7, 104; patents and, 95–7; trial and error, 20; validation and, 257–8 Markopolos, Harry, 212–13 Marmite, 124 Maskelyne, Nevil, 106 mathematics, 18–19, 83, 146, 247; financial crisis (from 2007) and, 209, 213; prizes, 110, 114 Mayer, Marissa, 232, 234 McDonald’s, 15, 28 McDougal, Michael, 252 McGrath, Michael, 252 McMaster, H.R.


pages: 397 words: 109,631

Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking by Richard E. Nisbett

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, big-box store, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive dissonance, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological constant, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, endowment effect, experimental subject, feminist movement, fixed income, fundamental attribution error, glass ceiling, Henri Poincaré, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, longitudinal study, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, quantitative easing, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, Shai Danziger, Socratic dialogue, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, William of Occam, Zipcar

It actually is better for your well-being to give money than to receive it,1 and kind consideration of others makes one happier.2 But this doesn’t affect the logic of Pascal’s payoff matrix.) Pity the poor atheist if Pascal got the payoffs right in the event that God exists. Only a fool would fail to believe. But unfortunately you can’t just grunt and produce belief. Pascal had a solution to this problem, though. And in solving the problem he invented a new psychological theory—what we would now call cognitive dissonance theory. If our beliefs are incongruent with our behavior, something has to change: either our beliefs or our behavior. We don’t have direct control over our beliefs but we do have control over our behavior. And because dissonance is a noxious state, our beliefs move into line with our behavior. Pascal’s prescription for atheists is to proceed “by doing everything as if they believed, by taking holy water, by having Masses said, etc.… This will make you believe … What have you to lose?”

., “Findings from the 2008 Administration of the College Senior Survey (CSS): National Aggregates.” 11. Sanchez-Burks, “Performance in Intercultural Interactions at Work: Cross-Cultural Differences in Responses to Behavioral Mirroring.” 12. Goethals and Reckman, “The Perception of Consistency in Attitudes.” 13. Goethals, Cooper, and Naficy, “Role of Foreseen, Foreseeable, and Unforeseeable Behavioral Consequences in the Arousal of Cognitive Dissonance.” 14. Nisbett et al., “Behavior as Seen by the Actor and as Seen by the Observer.” 15. Ibid. 16. Nisbett, The Geography of Thought; Nisbett et al., “Culture and Systems of Thought: Holistic Vs. Analytic Cognition.” 17. Masuda et al., “Placing the Face in Context: Cultural Differences in the Perception of Facial Emotion.” 18. Masuda and Nisbett, “Attending Holistically vs. Analytically: Comparing the Context Sensitivity of Japanese and Americans.” 19.

The Creative Process. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1952/1980. Gilovich, Thomas, Robert Vallone, and Amos Tversky. “The Hot Hand in Basketball: On the Misperception of Random Sequences.” Cognitive Personality 17 (1985): 295–314. Goethals, George R., Joel Cooper, and Anahita Naficy. “Role of Foreseen, Foreseeable, and Unforeseeable Behavioral Consequences in the Arousal of Cognitive Dissonance.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37 (1979): 1179–85. Goethals, George R., and Richard F. Reckman. “The Perception of Consistency in Attitudes.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 9 (1973): 491–501. Goldstein, Noah J., Robert B. Cialdini, and Vladas Griskevicius. “A Room with a Viewpoint: Using Social Norms to Motivate Environmental Conservation in Hotels.” Journal of Consumer Research 35 (2008): 472–82.


pages: 453 words: 111,010

Licence to be Bad by Jonathan Aldred

"Robert Solow", Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Ayatollah Khomeini, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, feminist movement, framing effect, Frederick Winslow Taylor, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, full employment, George Akerlof, glass ceiling, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mont Pelerin Society, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, nudge unit, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, positional goods, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, spectrum auction, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Vilfredo Pareto, wealth creators, zero-sum game

Across the world in 2017, more than 170 tonnes of coal were burned every second.19 The enormity of the climate-change problem and the negligible impact of individual actions are two themes that arise repeatedly in focus groups on public attitudes and are echoed by large corporations and governments.20 Together, they are probably the biggest obstacle to radical action to address climate change. But we should be suspicious: as ever when free-riding beckons, it is extremely tempting to let ourselves off the hook, to assume that individual contributions make no difference.21 The psychology of cognitive dissonance tells us that when the truth is uncomfortable, we often respond by falling into self-deception. This need not be due to selfishness: it may be that if I make an uncomfortable effort or sacrifice now, I will gain much more later. But this kind of self-control is hard to achieve. Psychologists have shown that thinking about an experience in the present will be more ‘salient’ – more vivid, more prominent in our minds – than the same experience in the future.

air travel, commercial, 63–4 Akerlof, George, 223, 237, 248 altruism, 150–51, 159, 162–4 game theory’s denial of, 31–2, 41, 42–3 misunderstanding of, 13–14, 25, 31–2, 41–3, 112, 178–9 as not depleted through use, 14 seen as disguised selfishness, 11–12, 25, 112, 178–9 Amazon, 155, 178, 208 American Economic Association, 257, 258 Angrist, Joshua, 249 antitrust regulation, 56–8 Apple, 222–3 Aristotle, 14 Arrow, Ken awarded Nobel Prize, 71 and blood donations, 14, 163 at City College, New York, 74–5, 91 collective preference, 73–4, 75–7, 78–82 and democracy, 72–4, 75–7, 78–83, 95, 97 framework presented as scientific, 81–2, 124–5 and free marketeers, 78–9, 82 Impossibility Theorem, 72, 73–4, 75–7, 78–83, 89, 97 and mathematics, 71, 72, 73–5, 76–7, 82–3, 97 and Mont Pèlerin Society, 9 preference satisfaction’, 80–82, 97, 124–5, 129 and Ramsey, 189 at RAND, 70–71, 72–3, 74, 75–6, 77, 78 top-secret-level security clearance, 71–2 ‘A Cautious Case for Socialism’ (1978), 83 ‘On the Optimal Use of Winds for Flight Planning’, 71 Social Choice and Individual Values (1951), 71, 72, 75–7, 78–80, 97 artificial intelligence, 214, 242 Atlas Economic Research Foundation, 7–8 Austen, Jane, 134 austerity policies, recent, 258 Axelrod, Robert, 41 Babbage, Charles, 222 baby-market idea, 61, 138, 145, 146 Bachelier, Louis, 193 Baird, Douglas, 58–9 bandwagon effect, 110 Bank of England, 96, 120, 185, 211–12, 258 bankers excuse/permission to be greedy, 1–2, 204, 238 and Keynesian economics, 5 performance as wholly relative, 204 quantification and recklessness, 213 rigged pay-for-performance contracts, 229–30, 238 role in 2007 crisis, 1–2, 57, 182, 192 as serial offenders over uncertainty, 201 see also financial markets Barro, Josh, 63, 64 Bateson, Gregory, 28 battery-chicken farming, 7 Baumol, William, 90–92, 93, 94 BBC, 48, 98 Beaverbrook, Lord, 157 Becker, Gary amoral understanding of crime, 137, 152 and citizenship rights, 146 and Coase, 69 Freakonomics followers of, 130, 134, 148–9, 156 and Friedman, 126, 131 hidden assumptions of, 130–31, 133–4 human capital idea, 149 and individualism, 134, 135–8 and maximization, 129–31, 133–4, 147 as outsider, 50 and Posner, 56 rejects need for realistic assumptions, 132, 133–4, 148 and sale of body parts, 147–8 sees poor health as just a preference, 135, 136, 140 sees values as mere tastes, 136–8, 140 theories as deeply controversial, 127–9, 130 theories as slippery, 129, 133–4 and ‘universality’ of economics, 125, 126–31, 133–4, 135–8, 147–8 version of ‘rational’ behaviour, 128–9, 135, 140, 151 De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum (with Stigler, 1977), 135–6 The Economic Approach to Human Behavior (1976), 130 The Economics of Discrimination (1957), 126–7 A Treatise on the Family (1981), 127–8, 130–31, 133 behaviourism, 154–8, 237 behavioural economics context and culture, 175–6 framing effects, 170–71, 259 and incentives, 160, 171, 175, 176–7 methods from psychology, 170–71 and Nudge, 171–2 and orthodox economics, 173, 174–5, 247, 255 and physics envy, 175–6 problems with, 173–5, 250–51 ‘self-command’ strategies, 140 theory of irrationality, 12, 171, 250–51 and welfare maximization, 149 Bell, Alexander Graham, 222 bell curve distribution, 191–4, 195, 196, 201, 203–4, 218–19, 257 Bentham, Jeremy, 102 Berlin, Isiah, 166, 167–8 Beveridge Report (1942), 4 Bezos, Jeff, 208 Black, Duncan, 77–8, 95 Blackstone (private equity firm), 235 black swans, 192, 194, 201, 203–4 Blinder, Alan, The Economics of Brushing Teeth (1974), 136 blood donors, 14, 112, 162–3, 164, 169, 176 Borel, Émile, 185* Brennan, William, 56 broadcasting, 48–50, 98 spectrum auctions, 39–40, 47, 49–50 Buchanan, James McGill, 8, 83–5, 87–8, 89, 95, 115 Buffett, Warren, 229, 230, 236 Calcraft, John, 120, 121 Cameron, David, 172 Caplan, Brian, The Myth of the Rational Voter, 245–6 carbon markets, 47, 65–7 Carlson, Jack, 141–2 Carroll, Lewis (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), 72, 77 cartels and monopolies, 101, 102, 103–4 Cheney, Dick, 232–3 Chicago, University of, 2, 4, 34, 40, 49–51 antitrust ideas, 56–8 Buchanan at, 84 and Coase, 49–52, 53–4, 55, 56–7, 61, 68–9, 132 Friedman’s dominance, 50, 132 law and economics movement, 40, 55, 56–63, 64–7 revolution of 1968 at, 56, 58–9 zero-transaction-costs assumption, 51–2, 68–9 Chicago law school, 55, 56, 58–9 child labour, 124, 146 China, 65 City College, New York, 74–5, 91 climate change average temperature rises, 205–6, 207 and carbon markets, 47, 65–6 ‘cashing in’ on carbon markets, 67 Coasean worldview on pollution, 65–7, 68 denialists, 8 ‘discount rate’ on future costs, 208–9, 212 discrimination against future generations, 208–9 and free-riding theory, 2, 99, 113–17, 120 Intergovernmental Panel on, 207 measurement in numerical terms, 206–11, 213 and precautionary principle, 211–12 premature deaths due to, 207–9 and Prisoner’s Dilemma, 27 Stern Review, 206, 209–10 threat to economic growth, 209 Coase, Ronald argument given status of theorem, 51–2, 67 awarded Nobel Prize, 52 background of, 47–8 and Chicago School, 49–52, 53–4, 56–7, 61, 68–9, 132 and created markets, 47, 65–7 dismissal of ‘blackboard economics’, 48, 54, 64, 67–9 on Duncan Black, 77 evening at Director’s house (early 1960), 49–51, 132 fundamental misunderstanding of work of, 51, 52–3, 67–9 hypothetical world invoked by, 50–51, 52, 54–5, 62, 68 as Illinois resident, 46–7 and Mont Pèlerin Society, 8 and public-sector monopolies, 48–51 and transaction costs, 51–3, 54–5, 61, 62, 63–4, 68 ‘The Nature of the Firm’ (1932 paper), 48 The Problem of Social Cost’ (1960 paper), 47, 48, 50–51, 52, 54–5, 59 cognitive dissonance, 113–14 Cold War, 18–19, 20, 21–2, 24, 27, 181 Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), 33–4, 140 and Ellsberg, 184, 197, 198, 200 and game theory, 18, 20, 21–2, 24, 27, 33–4, 35, 70, 73, 198 and Impossibility Theorem, 75–6 RAND and military strategy, 18, 20, 21–2, 24, 27, 33–4, 70, 73, 75–6, 141, 200, 213 and Russell’s Chicken, 33 and Schelling, 138, 139–40 Washington–Moscow hotline installed, 139–40 collective preference and Ken Arrow, 73–4, 75–7, 78–82 Black’s median voter theorem, 77, 95–6 Sen’s mathematical framework, 80–81 communism, 82, 84, 101, 104, 237 Compass Lexecon, 58, 68 Condorcet Paradox, 76, 77 conspiracy theories, 3, 8, 9 cooperation cartels, monopolies, price-fixing, 101, 102, 103–4 and decision-making processes, 108–10 and free-riding theory, 2, 101, 102, 103–10 office teamwork, 109–10, 112 older perspective on, 100–102, 108, 111, 122 and Scandinavian countries, 103 view of in game theory, 21–2, 23, 25–32, 36–8, 41–3 corporate culture and antitrust regulation, 57–8 changes due to Friedman, 2, 152 Chicago approach to regulation, 40 and climate change, 113, 114, 115 executive pay, 215–16, 219, 224, 228–30, 234, 238 Jensen and Murphy’s article, 229 ‘optimal contracting’/pay-for-performance, 228–30, 238 predatory pricing, 57 and tax evasion/avoidance, 105–6 cost disease, 90–92, 93, 94 Cowles Commission in Chicago, 78 CP/M (Control Program for Microcomputers), 222 criminal responsibility, 111, 137, 152 Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), 33–4, 140 Damasio, Antonio, 14 data geeks, 248–50 ‘dead peasants insurance’, 124 decision-making processes, 108–10, 122, 170–71 ‘anchoring effect’, 212 authority figure–autonomy contradiction, 180 avoidance of pure uncertainty, 198–9 axioms (abstract mathematical assumptions), 198 Ellsberg Paradox, 184, 199–200 Ellsberg’s experiment (1961), 182–4, 187, 197, 198–200, 205 Linda Problem, 202–3 orthodox decision theory, 183–4, 185–6, 189–91, 193–4, 198–200, 201–2, 203–5, 211, 212–14 and the Savage orthodoxy, 190–91, 197, 198–200, 203 scenario planning as crucial, 251 Von Neumann’s theory of decision-making, 189, 190, 203 see also probability; risk and uncertainty democracy and Ken Arrow, 72–4, 75–7, 78–83, 95, 97 Black’s median voter theorem, 77, 95–6 and crises of the 1970s, 85–6 and economic imperialism, 145–7 equal citizenship principle at heart of, 145–6, 151 free-riding view of voting, 99, 110, 112, 115–16, 120–21 marketing by political parties, 95–6 modern cynicism about politics, 94–7 paradox of voter turnout, 88–9, 95–6, 115–16 paradox of voting, 75–7 politicians’ support for depoliticization, 96–7 post-war scepticism about, 78–9 and public choice theory, 85–6, 95–7 replacing of with markets, 79 Sen’s mathematical framework, 80–81 voter turnout, 88–9, 95–6, 115–16, 120–21 see also voting systems Dennison, Stanley, 13 dentistry, 258–9, 261 Depression (1930s), 3 digital technology, 68, 214, 222–3 data revolution, 247–50 and rising inequality, 215, 220, 242 Director, Aaron, 4–5, 49–51, 132 Disney World, 123 Dodd–Frank Act, 256 Dodgson, Charles Lutwidge (Lewis Carroll), 72, 77 dot.com bubble, 192, 201 Douglas Aircraft Corporation, 18 Downs, Anthony, An Economic Theory of Democracy (1957), 86, 89, 95 Dr Strangelove (Kubrick film, 1964), 19, 35, 139 DreamTours Florida, 123 Drucker, Peter, 153 Dulles, John Foster, 20 Dundee School of Economics, 48, 77–8 Dürrenmatt, Friedrich, The Visit of the Old Lady, 166 earthquakes, 194–5 Econometrica (journal), 77–8 economic imperialism arrogance of, 246–7 auctioning of university places, 124, 149–50 continuing damage wrought by, 151–2 and democracy, 145–7 emerges into the limelight, 130 Freakonomics, followers of, 130, 134, 148–9, 156 and inequality, 145–7, 148, 151, 207 markets in citizenship duties, 146 origins of term, 125 price as measure of value, 149, 150, 151 purchase of immigration rights, 125, 146 and sale of body parts, 123, 124, 145, 147–8 sidelining of moral questions, 125–9, 135–8, 141–5, 146–7, 148–9, 151–2, 207 value of human life (‘statistical lives’), 141–5, 207 welfare maximization, 124–5, 129–31, 133–4, 146–7, 148–9 see also Becker, Gary economic theory Arrow establishes benchmark for, 71 Baumol’s cost disease, 90–92, 93, 94 Coase Theorem, 45–7, 48–55, 56–7, 61, 63–6 and data revolution, 247–50 exclusion of by data geeks, 248–50 and financial markets, 9, 12–13, 182, 253 as focus of economics courses, 260 Kahneman and Tversky’s theory of irrationality, 12, 171, 250–51 of labour, 237 marginal productivity theory, 223–4, 228 Pareto efficiency, 217–18, 256* perfect competition, 103, 193–4 profit-maximizing firms, 228–9 rent-seeking, 230, 238 theory of motivation, 157–8, 164, 166–7, 168–70, 178–9 see also game theory; homo economicus; public choice theory; social choice theory economics accidental economists, 47–8 and Arrow’s framework, 78–9, 82 causes of growth, 223, 239 created markets, 47, 65–7 crises of the 1970s, 85–6 digital technology, 68, 214 efficiency as fundamental, 63, 64–5, 141, 153, 155, 193–4, 201, 211, 217–18, 255 empirical research as still rare, 247–8 extension into non-economic aspects of life, 40, 54–60, 65, 123–31, 132–4, 135–6, 145–50 gulf between reality and theory, 10–13, 31–2, 41–3, 51–3, 64–9, 86–9, 133, 136, 144–5, 228–30, 250–53, 260–61 history of, 260 lack of objective ‘facts’, 253 modern debate on, 9 and Olson’s analysis, 104 our love–hate relationship with, 3, 245 as partially self-fulfilling, 12–13, 14, 159, 253 percentage of GDP impact of climate change, 206–11, 213 positional goods, 239–41 Posner’s wealth-maximization principle, 57–63, 64–7, 137 predatory pricing, 57 principles for new relationship with, 251–61 privatization, 50, 54, 88, 93–4 rise of game theory, 40–41 Smith’s enlightened self-interest, 11 value of human life (‘statistical lives’), 141–5, 207 vocational role of, 260 see also behavioural economics; free-market economics economics, aims/pretensions to be science arrogance of, 205, 245–7, 258 Arrow’s framework presented as scientific, 72, 81–2, 124–5 attitude to value judgements, 10, 60–61, 64–9, 112, 136–8, 173–4, 204–5, 218, 247 claims of game theory, 21, 24–6, 28–9, 32, 34, 35, 38, 41 and data revolution, 247–50 desire for neutral science akin to physics, 9–10, 20–21, 34–5, 41, 116, 125, 132–3, 151, 175–6, 187–90, 212, 217–18, 246–56 desire for science of social control, 153, 154, 155, 164, 167 Friedman’s ‘The Methodology of Positive Economics’, 132–3 hidden political/ethical agendas, 10, 213, 253, 255–8 measurement of risk in numerical terms, 181–4, 187, 189, 190–94, 196–7, 201–2, 203–5, 212–13 natural experiments, 248–50 Pareto improvements, 217–18 and physics envy, 9, 20–21, 41, 116, 175–6, 212, 247 and public choice theorists, 88 quantification of all risks and values, 201–2, 203, 212–13 real world as problem for, 10–13, 31–2, 42–3, 51–3, 64–9, 86–9, 133, 136, 144–5, 228–30, 250–53, 260–61 ‘some number is better than no number’ mantra, 212–13 uncertainty as obstacle to, 190–91, 212–13 and use of mathematics, 9–10, 26, 72, 247, 248, 255, 259 use of term ‘rational’, 12 Von Neumann and Morgenstern’s grand project, 20–21, 24–5, 26, 35, 125, 151, 189 and wealth-maximization approach, 58, 60 economists advice to former Soviet Bloc nations, 257 conflicts of interest, 256–7, 258 data geeks, 248–50 economics curriculum reform needed, 259–60 errors and misjudgements, 13–14, 16, 132–3, 144–5, 256*, 257–8, 260–61 failure to explain ideas, 254–5 insularity of, 246–7 Keynes’ dentistry comparison, 258–9, 261 lack of ethics codes, 257–8 misunderstanding of altruism, 13–14, 25, 31–2, 41–3, 112, 178–9 need to show more humility, 258–9, 260–61 as not separate from economy, 251–3 and ordinary people, 245–6, 254–5, 258, 261 self-image as unsentimental and honest, 10 sneering descriptions of virtuous behaviour, 112 stating of the obvious by, 134, 259 education auctioning of university places, 124, 149–50 Baumol’s cost disease, 91, 92, 93, 94 incentivization as pervasive, 156, 169 value of, 150, 169, 170 ‘efficient market hypothesis’, 193–4, 201, 255 Einstein, Albert, 17, 22, 33, 213 Eisenhower, Dwight D., 19, 20, 231 Ellsberg, Daniel, 182–4, 187, 197–8 Ellsberg Paradox, 184, 199–200 and the ‘Pentagon Papers’, 200 probability experiment (1961), 182–4, 187, 197, 198–200 ‘Risk, Ambiguity and the Savage Axioms’ (paper, 1961), 198–9, 200 Engelbart, Douglas, 222–3 Engels, Friedrich, 223 English, Bill, 222–3 Enlightenment thinking, 11, 185 Epstein, Richard, 127 ethics and morality and autonomy, 164, 165–6, 168, 169–70, 180 bad behaviour redefined as rational, 12 and blame for accidents, 55, 60–61 and Coase Theorem, 46–7, 54–5, 56–7, 61, 63–6 Coasean worldview on pollution, 66–7, 68 as conditioned and limited by economics, 3, 10, 15, 43, 55, 60–61, 64–5, 179, 204–5, 218, 247 cooperative behaviour in game theory, 29, 30–32 core principles of current economic orthodoxy, 253 distinction between values and tastes, 136–8 economists’ language on virtuous behaviour, 112 inequality as moral issue, 242–3 influence of recent economic ideas, 1–3, 15–16 Keynes on economics as moral science, 252–3 law and economics movement, 40, 55, 56–63, 64–7 moral disengagement, 162, 163, 164, 166 morally wrong/corrupting incentives, 168–9 and Nash program, 25 Nudge economists, 173–4, 251 Posner’s wealth-maximization principle, 57–63, 64–7, 137 Puzzle of the Harmless Torturers, 118–19 Ramsey Rule on discounting, 208–9, 212 sale of body parts, 123, 124, 145, 147–8 sidelined by economic imperialism, 125–9, 135–8, 141–5, 146–7, 148–9, 151–2, 207 small contributions as important, 110, 114–15, 122 Smith’s enlightened self-interest, 11 value of human life (‘statistical lives’), 141–5, 207 see also altruism; free-riding behaviour European Commission, 96 Facebook UK, 99 fairness, 1, 149, 218, 228, 253 and Coase, 54, 55 and free-riding behaviour, 107 and game theory, 43 and incentives, 177, 179 and lucky geniuses, 221–3 and Posner’s wealth-maximization principle, 60, 61, 62 see also inequality family life, 127–8, 130–31, 133, 156 famine relief, 99, 114–15 Farmer, Roger, 259 Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 48–9 Ferdinand, Archduke Franz, 185 financial crisis, global (2007–10) Becker on, 128–9 and bell curve thinking, 192, 193–4, 196, 257 ‘blame the regulators’ argument, 1–2 and financial economists, 9, 88, 260–61 persuasive power of extreme numbers, 181–2 and Posner’s wealth-maximization principle, 57 underlying maths of, 194, 195–6 financial markets Bachelier’s theory of speculation, 193 bell curve thinking, 192, 193–4, 195, 196–7, 201, 203–4, 257 benchmarking against the market, 204 Black Monday (1987), 192 deregulation of US banks, 194 derivatives, 253 dot.com bubble, 192, 201 East Asian crisis (1997), 192 and economic theory, 9, 12–13, 182, 253 economists’ ignorance of, 260–61 and First World War, 185 and fractals (scale-invariance), 194, 195–6, 201 orthodox decision theory, 190–91, 193–4, 201 persuasive power of extreme numbers, 181–2, 191, 192 and rent-seekers, 230, 238 rigged pay-for-performance contracts, 229–30, 238 First World War, 185, 210, 211–12 Fisher, Antony, 6–8 Forster, E.

., 202 Foundation for Economic Education, 7 Franklin, Benjamin, 178 Freakonomics (Levitt and Dubner, 2005), 130, 148, 156, 160 free trade, 246, 255 freedom, individual, 1, 146, 150, 164, 250–51 Arrow’s view of, 82 and Isaiah Berlin, 167–8 and financial incentives, 167 Hayek’s view of, 5, 6, 89 and Nudge economists, 173 RAND’s self-image as defender of, 78 free-market economics appeal of, 125–6 Buchanan’s ideology, 84 core principles of current orthodoxy, 253 efficient-market hypothesis, 193–4, 201, 255 election of Thatcher/Reagan as turning point, 6, 216, 220–21 emergence and spread of modern ideas, 15–16 ethical influence of recent ideas, 1–3, 15–16 free-market zealotry, 84, 255, 257–8 and greed, 1–2, 196, 197, 204, 229, 238 Hayek sees as all of life, 8 influential thinkers behind triumph of, 8–9 and interests of the rich and powerful, 2–3, 8–9, 11, 15, 57–8, 221–2, 224, 228–31, 238 and Mont Pèlerin Society, 3–9, 13, 15, 132 and Olson’s analysis, 104 ‘ordinary people are stupid’ message, 86–7, 160, 175, 245, 251 price as measure of value, 149, 150, 151, 224 ‘public bad, private good’ mantra, 93–4, 97 research institutes and think tanks, 7–8, 15 revolution of 1968, 56, 58–9, 162–3 selfishness assumed as natural, 10–12, 13–14, 41, 86, 178–9 shock troops of at Chicago, 2, 4, 40, 49–51, 54, 55 as ‘universal’ way of thinking, 126–31, 132–4, 135–8, 145–50 free-riding behaviour ‘acceptable’ forms of, 106–7 and ‘bandwagon effect’, 110 and cartels, monopolies, price-fixing, 102, 103–4 and climate change, 2, 99, 113–17, 120 and cognitive dissonance, 113–14 contributions already made by others, 115 and decision-making processes, 108–10, 122 dodgy reputation of, 104–5 and fatalistic view of the world, 117 hidden assumptions about cause and effect, 111 and hippie countercultural, 100 illegally downloaded music, 2, 106, 107 and indirect effects of contributions, 115–16, 122 older perspective on, 99, 100–102, 108, 111, 122 and Mancur Olson, 103–4, 108, 109 Olson’s tipping point/threshold, 116, 119–21, 122 and Plato’s Republic, 100–101, 122 Puzzle of the Harmless Torturers, 118–19 and rational behaviour, 100–101, 102, 103–4, 107–8, 109–10, 115–16 reasons for doing your bit, 108–13, 122 responsibility arguments, 109, 110–11 shift in the status of, 99–100, 121–2 small contributions as important, 110, 114–15, 122 and Sorites paradox, 117–18, 119 and sovereign fantasy, 116–17 tax avoidance and evasion, 2, 99, 105–6, 112–13 and voting, 2, 99, 110, 112, 115–16, 120–21 ‘what if everyone did it?’


pages: 255 words: 75,208

Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It by Gary Taubes

California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, Gary Taubes, meta analysis, meta-analysis, randomized controlled trial

And, once again, just as the Tufts review would have predicted, most of the nine pounds came off in the first six months, and most of the participants were gaining weight back after a year. No wonder obesity is so rarely cured. Eating less—that is, undereating—simply doesn’t work for more than a few months, if that. This reality, however, hasn’t stopped the authorities from recommending the approach, which makes reading such recommendations an exercise in what psychologists call “cognitive dissonance,” the tension that results from trying to hold two incompatible beliefs simultaneously. Take, for instance, the Handbook of Obesity, a 1998 textbook edited by three of the most prominent authorities in the field—George Bray, Claude Bouchard, and W. P. T. James. “Dietary therapy remains the cornerstone of treatment and the reduction of energy intake continues to be the basis of successful weight reduction programs,” the book says.

But it then states, a few paragraphs later, that the results of such energy-reduced restricted diets “are known to be poor and not long-lasting.” So why is such an ineffective therapy the cornerstone of treatment? The Handbook of Obesity neglects to say. The latest edition (2005) of Joslin’s Diabetes Mellitus, a highly respected textbook for physicians and researchers, is a more recent example of this cognitive dissonance. The chapter on obesity was written by Jeffrey Flier, an obesity researcher who is now dean of Harvard Medical School, and his wife and research colleague, Terry Maratos-Flier. The Fliers also describe “reduction of caloric intake” as “the cornerstone of any therapy for obesity.” But then they enumerate all the ways in which this cornerstone fails. After examining approaches from the most subtle reductions in calories (eating, say, one hundred calories less each day with the hope of losing a pound every five weeks) to low-calorie diets of eight hundred to one thousand calories a day to very low-calorie diets (two hundred to six hundred calories) and even total starvation, they conclude that “none of these approaches has any proven merit.”

That the official embrace of low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets coincided not with a national decline in weight and heart disease but with epidemics of both obesity and diabetes (both of which increase heart disease risk), should make any reasonable person question the underlying assumptions of the advice. But that’s not how people tend to think when confronted with evidence that one of their long-held beliefs is wrong. It’s not how we typically deal with cognitive dissonance. It’s certainly not how institutions and governments do it. For the moment, I’ll just say that the obesity/heart-disease link, combined with the obesity and diabetes epidemics that began more or less coincidentally with the advice to eat less fat, less saturated fat, and more carbohydrates, is a good reason to doubt that it’s the fat and the saturated fat that we have to worry about. Another reason to question the belief that saturated fat is bad for our health is that experimental evidence in support of the idea has always been surprisingly hard to come by.


The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs

air freight, Albert Einstein, car-free, cognitive dissonance, Community Supported Agriculture, compound rate of return, financial independence, follow your passion, Golden Gate Park, job satisfaction, late fees, money market fund, music of the spheres, passive income, Ralph Waldo Emerson, risk tolerance, telemarketer, the rule of 72, urban decay, urban renewal, Whole Earth Review

After you ride up and down on these waves for a while, you’ll enter the phase known as cognitive dissonance. This is when you do something you know you shouldn’t be doing, but your human nature takes over and you do it anyway. When you reach this stage of awareness, you’re well on your way to really making changes in your life. Here is an example of cognitive dissonance. Say you suffer a heart attack. Before the heart attack, you rarely exercised and didn’t think much about it. After the attack, your doctor tells you that if you don’t do 30 minutes of cardiovascular work at least four times a week, you’ll wind up back in the hospital. You diligently follow this plan for a month. Then you revert to your old ways and stop exercising. The difference is that cognitive dissonance has set in. Now you know you should be exercising and you feel guilty sitting on the couch.

It’s on sale: only $100, down from $300. You don’t really need the coat and didn’t save for it. Your primal instincts take over and you rationalize why you must have it now, and why just this one little month and the next you won’t save your $50. You buy the coat. When you get home, if you are in the cognitive dissonance stage, you’ll feel guilty about your purchase. With sufficient guilt, you might return the coat and immediately march to the bank to deposit the money. Prior to cognitive dissonance, you would have shopped on automatic pilot and never given your purchase a second thought. In fact, you would have been very proud of yourself that you saved all that money by buying the coat on sale. Shortly thereafter, you also would wonder why you never seemed to make ends meet. Financial Independence If you stay even reasonably focused on your goals, you will, without a doubt, begin to reach an equilibrium in spending and saving.

Say you follow the minimum 10 percent savings plan. You can save $3,800 per year. That amounts to $316 per month. If you invest that $316 at 9 percent return (compound), you will have $8,500 in two years. If you keep going at the same rate, you will have $24,000 in five years. Voilà!—a down payment on a rental house, or a lump sum to invest in, say, the stock market, mutual fund, or what-have-you. Cognitive Dissonance As you begin to focus on the meaning of your life, you’ll likely find that you don’t need all of the things you once thought you needed in order to be happy. In fact, you’ll probably find that the less you have to worry about, rearrange, dust, and insure, the more freed up you are to pursue meaningful activities. You’ll start to be truly satisfied on less money. This process doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen in linear fashion.


pages: 330 words: 83,319

The New Rules of War: Victory in the Age of Durable Disorder by Sean McFate

active measures, anti-communist, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, computer vision, corporate governance, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, double helix, drone strike, European colonialism, failed state, hive mind, index fund, invisible hand, John Markoff, joint-stock company, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, plutocrats, Plutocrats, private military company, profit motive, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, Washington Consensus, Westphalian system, yellow journalism, Yom Kippur War, zero day, zero-sum game

“Together, Russia and the Assad regime are deliberately weaponizing migration in an attempt to overwhelm European structures and break European resolve,” Breedlove told the Senate Armed Services Committee.3 Worse, he continued, terrorists like ISIS have exploited the refugee crisis to infiltrate Europe, using fake passports that are “virtually impossible” to detect. Old Soviet wargames never achieved so much. War has moved beyond lethality. Today, all instruments of national power must be used, not just the ones that shoot. Nonkinetic weapons can be very effective in war, and cunning strategists can weaponize almost anything, including refugee waves. This causes cognitive dissonance for conventional warriors, who place their faith in firepower, a concept they call the “utility of force.” In doing so, they’re talking about the effectiveness of violence in conflict, and they rate it supreme. For them, the application of enough force can solve any problem. Such thinking led to the meat grinder of World War I and carpet-bombing during World War II. Today, conventional militaries measure themselves by firepower.

Incredibly, it blamed the whole thing on “an unscrupulous enemy,” and dismissed it as a “case study” that illustrates “how simple failures can lead to disastrous results.”1 After massacring twenty-six civilians, more than who died in Nisour Square, the military quietly dropped all charges against the marines except for the squad leader, who was acquitted in a court-martial. The world yawned. Both Nisour and Haditha were comparable crimes, but people’s reaction could not have been more different: mercenaries are butchers, while soldiers make innocent mistakes. This is an irrational prejudice. Murder is murder, no matter what kind of warfighter pulls the trigger. When I point this out, some people grow hostile with the burn of cognitive dissonance. Even enlightened minds balk, so strong is the bias against private warriors. Now that I’m out of the industry, I’m often asked to talk about it in front of large audiences. My best questions come from general audiences, perhaps because they have little received wisdom on the topic and therefore a more open mind. When I speak to expert audiences—those in think tanks, universities, the Pentagon, the British House of Commons—I run into strong prejudices against using private force.

., 66–67 Chechens (Chechnya), 8, 96–97, 207 China legal warfare (“lawfare”), 68–69 media warfare, 67–68 Opium Wars, 180 South China Sea, 37, 56, 63, 65, 71–73, 245 South China Sea incident of 2017, 59–63 “Three Warfares” strategy, 64–70, 73, 203 Tibet annexation, 97 China Central Television network (CCTV), 67–68 China National Petroleum Corporation, 136 Christian militia, 144–45 Churchill, Winston, 240 CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) Guatemalan coup d’état, 208–11 Liberian Civil War, 116–17 shadowy manipulations, 211–12 “Title 50” programs, 110 war futurists and, 13–14 Citizenship, 98–100 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 168 Civil affairs, 38, 41, 66–67 Civilian targets, 206–8 Civilian universities, strategic education in, 239–40 Clancy, Tom, 13–14, 21, 23 Clark, Ramsey, 226 Clausewitz, Carl von, 4, 29, 32, 96, 205, 220, 222, 235, 264n, 274n “CNN effect,” 202–3 Coercion, 96–97 Cognitive dissonance, 106, 122 COIN. See Counterinsurgency COINistas, 91, 93–95 Cold War, 21, 33–34, 188 containment policy, 78–79 Fulda Gap, 33, 103–4 “Collateral damage,” 64, 207 Colonialism, 95, 97, 98, 129, 177, 180 Confirmation bias, 48 Congo, 118, 127, 128, 150, 156–57, 182–83 Congressional Budget Office (CBO), 130–31 Conspiracy and deep state, 158–61 Containment policy, 78–79 Contract wars, 128–31 Control the narrative, 41, 66, 67–68, 108–13, 227 Conventional wars, 5–6, 25–42 modeling the future on past, 33–36 redefining war, 179–85 short history of, 30–33 transforming the military, 37–42 use of term, 29 Western way of war, 28–30 Conventional weapon systems, 37–38, 41 Corporations and politics (corporatocracy), 165–68 Corruption, 113, 148–49, 166, 174–75, 216 Counterinsurgency (COIN), 4, 83–102 First Jewish-Roman War, 83–90, 96 foreign legions, 98–102 Iraq War, xiii–xvi, 90–91, 93–95 successful strategies, 95–98 Countermessaging, 111–13 Crimea annexation, 3, 37, 64, 197–98, 203, 237 Cronkite, Walter, 225 Crusades, 74, 127, 144 Cuba, 211 Cultural dominance, 80 “Cyber,” 15 Cyberwar, 13, 14–17, 137–38, 214 Darfur genocide, 3, 146, 182 Dark arts, 203–6 David and Goliath, 223, 227, 229, 231, 233 Deception, 203–6, 211 Deep state, 158–69 Defense budget, 37–38, 41, 46, 47, 50, 102, 106–7, 445 Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental (DIUx), 50 Democracy, 80–81, 95, 165 Denigration campaigns, 108–9, 111–12, 215 Dereliction of duty, 263n DeWe Security, 136 Dick, Philip K., 51 Diplomacy, 31, 41–42, 71, 217 Discrediting, 111 “Domino effect,” 78 Double-crossing, 189 “Double government,” 163–64 “Drain the swamp” strategy, 96 Drones, 46, 235 Drug wars, 9, 134, 149, 153, 171–78, 180, 287n Dulles, John and Allen, 209 Dunford, Joseph, 237–39 Dunlop, John, 207 Durable disorder, 8–10, 33, 80, 150, 245, 247 DynCorp, 131 Economic dominance, 80 Egypt, 126, 162–63 82nd Airborne Division, 23, 34, 91–92 Eisenhower, Dwight, 166–67, 168, 209 Eleazar ben Yair, 89 Elizabeth I of England, 79 English Constitution, The (Bagehot), 163–64 Espionage, 204–5 Evro Polis, 134 “Export and relocate” strategy, 96–97 Extortion, 175, 178, 180, 187, 192 Extrajudicial killings, 93, 95 ExxonMobil, 136, 152, 155 Failed states, 147–50 Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt, 45 Fake news, 111 False-flag operations, 191, 213 False prophets, 12–17 Farrow, Mia, 146, 151, 154 Fawkes, Guy, 159, 160 First Jewish-Roman War, 83–90, 96 First Offset Strategy, 48 Fitzgerald, USS, incident, 52–54 “Flag follows trade” policy, 80 Florentine Republic, 123–24 Florus, 83–84, 86 “Fog of war,” 29, 205 Fonda, Jane, 226–27 “Force projection,” 65, 69, 80, 106 Forces Nationales de Libération (FNL), 118, 120 Foreign bases, 69 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, 216 Foreign legions, 98–102 “Forever wars,” 9, 74, 246 Fragile states, 148–49 Fragile States Index, 32 Franklin, Benjamin, 228 Freedman, Lawrence, 11 Freeport-McMoRan, 136 Free trade, 80–81, 165 French Foreign Legion, 99 French invasion of Russia, 230 Friedman, Milton, 180 FSB (Federal Security Service), 207 FUBAR, 71, 119 Fulda Gap, 33, 103–4 Fuller, John “Boney,” 20–21, 238 Future wars, 244–48 “Futurism,” 17 Futurists.


pages: 257 words: 84,498

Admissions: A Life in Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh

cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, fear of failure, Google Earth, invisible hand, placebo effect, profit motive, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)

Apparently, in countries where so-called doctor-assisted suicide is legal many people, if they have a terminal illness, having initially expressed an interest in being able to die quickly, do not take up the option as the end approaches. Perhaps all that they wanted was the reassurance that if the end was to become particularly unpleasant, it could be brought to a quick conclusion and, in the event, their final days passed peacefully. But perhaps it was because, as death approached, they started to hope that they might yet still have a future. We develop what psychologists call ‘cognitive dissonance’, where we entertain entirely contradictory thoughts. Part of us knows, and accepts, that we are dying but another part of us feels and thinks that we still have a future. It is as though our brains are hardwired for hope, or at least that part of them is. As death approaches, our sense of self can start to disintegrate. Some psychologists and philosophers maintain that this sense of self, of being coherent individuals free to make choices, is little more than a title page to the great musical score of our subconscious, a score with many obscure, often dissonant voices.

On the brain scan that was done some years before his eventual death, his brain had looked like a Swiss cheese – with huge holes and empty spaces. I know that my excellent memory is no longer what it was. I often struggle to remember names. My understanding of neuroscience means that I am deprived of the consolation of belief in any kind of life after death and of the restoration of what I have lost as my brain shrinks with age. I know that some neurosurgeons believe in a soul and afterlife, but this seems to me to be the same cognitive dissonance as the hope the dying have that they will yet live. Nevertheless, I have come to find a certain solace in the thought that my own nature, my I – this fragile, conscious self writing these words that seems to sail so uncertainly on the surface of an unfathomable, electrochemical sea into which it sinks every night when I sleep, the product of countless millions of years of evolution – is as great a mystery as the universe itself.

The school doctor was very puzzled by this, as it only happened once a week. I was marched off to an ENT clinic at St Thomas’s Hospital accompanied by the school matron. A sceptical consultant, with a row of medical students, looked in my ear and expressed some doubts. I can’t remember what was said, but I do recall trying to persuade myself that there really was a problem with my ear even though I knew that I was malingering. It was my first experience of cognitive dissonance – entertaining entirely contradictory ideas – and the importance of self-deception in trying to deceive others. I then discovered that music lessons for playing the trumpet were on the same day and at the same time as the swimming class with the vile ex-commando, so I took up the trumpet but did not get on with it. Eventually I would just hide in a cupboard and skip the swimming lessons – an act of some bravery, I thought – and I got away with it.


pages: 254 words: 81,009

Busy by Tony Crabbe

airport security, British Empire, business process, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, fear of failure, Frederick Winslow Taylor, haute cuisine, informal economy, inventory management, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, knowledge worker, Lao Tzu, loss aversion, low cost airline, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, placebo effect, Richard Feynman, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, Shai Danziger, Thorstein Veblen, Tim Cook: Apple

If you recognize a tendency to allow too much of your activity, time and attention to be dominated by inputs rather than outputs, what can you do? No matter how convincingly I’ve argued my case, I am unlikely to have shifted your deep-seated beliefs or fears, formed and reinforced over a lifetime. There is a concept in social psychology called cognitive dissonance that can help here. It describes our desire for consistency between our beliefs and actions. If we consistently act in a way that is not in line with our beliefs, cognitive dissonance shifts our beliefs to align with our actions, which in turn ensures that these behaviors are sustainable, long-term. Let’s imagine you were trying to choose between a Ford F-Series and a Chevrolet Silverado. You carefully weigh the pros and cons of both choices. In the end, you still believe that both pickups are equally suited to you.

What happens next is interesting: the longer, and the more strongly, you argue for Bonds, the more you begin to convince yourself that the famous left fielder for the Giants really was the greatest baseball player ever to play the game. This isn’t because of your brilliant arguments either; in fact, your opponent is becoming more convinced than ever that Babe Ruth was the best. This is because of cognitive dissonance: when we argue forcefully for something, our beliefs start to come into line with our argument. We’re more likely to persuade ourselves than our opposition! When you apply this to a negotiation, the risk is that the very act of arguing or “negotiating” based on different opinions, can actually drive both opponents further apart, thereby reducing the chances of reaching a workable agreement.


pages: 494 words: 116,739

Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change From the Cult of Technology by Kentaro Toyama

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blood diamonds, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, computer vision, conceptual framework, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, global village, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Khan Academy, Kibera, knowledge worker, liberation theology, libertarian paternalism, longitudinal study, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Carr, North Sea oil, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, Powell Memorandum, randomized controlled trial, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, school vouchers, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, World Values Survey, Y2K

But her general thrust remains much the same – in fact, she adds a few more ways in which technology will definitely improve the world, such as in the developing world. 18.Van Alstyne and Brynjolfsson (2005). 19.Selective exposure goes back to work by seminal psychologist Leon Festinger (1957), who posited the idea of cognitive dissonance – the discomfort people feel when presented with contradictory information. Selective exposure occurs when, in a bid to avoid cognitive dissonance, people tend to seek only information that confirms their beliefs. 20.Van Alstyne and Brynjolfsson (2005). 21.Stecklow (2005). 22.Mukul (2006); Raina and Timmons (2011). 23.A phablet is bigger than a smartphone, but smaller than a tablet. 24.That the digital divide is a symptom of other socioeconomic divides was astutely noted about telecenters by Economist (2005).

Experimental evidence on the effects of home computers on academic achievement among schoolchildren. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 5(3):211–240, https://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.5.3.211. Farmer, Paul. (2005). Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor. University of California Press. Feenberg, Andrew. (1999). Questioning Technology. Routledge. Festinger, Leon. (1957). A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford University Press. Findlater, Leah, Ravin Balakrishnan, and Kentaro Toyama. (2009). Comparing semiliterate and illiterate users’ ability to transition from audio+text to text-only interaction. Pp. 1751–1760 in Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’09). ACM, http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1518701.1518971. Fisher, Lawrence M. (1988). Moving up fast in the software sweepstakes.

See also Economics Carlin, George, 275(n8) Carr, Nicholas, 23 Caste system, 64, 139 Cause and correlation, 35 Censorship Arab Spring uprising, 33 Chinese Internet, 49–52 limiting technology use in the classroom, 119 Changing Lives (Tunstall), 270(n2) Character human maturation and, 161 learning, 165, 262(n29) strengths, 253(n20) See also Heart, mind, and will Charity compared with mentorship, 205 percentage of GDP, 269(n40) See also Nonprofit organizations; Poverty alleviation Charter schools, 62, 73, 239–240(n51) Check dams, 199 Children child-rearing, 192–193, 270(n1) commitment to save, 212–214 digital natives, 10–11 educational technology, 114–121 natural learners, 11 self-control, 265(n3) sexual abuse, 148, 257(n53) teaching and parenting, 202–203 text-messaging, 56 vaccines, 64–65 video games, 12, 114–115, 117, 122, 228(n20) See also Education and training China agricultural extension programs, 207, 273(n20) carbon reduction, 215–216 education, 13, 145, 229(n29) Internet censorship, 49–52 Max Weber, 176, 255(n7) one-child law, 205 PISA results, 229(n29) social media censorship, 23, 49–52 Toms Shoes manufacturing, 243(n31) See also Confucianism Choudhury, Abdul Mannan, 196–201 Civil Rights Act, 63–64 Civil society, Arab Spring and, 32–35, 37 Classroom management, 115–116, 118–119 Climate change, 23, 134, 215–216 Clinton, Bill, 49, 85 Clinton, Hillary, x, 35–36, 152 Coaching, 205 Cobb-Douglas function, 273–274(n25) Coerced partnership arrangements, 198, 205, 270(n1) Cognitive capacity, 28, 227(n10), 263(n43) Cognitive dissonance, 234(n19) Cognitive Surplus (Shirky), 230(n17) Cohen, Jared, 21, 229(n5) Cohen, Roger, 32–33 Cold chain of vaccine delivery, 65 Coleman, James, 145, 256(n42) Collective action. See also Self-help groups Collectivism, individualism and, 93 Colombia: One Laptop Per Child, 8 Communications Arab Spring suppression of, 33–34 cyberbalkanization, 47 history of technologies, 7–8 latent desires driving habits, 40–41 management, 44–46 personal and political interaction, 46–47 telecenters, 105 texting, 25, 56, 69, 235(n33) unintended consequences, 56 See also Mobile phones; Social media Community efforts.


pages: 677 words: 121,255

Giving the Devil His Due: Reflections of a Scientific Humanist by Michael Shermer

Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-communist, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, Chelsea Manning, clean water, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, Columbine, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, creative destruction, dark matter, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Flynn Effect, germ theory of disease, gun show loophole, Hans Rosling, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, income inequality, invisible hand, Johannes Kepler, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, Laplace demon, luminiferous ether, McMansion, means of production, mega-rich, Menlo Park, moral hazard, moral panic, More Guns, Less Crime, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, positional goods, race to the bottom, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, Skype, social intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, WikiLeaks, working poor, Yogi Berra

So the idea was a Gestalt that Ron caught on to and assimilated the details. He then wrote it up as “Dianetics: A New Science of the Mind” and sold it to John W. Campbell, Jr., who published it in Astounding Science Fiction in 1950. Astounding indeed that anyone would accept such science fiction as fact, but such is the power of belief when coupled to a handful of powerful psychological principles. Consider cognitive dissonance, discovered by the psychologist Leon Festinger in 1954 when he joined a UFO end-of-the-world cult at the mountain top to record what would happen when the mothership failed to arrive at the designated midnight hour on December 21. Festinger saw this as an opportunity to study the phenomenon of mental tension created when someone holds two conflicting thoughts simultaneously: Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart; suppose further that he has a commitment to this belief, that he has taken irrevocable actions because of it; finally, suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: what will happen?

., 14 Callahan, Tim, 115–116 Calvin, William, 289 Camus, Renaud, 30 Carlson, Randall, 314 Carroll, Sean, 117, 118, 121 Cassidy, John, 212–213 categorical imperative (Kant), 240 censorship, 1–9arguments against, 19–27 college students’ responses to controversial subjects, 64–78 hate speech, 28–37 Holocaust denial, 38–43 Principle of Interchangeable Perspectives, 78 Ten Commandments of free speech and thought, 7–8 trigger warnings and, 66–67 Center for Inquiry (CFI), 269, 271 Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), 250–251 Change.org, 33–34 Christakis, Nicholas, 154–156 Christchurch, New Zealand, massacre responses to, 28–37 Christian, Fletcher, 156–159 Christian values v. the US Constitution, 81–85 Churchill, Ward, 41 civilization free trade institutions, 249–251 how to get to Civilization,1.0, 251–253 influence of political tribalism, 243–246 pre-financial crisis world, 243 Types of civilization, 246–247 Clark, Kenneth, 299 classical liberalism, 136case for, 138–144 Clinton, Bill, 83, 253 Coase, Ronald, 201 Cockell, Charles S., 150–152 Coddington, Jonathan, 59 cognitive biases, 23–24 cognitive dissonance, 95–96 Colavito, Jason, 321 collective action problem, 198–201 college faculty political bias among, 75–76 college students consequences of left-leaning teaching bias, 75–76 drive to censor controversial subjects, 64–78 Free Speech Movement of the late 1960s, 64–65 Generation Z and how they handle challenges, 64–65 microaggressions, 68–70 provision of safe spaces for, 67–68 trigger warnings, 66–67 views on freedom of speech, 64–78 colleges avoidance of controversial or sensitive subjects, 25 causes of current campus unrest, 71–76 disinvitation of controversial speakers, 25 lack of viewpoint diversity, 75–76 speaker disinvitations, 70–71 ways to increase viewpoint diversity, 76–78 Collins, Francis, 60 Collins, Jim, 263–264 Columbine murders, 169 Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), 271 communication microaggressions, 68–70 competitive victimhood, 132 Conan Doyle, Arthur, 280, 283 confirmation bias, 24, 316–318 conjecture and refutation, 8, 23 conscription as slavery, 1–2 conservatism, 134–136 conservatives Just World Theory, 255 Strict Father metaphor for the nation as a family, 193–197 consistency bias, 24 conspiracy theories Intelligent Design advocates, 55–63 contingency influence on how lives turn out, 258–264 Copernican principle, 120 Core Theory of forces and particles, 118 correspondence theory of truth, 305, 306 Cosmides, Leda, 238 Costly Signaling Theory, 208 Coulter, Ann, 13 Cowan, David, 263 Craig, William Lane, 104, 108–109 Craig’s Categorical Error, 109 Creation Science, 50 creationism freedom of speech issue, 44–54 level of support in America, 46 question of equal coverage in science teaching, 50–54 variety of creationist theories, 50–52 view of Richard Dawkins, 293–294 why people do not support evolution, 47–50 Cremo, Michael, 316 Crichton, Michael, 123 Cruise, Tom, 100 cry bullies, 77 cults Scientology as a cult, 96–98 culture of honor, 73 culture of victimhood, 73 Darley, John, 317 Darrow, Clarence, 52–53 Darwin, Charles, 280connection with Adam Smith, 203–205 development of the theory of evolution, 44–46 impact of the Darwinian revolution, 44–47 on science and religion, 90 On the Origin of Species, 104–105 problem of the peacock’s tail, 200 skepticism, 270, 287–288 Darwin Awards, 207 Darwin economy, 199–201 Darwinian literary studies, 306 Darwinian universes, 122 Darwinism misinterpretation for ideological reasons, 60–61 neo-Darwinism, 62 scientific questioning, 61–63 Dawkins, Richard, 55, 61, 87, 89, 104at the Humanity 3000 event (2001), 289–291 influence of, 287–289 on creationism, 293–294 on pseudoscience, 292–294 on religion, 287–289, 293–295 scientific skepticism, 291–295 sense of spirituality, 295–296 Day-Age Creationists, 51 de Tocqueville, Alexis, 139 Debs, Eugene V., 2 Declaration of Independence, 27, 72 Defant, Marc, 314 Del Ray, Lester, 95 delegative democracy, 149 Dembski, William, 49, 55, 63, 280 democracy delegative democracy, 149 direct democracy, 149–150, 153 freedom of speech and, 26 impact of cyber-technology, 153 representational democracy, 149 Dennett, Daniel, 87, 287 Denying History (Shermer and Grobman), 38, 42, 78 Descartes, René, 230 Deutsch, David, 287 devil what he is due, 8–9 who he is, 8–9 Diamond, Jared, 147–148, 208–209, 228, 314, 321, 322 Diderot, Denis, 270 direct democracy, 149–150, 153 Dirmeyer, Jennifer, 215 District of Columbia v.

United States, 1 Schopf, William, 62 Schumpeter, Joseph, 206 Schwarz, Benjamin, 277 science evolution–creationism controversy, 44–54 freedom of speech and inquiry, 19–27 impact of the Darwinian revolution, 44–47 questioning Darwinism, 61–63 scrutiny of ideas, 24–25 search for truth, 26–27 separation from religion, 62–63 Scientific American, 5, 62, 101, 103, 110, 254, 255, 259, 264, 311, 314 scientific and philosophical revolution (seventeenth century), 223emergence of Enlightenment humanism, 223–228 scientific creationism, 49 scientific humanism, 236 scientific naturalism, 236emergence of Enlightenment humanism, 223–228 Is-Ought fallacy, 228–235 scientific realism, 306 Scientology, 93–94characteristics in common with cults, 96–98 cognitive dissonance effects, 95–96 creation by L. Ron Hubbard, 95 genesis story, 94–95 origin myths of religions and cults, 101–102 public suspicion of, 99–101 threat from Anonymous group, 99–101 Scopes, John T., 48, 52 Scott, Eugenie, 55, 59–60 Second Law of Thermodynamics, 109, 237–238, 309–310 Second World War, 11, 49, 165 self-justification bias, 24 selfish genes, 106 Sharansky, Natan, 249 Sharman, Eleanor, 73 Shepherd, Lindsay, 303 Shrout, Derek, 171 Singer, Peter, 240 Sitchin, Zecharia, 315 Skeptic magazine, 21, 64, 77, 78, 93, 100, 110, 115, 161, 269, 272, 283, 285, 297, 300, 321 Skeptic.com, 181 Skeptical Inquirer, 271 skeptical movement influence of Paul Kurtz, 269–275 Skepticblog.org, 282 skepticism history of, 269–271 scientific skepticism of Richard Dawkins, 291–295 view of Charles Darwin, 287–288 Skeptics Society, 269, 272, 283 Skilling, Jeffrey, 61 Skousen, Mark, 284 slavery conscription as, 1–2 Smith, Adam, 61, 139, 203–205, 231, 243 Smith, Gary, 263–264 Smith, Quentin, 113 Smolin, Lee, 122 Snowden, Edward, 2 Snyder, Mark, 317 social contract, 240 social movements puritanical purging, 74–75 social spending extent in different countries, 140–142 importance for society, 140–142 societal health relationship to religiosity, 88 Socrates, 269 Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr, 36 South Park, 95 Sowell, Thomas, 256–257 Sparks, John C., 251–253 Sparks’ Law, 253 species altruism, 106 Spencer, Richard, 13, 14 Spinoza, Baruch, 225, 240, 300 Standard & Poor’s, 206 Standard Model of elementary particles, 118 Star Trek, The Next Generation, 304 Starbucks, 136 Stark, Rodney, 96 start-up businesses chances of success, 262–264 status quo bias, 24 Stea, Jonathan N., 308 Stein, Ben Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (documentary film), 55–63 Stenger, Victor, 119, 123 Stern, Charlotte, 75 Sternberg, Richard, 57–59 Strict Father metaphor for the nation as a family, 193–197 string universes, 123 Strossen, Nadine, 13–14 Sulloway, Frank J., 45, 261–262 sunk-cost bias, 24 supernatural forces, 116–117 symbiogenesis, 62 Tarrant, Brenton, 29, 30–31, 33 Taunton, Larry Alex The Faith of Christopher Hitchens, 276–281 taxation, 203argument for wealth redistribution, 210–213 “sin taxes”, 201–202 Taylor, Jared, 13, 14 Taylor, John, 318–319 Ten Commandments of free speech and thought, 7–8 Terminiello, Arthur, 15 terrorism death rates compared to gun violence deaths, 191–192 The Age of Reason (Paine), 4 The Believing Brain (Shermer), 24 The Edge of Reason?


pages: 936 words: 252,313

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease by Gary Taubes

Albert Einstein, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, collaborative editing, Drosophila, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental subject, Gary Taubes, invention of agriculture, John Snow's cholera map, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, placebo effect, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Robert Gordon, selection bias, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, twin studies, unbiased observer, Upton Sinclair

“High protein levels can be bad for the kidneys,” said Silverman. “High fat is bad for your heart. Now Reaven is saying not to eat high carbohydrates. We have to eat something.” “Sometimes we wish it would go away,” Silverman added, “because nobody knows how to deal with it.” This is what psychologists call cognitive dissonance, or the tension that results from trying to hold two incompatible beliefs simultaneously. When the philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn discussed cognitive dissonance in scientific research—“the awareness of an anomaly in the fit between theory and nature”—he suggested that scientists will typically do what they have invariably done in the past in such cases: “They will devise numerous articulations and ad hoc modifications of their theory in order to eliminate any apparent conflict.”

And because dietary carbohydrates and particularly refined carbohydrates elevate blood sugar and insulin and, presumably, induce insulin resistance, the implication is that eating these carbohydrates increases heart-disease risk not only in diabetics but in healthy individuals. By this reasoning, the atherogenic American diet is a carbohydrate-rich diet. Hence, cognitive dissonance. The logic of this argument has to be taken one step further, however, even if the cognitive dissonance is elevated with it. Both diabetes and metabolic syndrome are associated with an elevated incidence of virtually every chronic disease, not just heart disease. Moreover, the diabetic condition is associated with a host of chronic blood-vessel-related problems known as vascular complications: stroke, a stroke-related dementia called vascular dementia, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage in the extremities, and atheromatous disease in the legs that often leads to amputation.

This offers yet another reason to believe the carbohydrate hypothesis of heart disease, since metabolic syndrome is now considered perhaps the dominant heart-disease risk factor—a “coequal partner to cigarette smoking as contributors to premature [coronary heart disease],” as the National Cholesterol Education Program describes it—and both triglycerides and HDL cholesterol are influenced by carbohydrate consumption far more than by any fat. Nonetheless, when small, dense LDL and metabolic syndrome officially entered the orthodox wisdom as risk factors for heart disease in 2002, the cognitive dissonance was clearly present. First the National Cholesterol Education Program published its revised guidelines for cholesterol testing and treatment. This was followed in 2004 by two conference reports: one describing the conclusions of a joint NIH-AHA meeting on scientific issues related to metabolic syndrome, and the other, in which the American Diabetes Association joined in as well, describing joint treatment guidelines.


pages: 346 words: 92,984

The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health by David B. Agus

active transport: walking or cycling, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, butterfly effect, clean water, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, Drosophila, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, microcredit, mouse model, Murray Gell-Mann, New Journalism, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, phenotype, placebo effect, publish or perish, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Thomas Malthus, wikimedia commons

Put another way, we essentially move the goalposts in our arguments to meet our needs and conclusions while ignoring contrary data, even if there’s plenty of it. People who use motivated reasoning respond defensively to contrary evidence. They actively discredit such evidence or its source without logical or evidentiary justification. It’s confirmation bias to the extreme. Why do we defend obvious falsehoods? It can’t be just to always feel as if we’re right. Social scientists posit that our desire to avoid “cognitive dissonance,” as they call it, drives motivated reasoning. In other words, self-delusion feels good. Dan Kahan is a professor of law at Yale Law School. He explains a classic example of motivated reasoning by describing an experiment done in the 1950s when psychologists asked students from two Ivy League universities to watch a film that featured a set of controversial calls made by referees during a football game.3 The game happened to be between teams from their respective schools.

., 84 Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, The, 178 Boston University, 47 Bowerman, Bill, 199 brain: decision making in, 227 sleep’s importance to, 208–10 brain cancer, 30 Brave New World (Huxley), viii, 159, 238 Brazil, 199 BRCA genes, 8, 21, 118 breast cancer, 8, 53, 55, 60, 61, 118, 171, 190, 211 genetic mutation and, 21–22 mastectomies and, 21–22 obesity and, 133 statin use and, 220 Breast Cancer Prevention Trial, 53 Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 84 Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, 23, 24 Broedel, Max, 73 Brown University, 58 Brunet, Anne, 63 bubonic plague, 95–101 Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 2 butterfly effect, 236–37 California, 5, 12, 47, 103 tobacco control program in, 237 California, University of: at Berkeley, 25 at Irvine, 3 at San Francisco, 3 Caltech, 102 Cambridge, University of, 125, 134 Cameron, David, 67 Canada, 4, 11 cancer, 41, 108, 128, 175, 215, 237 aggressiveness of, 53–54 alternative treatments for, 18 aspirin and, 216–17 chemotherapy for, 29 childhood, 6, 49, 170–71 context and, 13–14 diet and, 163 early detection and treatment of, 172 fitness and, 190–94 genetic mutations and, 14, 21–22, 50 genotyping of, 117–18 immunotherapy for, 28–33 inflammation in, 175–77 lifestyle and, 153, 168–69 measurement of success in treating of, 32–33 metastasis in, 60–62 molecular therapies for, 23–24, 49–50, 54–55 muscle mass and, 195 p53 gene and, 57–58 Peto’s paradox and, 57 plasma transfusions and, 5 precision medicine and, 115 radiation therapy for, 29 random mutations in, 169–74, 176 as runaway cell copying, 59 self-seeding in, 61 statins and, 218–20 treatment resistance in, 190–91 Watson supercomputer and treatment of, 88–89 see also specific types of cancer cardiovascular disease, 86, 121, 128, 147, 216 airport noise and, 92 risk factors for, 47 Carlson, Mary, 212, 213 Carnegie Mellon University, 214 CAR T cells, 29–30 CBS This Morning, 67 CCR5 gene, 24, 25 Ceauşescu, Nicolae, 212–13 Celebrex (celecoxib), 62 celiac disease, 113, 164 cell division, 5 cells: death of (apoptosis), 59 endoplasmic reticulum in, 40 oxidative damage to, 40 receptors on, 59 Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development (Duke University), 45 Center for Translational Neuromedicine (University of Rochester), 208 Center for Translational Research in Aging and Longevity (University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences), 194 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 47, 103, 133, 205 ceritinib (Zykadia), 53 change, self-assessment of, past vs. future in, 38–40, 39 chaos theory, 236–37 Charaka, 113 Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine, 204 checkpoint blockage therapy, 29–30 chemotherapy, 29, 60, 190–91 exercise and, 191, 192 Chicago, University of, 17 children, obesity and overweight in, 133 Chittagong University, 232 cholera, 234 cholesterol, 150, 195, 217, 219 dietary vs. blood, 162 online calculator for, 218 chronic disease, 128–29 age-related, 128, 136 diet and, 141–44 management of, 144–46 overweight and, 141 sleep habits and, 147 chronological age, 45, 46, 46, 47, 135–36, 232 circadian rhythm, 123, 138, 139–40, 148, 205 Circulation, 86 climate change, 159 Clinical Practice Research Datalink, 219 clinical trials, 52 double-blind, 53, 155 IRBs and, 52 randomized, 52–53 ClinVar, 9 coarse graining, 229–32, 230 cognitive abilities, 45, 46 cognitive dissonance, 159 Cohen, Jacques, 111–12 colds, 205, 214 Cold War, 94 Coley, William B., 27–29, 28, 33, 48 colitis, 121–22 Collins, Francis, 114, 118 colonoscopies, 93 Colorado, 47 colorectal cancer, 55, 123–24, 190, 217 statin use and, 220 Columbia University, 138 complex carbohydrates, 162 comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), 151 Congress, US, 114, 237 context: adapting to new data in, 159 aging and, 45 baselines for, 150 changes in, 22 databases as, 83, 91–94 data mining and, 101 diet and, 163, 165 disease and, 13–14, 20 genes and, 14, 20–21, 118 health and, 48, 76–78, 84, 89–90, 91–94, 101, 113, 114–15, 117, 124–25 heart disease and, 22 identifying and optimizing, 135–52 lab tests in, 150–52 medical data and, 78–82 medical education and, 75 Cooper Center Longitudinal Study, 192 coordination, 45 Cornell University, 2 coronary artery disease, 151 cortisol, 123 counterfeit drugs, 10–11 C-reactive protein, 175 CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats), 24–25, 26, 45 Critical Care, 222 Crohn’s disease, 25, 121 CTLA-4, 29–30 cystic fibrosis, 115–16 Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Vertex, 115–16 cytokines, 123 cytoplasm, 111 cytosol, 40 Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Profile program of, 118 Dannon, 235 Dartmouth College, 157 Darwin, Charles, 112 data, medical: context and, 78–82 individual’s role in collection of, 81 databases, medical, 82–83, 95 as context, 83, 91–94 security of, 88–89 data mining, 84–89, 92 context and, 101 infectious diseases and, 100–101 Davos, Switzerland, 161 Dawkins, Richard, 17 death, leading causes of, 129 death certificates, 96 decision-making, 225, 227–28 dehydration, 234 dementia, 5, 41, 90, 91, 151, 204, 210, 215, 221 see also Alzheimer’s disease depression, 122, 211, 215 exercise and, 186 Dhaka, 232 diabetes, 22, 24, 25, 47, 59, 108, 114, 123, 128, 147, 151, 166, 175, 186, 187, 188, 215, 221, 237 gut bacteria and, 120–21 incidence of, 120–21 diet, 22, 114 chronic disease and, 141–44 as contextual, 163 honesty about, 133–34 low-cholesterol, 162 low-fat, 162 moderation in, 144 research on, see nutritional studies weight and, 141 diphtheria, 161 disease: autoimmune, 85, 125, 175 context and, 13–14, 20 genetic markers for, 22, 113–14, 127 surrogate markers for, 127–28 see also chronic disease; infectious diseases; noncommunicable diseases disorders, inherited, newborn screening and, 12 DNA, see genes, genome DNA mismatch repair, 32, 57 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), 182 dopamine, 211 Doudna, Jennifer A., 25 dreaming, 203 drug abuse, 22 drugs, see medications Duke Cancer Institute (DCI), 191 Duke University, 30 Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development at, 45 Dulken, Ben, 63 Dunedin Study, 45–47, 46 Dyerberg, Jorn, 182–83 Dyson, Esther, 173 Earls, Felton, 213 East Africa, 44, 107 Eat, Sleep, Poop (Cohen), 137 eating patterns, heart disease and, 138–40 Ebola, 18, 221–22 E. coli, 123 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), 182 Einstein, Albert, 2, 223 Elder, William, Jr., 115–16 electrodermal response, 230–31 Elledge, Stephen J., 84 emotions, touch and, 214 emulsifiers, microbiome and, 121–22 “end of history illusion,” 38–40, 39 End of Illness, The (Agus), 18 endoplasmic reticulum, 40 endorphins, 211 energy levels, 149 England, see Great Britain environment, see context epidemics: global spread of, 103 prediction of, 103–4 epigenetics, 20–21 esomeprazole (Nexium), 86 esophageal cancer, 217 estrogen, 64 ethics: genome editing and, 24–25 medical advances and, 10, 24 technology and, 25–26 Europe, 77 European Journal of Immunology, 34 exercise, 21, 114, 140, 185–201 chemotherapy and, 191, 192 honesty about, 133–34 ideal amount of, 196–200 intensity of, 197–98 life expectancy and, 189–90 mortality rates and, 148 Exeter, University of, 157 “Experimental Prolongation of the Life Span” (McCay, Lunsford, and Pope), 2 experimental treatments, quicker access to, 56 Facebook, 27 fasting lipid profile, 150 feebleness, aging and, 43 fertility, aging and, 43 Field, Tiffany, 214 financial industry, information technology and, 89 Finland, 220 fish oil, 182–83 Florida, 103 flu vaccine: misinformation about, 157–58 public distrust of, 160 FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-di-monosaccharides and polyols), 164 Fodor, George, 183 food, safety of, 11 Food and Drug Administration, US (FDA), 2, 18, 51, 55, 56, 86, 111, 112, 127–28, 146, 182, 201 Accelerated Approval provisions of, 128 Foundation Medicine, 50 Framingham Heart Study, 47, 118 Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 169 free radicals, 208 fruit flies, eating pattern studies with, 138–40 fungi, 119 gait, 45 galvanic skin response (GSR), 230–31 gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), 86 Gates, Bill, 2 Genentech, 56 genes, genome, 45, 83–84 aging and, 20, 41 bacterial, 107, 119 context and, 14, 20–21, 118 DNA mismatch repair and, 32 expression of, 20–21, 125, 139 mitochondrial, see mitochondrial DNA sequencing of, 20, 23, 49–52, 112 SNPs in, 113–14 as switches, 41 viruses and, 119–20 genes, genome, editing of, 24–25, 45 ethics of, 102–5 genetically modified foods (GMOs), 18 genetic markers, 22, 113–14, 127 genetic mutations: aging and, 41 cancer and, 14, 21–22, 50 disease risk and, 9, 12 genetic screening, 103, 117, 137 flawed results in, 8–10 of newborns, 11–12 Georgia State University, 121 Gewirtz, Andrew, 121 Gibson, Peter, 164 Gilbert, Daniel, 38, 39, 40 Gillray, James, 161 Gladwell, Malcolm, 225, 227, 228 Gleevec (imatinib), 55 glial cells, 209 glioblastoma, 30 “Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health” (WHO), 187 gluten, debate over, 163–65 Goldstein, Irwin, 211 Google, 87, 88, 101 Google Flu Trends, 101 Grameen Bank, 232, 233–34, 235 Grameen Danone, 235 Graunt, John, 100 Great Britain, 96, 97, 100, 110, 155 Black Death in, 95–101, 98, 99, 100 Greatist.com, 200 Greenland, 182 Grove, Andy, 7, 7 growth factors, 59 gun violence, 91 gut: inflammation of, 120, 122 microbiome of, see microbiome H2 blockers, 86 habits and routines, 136, 137–41, 228, 237–38 see also diet; lifestyle choices Harlow, Harry, 213 Harvard Medical School, 84 Harvard School of Public Health, 142–43 Harvard University, 3, 23, 24, 37, 178, 186, 196, 212, 213, 216 hash tables, health care and, 87–88 Hawaii, 47 HDL cholesterol, 150 health: biological age and, 47 context and, 48, 76–78, 84, 89–90, 91–94, 101, 113, 114–15, 117, 124–25 family history of, 136–37 honesty about, 131–34 inflection point in, 8 lifestyle and, see lifestyle choices optimism and, 65–69 personal baselines for, 150 retirement and, 91–92 technology and, 37–70 health and fitness apps, 200 Health and Human Services Department, US, 103 health care: Affordable Care Act and, 69–70 hash tables and, 87–88 individual’s responsibility in, 12–13, 26, 70, 75, 78, 131–32 misinformation about, 14–15, 18, 19, 154, 157–58 politics and, 11–12 portable electronic devices and, 79, 90–91 Health Professionals Follow-up Study, 142–43, 217 health threats, prediction of, 103–4 heart: biological age of, 47–48 health of, 48 heart attacks, 76, 86, 182, 217, 218 heart disease, 59, 128, 150, 166, 175, 183, 186, 187, 215, 217, 221 context and, 22 diet and, 163 eating patterns and, 138–40 lifestyle choices and, 22 muscle mass and, 195 heart rates, 231 heart rate variability (HRV), 230 Heathrow Airport, 92 “hedonic reactions,” 38–40 heel sticks, 11–12 hemoglobin A1C test, 151 hepatitis B, 175 hepatitis C, 175 Herceptin (trastuzumab), 55 high blood pressure, 22, 188, 195 high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP) test, 151 hippocampus, 214 Hippocrates, 71, 113, 122, 216 HIV/AIDS, 18, 24, 25, 59, 84, 127–28, 131, 159 Hoffmann, Felix, 215, 216 Holland, 41 Homeland Security Department, US, 103 homeostasis, 137–38, 140 Homo sapiens, evolution of, 107 honesty: about health, 131–34 nutritional studies and, 162 hormones, 219 hormone therapy, 201 Horton, Richard, 178 Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled (Hospital for Special Surgery), 28 house calls, 80 Houston Methodist, 86 “how do you feel” question, 231 hugs, 214 Human Genome Project, 113, 120 human growth hormone, 200 Human Molecular Genetics, 65 human papilloma virus (HPV), 161, 175 Hurricane Sandy, 84 Huxley, Aldous, viii, 6, 159, 238 Hydra magnipapillata, 42, 42 hyperglycemia, 122 hypertension, 125, 195, 203 IBM, 88–89 imatinib (Gleevec), 55 immune reactions, 5 immune system, 175, 190, 209, 211 aging and, 44 impact of hugs on, 214 immunotherapy, 28–33 polio virus and, 30, 31 incentives, 235–36 Indiana University Bloomington School of Informatics and Computing’s Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research, 94–95 infant mortality, 87, 97 infants: genetic screening of, 11–12 premature, 87 infections, 175–76 infectious diseases, 129 antibiotic-resistant, 67–69, 68 data mining and, 100–101 inflammation, 34, 151, 174–77, 181, 187, 190, 195, 215–22 inflammatory bowel disease, 121 inflection points, 7–8, 7 influenza, 161 risks from, 157 vaccine for, see flu vaccine information, sorting good from bad, 19–20 information technology, financial industry and, 89 inherited disorders, newborn genetic screening and, 12 insomnia, 122 Institute for Sexual Medicine, 211 insulin, 56, 190 insulin sensitivity, 5, 87, 120, 122, 151, 195 insurance companies, off-label drugs and, 55 Intel, 7 International Agency for Research on Cancer, 170 International Prevention Research Institute, 180 intuition, 224–29 Inuits, 182–83 in vitro fertilization (IVF), three-person, 109–12, 110 Ioannidis, John, 178 IRBs (institutional review boards), 52 iron deficiency, 231 irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), 164 Islam, 234 Italy, 183 ivacaftor (Kalydeco), 115–16 JAMA Internal Medicine, 142, 143, 192, 196 Jenner, Edward, 160, 161 Jobs, Steve, 2, 23–24, 26, 49 Johns Hopkins Hospital, 71, 72, 128 Hurd Hall at, 74 Osler Medical Housestaff Training Program at, 73–75, 74 Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, 32 Johns Hopkins University, 23, 169, 170, 171, 173, 174, 175, 176, 215 Jolie, Angelina, 21 Jones, Owen, 43 Journal of Sexual Medicine, 211 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 72, 114–15, 173, 201, 220, 221 Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 154 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 169 Journal of Urology, 168 journals, medical, misinformation in, 154, 179 J.

., 159 mental health, 145 portable electronic devices and, 90–91 metabolic syndrome, 121, 122 metabolomics, 188 metastasis, 60–62 Metchnikoff, Élie, 33–35, 33, 35, 48 Miami, University of, Miller School of Medicine at, 214 mice and rats: aging experiments with, 1–3, 3, 4 cancer treatment experiments with, 60–62 digestive tract experiments with, 120, 121–22 microbiome, 48, 85, 119–25 beneficial bacteria and, 33–34 diabetes and, 120–21 emulsifiers and, 121–22 gastric surgery and, 123 sleep and, 122–23 microfinance, 232–33 Middle East, 77 mild cognitive impairment (MCI), 203–4 Minnesota, 103 misinformation, medical, 153–84 anecdotal evidence in, 156 cognitive dissonance and, 159 media and, 153–54 in medical studies, 177–84 motivated reasoning and, 157–61 in peer-reviewed journals, 154 post hoc reasoning in, 156 sweeping statements in, 165, 166–69, 184 Wikipedia and, 154 Mississippi, 47 Missouri, 205 MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), 23, 24, 236 Mitalipov, Shoukhrat, 109 mitochondria, 106–8, 106, 119 mitochondrial diseases, 106, 106, 108–12 mitochondrial DNA, 106, 106, 107–8 mutations in, 107–8 replacement of, 109–12, 110 mitochondrial electron transport chain (mETC), 139–40 “Mitochondrial Eve,” 107 MMR vaccine, 156 moderation, in diet, 144 Monash University, 164 Montana, 3 mood, monitoring of, 149 morbidity, sleep habits and, 146–47 Morgan, Thomas Hunt, 138 mortality rates: aging and, 42–43 decline in, 6–7 exercise and, 148 sleep habits and, 146, 147 motivated reasoning, medical misinformation and, 157–61 motivation, 149 MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), 230 multimorbidity, 129 multiple sclerosis, 59 muscle mass, 194–96, 199 muscle strength, 45 mutation, see genetic mutations MyBabyFace (app), 87 Napoli, Mike, 202–3 National Cancer Institute (NCI), 53, 114, 196 National Cancer Institute Cohort Consortium, 189 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 47, 141 National Institutes of Health (NIH), 114, 117–18, 205 National Sleep Foundation (NSF), 206 natural immunity, 33–34 Nature, 41, 95, 121, 123 NCI-MATCH (Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice), 117 near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), 66 Nedergaard, Maiken, 208–10 Neogest (app), 87 Neurology, 203 newborns: genetic screening of, 11–12 premature, 87 Newcastle University, 108 New England Journal of Medicine, 8, 9, 24, 32, 178, 183, 218 New Jersey, 111 New Mexico, 68 Newtown shooting, 91 New York, N.Y., 28, 116 New York Academy of Medicine, 2 New York Cancer Hospital, 28 see also Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York University, 204 New Zealand, 45, 46 Nexium (esomeprazole), 86 night blindness, 235 NIH Human Microbiome Project, 120 Nike, 199 Nobel Peace Prize, 232 Nobel Prize, 33, 34, 102 “nocebo” effect, 165 noncommunicable diseases, premature deaths from, 130, 131, 132 Northeastern University, 68 Northwestern University, 41 Norton, Larry, 60–61, 62 Nottingham, University of, 87 Nurses’ Health Study, 142–43, 216–17 nursing college, 235 nutritional studies, 161–69 honesty and, 162 lack of reliable data from, 162–63, 164 Nyhan, Brendan, 157, 158, 160 Obama, Barack, 11, 114, 115, 117 obesity and overweight, 22, 47, 121, 122, 123, 147, 188, 194, 215 breast cancer and, 133 chronic disease and, 141 honesty about, 132–34 obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), 122 Obstetrics & Gynecology, 132–33 Olser Library of Medicine (McGill University), 73 omega-3 fatty acids, 182–83 omeprazole (Prilosec), 86 “On Lines and Planes of Closest Fit to Systems of Points in Space” (Pearson), 95 Only the Paranoid Survive (Grove), 7 open-access model, 179 opioids, 145 optimism, health and, 65–69 Oregon, University of, 199 Oregon Health & Science University, 109 Ornish, Dean, 166–68 Osler, William, 15, 37, 71–73, 72, 73, 75, 126, 145, 153, 223 Othello (Shakespeare), 202 Ottawa, University of, 183 overweight, see obesity and overweight Oxford University, 216 oxidative stress, 175 oxytocin, 211 p53 gene, 57–58 pain relievers, risks of, 145–46 Paleo diet, 142, 163 parabiosis, 1–4, 3, 21 parasites, spread of, 103 Parkinson’s disease, 59, 108, 163 pattern recognition, 227 PD-L1, 29–30 Pearson, Karl, 95 Pediatric MATCH, 117 Pediatrics, 133 pelvic bone cancer, 176 Pennington Biomedical Research Center, 192 Pennsylvania, University of, 73, 75 Perelman School of Medicine at, 208 perceptual intuition, 228–29 personalized medicine, see precision medicine Peto, Richard, 57 Peto’s paradox, 57 PET (positron-emission tomography) scan, 230 pharmaceutical industry, 166 drug prices and, 56–57, 115–17 public distrust of, 18, 19, 69, 157 pharmacogenomics, precision medicine and, 115 phenylalanine, 12 phenylketonuria (PKU), 12 Philosophical magazine, 95 physical activity, 140 physicians: house calls by, 80 public distrust of, 17–19, 157 pit latrines, 234 Pittsburgh, University of, 196, 214 placebos, 53 plaques, 183 plasma transfusions, 4–5 plate discipline, 204 Plato, 185 PLOS Medicine, 178 pneumonia, 161 polio virus, in immunotherapy, 30, 31 Pope, Frank, 2 population growth, technology and, 27 portable electronic devices, health care and, 79, 90–91 Post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy, 156 precision medicine, 8, 20, 36, 102–25 art vs. science in, 112, 118 cancer treatment and, 115 context and, 114–15, 117 cost of, 56–57 historical roots of, 113 pharmacogenomics and, 115 technology and, 37–70 Precision Medicine Initiative, 114, 117 “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?”


pages: 345 words: 87,745

The Power of Passive Investing: More Wealth With Less Work by Richard A. Ferri

asset allocation, backtesting, Bernie Madoff, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, cognitive dissonance, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, diversified portfolio, endowment effect, estate planning, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, implied volatility, index fund, intangible asset, Long Term Capital Management, money market fund, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Sharpe ratio, survivorship bias, too big to fail, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, yield curve, zero-sum game

The second group was composed of investors who belonged to the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII), an organization of mostly nonprofessional investors who enjoy learning about the markets. This group was deemed to be more knowledgeable about investment matters than the architects. They overestimated their past performance by 3.4 percentage points.9 The overall results are consistent with the theory of cognitive dissonance. Investors would rather alter the facts than admit they have no special investment skills. This makes it difficult to fix flawed investment strategies. Selective Memory as a Profession Wall Street has turned cognitive dissonance into a business model. Have you ever heard a brokerage firm ever say they were wrong about an investment recommendation? Their analysts say they were early or late on a call, but never wrong. And you’d be hard-pressed to find advisors who admit their mutual fund selections underperformed the markets over the years.

Cramer, “Cramer: Mutual Fund Advertising” April 2, 2008, www.abcnews.go.com. 7. Thierry Post, Martijn J. Van den Assem, Guido Baltussen, and Richard H. Thaler, “Deal or No Deal? Decision Making under Risk in a Large-Payoff Game Show,” American Economic Review 98, no. 1 (March 2008): 38–71. 8. Calmetta Coleman, “Beardstown Ladies Fess Up to Big Goof,” Wall Street Journal, Mar. 18, 1998, cl. 9. William N. Goetzmann and Nadav Peles, “Cognitive Dissonance and Mutual Fund Investors,” Journal of Financial Research 20, no. 2 (1997): 145–58. 10. John Maynard Keynes. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936; repr., Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1964), 148. 11. Richard H. Thaler, “Toward a Positive Theory of Consumer Choice,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 1, no. 1 (1980): 39–60. 12. Goetzmann and Peles, 1997. 13.


pages: 324 words: 93,606

No Such Thing as a Free Gift: The Gates Foundation and the Price of Philanthropy by Linsey McGoey

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, American Legislative Exchange Council, bitcoin, Bob Geldof, cashless society, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, crony capitalism, effective altruism, Etonian, financial innovation, Food sovereignty, Ford paid five dollars a day, germ theory of disease, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, income inequality, income per capita, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Mitch Kapor, Mont Pelerin Society, Naomi Klein, obamacare, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price mechanism, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, school choice, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, urban planning, wealth creators

During the 1980s and 1990s, the field received approximately $20 billion in subsidies from philanthropic foundations and governmental aid. A report from the consultancy firm Monitor has stressed that before the field was financially promising, ‘subsidies in the form of grants, soft loans, and guarantees from philanthropists and aid donors’ were key to the field’s growth.37 A curious sort of cognitive dissonance is at play here. Microfinance advocates often berate governments for placing regulatory caps on interest rates – and yet all admit that without government support the field would have withered long ago. As Lester Frank Ward presciently observed, those who decry state interference are typically the same people whose capital and investment choices depend on state support.38 It is now over a century since Ward wrote those words.

On its website, the Gates Foundation emphasizes that the Gates’s tax savings are minor in comparison to their disbursements, and that’s true. The website notes that from 1994 to 2006, Bill and Melinda donated more than $26 billion, resulting in savings of 8.3 per cent, or just over $2 billion. And yet, is a gift from the Gates Foundation to a highly profitable company really the best use of money that, if it had been taxed as income rather than placed in a trust, could have benefited federal or state relief programmes? The cognitive dissonance I’ve described above – the continued insistence that new entrepreneurial movements are playing a revolutionary role in global poverty reduction despite the lack of clear evidence – is the truly distinctive aspect of social entrepreneurship. Unlike ideas of corporate social responsibility which were popular in the 1980s and 1990s – and which often had an aura of expiation about them, implying that socially oriented philanthropy was needed to make amends for corporate abuses – the new social investors believe that business success is evidence of social value.

Thiel bankrolled much of the Tea Party darling Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign, and he serves as chair of the board of Palantir, a firm specializing in intelligence-gathering and data-mining solutions for the US government’s defence community. Thiel is also a steering committee member of the Bilderberg Group, the crown jewel of elite international meetings – a Bilderberg invitation makes a Davos invite look like coffee at the local Walmart.16 Thiel and his fellow philanthrocapitalists exhibit the same cognitive dissonance, the same double-mindedness, as the Mont Pelerin enthusiasts who succeeded in shaping government policies in the name of laissez-faire non-interference. They wilfully entrench the market dominance of actors shown to have been complicit in market distortions, such as Goldman Sachs, even as they lament the way that ‘marketplace imperatives’ direct health investment where it is least needed.


pages: 165 words: 50,798

Intertwingled: Information Changes Everything by Peter Morville

A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, augmented reality, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, business process, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, disruptive innovation, index card, information retrieval, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Lean Startup, Lyft, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, Nelson Mandela, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, RFID, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, source of truth, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, uber lyft, urban planning, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, zero-sum game

We employ department heads and governing bodies to make folks toe the line. And we routinely use a handful of “kinesthetic image schemas” as short-cuts.xxxviii Figure 2-22. The experiential basis of metaphors. There’s nothing wrong with using metaphors, provided we’re aware of their source, and realize they contain baggage that shifts from intent to interpretation. Using “department head” may induce cognitive dissonance in an organization that’s flipped the org chart by practicing servant leadership. Isn’t the head on top, like the upper class? Our corporeal experience is embodied in language and subtly changes how we think. This occurs all the time in our use of binary oppositions. In-Out, Up-Down, Front-Back, Self-Other, Us-Them, More-Less, Male-Female, True-False, Fact-Fiction, Public-Private, Open-Closed, Yes-No, Hot-Cold, Reason-Emotion, Mind-Body, Man-Nature, Love-Hate, Win-Lose, Good-Evil While there are no opposites in nature, we use dualism to create order and make sense of experience.

After the Gates Foundation spent $2 billion to replace large schools with small ones and realized only modest gains, Gates publicly concluded they’d made an expensive mistake, and decided to switch direction. In Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me), we’re reminded such honest admissions are refreshing because they’re so rare. The main problem isn’t that we aim to deceive others; it’s that we fool ourselves. The engine of self-justification is cognitive dissonance, the state of tension that occurs when we hold ideas or beliefs that are psychologically inconsistent. If a “good person” does a “bad thing” self-deception kicks in. And, if on opposite sides of a decision, time will tear us apart. Imagine two students with similar attitudes and abilities who struggle with the temptation to cheat on a test. One yields and the other resists. How do they feel about cheating a week later?


pages: 200 words: 47,378

The Internet of Money by Andreas M. Antonopoulos

AltaVista, altcoin, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, cryptocurrency, disruptive innovation, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, financial exclusion, global reserve currency, litecoin, London Interbank Offered Rate, Marc Andreessen, Oculus Rift, packet switching, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, QR code, ransomware, reserve currency, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, Skype, smart contracts, the medium is the message, trade route, underbanked, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

He said, ”If we can’t unlock the phones, that means that everyone has a Swiss bank account in their pocket." That is not entirely accurate. I don’t have a Swiss bank account in my pocket. I have a Swiss bank, with the ability to generate 2 billion addresses off a single seed and use a different address for every transaction. That bank is completely encrypted, so even if you do unlock the phone, I still have access to my bank. That represents the cognitive dissonance between the powers of centralized secrecy and the power of privacy as a human right that we now have within our grasp. If you think this is going to be easy or that it’s going to be without struggle, you’re very mistaken. 3.10. Bitcoin, the Zombie of Currencies If you read anything about bitcoin, you’ll see the very same things that they said about the internet in the early '90s.

They will treat you in such a way as if you are idiots and try to persuade you that this is something to fear. When people hear that message, maybe the next day they come to one of these meetups and they meet a dentist who owns bitcoin, an architect who owns bitcoin, a taxi driver who uses bitcoin to send money back to their family—normal people who use bitcoin to give themselves financial power and financial freedom. Every time that message is broken by cognitive dissonance, bitcoin wins. All bitcoin really has to do is survive. So far, it’s doing pretty well. 3.11. Currencies Evolve In the new network-centric world, currencies occupy evolutionary niches. They evolve, like species, based on the stimulus they have from their environment. Bitcoin is a dynamic system with software developers that can change it. The question is, in which direction will bitcoin evolve?


pages: 327 words: 103,336

Everything Is Obvious: *Once You Know the Answer by Duncan J. Watts

active measures, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, business cycle, butterfly effect, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, East Village, easy for humans, difficult for computers, edge city, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Santayana, happiness index / gross national happiness, high batting average, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, industrial cluster, interest rate swap, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, lake wobegon effect, Laplace demon, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, medical malpractice, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, oil shock, packet switching, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, prediction markets, pre–internet, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, school choice, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, ultimatum game, urban planning, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

“Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments.” American Economic Review 90 (4): 980–94. ———. 2002. “Altruistic Punishment in Humans.” Nature 415:137–40. Feld, Scott L. 1981. “The Focused Organization of Social Ties.” American Journal of Sociology 86 (5):1015–35. Ferdows, Kasra, Michael A. Lewis, and Jose A. D. Machuca. 2004. “Rapid-Fire Fulfillment.” Harvard Business Review 82 (11). Festinger, Leon. 1957. A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press. Fiorina, Morris P., Samuel J. Abrams, and Jeremy C. Pope. 2005. Culture Wars? The Myth of a Polarized America. New York: Pearson Longman. Fischhoff, Baruch. 1982. “For Those Condemned to Study the Past: Heuristics and Biases in Hindsight.” In Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases, ed. D. Kahneman, P. Slovic, and A. Tversky. New York: Cambridge University Press.

The Quarterly Journal of Economics 113(3) 653–691. Harding, David J., Cybelle Fox, and Jal D. Mehta. 2002. “Studying Rare Events Through Qualitative Case Studies: Lessons from a Study of Rampage School Shootings.” Sociological Methods & Research 31 (2):174. Harford, Timothy. 2006. The Undercover Economist. New York: Oxford University Press. Harmon-Jones, Eddie, and Judson Mills, eds. 1999. Cognitive Dissonance: Progress on a Pivotal Theory in Social Psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Harsanyi, John C. 1969. “Rational-Choice Models of Political Behavior vs. Functionalist and Conformist Theories.” World Politics 21 (4):513–38. Hayek, Friedrich A. 1945. “The Use of Knowledge in Society.” American Economic Review 35(4):519–530. Heath, Chip, and Dan Heath. 2010. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard.

See Bargh and Chartrand (1999) and Schwarz (2004) for more on the importance of “fluency.” 15. See Nickerson (1998) for a review of confirmation bias. See Bond et al. (2007) for an example of confirmation bias in evaluating consumer products. See Marcus (2008, pp. 53–57) for a discussion of motivated reasoning versus confirmation bias. Both biases are also closely to related to the phenomenon of cognitive dissonance (Festinger 1957; Harmon-Jones and Mills 1999) according to which individuals actively seek to reconcile conflicting beliefs (“The car I just bought was more expensive than I can really afford” versus “The car I just bought is awesome”) by exposing themselves selectively to information that supports one view or discredits the other. 16. See Dennett (1984). 17. According to the philosopher Jerry Fodor (2006), the crux of the frame problem derives from the “local” nature of computation, which—at least as currently understood—takes some set of parameters and conditions as given, and then applies some sort of operation on these inputs that generates an output.


pages: 320 words: 96,006

The End of Men: And the Rise of Women by Hanna Rosin

affirmative action, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, delayed gratification, edge city, facts on the ground, financial independence, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, job satisfaction, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, Northern Rock, post-work, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, Results Only Work Environment, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Stanford prison experiment, Steven Pinker, union organizing, upwardly mobile, white picket fence, women in the workforce, young professional

Never.” At least not since college, when she was not as good at reading the signals. “I started to think about it,” she said, lounging back on her friend’s couch, putting her socked feet up on the coffee table. “What do I need a man for? I don’t need him financially. I don’t need him to do activities. I have lots of friends here. So fuck it.” One problem I had with our conversation was the cognitive dissonance produced by the difference between the voice and the person: The distinctive thing about Sabrina is her effortless, natural beauty. It’s hard to describe her physically without resorting to Nancy Drew–era clichés such as “youthful” and “fresh.” She is half Asian, with creamy skin and long black hair and clear green eyes. On the day I met her she was wearing an outfit that Katniss, the heroine from The Hunger Games, might wear to go hunting: jeans and what looked like a boy’s flannel checked button-down shirt, with no makeup.

The top still looks male, so women who make it that far still seem like an anomaly. In fact, they are seen as violating some essential quality of femininity—warmth, maternal instinct, communal feeling. Deep down we—men and women both—are not gender blind. We still expect women to act one way and men to act another. More than that, men and women both resist thinking any differently because it causes too much confusion and cognitive dissonance. We can glimpse the massive paradigm shift just on the horizon but we are not quite ready for it—a resistance that will fade as more and more women reach visible positions of power. IN 2008, at a time when Citigroup was becoming a model of big bank failure and corruption, its top executives held their regular Monday morning meeting. Vikram Pandit, the bank’s new CEO, was about to roll out a controversial new management structure that would shift around control over various geographical territories.

., 92, 153 Center for American Progress, 49, 124 Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, 20 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 19, 200 Central California Research Laboratories, 170 Chasing Stars (Groysberg), 203 Cheers (television show), 56 Chicago, University of, 185, 251 Business School, 216, 218 Chicopee (Massachusetts), 179 Child care, 14, 54, 218, 221–22, 224, 242, 264 government options for, 244 jobs in, 9, 118, 124 China, 5, 166 China Post, The, 239 Christians, 97 evangelical, 92, 284n Chung, James, 107 Chung, Vivien, 251–52 Citigroup, 205 Civil rights, 132, 148 Civil Rights Commission, U.S., 146 Civil War, 128 Clerical schools, 120, 130 Clovis (California), 169 Coal (television show), 87 Cognitive dissonance, 33 Cohen, Bernard, 68 Cold War, 152 Colorado, 170 Colombia, 55, 81, 237 Color Me Flo (Kennedy), 65 Columbia University, 119 Business School, 200 Comedy Central, 126–27, 143 Competition, 52, 174, 244 academic, in Korea, 232–33 for college admissions, 160 in traditional societies, 174, 188–89 Confucianism, 233, 234, 257 Congress, U.S., 205 Cookie magazine, 11 Coontz, Stephanie, 51 Cooper, Hannah, 113–17, 119–20, 123–24, 126–27, 130, 141–43 Cornwell, Patricia, 176 Cosby, Bill, 90 Cosmopolitan magazine, 31, 40 Creal, Cameron, 156 Creative Korea party, 249 Crime, violent, 175–85 against women, decline in, 19, 176, 182 committed by women, 176–78, 184–85 Daily Beast, The, 219, 228 “Dancing on My Own” (song), 44 Dating sites, 52, 255 Daum, Meghan, 31 Delahunty, Jennifer, 158–59 Deloitte Consulting, 141, 226 Delta Kappa Epsilon, 17 Democratic Party, 148 Denney, Leandra, 88 Denny’s, 179 Despentes, Virginie, 238, 256 Diana Chronicles, The (Brown), 228 Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Kinney), 190 DiPrete, Thomas A., 159 Divided Labours (Browne), 174 Divorce, 39–40, 49, 66–68, 94, 98, 101, 269 in Asia, 6, 238, 255 of breadwinner wives and unemployed husbands, 51, 81–82 and career opportunities for women, 152–53, 157 custody of children after, 125 financial impacts of, 68, 91, 283n murder as alternative to, 170, 172 regional differences in rates of, 92 Doctors, female, 59, 117, 132, 255–56 specialties chosen by, 118, 140 Domestic violence, 14, 170, 183 Drew, Ina, 202–3 Druggists’ Bulletin, 129 Drug Topics magazine, 131 Duke University, 43 Dunham, Lena, 43 Dushane, Melodi, 179 eBay, 224 Ebony magazine, 89 Economist, The, 253 Ecuador, 55 Edge City (Garreau), 133 Edin, Kathryn, 92–93 Education Department, U.S., 161, 224 Ehrenreich, Barbara, 41, 63 Eliot, George, 163 Eliot, Lise, 161, 174 Ellis, Bret Easton, 173 El-Scari, Mustafaa, 89–90 Empowerment, 30, 38, 45, 190 EMTs, 264 Engineers, 13, 54, 73, 80, 108, 150, 196 England, Paula, 24–25 Enlightened Power (Gergen), 199 Ericsson, Ronald, 11–13 Ernst & Young, 226 Erotic capital, 30, 37–38 Esteve, Albert, 237–38 Evans, Harry, 228 Evans, Jenelle, 179 Ewha University, 232–33, 239 Facebook, 181, 195, 197, 215, 224, 225, 230 Faludi, Susan, 9 Farber, Henry, 86 Farrell, Warren, 69, 72 Fast-food restaurants, female violence in, 179 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 176 Fels, Anna, 217 Feminism, 11, 12, 14–15, 21, 50, 60, 65–66, 75–76, 155, 182, 233 accusations against, 160 career opportunities and, 115, 124, 129, 152, 198, 215, 219 changing cultural norms in response to, 175 erotic capital and, 30 in Iceland, 202 motherhood and, 75–76, 93, 125 second-wave, 58 sexual norms and, 37–38, 41 Title IX complaints filed by, 17 in views of murders by women, 178 Financial planning, 118 Fiorina, Carly, 219 Fisher, Helen, 266 Flaubert, Gustave, 118 Flexibility, workplace, 140 Florida, Lottery, winners in, 94 Florida State University, 42 Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 12 Food preparation, 118, 124 Forbes magazine, 205 Forensic pathology, 118 Fort Lauderdale (Florida), 81, 180 Fortune 500 companies, 81, 198 Fortune magazine, 205 Fox Television, 225 France, 117, 237, 251, 252 Frankel, Lois, 34, 209 Franklin, Bernard, 154, 156 Friedan, Betty, 53 From Chivalry to Terrorism (Braudy), 266–67 Fulbright scholarships, 255 G.I.


pages: 323 words: 95,939

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff

algorithmic trading, Andrew Keen, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, big-box store, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, cashless society, citizen journalism, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, disintermediation, Donald Trump, double helix, East Village, Elliott wave, European colonialism, Extropian, facts on the ground, Flash crash, game design, global pandemic, global supply chain, global village, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, Inbox Zero, invention of agriculture, invention of hypertext, invisible hand, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kevin Kelly, laissez-faire capitalism, lateral thinking, Law of Accelerating Returns, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Milgram experiment, mutually assured destruction, negative equity, Network effects, New Urbanism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, passive investing, pattern recognition, peak oil, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Nelson Elliott, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing test, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero-sum game

There was still a story being told, but the story was out of the government’s—or its propagandists’—control. If anything, the story that the television news was telling ended up more accurate than the one President Johnson’s staff was feeding him. The cognitive dissonance between the stories we were trying to tell ourselves about who we were as a nation and a people began conflicting with the stories that we were watching on TV. In a world still organized by stories, news about Vietnam atrocities and Watergate crimes can only mean there are bad people who need to be punished. This cognitive dissonance amounted to a mass adolescence for America: the stories we were being told about who we were and what we stood for had turned out to be largely untrue. And like any adolescent, we felt ready to go out and see the world for ourselves.

When a person’s head nods and his irises dilate, we know—even just subconsciously—that he agrees with us. This activates the mirror neurons in our brains, feeding us a bit of positive reinforcement, releasing a bit of dopamine, and leading us further down that line of thought. Without such organic cues, we try to rely on the re-Tweets and likes we get—even though we have not evolved over hundreds of millennia to respond to those symbols the same way. So, again, we are subjected to the cognitive dissonance between what we are being told and what we are feeling. It just doesn’t register in the same way. We fall out of sync. We cannot orchestrate human activity the same way a chip relegates tasks to the nether regions of its memory. We are not intellectually or emotionally equipped for it, and altering ourselves to become so simply undermines the contemplation and connection of which we humans are uniquely capable.


pages: 198 words: 52,089

Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It by Richard V. Reeves

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, assortative mating, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, circulation of elites, cognitive dissonance, desegregation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, full employment, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, income inequality, knowledge economy, land value tax, longitudinal study, mortgage tax deduction, obamacare, Occupy movement, plutocrats, Plutocrats, positional goods, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, working-age population, zero-sum game

The problem is that many of these efforts are likely to run into the solid wall of upper middle-class resistance, even those that simply require a slightly higher tax bill. A change of heart is needed: a recognition of privilege among the upper middle class. That’s one reason I have written this book, in the hope that it can help to hold up a mirror. Some of us in the upper middle class already feel a degree of cognitive dissonance about the advantages we pile up for our own kids, compared to the truncated opportunities we know exist for others. We want our children to do well, but also want to live in a fairer society. My friend and colleague E. J. Dionne put it to me this way: “I spend my weekdays decrying the problem of inequality, but then I spend my evenings and weekends adding to it.” After describing the theme of this book to colleagues and friends, the conversation has often taken a confessional turn.

When the daughter of a liberal columnist failed to make it into a highly selective private school, he called a well-placed friend who called a family member who happens to run the school. Then she got in. Each of these individuals is thoughtful and liberal enough to know, at some level, their actions were morally wrong. In each case, their actions conferred an unfair advantage. If more of us start to feel Dionne’s cognitive dissonance, some political space might open up for the kind of reforms I discuss at the end of this book. These make some demands of the upper middle class, not least when it comes to paying for them. The big question is whether we are willing to make some modest sacrifices in order to expand opportunities for others or whether, deep down, we would rather pull up the ladder. As he put the final touches to a book, the historian James Truslow Adams was pleased with his idea for the title: The American Dream.


pages: 1,351 words: 385,579

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, Broken windows theory, business cycle, California gold rush, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, crack epidemic, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, experimental subject, facts on the ground, failed state, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fudge factor, full employment, George Santayana, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, global village, Henri Poincaré, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, impulse control, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, long peace, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Republic of Letters, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, security theater, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanford prison experiment, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, twin studies, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

The drive to present the self in a positive light was one of the major findings of 20th-century social psychology. An early exposé was the sociologist Erving Goffman’s The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, and recent summaries include Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson’s Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me), Robert Trivers’s Deceit and Self-Deception, and Robert Kurzban’s Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite.23 Among the signature phenomena are cognitive dissonance, in which people change their evaluation of something they have been manipulated into doing to preserve the impression that they are in control of their actions, and the Lake Wobegon Effect (named after Garrison Keillor’s fictitious town in which all the children are above average), in which a majority of people rate themselves above average in every desirable talent or trait.24 Self-serving biases are part of the evolutionary price we pay for being social animals.

In the examples I mentioned in introducing the Moralization Gap, perpetrators rationalize a harm they committed out of self-interested motives (reneging on a promise, robbing or raping a victim). But people also rationalize harms they have been pressured into committing in the service of someone else’s motives. They can edit their beliefs to make the action seem justifiable to themselves, the better to justify it to others. This process is called cognitive dissonance reduction, and it is a major tactic of self-deception.285 Social psychologists like Milgram, Zimbardo, Baumeister, Leon Festinger, Albert Bandura, and Herbert Kelman have documented that people have many ways of reducing the dissonance between the regrettable things they sometimes do and their ideal of themselves as moral agents.286 One of them is euphemism—the reframing of a harm in words that somehow make it feel less immoral.

The better angels that subdue these demons are the topic of the next chapter. Yet the mere process of identifying our inner demons may be a first step to bringing them under control. The second half of the 20th century was an age of psychology. Academic research increasingly became a part of the conventional wisdom, including dominance hierarchies, the Milgram and Asch experiments, and the theory of cognitive dissonance. But it wasn’t just scientific psychology that filtered into public awareness; it was the general habit of seeing human affairs through a psychological lens. This half-century saw the growth of a species-wide self-consciousness, encouraged by literacy, mobility, and technology: the way the camera follows us in slow-mo, the way we look to us all. Increasingly we see our affairs from two vantage points: from inside our skulls, where the things we experience just are, and from a scientist’s-eye view, where the things we experience consist of patterns of activity in an evolved brain, with all its illusions and fallacies.


pages: 242 words: 60,595

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, Bruce Patton

cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, rent control, sealed-bid auction, transaction costs, zero-sum game

One useful rule of thumb is to give positive support to the human beings on the other side equal in strength to the vigor with which you emphasize the problem. This combination of support and attack may seem inconsistent. Psychologically, it is; the inconsistency helps make it work. A well-known theory of psychology, the theory of cognitive dissonance, holds that people dislike inconsistency and will act to eliminate it. By attacking a problem, such as speeding trucks on a neighborhood street, and at the same time giving the company representative positive support, you create cognitive dissonance for him. To overcome this dissonance, he will be 30 tempted to dissociate himself from the problem in order to join you in doing something about it. Fighting hard on the substantive issues increases the pressure for an effective solution; giving support to the human beings on the other side tends to improve your relationship and to increase the likelihood of reaching agreement.


pages: 384 words: 118,572

The Confidence Game: The Psychology of the Con and Why We Fall for It Every Time by Maria Konnikova

attribution theory, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, epigenetics, hindsight bias, lake wobegon effect, lateral thinking, libertarian paternalism, Milgram experiment, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, post-work, publish or perish, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, side project, Skype, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, tulip mania, Walter Mischel

High off the optimism of the convincer, certain that good fortune is ours, we often take the second route. When we should be cutting our losses, we instead recommit—and that is entirely what the breakdown is meant to accomplish. Leon Festinger first proposed the theory of cognitive dissonance, today one of the most famous concepts in psychology, in 1957. When we experience an event that counteracts a prior belief, he argued, the resulting tension is too much for us to handle; we can’t hold two opposing beliefs at the same time, at least not consciously. “The individual strives,” Festinger wrote in A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, “toward consistency within himself.” True, here and there one might find exceptions. But overall, “It is still overwhelmingly true that related opinions or attitudes are consistent with one another. Study after study reports such consistency among one person’s political attitudes, social attitudes, and many others.”

., ref1, ref2 Carnegie, Andrew ref1 Carnegie, Dale ref1, ref2 Carney, Bruce ref1 Carr, Sarah ref1 Carro, Gregory ref1 Catch Me If You Can, ref1 caterpillars ref1 Cayuga, HMCS ref1, ref2 Cerf, Moran ref1, ref2 Chabris, Christopher ref1 Chadwick, Cassie ref1 Chaiken, Shelly ref1 chameleon effect ref1 change strategies ref1, ref2, ref3 Chaucer, Geoffrey ref1 Chen, Peter ref1 choices ref1, ref2, ref3 Chonko, Lawrence ref1 Choong, Lee ref1, ref2 Christie, Richard ref1 Cialdini, Robert ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6 Clore, Gerald ref1 Codol, Jean-Paul ref1 cognitive dissonance ref1 Cohen, Steven ref1 coins ref1, ref2 commons ref1 communities ref1 Confidence Man, The (Melville), ref1 confirmation bias ref1, ref2, ref3 Consumer Fraud Research Group ref1 control, illusion of ref1 conversations ref1 convincer ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4 Cooke, Janet ref1 corporate fraud ref1 Craigslist ref1, ref2 credibility ref1 creeping determinism ref1 Crichton, Judy ref1 Crichton, Robert ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6, ref7, ref8 Crichton, Sarah ref1 cuckoo finch ref1 cults ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4 culture ref1 Cummine, Andrew ref1 Curry, Robert ref1 Dal Cin, Sonya ref1 dark triad of traits ref1, ref2 psychopathy ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4 Davis, Barbara ref1 Dean, Jeremy ref1 DeBruine, Lisa ref1 decision making ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5 Dedalus Foundation ref1, ref2 default effects ref1, ref2 Demara, Ferdinand Waldo, Jr., ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6, ref7, ref8, ref9, ref10, ref11, ref12, ref13 Crichton and ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6, ref7, ref8 at monasteries ref1, ref2, ref3 as navy surgeon ref1, ref2, ref3 “papering” tactic of ref1 as prison warden ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4 school gifts from ref1 Demara, Ferdinand Waldo, Sr., ref1 Demara, Mary McNelly ref1, ref2 determinism, creeping ref1 Deveraux, Jude ref1 De Védrines, Christine ref1 De Védrines, Ghislaine ref1, ref2 “Diddling” (Poe), ref1 disasters ref1 disrupt-then-reframe ref1 Dittisham Lady, ref1, ref2 door-in-the-face ref1, ref2 Drake, Francis ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5 Dunbar, Robin ref1, ref2, ref3 Dunning, David ref1 Dutch tulip mania ref1 Dylan, Bob ref1 Ebola crisis ref1 Egan, Michael ref1 Eiffel Tower ref1 Ekman, Paul ref1, ref2, ref3 elaboration likelihood model ref1 elder fraud ref1 Elizabeth I, Queen ref1 Emler, Nicholas ref1, ref2 emotions ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6, ref7 anticipation of ref1 donations and ref1 stories and ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6 endowment effect ref1, ref2 entrapment effect ref1 environment ref1 Epley, Nicholas ref1, ref2, ref3 Epstein, Seymour ref1, ref2 Erdely, Sabrina Rubin ref1 Evans, Elizabeth Glendower ref1 even-a-penny scenario ref1, ref2 exceptionalism ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4 expectancies ref1, ref2 exposure ref1, ref2 Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (Mackay), ref1 Eyal, Tal ref1 Facebook ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6, ref7 facial expressions ref1, ref2, ref3 Fallon, James ref1 familiarity ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4 Farms Not Factories ref1 FBI ref1, ref2, ref3 fear ref1 Feldman, Robert ref1 Fenimore, Karin ref1 Festinger, Leon ref1, ref2, ref3 Fetzer, Barbara ref1 Figes, Orlando ref1 Fischhoff, Baruch ref1, ref2 Fiske, Susan ref1 Fitzgerald, Alan and Eilis ref1 Fitzgerald, Elizabeth (Madame Zingara), ref1, ref2 fix ref1 Folt, Carol ref1 football ref1 foot-in-the-door ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4 Frampton, Anne-Marie ref1, ref2, ref3 Frampton, Paul ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6, ref7, ref8, ref9 Frank, Jerome ref1 Franklin, Benjamin ref1, ref2 Franklin Syndicate ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4 Fraser, Scott ref1 Freedman, Ann ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4, ref5, ref6, ref7 Freeman, Jonathan ref1 French, John ref1, ref2 Fund for the New American Century ref1 future ref1 predicting ref1, ref2, ref3, ref4 Galinsky, Adam ref1 gambler’s fallacy ref1, ref2 Gant, Robert ref1 Geis, Florence ref1 genetics ref1 Gerard, Harold ref1 Gerhartsreiter, Christian ref1 Gifford, Adam Lord ref1 Gilbert, Daniel ref1, ref2 Gilligan, Andrew ref1 Gilovich, Thomas ref1 Glass, Stephen ref1, ref2 Goetzinger, Charles ref1 Gondorf, Fred and Charles ref1 Goodrich, Judge ref1 Gordon, John Steel ref1 gorilla experiment ref1 gossip ref1, ref2, ref3 Goya, Francisco ref1 Grazioli, Stefano ref1 Great Imposter, The (Crichton), ref1, ref2, ref3 Green, Melanie ref1, ref2 Green Dot cards ref1 Greg ref1 grifter ref1 grooming ref1 groups, belonging to ref1 Guillotin, Joseph ref1 Gur, Ruben ref1 Gurney, Edmund ref1 Hancock, Jeffrey ref1 Hansen, Chris ref1 Hanson, Robert ref1 happiness ref1, ref2, ref3 Hare, Robert ref1 Harley, Richard ref1 Harlow, E.


pages: 387 words: 120,155

Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference by David Halpern

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, availability heuristic, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, cognitive dissonance, collaborative consumption, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, different worldview, endowment effect, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, hindsight bias, IKEA effect, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, libertarian paternalism, light touch regulation, longitudinal study, market design, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, nudge unit, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, presumed consent, QR code, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Simon Kuznets, skunkworks, the built environment, theory of mind, traffic fines, twin studies, World Values Survey

Similarly, vegetable production from the 50 million civilian ‘victory gardens’ is estimated to have exceeded that of commercial vegetable production. These persuasive campaigns, and the behaviour they encouraged, had a dual function. They generated useful resources but, perhaps more importantly, they created a sense of common purpose. An everyday assumption is that attitudes shape behaviours. Yet psychological studies have shown that very often it works the other way around: behaviours shape attitudes.7 It is what psychologists call cognitive dissonance: when there is a discrepancy between a person’s attitudes and their behaviour, such as when you find yourself doing a ‘boring’ task for little reward, your attitude will often move into line with your behaviour (e.g. you conclude that the task is not so dull after all, and that it enables you to relax and clear your mind). Similarly, someone who has invested in a government war bond, or ‘dug for victory’, may be more likely to come to believe in the value and objectives of the war itself.

Chapter 1: Early Steps 1 One of the most basic psychological effects is how familiarity breeds liking, from random sequences of notes to how much we like and trust institutions. 2 I’m grateful to Rory Sutherland for first drawing my attention to the fascinating example of how Frederick the Great encouraged Prussians to adopt the potato. 3 Quoted in Quarterly Journal of Military History, August 2009. 4 UCLA Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health; http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/snow/victoria.html. 5 The Rotherhithe Tunnel was opened around 1908, and today carries the A101 road from Limehouse to Rotherhithe. As its sharp turns are now considered dangerous, it has a speed limit of just 20 mph. 6 Heide, Robert, and Gilman, John, Home Front America: Popular Culture of the World War II Era. p.36 ISBN 0-8118-0927-7 OCLC 31207708. 7 Festinger, L. (1957). A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. A classic illustration of the effect, was a study in which students had to do a boring, repetitive task, but were then paid either $1 or $20 to persuade someone in the waiting room that it was fun. When subsequently asked to rate the experiment, those paid just $1 were much more likely to rate it as interesting than those paid $20. Festinger argued that those paid the smaller sum restructured their beliefs in line with their behaviour: it must have been interesting, since I did it and told someone else it was interesting, just for a measly $1.

(page numbers in italics refer to illustrations) advertising: and alcohol 100–1 and humour 100 and shock 98–100, 100 and smoking 99, 100 airport expansion 98 alcohol 100–1, 127 and calories 100 and pregnancy 126–7 Alexander, Danny 281 anaesthetics 17 ‘animal spirits’ 207, 210, 211 Aos, Steve 282 Ariely, Dan 96–7, 134, 325 Aristotle 221, 240 Armstrong, Hilary 34 Asch, Solomon 26 ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) 189 Ashford, Maren 57, 83 attentional spotlight 83–4 Ayres, Ian 142 Bazerman, Max 134, 325 Beales, Greg 36 Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) (see also nudging): arguments lost by 212–14 becomes social-purpose company 350 beginnings of x–xi, 50–8, 56, 58, 341 current numbers employed by xiii, 341 current trials by 341 expansion of xiii governments follow 11 initial appointments to 56–7, 56 initial scepticism towards 9 most frequent early criticisms of 333 naming of x–xi, 52–3 objectives of 54–5 and transparency, efficacy and accountability, see under nudging and webpage design 275–9, 276 World Bank’s request to 125 year of scepticism experienced by 274 behavioural predators 312–13 Benartzi, Shlomo 64 benefits, see welfare benefits Bentham, Jeremy 221–2 BIG lottery 283 ‘Big Society’ 43, 50, 142, 250 BIT, see Behavioural Insights Team Blair, Tony 151, 225 and behavioural approaches in government 302 Brown takes over from 36, 260–1 review into tenure of 34 Strategy Unit of 31 Tories’ admiration of 50 Bogotá 135, 146 Bohnet, Iris 123 Britton, John 188 Brown, Gordon 34 becomes PM 36, 260–1 Byrne, Liam 47 Cameron, David 151 BIT set up by 8 and Coalition Agreement 38 and data transparency 159 Hilton appointed by 43 and randomised controlled trials 274 and response to notes 186 and smoking 194 and well-being 225–8, 227, 250 car tax 3, 91, 92, 275–8 carrier bags 23 Centre for Ageing Better 282 Centre for Local Economic Growth (LEG) 282, 288 Chand, Raj 146 charities 116–20, 142–4, 144 and reciprocity 116 Chetty, Raj 64 childbirth, see pregnancy and childbirth Cialdini, Robert 34–6, 47, 107–8, 109, 113, 121–2, 308, 312 Clegg, Nick, and Coalition Agreement 38 Cochrane, Dr Archie 269–71, 295, 297 Cochrane Collaboration 271 cocktail-party effect 86 cognitive dissonance 21 cognitive psychology 27–9, 28 Colbourne, Tim 215 College of Policing 282, 289 Collins, Kevan 283, 285 Community First 254–5 commuting 219–20, 263–4 conflict and war 20–1, 27, 87, 344–5 consumer feedback 161–9, 167 improvements driven by 168–9 in public sector 163–9, 167 cooling-off periods 77 Council Tax 95 crime prevention (see also theft): ‘scared straight’ approach to 266–8, 267 and ‘What Works’ institutes 289 Darley, J. 27, 110 data transparency 153–84 and better nudges 179–80 and consumer feedback 161–9, 167 improvements driven by 168–9 in public sector 163–9, 167 and food labelling 172, 178 and machine-readable code 154, 157, 159 and RACAP 157 in restaurants 178 and understandable information 176–9 on cancer 178–9 on car safety 177–8 on financial products 177 and utility suppliers 154–60, 155 Davey, Ed 157 Deaton, Angus 243 decision fatigue 141 Deep Blue 7 Diener, Ed 231 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) 272 discontinuity design 161–2 doctors’ handwriting 72, 72 Dolan, Paul 47–8, 220 Down, Nick 113 drivers’ behaviour 18, 18 Duckworth, Angela 247 Dunn, Elizabeth 220, 237, 250, 256 Durand, Martine 243 Dweck, Carol 343 e-cigarettes 188–97, 193, 215 estimated years of life saved by 195, 216 and non-smokers 193–4 and quit rates 192–3, 193 by socio-economic grouping 195 Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) 282 EAST (Easy, Attractive, Social, Timely) framework 10, 60, 149, 349 Attractive 80–105, 81, 85, 94 Easy 62–79, 68, 72, 73 and jobcentres 200 Social 106–25, 115, 118, 120, 122 (see also social influence) Timely 126–49, 129 Easterlin, Richard 238 eating habits 139, 171, 307 (see also obesity/weight issues) and choice 306–7 and food pyramid/plate illustrations 41, 41 and food tax 301–2 and healthy/unhealthy food 41, 82, 101–2, 216, 302 ‘mindless’ 171 Economic and Social Research Council 283 economy, UK 205–12 econs 6–7, 178, 223 education 137, 282 financial 64 further 146–7 and timely intervention 146–7 and ‘What Works’ institutes 283–7, 284, 286 Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF) 282, 283–7, 284, 286 Effectiveness and Efficiency (Cochrane) 295 endowment effect 140 Energy Performance Certificate 179 energy ratings 135 energy and utility suppliers, see utility suppliers Enterprise Bill 159 Epley, Nick 260–1 established behaviour, see habits ethnicity, and recruitment 137–9, 344 experimental government 266–98, 270, 272, 276 and crime prevention 266–8, 267 ethics of 325–8 (see also nudging: and accountability) and growth vouchers 279–80 and organ donation 275–9, 276 and overseas health-aid programmes 273 and radical incrementalism 291 and ‘What Works’ institutes 281–90, 292–4 Centre for Ageing Better 282 Centre for Crime Reduction 289 Centre for Local Economic Growth (LEG) 282, 288 Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) 282, 288 Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF) 282, 283–7, 284, 286 experimental psychology 24–6 farmers 145 ‘fat tax’ 301–2 (see also eating habits) fertiliser 145 Feynman, Richard 296, 297 financial crisis 45, 46, 206, 336 (see also UK economy) financial products 177, 206 fines, collecting 3–4, 52, 89, 90–1 Fischhoff, Baruch ix Fisher, Ronald 291 Fiske, Susan 84, 86, 325, 345 food pyramid/plate illustrations 41, 41 forms, prefilling 73–4 fossils 35 Frederick the Great 15, 16 Freud, Lord 279 Gallagher, Rory 55, 88–9, 158, 197–8, 204, 343, 349 gender equality, and company boards 123 Genovese, Kitty 109–10 Gigerenzer, Gerd 178 Gilbert, Danny 139, 220 Gino, Francesca 347 giving 116–20, 142–4, 144, 250 God Complex 269 Gove, Michael 287 Grant, Adam 347 Green Book 46, 228, 258, 259 Grice, Joe 233 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) 222–4, 255 (see also UK economy) Grove, Rohan 211 growth vouchers 279–80 Gyani, Alex 197–8, 203, 204, 343, 349 habits: and early intervention 128–32 key moments to prompt or reshape 132–9 and tax payments 131 Hallsworth, Michael 48, 113 Hancock, Matthew 279 hand washing 99, 140 happy-slave problem 231 Haynes, Laura 56–7 hearing 25 Heider, Fritz 345 Helliwell, John 226–7, 232 Henry VIII 17 herd instinct 161 Heywood, Sir Jeremy 2, 215, 217, 281 The Hidden Wealth of Nations (Halpern) 44 Highway Code 20 Hillman, Nick 165 Hilton, Steve x, 43–4, 51, 53–4, 159, 190, 214, 215, 225–6, 247, 250 and randomised controlled trials 274 hindsight bias ix HMRC 2–3, 8, 87–8, 89, 113, 115, 118, 120, 181–2 (see also tax payments) BIT member’s secondment to 113 non-tax-related business communications sent via 210–11 and online tax forms 74 and randomised controlled trials 274 Homer, Lin 210 honesty 133–4 honours 98 horses’ behaviour 18–19, 19 hospitals: and doctors’ handwriting 72, 72 and patient charts 72–3, 73 Hume, David 221 Hunt, Stefan 209 Hurd, Nick 250 Hutcheson, Francis 221 hyperbolic discounting 139 imprinting 128–9, 129 infant development 128–30 (see also pregnancy and childbirth) and early mother–child ‘meshing’ 129 (see also imprinting) in geese 128–9, 129 and mother’s depression 129 Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Cialdini) 34–5, 312 Inglehart, Ronald F. 229 Inland Revenue, see HMRC Institute for Government 40, 46–50 J-PAL 294 jobcentres 120–1, 197–205, 200, 201, 343, 349 (see also unemployment) John, Peter 96 The Joyless Economy (Scitovsky) 223 judges 140 Kahneman, Daniel 27, 29–30, 32, 48, 220, 226, 230 BIT’s work commended by 11 Kasparov, Garry 7 Kennedy, Robert F. 218, 222 Kettle, Stuart 125 Keynes, John Maynard 210, 211–12 King, Dom 48, 72 Kirkman, Elspeth 121, 146 knife crime 122 Kuznets, Simon 222 Laibson, David 64–5, 245, 307 Latene, B. 27, 110 Layard, Richard 225, 242, 248 Lazy Town 82 Legatum Institute 242–3 letters/messages, simplifying 71–3 and handwriting 72 in hospitals 72–3, 73 and prefilled forms 73–5 Letwin, Oliver 213, 217, 281, 295 Life satisfaction (discussion paper) 225 (see also well-being) Linos, Elizabeth 137, 344 List, John 286 litter 23, 35, 94, 107–8, 114 Loewenstein, George 307, 324, 345 loft/wall insulation 3, 75–6 Lorenz, Konrad 128–9, 129 lotteries, as incentive 94–6 Luca, Michael 161–2, 166, 177 Lyard, Richard 238 Lyons, Michael 250 MacFadden, Pat 34 Mackenzie, Polly 51, 215 Major, John 46 Manzi, James 295–6 Marcel, Anthony 136 Martin, Steve 113 Matheson, Jill 227 Mayhew, Pat 66 Mazar, Nina 347 Meacher, Michael 224 mental health 246–9 Merkel, Angela 243 midata, see data transparency Milgram, Stanley 26, 327 Miliband, Ed 34 military recruitment advertising 87 Milkman, Katherine 323 Mill, John Stuart 221 MINDSPACE framework 49–50, 50, 60, 72 motorcycle helmets 66–7 Mulgan, Geoff 225, 301–2 Mullainathan, Sendhil 343 National Citizenship Service (NCS) 251–2, 251 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) 195, 271, 281, 290 Nesta 350 Nguyen, Sam 55, 197–8, 343 The Nicomachean Ethics (Aristotle) 240 nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) 193, 193 (see also smoking) 9/11 28 Norton, Mike 256, 347 Nudge (Thaler, Sunstein) ix–x, 6–7, 39, 157, 234 Nudge Unit, see Behavioural Insights Team nudging (see also Behavioural Insights Team; EAST framework): and accountability 324–5 and experimentation, ethics of 325–8 and the public voice 328–32, 329 defined and discussed 22–4 and efficacy 304, 315–24 and familiarity with approach 319–24 relative 318–19 improving, with better data 179–80 rediscovery of 13 and subconscious priming 136 and transparency 304–15 and behavioural predators 312–13 and choice 306, 314–15 and effective communication vs propaganda 307–11, 311 Nurse Family Partnership 129 Obama, Barack 39–40, 254 acceptance speech of 38 Obama, Michelle 101 obesity/weight issues 101, 170–3, 307 (see also eating habits) in children, levelling of 173 and food labelling 172 and ‘mindless’ eating 171 O’Donnell, Sir Gus (later Lord) 45–6, 47, 57, 225, 227, 227, 242, 258 OECD 293, 340 Office of War Information (US) 21 Olds, David 130 online shopping 109 Ord, Toby 273 organ donation 9, 37, 52, 275–9 Orwell, George 309, 311 Osborne, George 45 and data transparency 159 O’Shaughnessy, James 247 Overman, Henry 288 Paley, William 221 paternalism x, 33, 51, 316 Pelenur, Marcos 135 pensions xii, 9, 62–5, 331 and choice 307 PMSU’s paper on 33 people’s parliaments 332 perception 24–5, 25 Personality responsibility and behaviour change (discussion paper) 301–2 police, ethnic recruits into 137–9, 344 potato consumption 15–16 pregnancy and childbirth 126–7 (see also infant development) Prescott, John 302 Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit (PMSU) 31–3, 47, 53, 225, 337 and Personality responsibility and behaviour change paper 301–2 psychological operations (PsyOps) 30, 308–9, 333 Putnam, Robert 253 radical incrementalism 291 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) 8, 113, 132, 182, 252, 270, 274–5, 283, 297–8, 339 and HMRC 274 Raseman, Sophie 157 RECAP 157 recycling 35 Red Tape Challenge 57 Reeves, Richard 51 Revenue and Customs, see HMRC road fuel 23 road traffic, see vehicles Roberto, Christine 101, 178 Rogers, Todd 146, 321 Rolls-Royce 208 Roosevelt, Franklin D. 21 Ruda, Simon 125, 137, 214, 344 Sainsbury, Lord (David) 46–7 Sanders, Michael 57, 116, 119, 142–3, 146 Scheving, Magnús 81, 82–3 Scitovsky, Tibor 223 Scott, Stephen 247 Seligman, Marty 232, 247 Sen, Amartya 231 Service, Owain 2, 56, 69 Sesame Street 101 Shadbolt, Sir Nigel 158 Shafir, Eldar 343, 345 sight 24–5, 25 Silva, Rohan x–xi, 43–5, 51, 53–4, 159 Singer, Tania 345 small businesses 205–9 passim (see also UK economy) smart disclosure 157 smoke detectors 99 smoking 9, 23, 99, 100, 138 and e-cigarettes 188–97, 193, 215 estimated years of life saved by 195, 216 and non-smokers 193–4 and nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) 193 and pregnancy 126–7 prevalence of 189 and quit rates 192–3, 193 by socio-economic grouping 195 SNAP framework 48 social influence 26–7, 106–25 and bystander intervention 110 dark side of 109–10 and litter 107–8, 114 norms of: descriptive vs injunctive 108 picking apart 107–11 in policy 111–15 and online shopping 109 and personal touch 119–21 and reciprocity 115–17 social psychology 107 Soman, Dilip 337 Southern Cross station staircase 85 speed bumps 76–7 Sportacus 81–3, 81 Stanford Prison 26–7 Steinberg, Tom 254 stickk.com 142 subconscious priming 136 suicide 67–9, 68, 77 Sunstein, Cass ix–x, 6–7, 22, 39–42, 44, 57, 73, 305, 307, 314 and RACAP 157 supermarkets 80–1, 84, 86, 171–2 and food labelling 173, 178 Sutherland, Rory 187–8 tailored defaults. 307 tax payments 3, 8, 23, 52, 87–8, 88, 89, 112–14, 118, 120, 131, 181–2 in Central America 125 Council Tax 95 and habits 131 and lottery incentive 96–7 and online tax forms 74–5 and randomised controlled trials 274 road duty 3, 91, 92, 275–8 social-norm-based approach to 113, 115 Tetlock, Philip 192 Thaler, Richard 6–7, 22, 39, 44, 50, 51, 53, 57, 305 and BIT’s name 53 and RACAP 157 theft (see also crime prevention): mobile phones 173–6, 174, 175 and target-hardening 78, 214 vehicles: cars 169–70 motorcycles 66–7 time, perception of 128 time-inconsistent preferences 128, 139–45 Times 301–2 tobacco, see smoking Turner Lord (Adair) xii, 33, 331 Tversky, Amos 27, 29, 230 UK economy 205–12, 215, 216 (see also financial crisis; Gross Domestic Product) unemployment 120–1, 122, 197–205, 200, 201, 216, 343, 349 (see also jobcentres) and well-being 255–6 utilitarianism 221–2 utility suppliers: and data transparency 154–60 switching among 153–4, 155–6, 155, 160, 213 vehicles 18–20 safety of 177–8 and speeding 76–7, 92–5, 100 varied penalties for 147 thefts of: cars 169–70 motorcycles 66–7 Victoria, Queen 17 visas 132 Vlaev, Ivo 48 Volpe, Kevin 320 voter registration 95–6 Walsh, Emily 123 Wansink, Brian 171, 306 war 20–1 war and conflict 20–1, 27, 87, 344–5 weight, see obesity/weight issues welfare benefits 8 and conditional cash transfers 135, 145 and timing of payments 135 well-being 218–65 and community 249–55, 251 and commuting 219–20, 263–4 by country 229, 238, 243 drivers of 235–41 material factors 237–9 social factors 239–41 (see also well-being: and community) sunny disposition 235–7 early concepts of 220–2 and GDP 222–4, 255 and governance and service design 258–62 and happy-slave problem 231 and income, work and markets 255–7 and Life satisfaction paper 225 measuring 222–4 big questions concerning 231–3 subjective 228–31 and mental health 246–9 and National Citizenship Service programme 251–2, 251 by occupation 244 and policy 242–3, 258 subjective 224, 228–31 and giving 250 (see also giving) by occupation 244–5 and prostitutes 231–2 UK government’s programme on 226–8, 233–5, 234, 240 unemployment’s effects on 255–6 and utilitarianism 221–2 What Works institutes 281–90, 292–4, 340 Centre for Ageing Better 282 Centre for Crime Reduction 289 Centre for Local Economic Growth (LEG) 282, 288 Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) 282, 288 Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF) 282, 283–7, 284, 286 When Harry Met Sally 160–1 ‘wicked problems’ 170 Willetts, David 165 World Bank 125, 293, 309, 340 World Values Survey (WVS) 229 yelp.com 161–2 Young, Lord 279 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS THERE ARE MANY people who deserve thanks and credit for the work and results of the Behavioural Insights Team that this book describes, and a rather shorter list for the writing and editing of the book itself.


pages: 208 words: 67,582

What About Me?: The Struggle for Identity in a Market-Based Society by Paul Verhaeghe

Berlin Wall, call centre, cognitive dissonance, deskilling, epigenetics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, income inequality, invisible hand, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Louis Pasteur, market fundamentalism, Milgram experiment, new economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, post-industrial society, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, The Spirit Level, ultimatum game, working poor

This also ties in seamlessly with the reduction of science to scientism: all results must be generalisable, based on objective and value-free research using accepted methods, independent of context. I shall confine myself to two observations. The selection of certain symptoms — increasingly, of certain behaviour — as indicators of mental illness is far from value-free; rather, the reverse. And the majority of research findings may be, as we know, refuted by other findings, but this is ignored by the dominant paradigm. The psychological explanation for this is known as ‘cognitive dissonance’. As far as the DSM is concerned: with the best will in the world, the scientific underpinning for its approach is extremely weak. The reason that so little attention is paid to the failure of current psychiatric diagnostics is thus fairly straightforward: the dominant paradigm allows no other viewpoint. The reason that labelling is such a success takes a bit more untangling. It has to do with the prevailing conviction that everyone can (and must) make a success of their lives, and that everyone is responsible for their own success or failure.

The current emphasis on competency-oriented education is driving our youngsters straight into the competition-and-career cluster, with all the associated values following in their wake. What the advocates of the system fail to realise is that this automatically undermines other norms and values. There is no such thing as competitive solidarity. Indeed, its impossibility is clearly illustrated by what psychologists call ‘cognitive dissonance’. When you hold strongly to a particular value-laden cluster, you simply can’t take in information that contradicts it, however objective and factual. Someone who sets great store by solidarity, public-spiritedness, and spirituality will find it almost impossible to take in information about the advantages of individualism, competitiveness, and materialism. And vice versa. We are all familiar with this phenomenon, by the way.


The Economics Anti-Textbook: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Microeconomics by Rod Hill, Anthony Myatt

American ideology, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, bank run, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, business cycle, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, different worldview, endogenous growth, equal pay for equal work, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, failed state, financial innovation, full employment, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, Gunnar Myrdal, happiness index / gross national happiness, Home mortgage interest deduction, Howard Zinn, income inequality, indoor plumbing, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, liberal capitalism, low skilled workers, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, medical malpractice, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Peter Singer: altruism, positional goods, prediction markets, price discrimination, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, publication bias, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, random walk, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, ultimatum game, union organizing, working-age population, World Values Survey, Yogi Berra

With about three cancer deaths associated with every 170 tons of asbestos (Tossavainen 2004), these exports should eventually result in about 4,400 deaths a year. Choosing false beliefs Even if workers know there may be risks to their work, will they evaluate them properly? The textbook model assumes that they will and that appropriate compensation for the extra risk will result. This won’t happen if workers experience what psychologists call ‘cognitive dissonance’. People can choose their beliefs about the world, using information selectively to reinforce a belief they would prefer to have (Akerlof and Dickens 1982). In this case, workers have to reconcile their view of themselves as smart people who make the right choices with the actual job they choose. As a result, they can believe their work is safer than it actually is. In this situation, there is no reason to think that wages will, in reality, adequately compensate workers for the risks they face, and thus internalize these costs in the firms’ decision-making (Purse 2003).

The economics of a warming world, London: Zed Books. Adams, W. and J. W. Brock (2004) The Bigness Complex: Industry, labour and government in the American economy, 2nd edn, Stanford Economics and Finance, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Adler, M. (2010) Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the science that makes life dismal, New York: New Press. Akerlof, G. A. and W. T. Dickens (1982) ‘The economic consequences of cognitive dissonance’, American Economic Review, 72(3): 307–19. Akerlof, G. A. and R. J. Shiller (2009) Animal Spirits: How human psychology drives the economy and why it matters for global capitalism, Princeton, NJ, and Oxford: Princeton University Press. Akerlof, G. A. and J. L. Yellen (1988) ‘Fairness and unemployment’, American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings, 78(2): 44–9. Aldred, J. (2009) The Skeptical Economist: Revealing the ethics inside economics, London and Sterling, VT: Earthscan.

., 128 Chandler, Alfred, The Visible Hand, 115 297 Channel One, 80 chemicals, registration of, 160 child labour, prohibition of, 173 child mortality, 83, 216; in Philippines, 239 child poverty, 210 children, vulnerable to advertising, 81–2 choice: freedom of, 42; individual, 38; public, 110, 112; rational, 9 17, 22, 110, 150, 163 Chomsky, Noam, 113, 114, 254 Chrysotile Institute, 162 cigarettes see tobacco industry Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA), 112 Clark, J. B., 179–80 climate change, 112, 152–3, 154–7, 165, 253; denial of, 156 closed-end mutual funds, 147 coffee, price of, 233–4 cognitive dissonance, 162 Cohen, Avi, 105, 106, 181, 182–3 Colander, David, 116, 132, 141, 154, 206, 232 collective good, 111, 152 see also public goods Colombia, US military aid to, 240 Commercial Alert, 82, 84 Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA) (2000), 262 common resources, use of, 152 communities, destruction of, 16, 18 community: notion of, 25–6; omitted from analysis, 251–3; relation to individual, 17–18 comparative advantage, 28–30, 222, 224, 227, 230–1; evaluation of, 43–5; technological change and, 228 comparative static analysis, 48–9, 64 compensation principle, 225–6, 245 competition, 13; imperfect, model of, 66, 106; perfect, 46, 53, 54–7, 60, 65, 93, 102, 104, 107–8, 130, 131, 132, 138, 169, 194, 204, 230 (analysis of, 118–22; efficiency of, 121–2; flawed nature of, 135–8; in labour markets, 63; incompatible requirements of, 65–6; limits of, 118–49; overemphasis on, 247–8) competitive market, definition of, 46 competitive model, 106; as useful approximation, 57–62; empirical testing of, 184–5; inconsistency of, 64–5 computer waste, disposal of, 232 conspicuous consumption, 90, 158, 205 consumer loans, 260 consumer’s surplus, 75–6, 221 consumerism, 79, 248; formation of, 74 see also conspicuous consumption consumers, people as, 74–92 contracts, 60; perceived costlessness of, 245–6; relational, 141–2, 250, 256 conventions, 169 Cook, P.


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Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini

Albert Einstein, attribution theory, bank run, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, desegregation, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental subject, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, Norman Macrae, Ralph Waldo Emerson, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds

The social nature of the classical conditioning phenomena in people. Psychological Reports, 67, 331–334. Fenigstein, A., Scheier, M. F., & Buss, A. H. (1975). Public and private self-consciousness: Assessment and theory. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 43, 522–527. Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations, 7, 117–140. Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Festinger, L., Riecken, H. W., & Schachter, S. (1964). When prophecy fails. New York: Harper & Row. Fiske, S. T., & Neuberg, S. L. (1990). A continuum of impression formation: Influences of information and motivation on attention and interpretation. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 23, pp. 1–74). New York: Academic Press.

Lobbyists circle over capitol. The Arizona Republic, pp. A1, A6. Foushee, M. C. (1984). Dyads and triads at 35,000 feet: Factors affecting group process and aircraft performance. American Psychologist, 39, 885–893. Fox, M. W. (1974). Concepts in ethology: Animal and human behavior. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Freedman, J. L. (1965). Long-term behavioral effects of cognitive dissonance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 1, 145–155. Freedman, J. L., & Fraser, S. C. (1966). Compliance without pressure: The foot-in-the door technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4, 195–203. Frenzen, J. R., & Davis, H. L. (1990). Purchasing behavior in embedded markets. Journal of Consumer Research, 17, 1–12. Fromkin, H. L., & Brock, T. C. (1971). A commodity theory analysis of persuasion.

Interpersonal attraction and repeated exposure to rewards and punishers. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 3, 248–251. Szabo, L. (2007, February 5). Patient protect thyself. USA Today, p. 8D. Taylor, R. (1978). Marilyn’s friends and Rita’s customers: A study of party selling as play and as work. Sociological Review, 26, 573–611. Tedeschi, J. T., Schlenker, B. R., & Bonoma, T. V. (1971). Cognitive dissonance: Private ratiocination or public spectacle? American Psychologist, 26, 685–695. Teger, A. I. (1980). Too much invested to quit. Elmsford, NY: Pergamon. Tesser, A., Campbell, J., & Mickler, S. (1983). The role of social pressure, attention to the stimulus, and self-doubt in conformity. European Journal of Social Psychology, 13, 217–233. Teuscher, U. (2005, May). The effects of time limits and approaching endings on emotional intensity.


pages: 52 words: 16,113

The Laws of Medicine: Field Notes From an Uncertain Science by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Atul Gawande, cognitive dissonance, Johannes Kepler, medical residency, randomized controlled trial, retrograde motion, stem cell, Thomas Bayes

The man responsible for this strange and illuminating idea was neither a doctor nor a scientist by trade. Born in Hertfordshire in 1702, Thomas Bayes was a clergyman and philosopher who served as the minister at the chapel in Tunbridge Wells, near London. He published only two significant papers in his lifetime—the first, a defense of God, and the second, a defense of Newton’s theory of calculus (it was a sign of the times that in 1732, a clergyman found no cognitive dissonance between these two efforts). His best-known work—on probability theory—was not published during his lifetime and was only rediscovered decades after his death. The statistical problem that concerned Bayes requires a sophisticated piece of mathematical reasoning. Most of Bayes’s mathematical compatriots were concerned with problems of pure statistics: If you have a box of twenty-five white balls and seventy-five black balls, say, what is the chance of drawing two black balls in a row?


pages: 226 words: 71,540

Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan's Army Conquered the Web by Cole Stryker

4chan, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Chelsea Manning, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, commoditize, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Firefox, future of journalism, hive mind, informal economy, Internet Archive, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mason jar, pre–internet, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, wage slave, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

Sharing information, no matter how trivial, solidifies societal bonds and deepens relationships. These shared points of reference make up life as much as our inside jokes at work or gossip at church. Clay Shirky has made waves in the last few years as being a kind of Marshall McLuhan for the Web 2.0 era. Throughout his two books, Cognitive Dissonance and Here Comes Everybody, Shirky provides the kind of commentary that fills one with excitement for being a part of the web right now. We’re making things happen! It’s a new stage in human social evolution! Look at all the cool stuff the Internet lets us do! In Cognitive Dissonance, Shirky uses the lolcats found at http://www.icanhascheezburger.com as a convenient representative for what he calls “the stupidest possible creative act,” as opposed to, say, improving a Wikipedia entry or creating a platform for financing human rights projects in the third world.


pages: 284 words: 79,265

The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date by Samuel Arbesman

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Wiles, bioinformatics, British Empire, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Chelsea Manning, Clayton Christensen, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, David Brooks, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Galaxy Zoo, guest worker program, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, index fund, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, life extension, Marc Andreessen, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Nicholas Carr, P = NP, p-value, Paul Erdős, Pluto: dwarf planet, publication bias, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, scientific worldview, social graph, social web, text mining, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation

And even more than that, it can allow us to anticipate the shortcomings in what we each might know and help us to plan for these flaws in our knowledge. Facts are how we organize and interpret our surroundings. No one learns something new and then holds it entirely independent of what they already know. We incorporate it into the little edifice of personal knowledge that we have been creating in our minds our entire lives. In fact, we even have a phrase for the state of affairs that occurs when we fail to do this: cognitive dissonance. Ordering our surroundings is the rule of how we as humans operate. In childhood we give names to our toys, and in adulthood we give names to our species, chemical elements, asteroids, and cities. By naming, or, more broadly, by categorizing, we are creating an order to an otherwise chaotic and frightening world. And when we learn facts, we are doing the same thing. Facts—whether about our surroundings, the current state of knowledge, or even ourselves—provide us with a sense of control and a sense of comfort.

actuarial escape velocity, 53 Akaike Information Criterion, 69–70 Albert, Réka, 103 aluminum, 53 Ambient Devices, 195 amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), 98, 100–101 anatomy, 23 Anaxagoras, 201 Anaximander, 201 Andreessen, Marc, 123 Annals of Internal Medicine, 107 apatosaurus, 79–82 apoptosis (programmed cell death), 111, 194 Aral, Sinan, 143 Arbesman, Harvey, 96–98, 100–101 Arbesman, Samuel, 79 Ariely, Dan, 172 Asimov, Isaac, 35–36 asteroids, 22, 23, 51, 85–86, 183–84 athletes, 51 Atlantic, 86, 198 Australia, 57, 59, 60 automated discovery programs, 112–14 Automated Mathematician, 112 Babbage, Charles, 106–7 Back to the Future (film), 211 Bak, Per, 137–38 Barabási, Albert-László, 103 Battle of New Orleans, 70 Bede, 115–16 Being Wrong (Schulz), 174–75, 201–2 Berlin, 64 Berman, David, 81–82 Bettencourt, Luís, 135 Bingham, Alpheus, 96–97 biomarkers, 98 Black Death, 52, 64, 71, 73 board games, 2, 51 Bohemian Journal of Counting, 86 Bone Wars, 80, 169 bookkeeping, double-entry, 200 Book of Lost Books, The: An Incomplete History of All the Great Books You’ll Never Read (Kelly), 115 Boston Globe, 86 Bowers, John, 85–86 Boyle, Robert, 94 Bradley, David, 62–63 brain, 205, 207 branching process, 104 Bremer, Arthur, 66 British Medical Journal, 83, 212 brontosaurus, 79–82, 169 Brooks, David, 198 Brooks, Rodney, 46 bubonic plague, 52 Black Death, 52, 64, 71, 73 “Bully for Brontosaurus” (Gould), 82 calculations, 43–44 calculus, 67 Canterbury Tales, The (Chaucer), 90 Caplan, Bryan, 58 Cardarelli, François, 146 Carroll, Sean, 36–37 carrying capacity, 45 cell death, programmed, 111, 194 cell phone calls, 69, 77 Census of Marine Life, 37–39 Chabon, Michael, 184 Chabris, Christopher, 178 chain letters, 91–93 change: fast, 207–9 slow, 171, 172, 190, 191 change blindness, 177–79 Chaucer, Geoffrey, 90 chemical elements, 6, 22, 23, 50–51 atomic number of, 150–51 atomic weight of, 150–52 periodic table of, 50, 150–52, 182 thermal conductivity of, 33–35 Christakis, Nicholas, 21, 75 Christensen, Clayton, 45 chromosomes, 1–2, 89, 92, 143 cirrhosis, 28–30 Cisne, John, 116 citations, 17, 31–32, 90–91, 108 cities, 135–36, 202 citizen science, 19–21 Clarke, Arthur C., 18–19 classification systems, 204–5 Clay Mathematics Institute, 133 climate change, 203 clinical trials, 107–9, 157, 160 coelacanths, 26–27 cognitive biases, 175–76, 177, 188 cognitive dissonance, 4 Colbert, Stephen, 193 Cole, Jonathan, 48–49 Cole, Stephen, 162, 163 computation, human, 20 computers, 20, 41, 53, 110 automated discovery programs, 112–14 Babbage and, 106–7 games and, 2, 51 information transformation and, 43–44, 46 Moore’s Law and, 42 confirmation bias, 177 Consumer Price Index (CPI), 196 Cope, Edward, 80, 81, 169 Copernicus, Nicolaus, 206 CoPub Discovery, 110–12 Cosmos, 121, 129 Couric, Katie, 41 Courtenay-Latimer, Marjorie, 26–27 Cowen, Tyler, 23 cryptography, 134 cumulative knowledge, 56–57 Daily Show, The, 159 Darwin, Charles, 79, 80, 105, 166, 187 data science, 167–68 Davy, Humphry, 51 decline effect, 155–56, 157, 162 de Grey, Aubrey, 53 demographics, 204 Dessler, A.


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The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone, Especially Ourselves by Dan Ariely

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Bernie Madoff, Broken windows theory, cashless society, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, Donald Trump, fudge factor, new economy, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Shai Danziger, shareholder value, Steve Jobs, Walter Mischel

They found that after giving a short lecture about the benefits of a certain drug, the speaker would begin to believe his own words and soon prescribe accordingly. Psychological studies show that we quickly and easily start believing whatever comes out of our own mouths, even when the original reason for expressing the opinion is no longer relevant (in the doctors’ case, that they were paid to say it). This is cognitive dissonance at play; doctors reason that if they are telling others about a drug, it must be good—and so their own beliefs change to correspond to their speech, and they start prescribing accordingly. The reps told us that they employed other tricks too, turning into chameleons—switching various accents, personalities, and political affiliations on and off. They prided themselves on their ability to put doctors at ease.

., 246 cashless society, implications for dishonesty in, 34 Catch Me If You Can (Abagnale), 173 certificates for (false) achievements, 153–54 Chance, Zoë, 145, 264 charitable behavior, 23–24 cheating: aggressive cheaters and, 239 altruistic, 222–23, 225–26, 227–28, 232 being made blatantly aware of, 156–57 being watched and, 223–25, 227 collaborative, see collaborative cheating desire to benefit from, 12–14, 27, 29, 237 ego depletion, 104–6, 111–12 fake products’ impact on, 125–31 in golf, 55–65 honor codes and, 41–45 increasing creativity to increase level of, 184–87 as infection, 191–216; see also infectious nature of cheating infidelity and, 244–45 on IQ-like tests, self-deception and, 145–49, 151, 153–54, 156–57 reducing amount of, 39–51, 248–54 removing oneself from tempting situation and, 108–11 signing forms at top and, 46–51 Ten Commandments and, 39–40, 41, 44 what-the-hell effect and, 127–31, 136 see also dishonesty China, cheating in, 241–42 Chloé accessories, studies with, 123–34 Civil War veterans, 152 classes, infectious nature of cheating in, 195–97 Coca-Cola, stealing money vs., 32–33 cognitive dissonance, 81 cognitive load: ability to resist temptation and, 99–100 judges’ parole rulings and, 102–3 Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT), 173–74 coin logic, 167–68 collaborative cheating, 217–35 altruism and, 222–23, 225–26, 227–28, 232 being watched or monitored and, 223–25, 227–28, 234–35 emphasis on working as group or team and, 217–18 infectious nature of cheating in relation to, 221–22 social utility and, 222–23 companies: being one step removed from money and, 34–37 irrationality of, 51 see also corporate dishonesty compliments, insincere, 159 conflicts of interest, 67–95, 238, 248 in academia, 82, 84–85 in dentistry, 67–71, 93, 94, 230 disclosure and, 88–92 dots task and, 129 eradication of, 92–95 exclusion of experimental data and, 86–88 expert witnesses and, 85–86 in financial services industry, 83–85, 93, 94 governmental lobbyists and, 77–78, 94 honesty threshold and, 130–31 inherent inclination to return favors and, 74–75 medical procedures and, 71–74, 92–94, 229 pharmaceutical companies’ influence in academia and, 82 pharma reps and, 78–82 what-the-hell effect and, 129–31 congressional staffers, cheating among, 243 Congress members, PAC money misused by, 208–10 contractors, 93 Conway, Alan, 150–51 Cooper, Cynthia, 215 Cornell University, 250–51 corpora callosa, 164–65 corporate dishonesty: cheating a little bit and, 239–40 Enron collapse and, 1–3, 192, 207, 215, 234 recent spread of, 192, 207–8 cost-benefit analysis, 4–5, 26–27, 237, 239 infectious nature of cheating and, 201–3, 205 see also Simple Model of Rational Crime counterfeits, see fake products creativity, 88, 163–89, 238 brain structure and, 164–65 dark side of, 187–89 fooling oneself and, 165–67 increasing, to increase level of cheating, 184–87 infidelity and, 244 intelligence vs., as predictor of dishonesty, 172–77 link between dishonesty and, 170–72, 186–89 logical-sounding rationales for choices and, 163–64 measures of, 171 moral flexibility and, 186–87 pathological liars and, 168–70 revenge and, 177–84 credit card companies, 239–40 crime, reducing, 52 cultural differences, 240–43 Danziger, Shai, 102 decision making: creating efficient process for, 167–68 effectiveness of group work in, 217–18 rationalization process and, 163–67 Denfield, George, 75 dentists: continuity of care and, 228–31 treating patients using equipment that they own, 67–68, 93–94 unnecessary work and, 67–71 depletion, see ego depletion dieting, 98, 109, 112–13, 114–15 what-the-hell effect and, 127, 130 “dine-and-dash,” 79 diplomas, lying about, 135–36, 153, 154 disabled person, author’s adoption of role of, 143–44 disclosure, 88–92, 248 study on impact of, 89–92 discounting, fixed vs. probabilistic, 194 dishonesty: causes of, 3–4, 5 collaborative, see collaborative cheating cultural differences and, 240–43 discouraging small and ubiquitous forms of, 239–40 importance of first act of, 137 infectious nature of, 191–216; see also infectious nature of cheating intelligence vs. creativity as predictor of, 172–77 link between creativity and, 170–72, 186–89 opportunities for, passed up by vast majority, 238 of others, fake products and assessing of, 131–34 rational and irrational forces in, 254 reducing amount of, 39–51, 248–54 society’s means for dealing with, 4–5 summary of forces that shape (figure), 245 when traveling, 183n see also cheating dissertation proposals and defenses, 101 distance factors, 238 in golf, 58–59 stealing Coca-Cola vs. money and, 32–33 token experiment and, 33–34 doctors: consulting for or investing in drug companies, 82, 93 continuity of care and, 228–29 lecturing about drugs, 81 pharma reps and, 78–82 treating or testing patients with equipment that they own, 92–94 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, 234 dots task: conflict of interest and, 129 description of, 127–29 link between creativity and dishonesty and, 171–72, 185–86 what-the-hell effect and, 129–31 downloads, illegal, 137–39 dressing above one’s station, 120–21 Ebbers, Bernie, 13 ego depletion, 100–116, 238, 249 basic idea behind, 101 cheating and, 104–6 in everyday life, 112–16 removing oneself from tempting situations and, 108–11, 115–16 of Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones, 103 sometimes succumbing to temptation and, 114–15 sudden deaths among students’ grandmothers at exam time and, 106–8 ego motivation, 27 England, cheating in, 242 Enron, 1–3, 192, 207, 215, 234 essay mills, 210–13 exams, sudden deaths among students’ grandmothers and, 106–8 exhaustion, 249 consumption of junk food and, 97–98 judges’ parole rulings and, 102–3 see also ego depletion experimental data, exclusion of, 86–88 expert witnesses, 85–86 explanations, logical-sounding, creation of, 163–65 external signaling, 120–22 dressing above one’s station and, 120–21 fake products and, 121–22 failures, tendency to turn blind eye to, 151 “fair,” determination of what is, 57 fake products, 119, 121–40, 238 illegal downloads and, 137–39 misrepresentation of academic credentials and, 135–36 rationalizations and, 134–35 self-signaling and, 123–26, 135 signaling value of authentic version diluted by, 121–22 suspiciousness of others and, 131–34 what-the-hell effect and, 127–31, 135 farmer’s market, benevolent behavior toward blind customer in, 23–24 fashion, 117–26 counterfeit goods and, 119, 121–22, 121–40, 123–26; see also fake products dressing above one’s station and, 120–21 external signaling and, 120–22 self-signaling and, 122–26 Fastow, Andrew, 2 favors, 74–82 aesthetic preferences and, 75–77 governmental lobbyists and, 77–78 inherent inclination to return, 74–75 pharma reps and, 78–82 see also conflicts of interest Fawal-Farah, Freeda, 117, 118 FBI, 215 Fedorikhin, Sasha, 99–100 Feynman, Richard, 165 financial crisis of 2008, 83–85, 192, 207, 234, 246–47 financial favors, aesthetic preferences and, 77 financial services industry: anonymous monitoring and, 234–35 cheating among politicians vs., 243 conflicts of interest in, 83–85, 93, 94 government regulation of, 234 fishing, lying about, 28 Frederick, Shane, 173 friends, invited to join in questionable behavior, 195 fudge factor theory, 27–29, 237 acceptable rate of lying and, 28–29, 91 distance between actions and money and, 34–37 getting people to cheat less and, 39–51 infidelity and, 244 rationalization of selfish desires and, 53 stealing Coca-Cola vs. money and, 32–33 Gazzaniga, Michael, 164–65 Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), 219–20 generous behavior, 23–24 Get Rich Cheating (Kreisler), 14 Gilovich, Tom, 250, 263–64 Gino, Francesca, 45, 104, 123, 127, 131, 145, 170, 184, 197, 225, 234–35, 242, 258–59 Glass, Ira, 6 Gneezy, Ayelet, 177, 257–58 golf, 55–65 cheating by “average golfer” vs. study participants and, 63–64 mistallying score in, 61–64 moving location of ball in, 58–59, 63 mulligans in, 60–61, 63–64 self-monitoring in, 56–57 survey on cheating in, 57–64 government regulations, 234 grandmothers, sudden deaths of, at exam time, 106–8 gray matter, 169–70 Green, Jennifer Wideman, 117 grocery shopping, ego depletion and, 109, 112–13 group or team work, 220–23 performance unaffected by, 233 possible benefits of, 223 predominance of, in professional lives, 217–18, 235 social utility and, 222–23 see also collaborative cheating Grüneisen, Aline, 210–11, 257 guilt, self-inflicted pain and, 250–52 Harford, Tim, 3–4 Harper’s Bazaar, 117–18 Harvard Medical School, 82 Harvey, Ann, 75 Henn, Steve, 209 heretics, external signaling of, 120 Hinduism, 25 honesty threshold, 130–31 honor codes, 41–45, 204 ideological organizations, 232n “I knew it all along” feeling, 149 illegal businesses, loyalty and care for customers in, 138–39 impulsive (or emotional) vs. rational (or deliberative) parts of ourselves, 97–106 cognitive load and, 99–100 ego depletion and, 100–106 exhaustion and, 97–98 Inbar, Yoel, 250, 264 infectious nature of cheating, 191–216, 249 bacterial infections compared to, 192–93 in class, 195–97 collaborative cheating in relation to, 221–22 Congress members’ misuse of PAC money and, 208–10 corporate dishonesty and, 192, 207–8 cost-benefit analysis and, 201–3, 205 essay mills and, 210–13 matrix task and, 197–204 positive side of moral contagion and, 215–16 regaining ethical health and, 214–15 slow and subtle process of accretion in, 193–94, 214–15 social norms and, 195, 201–3, 205–7, 209 social outsiders and, 205–7 vending machine experiment and, 194–95 infidelity, 244–45 “in good faith” notion, 219–20 Inside Job, 84–85 insurance claims, 49–51 intelligence: creativity vs., as predictor of dishonesty, 172–77 measures of, 173–75 IQ-like tests, cheating and self-deception on, 145–49 certificates emphasizing (false) achievement and, 153–54 increasing awareness of cheating and, 156–57 individuals’ tendency to turn a blind eye to their own failures and, 151 IRS, 47–49 Islam, 249 Israel, cheating in, 241 Italy, cheating in, 242 Jerome, Jerome K., 28 Jobs, Steve, 184 Jones, Bobby, 56 Jones, Marilee, 136 Judaism, 45, 249 judges, exhausted, parole decisions and, 102–3 junk food, exhaustion and consumption of, 97–98 Keiser, Kenneth, 135 Kelling, George, 214–15 John F.


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The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy by Seth Mnookin

Albert Einstein, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, en.wikipedia.org, illegal immigration, index card, Isaac Newton, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, neurotypical, pattern recognition, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, selection bias, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

If you assume, as I had, that human beings are fundamentally logical creatures, this obsessive preoccupation with a theory that has for all intents and purposes been disproved is hard to fathom. But when it comes to decisions around emotionally charged topics, logic often takes a back seat to what are called cognitive biases—essentially a set of unconscious mechanisms that convince us that it is our feelings about a situation and not the facts that represent the truth. One of the better known of these biases is the theory of cognitive dissonance, which was developed by the social psychologist Leon Festinger in the 1950s. In his classic book When Prophecy Fails, Festinger used the example of millennial cults in the days after the prophesied moment of reckoning as an illustration of “disconfirmed” expectations producing counterintuitive results: Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart; suppose further that he has a commitment to this belief, that he has taken irrevocable actions because of it; finally, suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong; what will happen?

Some of the others have been alluded to earlier in this book: When SafeMinds members set out to write an academic paper about a hypothesis they already believed to be true, they set themselves up for expectation bias, where a researcher’s initial conjecture leads to the manipulation of data or the misinterpretation of results, and selection bias, where the meaning of data is distorted by the way in which it was collected. In addition to being a natural reaction to the experience of cognitive dissonance, the hardening conviction on the part of vaccine denialists in the face of studies that undercut their theories is an example of the anchoring effect, which occurs when we give too much weight to the past when making decisions about the future, and of irrational escalation, which is when we base how much energy we’ll devote to something on our previous investment and discount new evidence indicating we were likely wrong.

., 9, 110, 204 Bush, Jenna, 110 Bush, Laura, 110 Bustin, Stephen, 290 Byers, Vera, 288, 294 Byrne, Rhonda, 269 caffeine, 93 California, 18n, 19, 36, 167, 186–87, 229, 272 vaccination rates in, 305 measles outbreak in, 19 mumps outbreak in, 306 pertussis outbreak in, 306 California, University of, at Los Angeles, 70 California, University of, at Santa Cruz, 235n California Department of Public Health, 306 Callous Disregard (Wakefield), 303–4 Calman, Kenneth, 100 calomel, 119–20 Campbell-Smith, Patricia, 288 Canada, 28 cancer, 58, 120, 260 breast, 138–40, 193, 270 drinking milk and, 48n Cardiff University, 163 Carnegie, Andrew, 41 Carrey, Jim, 14n, 256, 258 Carter, Jimmy, 65 case series, 110 Casey, Rhonda, 90, 91 Catholic Church, 81n, 100 cats, 40n, 120 causation, correlation and, 47, 48n, 209 Cedillo, Michael, 181–87, 190–91, 192, 285, 295–97 Cedillo, Michelle, 181–86, 192, 285–97 Omnibus Proceeding and, 190–91, 285, 290, 291, 295–97 Cedillo, Theresa, 181–87, 190–91, 192, 196, 285, 295–97 Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 54, 72, 108, 147–50, 195, 199, 221, 223, 280–81 1999 recommendations on thimerosal and, 6, 125–30, 140 Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of (ACIP), 152–53, 173 anonymous messages sent to, 200 Blaxill’s views on, 222 flu and, 62, 63, 64 Kirby’s book and, 207, 213 McCarthy and, 255 Morgellons syndrome and, 95–96 pertussis and, 280–81 “Unexplained Dermopathy Project” of, 96n vaccine compensation and, 147, 148 vaccine safety and, 148, 150, 170, 171, 173 central nervous system, 40, 120 cerebral palsy, 151, 164 Chadwick, Nicholas, 291–92 Chain, Ernst Boris, 36 Chávez, Hugo, 8 chelation therapy, 235, 260, 261, 263–64 Chen, Robert, 108, 110–11, 150 Kennedy on, 223, 226 Cherry, James, 70 Chicago, University of, 78n chicken pox vaccine, 7 childhood disintegrative disorder, 81 Childhood Neurology (textbook), 289 child rearing, obsession with, 6, 9–10 Chin-Caplan, Sylvia, 286, 292, 293n, 296–97 Chinese herbs, 288 cholera, 39–40 Christian Science, 33–34, 268 cigarette taxes, 210 Civil Registration System, Danish, 154 Clements, John, 150, 223–24 Clinton, Hillary, 95 clustering illusion, 193 CNN, 84, 88, 90, 204 Coalition for Sensible Action for Ending Mercury Induced Neurological Disorders, see SafeMinds Coast to Coast (radio show), 90n Coca-Cola Bottling Co., 51 cocaine, 94 coffee, 93 cognitive biases, 15, 193–95 cognitive defects, 121, 235n cognitive dissonance, 15, 194 cognitive relativism (truthiness), 9 Cohen, Richard, 66 Colbert, Stephen, 9 Colorado, 57, 83 “commonsense” assumptions, 18 Community Health Council, 101 compensation systems, vaccines, 12, 146–48, 175, 178, 179, 180, 220 Condé Nast, 74n confirmation bias, 194–95 Congress, U.S., 64, 65, 95, 125, 167, 257 drug safety and, 146 swine flu and, 147 vaccine compensation and, 148, 178 Connecticut, 305 conspiracy theories, 237 constipation, 116, 144 of Michelle Cedillo, 183 Consumer Protection Act, 102 Continental Army, 27–29 control studies, 109–10, 153 Copernicus, Nicolaus, 81n Cornell University, 235n correlation, causation and, see causation, correlation and coughing, 274–75, 276, 280–81 cowpox, 31–32 creationism, 197n “Crimes in the Cowpox Ring” (Little), 35 Crohn’s disease, 103–5 Crystals, 251, 253 Cure Autism Now (CAN), 137, 142, 228, 232, 233 Cure Within, The (Harrington), 268 Curtis, Valerie, 26 Cutter Laboratories (Cutter Incident), 46–47, 49–53, 55, 146 cysteine, 143 cytomegalovirus, 289 dancing cat disease, 120 Daniels, Mitch, 204 Darwin, Charles, 158n Davis, case study, 286–87 Dawbarns, 115–16 “Deadly Immunity” (Kennedy), 221–27 deafness, 20, 100 death threats, 200, 230 debates, interpretation of facts and, 198–99 Debold, Sam, 187–89 Debold, Vicky, 187–89, 196 decision making, emotions and, 192–93 Deer, Brian, 236, 237, 300, 302 Defeat Autism Now!


pages: 692 words: 127,032

Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America by Shawn Lawrence Otto

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Berlin Wall, Brownian motion, carbon footprint, Cepheid variable, clean water, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, commoditize, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dean Kamen, desegregation, different worldview, double helix, energy security, Exxon Valdez, fudge factor, ghettoisation, global pandemic, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, mutually assured destruction, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, sharing economy, smart grid, Solar eclipse in 1919, stem cell, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, University of East Anglia, War on Poverty, white flight, Winter of Discontent, working poor, yellow journalism, zero-sum game

FRAMING SCIENCE If it’s true that our brains process facts and Locke’s “but faith, or opinion” in essentially the same way, how can one ever hope to break through? The key lies in emphasizing the process, which granulates the frame from an authoritarian assertion to an antiauthoritarian exploration of the senses and intellect: “Look, see it yourself?” This has the same effect as Locke’s careful definition of knowledge: It removes science from a rhetorical frame conflict and refocuses the mind on observable reality, causing cognitive dissonance and questioning. When the evolution question is worded with the qualifier “according to the theory of evolution,” that emphasizes process. We could also ask it with the qualifier “according to observations of the fossil record” and would likely get a similar result. This is because science is a physical, objective subset of the broader worldviews that it was carved out from, and that’s okay.

Even people high in belief in a just world can handle these extremes if there’s a concrete solution. But without that, they find it paralyzing and are motivated to disregard the message.”23 SPEAKING CONSERVATESE When the just world belief is held along with a high level of patriotism, this effect seems to be multiplied, Willer and Feinberg found in a follow-up study.24 “Conservatives are on average more patriotic,” says Willer. “One thing that sets up is a great deal of cognitive dissonance when it comes to global warming. You think America is great, you know it’s a greenhouse-gas emitter, and then you’re told that greenhouse gases are bad for the world.” They found that if you experimentally increase people’s patriotism, their belief in global warming tends to go down. In other experiments, Feinberg and Willer found that liberals moralize environmental issues and conservatives don’t.25 So they wondered, “What if you tried to make conservatives think of global warming as a moral issue?

Win or lose, Sanders puts a face on science and elevates it in the discussion. Sometimes this process can take years to have an impact. But eventually, it does. “I went to the county fairs and I’d meet lots of people,” relates Sanders. “A not infrequent response was ‘Oh, since you’re a scientist you probably believe in global warming.’ This was from people who didn’t. So there was this cognitive dissonance. They know that my being a scientist would make me think that global warming was real, and they both didn’t believe it themselves and thought that there was some dispute about it. And they would maintain the position that it’s an open scientific question. But in person at least, I didn’t feel like they were hostile to me. It’s hard to know how sustained you have to be. “At Indiana county fairs there are a lot of church booths.


Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother's Boyfriend by Barbara Oakley Phd

agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, Barry Marshall: ulcers, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, impulse control, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, Norbert Wiener, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, prisoner's dilemma, Richard Feynman, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stanford prison experiment, Steven Pinker, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, twin studies, union organizing, Y2K

‘The result is that partisan beliefs are calcified, and the person can learn very little from new data,’” Westen says.17 Westen's remarkable study showed that neural information processing related to what he terms “motivated reasoning”—that is, political bias (in this case, at least)—appears to be qualitatively different from reasoning when a person has no strong emotional stake in the conclusions to be reached. The study is thus the first to describe the neural processes that underlie political judgment and decision making, as well as to describe processes involving emote control, psychological defense, confirmatory bias, and some forms of cognitive dissonance. The significance of these findings ranges beyond the study of politics: “Everyone from executives and judges to scientists and politicians may reason to emotionally biased judgments when they have a vested interest in how to interpret ‘the facts,’” according to Westen.18 But is emote control really that common—particularly in such areas as public policy, which cry out for reasoned and rational discourse?

See identity disturbance, chameleon-like behavior charisma as advantage for Machiavellians, 282, 297 Carolyn's, 128 of Enron's CEO, Jeffrey Skilling, 296 powerful men attracted to charisma of troubled, sometimes deeply sinister women, 277 of Princess Diana, 277, 391n54 role of memory in charm and, 312–13 of Texas Southern University's corrupt president, Priscilla Slade, 280 “cheaters” caudate activated (and we feel satisfaction) when we punish, 260 does the percentage of “cheaters” influence culture, 270–71 have led to evolutionary arms race, 258 as Machiavellians, 255–56 Cheng, Nien, suffering during Cultural Revolution, 215–16 Chhang, Youk, haunted by memories of heckling couple being buried alive, 303n “chicken,” game of, exemplifies benefit of seemingly irrational emotional strategies, 260–61 child abuse interference with development of executive control can cause subclinical to descend into clinical borderline, 202 in Mao, Stalin, Hitler, and Abraham Lincoln, 219, 219n MAO-A alleles and, 54, 81–82 psychosocial versus neurobiological “push,” 95 Chinese speakers versus English speakers, neurological differences of, 175–76 Chirot, Daniel, competition for power rarely won by faint of heart, 314 Chomsky, Noam, 174–75 Chou En-lai (Zhou Enlai, premier of China), 239 Christie, Richard, 40–48, 132, 133, 231, 268, 303n chromosomes explanation and illustration of human, 60, 61 illustration of illnesses associated with chromosome seventeen, 64 Churchill, Randolph, talentless, egotistical son of Winston, 293n Churchill, Winston alcoholism and depression, 307 benefits of his impassioned “emote control,” 188, 293 “I am so conceited…” [the point being, he really was], 293, 293n intelligence, 293 mental flexibility, 301, 314 remarkable memory, 313 Stalin's ability to fool, 29–30 cingulate cortex illustration, 73 MAO-A alleles and decreased reaction in, 80–81 serotonin transporters’ influence on signal to amygdala, 74–75 cingulate gyrus, MAO-A alleles can produce smaller, 80 Cixi, Empress, 27 Clark, Wesley, General, NATO commander, 171 clinically significant inherent flaw in DSM-IV use of concept, 375–76n32 in relation to borderline personality disorder, 162–63 Clinton, Bill excellent memory, 313 gullibility regarding Saddam Hussein, 316–17 temper, 300 clock gene, 233 Cluster A, B, and C personality disorders general description, 133–34 MAO-A and Cluster B personality disorders, 80 Cochran, Gregory argues against historical theory that only social forces matter, 267 Ashkenazi genetic mutations and intelligence, 87 cognitive dissonance, neuroimaging study reveals processes underlying, 190 cognitive dysfunction anorexia and, 142n borderline personality disorder anterior cingulate cortex dysfunction and inability to focus on something undesirable, 182 as dimensional trait of, 164 as heritable trait in, 85 irrationality under effect of strong emotions, 204 overview related to neuroscience results, 205–206 paranoid thinking (a form of cognitive dysfunction) as trait to define personality disorder used by DSM-IV, 164 delusional thinking outright, 165, 302–307 in schizophrenia and schizotypal personality disorder, 135, 227 effect of stress on, 202 “end justifies the means” behavior, 204 irrationality provides successful strategy for manipulation and control, 260–61 in Machiavellians, 209 in Machiavellians as part of precise definition used in this book, 281 neuroscience behind anterior cingulate cortex role in focus and attention, 182 cognitive dissonance, neuroimaging study reveals processes underlying, 190 dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and, 181–82, 203 lack of common sense in those with damage to dorsolateral and ventromedial areas, 203 prefrontal cortex dysfunction and, 180 role in irrationally inflexible behavior, 204 ventromedial cortex and, 182, 203 paranoia (a form of cognitive dysfunction) provides for success in dangerous social structures, 250 seen in individuals with subclinical symptoms of borderline personality disorder, 201 in people Diana, Princess, 277 general discussion of good and bad effects, with different examples, 300–307, 306n–307n, 314–15 Lay, Ken, Chairman of Enron, 296–98 Mao.

See identity disturbance, chameleon-like behavior charisma as advantage for Machiavellians, 282, 297 Carolyn's, 128 of Enron's CEO, Jeffrey Skilling, 296 powerful men attracted to charisma of troubled, sometimes deeply sinister women, 277 of Princess Diana, 277, 391n54 role of memory in charm and, 312–13 of Texas Southern University's corrupt president, Priscilla Slade, 280 “cheaters” caudate activated (and we feel satisfaction) when we punish, 260 does the percentage of “cheaters” influence culture, 270–71 have led to evolutionary arms race, 258 as Machiavellians, 255–56 Cheng, Nien, suffering during Cultural Revolution, 215–16 Chhang, Youk, haunted by memories of heckling couple being buried alive, 303n “chicken,” game of, exemplifies benefit of seemingly irrational emotional strategies, 260–61 child abuse interference with development of executive control can cause subclinical to descend into clinical borderline, 202 in Mao, Stalin, Hitler, and Abraham Lincoln, 219, 219n MAO-A alleles and, 54, 81–82 psychosocial versus neurobiological “push,” 95 Chinese speakers versus English speakers, neurological differences of, 175–76 Chirot, Daniel, competition for power rarely won by faint of heart, 314 Chomsky, Noam, 174–75 Chou En-lai (Zhou Enlai, premier of China), 239 Christie, Richard, 40–48, 132, 133, 231, 268, 303n chromosomes explanation and illustration of human, 60, 61 illustration of illnesses associated with chromosome seventeen, 64 Churchill, Randolph, talentless, egotistical son of Winston, 293n Churchill, Winston alcoholism and depression, 307 benefits of his impassioned “emote control,” 188, 293 “I am so conceited…” [the point being, he really was], 293, 293n intelligence, 293 mental flexibility, 301, 314 remarkable memory, 313 Stalin's ability to fool, 29–30 cingulate cortex illustration, 73 MAO-A alleles and decreased reaction in, 80–81 serotonin transporters’ influence on signal to amygdala, 74–75 cingulate gyrus, MAO-A alleles can produce smaller, 80 Cixi, Empress, 27 Clark, Wesley, General, NATO commander, 171 clinically significant inherent flaw in DSM-IV use of concept, 375–76n32 in relation to borderline personality disorder, 162–63 Clinton, Bill excellent memory, 313 gullibility regarding Saddam Hussein, 316–17 temper, 300 clock gene, 233 Cluster A, B, and C personality disorders general description, 133–34 MAO-A and Cluster B personality disorders, 80 Cochran, Gregory argues against historical theory that only social forces matter, 267 Ashkenazi genetic mutations and intelligence, 87 cognitive dissonance, neuroimaging study reveals processes underlying, 190 cognitive dysfunction anorexia and, 142n borderline personality disorder anterior cingulate cortex dysfunction and inability to focus on something undesirable, 182 as dimensional trait of, 164 as heritable trait in, 85 irrationality under effect of strong emotions, 204 overview related to neuroscience results, 205–206 paranoid thinking (a form of cognitive dysfunction) as trait to define personality disorder used by DSM-IV, 164 delusional thinking outright, 165, 302–307 in schizophrenia and schizotypal personality disorder, 135, 227 effect of stress on, 202 “end justifies the means” behavior, 204 irrationality provides successful strategy for manipulation and control, 260–61 in Machiavellians, 209 in Machiavellians as part of precise definition used in this book, 281 neuroscience behind anterior cingulate cortex role in focus and attention, 182 cognitive dissonance, neuroimaging study reveals processes underlying, 190 dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and, 181–82, 203 lack of common sense in those with damage to dorsolateral and ventromedial areas, 203 prefrontal cortex dysfunction and, 180 role in irrationally inflexible behavior, 204 ventromedial cortex and, 182, 203 paranoia (a form of cognitive dysfunction) provides for success in dangerous social structures, 250 seen in individuals with subclinical symptoms of borderline personality disorder, 201 in people Diana, Princess, 277 general discussion of good and bad effects, with different examples, 300–307, 306n–307n, 314–15 Lay, Ken, Chairman of Enron, 296–98 Mao.


pages: 505 words: 127,542

If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Happy? by Raj Raghunathan

Broken windows theory, business process, cognitive dissonance, deliberate practice, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, fundamental attribution error, hedonic treadmill, job satisfaction, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, market clearing, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Phillip Zimbardo, placebo effect, science of happiness, Skype, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thorstein Veblen, Tony Hsieh, working poor, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Healy, “The Trouble with Overconfidence,” Psychological Review 115(2) (2008): 502. (3) Psychological closure: A. W. Kruglanski and D. M. Webster, “Motivated Closing of the Mind: ‘Seizing’ and ‘Freezing,’” Psychological Review 103(2) (1996): 263. (4) Decision avoidance: C. J. Anderson, “The Psychology of Doing Nothing: Forms of Decision Avoidance Result from Reason and Emotion,” Psychological Bulletin 129(1) (2003): 139. (5) Cognitive dissonance: L. Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, vol. 2 (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1962). And (6) Predecisional distortion: J. E. Russo, M. G. Meloy, and V. H. Medvec, “Predecisional Distortion of Product Information,” Journal of Marketing Research (1998): 438–52. clarity on the reasons for our decisions: A. Tversky and E. Shafir, “Choice Under Conflict: The Dynamics of Deferred Decision,” Psychological Science 3(6) (1992): 358–61.

For an audiovisual summary of the paper, see Killingworth’s TED talk: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qy5A8dVYU3k (the TED talk can be accessed by Googling “Killingsworth TED talk”). behavior affects attitude: This theoretical basis for this phenomenon is something called self-perception theory. The idea is that we infer our characteristics (attitudes, opinions, etc.) based on how we see ourselves behaving; see D. J. Bem, “Self-perception: An Alternative Interpretation of Cognitive Dissonance Phenomena,” Psychological Review 74(3) (1967): 183. See also a discussion of a related concept, the insufficient justification paradigm, discussed in R. E. Nisbett, and T. D. Wilson, “Telling More than We Can Know: Verbal Reports on Mental Processes,” Psychological Review 84(3) (1977): 231. something called self-perception: Bem, “Self-perception.” to make it a “happier brain”: S.


Stocks for the Long Run, 4th Edition: The Definitive Guide to Financial Market Returns & Long Term Investment Strategies by Jeremy J. Siegel

addicted to oil, asset allocation, backtesting, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, buy low sell high, California gold rush, capital asset pricing model, cognitive dissonance, compound rate of return, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, diversified portfolio, dividend-yielding stocks, dogs of the Dow, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, fixed income, German hyperinflation, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, Myron Scholes, new economy, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, popular capitalism, prediction markets, price anchoring, price stability, purchasing power parity, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, tulip mania, Vanguard fund

After being fed an upbeat outlook by corporations for many years, analysts had no idea how to interpret the downbeat news, so most just ignored it. The propensity to shut out bad news was even more pronounced among analysts in the Internet sector. Many were so convinced that these stocks were the wave of the future that, despite the flood of ghastly news, many downgraded these stocks only after they had fallen 80 or 90 percent! The predisposition to disregard news that does not correspond to one’s worldview is called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort we encounter when we confront evidence that conflicts with our view or suggests that our abilities or actions are not as a good as we thought. We all display a natural tendency to minimize this discomfort, which makes it difficult for us to recognize our overconfidence. Prospect Theory, Loss Aversion, and Holding On to Losing Trades Dave: I see. Can we talk about individual stocks?

., 60i, 64 Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP) index, 45, 46i, 141 Central bank policy, 247 (See also Federal Reserve System [Fed]) Chamberlain, Lawrence, 82 Chamberlain, Neville, 78 Channels, 40 technical analysis and, 294 Chartists (see Technical analysis) Chevron, 176i, 177 ChevronTexaco, 55 Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT): closure due to Chicago River leak, 253, 254i, 255 stock market crash of 1987 and, 273 Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), 264–265 Volatility Index of, 281–282, 282i Chicago Gas, 47 in DJIA, 39i, 48 Chicago Mercantile Exchange, stopping of trading on, 276 Index Chicago Purchasing Managers, 244 China: global market share of, 178, 179i, 180, 180i sector allocation and, 177 China Construction Bank, 175 China Mobile, 177, 183 China National Petroleum Corporation, 182 Chrysler, 64 Chunghwa Telecom, 177 Cipsco (Central Illinois Public Service Co.), 48 Circuit breakers, 276–277 Cisco Systems, 38, 57n, 89, 104, 155, 157, 176i on Nasdaq, 44 Citigroup, 144, 175, 176i Clinton, Bill, 75, 227, 238 Clough, Charles, 86 CNBC, 48, 88 Coca-Cola Co., 59i, 61, 64 Cognitive dissonance, 328 Colby, Robert W., 295–296 Colgate-Palmolive, 59i Colombia Acorn Fund, 346 Comcast, 176 Common stock theory of investment, 82 Common Stocks as Long-Term Investments (Smith), 79, 83, 201 Communications technology, bull market and, 88 Compagnie Française des Pétroles (CFP), 184 Conference Board, 244 Conoco (Continental Oil Co.), 57 ConocoPhillips, 176i, 177, 183 Consensus estimate, 239 Consumer choice, rational theory of, 322 Consumer discretionary sector: in GICS, 53 global shares in, 175i, 176 Consumer Price Index (CPI), 245 369 Consumer staples sector: in GICS, 53 global shares in, 175i, 177 Consumer Value Store, 61 Contrarian investing, 333–334 Core earnings, 107–108 Core inflation, 245–246 Corn Products International, 47 Corn Products Refining, 47 Corporate earnings taxes, failure of stocks as long-term inflation hedge and, 202–203 Correlation coefficient, 168 Corvis Corporation, 156–157 Costs: agency, 100 effects on returns, 350 employment, 246 interest, inflationary biases in, failure of stocks as longterm inflation hedge and, 203–204 pension, controversies in accounting for, 105–107 Cowles, Alfred, 42, 83 Cowles Commission for Economic Research, 42, 83 CPC International, 47 Crane, Richard, 61 Crane Co., 59i, 60i, 61 Cream of Wheat, 62 Creation units, 252 Crowther, Samuel, 3 Cubes (ETFs), 252 Currency hedging, 173 Current yield of bonds, 111 Cutler, David M., 224n CVS Corporation, 61 Cyclical stocks, 144 DaimlerChrysler, 176 Daniel, Kent, 326n Dart Industries, 62 Dash, Srikant, 353n Data mining, 326–327 David, Joseph, 21 DAX index, 238 Day-of-the-week effects, 316–318, 317i Day trading, futures contracts and, 261 Dean Witter, 286 De Bondt, Werner, 302–303, 335 Defined benefit plans, 106–107 Defined contribution plans, 105–106 Delaware and Hudson Canal, 22 Deleveraging, 120 Del Monte Foods, 62 Department of Commerce, 203 Depreciation, failure of stocks as long-term inflation hedge and, 203 Deutsch, Morton, 324n Deutsche Post, 177 Deutsche Telekom, 177 Dexter Corp., 21n Diamonds (ETFs), 252 Dilution of earnings, 104 Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) Small Company fund, 142n Dimson, Elroy, 18, 19n, 20 Discounts, futures contracts and, 258 Distiller’s Securities Corp., 48 Distilling and Cattle Feeding, 47 in DJIA, 39i, 48 Diversifiable risk, 140 Diversification in world markets, 168–178 currency hedging and, 173 efficient portfolios and, 168–172, 169i–171i private and public capital and, 177–178 sector diversification and, 173–177, 174i The Dividend Investor (Knowles and Petty), 147 Dividend payout ratio, 101 Dividend policy, value of stock as related to, 100–102 370 Dividend yields, 145–149, 146i–149i interest rate on government bonds above, 95–97 ratio of market value to, 120, 120i Dodd, David, 77q, 83, 95q, 139q, 141, 145n, 150, 152, 289q, 304n, 334n Dogs of the Dow strategy, 147–149, 148i, 149i, 336 Dollar cost averaging, 84 Domino Foods, Inc., 47 Dorfman, John R., 147n Double witching, 260–261 Douvogiannis, Martha, 113n Dow, Charles, 38, 290–291 Dow Chemical, 58 Dow Jones & Co., 38 Dow Jones averages, computation of, 39–40 Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), 37, 47 breaks 2000, 85 breaks 3000, 85 breaks 8000, 87 crash of 1929 and, 4 creation of, 38 fall in 1998, 88 firms in, 38–39, 39i following Iraq’s defeat in Gulf War, 85 long-term trends in, 40–41, 41i Nasdaq stocks in, 38 during 1922–1932, 269, 270i during 1980–1990, 269, 270i original firms in, 47–49 original members of, 22 predicting future returns using trend lines and, 41–42 as price-weighted index, 40 Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Index, 45 Dow 10 strategy, 147–149, 148i, 149i, 336 Dow Theory (Rhea), 290 Index Dow 36,000 (Hassett), 88 Downes, John, 147 Dr.


pages: 517 words: 139,477

Stocks for the Long Run 5/E: the Definitive Guide to Financial Market Returns & Long-Term Investment Strategies by Jeremy Siegel

Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, backtesting, banking crisis, Black-Scholes formula, break the buck, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, buy low sell high, California gold rush, capital asset pricing model, carried interest, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, compound rate of return, computer age, computerized trading, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, discounted cash flows, diversification, diversified portfolio, dividend-yielding stocks, dogs of the Dow, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Everybody Ought to Be Rich, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, fundamental attribution error, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, income inequality, index arbitrage, index fund, indoor plumbing, inflation targeting, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, money market fund, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, Northern Rock, oil shock, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price anchoring, price stability, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, the payments system, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vanguard fund

After being fed an upbeat outlook by corporations for many years, analysts had no idea how to interpret the downbeat news, so most just ignored it. The propensity to shut out bad news was even more pronounced among analysts in the Internet sector. Many were so convinced that these stocks were the wave of the future that, despite the flood of ghastly news, many downgraded these stocks only after they had fallen 80 or 90 percent! Confronting news that does not correspond to one’s worldview creates what is called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort we encounter when we address evidence that conflicts with our view or suggests that our abilities or actions are not as a good as we thought. We all display a natural tendency to minimize this discomfort, which makes it difficult for us to recognize our overconfidence. Prospect Theory, Loss Aversion, and the Decision to Hold on to Losing Trades Dave: I see.

Richard H. Thaler, “Mental Accounting Matters,” Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, vol. 12 (1999), pp. 183-206. 21. Hersh Shefrin and Meir Statman, “The Disposition to Sell Winners Too Early and Ride Losers Too Long: Theory and Evidence,” Journal of Finance, vol. 40, no. 3 (1985), pp. 777-792. 22. See Tom Chang, David Solomon, and Mark Westerfield, “Looking for Someone to Blame: Delegation, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Disposition Effect,” May 2013. 23. Leroy Gross, The Art of Selling Intangibles, New York: New York Institute of Finance, 1982. 24. Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, “Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases,” Science, vol. 185 (1974), pp. 1124-1131. 25. Terrance Odean, “Are Investors Reluctant to Realize Their Losses?” Journal of Finance, vol. 53, no. 5 (October 1998), p. 1786. 26.


pages: 82 words: 21,414

The Myth of Meritocracy: Why Working-Class Kids Still Get Working-Class Jobs (Provocations Series) by James Bloodworth

Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Bob Geldof, Boris Johnson, cognitive dissonance, Downton Abbey, gender pay gap, glass ceiling, income inequality, light touch regulation, precariat, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, zero-sum game

One in twenty households could not afford to feed their children properly.120 Last year, almost two-fifths of teachers said they had seen children who had not had enough to eat turning up for lessons.121 Another recent poll found that nearly half of teachers had taken food in to school to feed ravenous pupils.122 Against this backdrop, all talk of meritocracy brings to mind Richard Tawney’s characterisation of those who preach equality of opportunity while ‘[resisting] most strenuously attempts to apply it’.123 Here is located the fissure on the left between those who genuinely seek to create a socially mobile society and those who pay lip service to it while pursuing policies antithetical to a meritocratic order. Because New Labour’s verbal commitment to social mobility lacked a corresponding drive to reduce inequality, its rhetoric gave off a strong whiff of cognitive dissonance. Thus, after thirteen years of Labour governments, Britain remained a society dominated by the privileged and, invariably, the children of the privileged. If social mobility was not notably worse in 2010 than it was in 1997, it was not demonstrably better either. The acceptance by New Labour of large inequalities of wealth, buttressed by the radical-sounding mantra of equality of opportunity, produced a society in which the odds remained firmly stacked against those from poorer homes.


pages: 297 words: 84,009

Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero by Tyler Cowen

23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, crony capitalism, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Brooks, David Graeber, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, employer provided health coverage, experimental economics, Filter Bubble, financial innovation, financial intermediation, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Google Glasses, income inequality, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, mobile money, money market fund, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, offshore financial centre, passive investing, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit maximization, profit motive, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, ultimatum game, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, World Values Survey, Y Combinator

Personally, I would be hard-pressed to find a big business that lies to me as much as—presumably—my friends, family, and closest associates do. (You can ask them about me.) Of course, I have to get along with those associates on a very regular basis, whereas big business remains at a distance, emotionally, physically, and otherwise. So I tend to mentally blur over the fact that my close associates lie to me so that I may continue to cooperate with them and to enjoy those interactions. Cognitive dissonance rules, but I neglect this reality most of the time, unless of course those lies prevent me from getting what I want, in which case the lies will meet with some partial but still largely nonconfrontational pushback. In contrast, it is easy enough to curse Shell but every now and then pull into one of their stations and fill my car with gas. Shell may send me misleading information on a few big things—say, about climate change—but in my regular interactions with them and their retailing agents they are telling the truth, as indeed it is usable gasoline that comes out of the pump and goes into my car.

Bernstein, Elizabeth best sellers See also publishing Bezos, Jeff See also Amazon Big Brother See privacy Big Data Big Pharma Big Tech disappearance of competition impact on intelligence innovation and loss of privacy and overview Bing Bird, Larry Bitcoin Black, Leon BlackBerry Blackstone blockchain Bloxham, Eleanor Blue Cross/Blue Shield brand loyalty Brexit Brin, David Brooks, Nathan bubbles, financial sector Bullshit Jobs: A Theory (Graeber) Burger King cable TV cable companies cable news Capital One capitalism “creative destruction” and Friedman on logic of market churn and media and public’s view of short-termism venture capitalists workers and young people and See also crony capitalism Capitalism for the People, A (Zingales) Carr, Nicholas Carrier CEOs deaths of increases in salary overview pay for creating value short-termism and skill set China American manufacturing and Apple and facial recognition technology financial innovations financial institutions multinational corporations and productivity retail and tech companies and See also Alibaba Cialdini, Robert Cisco Citibank Citizens United decision See also Supreme Court Civil War Clark, Andrew E. class Clinton, Hillary Coase, Ronald cognition cognitive dissonance cognitive efficiency cognitive strengths Collison, Patrick and John compensating differential conspiracy theories control firms co-ops copyright corporations attempts to sway public opinion downside of personalization public dislike of Countrywide “creative destruction” credit cards credit card information credit card system privacy and crony capitalism business influence on government class and multinational corporations overview privilege and state monopoly status quo bias See also capitalism cryptocurrencies See also Bitcoin Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly Curry, Stephen CVS cybersecurity “daily effective experiences” See also Kahneman, Daniel; Krueger, Alan Daley, William Damaske, Sarah Damore, James daycare defense spending DejaNews Democratic Party Desan, Mathieu Deutsche Bank discrimination Dollar General Dow Scrubbing Bubbles Dream of the Red Chamber DuckDuckGo Dying for a Paycheck (Pfeffer) eBay education email employment/unemployment European Union ex post Exxon eyeglass companies Facebook advertising and AI and “anti-diversity memo” censorship and China and competition and complaints about employees “filter bubble” income inequality and information and innovation and monopoly and News Feed politics and privacy and Russian-manipulated content venture capital and See also Zuckerberg, Mark facial recognition technology “fake news” See also media Fama, Eugene fast-food Fehr, Ernst Ferguson, Niall financial crisis financial sector America as tax and banking haven American stock performance banks “too big” global importance of US growth information technology and intermediation overview venture capital and American innovation Financial Times fintech flow Ford Motor Company Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Foroohar, Rana fraud, businesses and CEOs in laboratory games comparative perspective cross-cultural game theory nonprofits vs. for-profits overview research on corporate behavior spread of information and tax gap trust and free trade French, Kenneth Friedman, Milton Friendster Fritzon, Katarina fundraising Gabaix, Xavier Gates, Bill GDP General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade General Electric General Motors Gilens, Martin Glass-Steagall Act Gmail Goetzmann, William N.


pages: 303 words: 81,071

Infinite Detail by Tim Maughan

3D printing, augmented reality, bitcoin, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, cognitive dissonance, friendly fire, global supply chain, Internet of things, Mason jar, off grid, Panamax, post-Panamax, ransomware, RFID, security theater, self-driving car, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, the built environment, urban decay, urban planning

He wonders how his skin looks against the beige. * * * He tries to summon moisture to his dry mouth, takes a breath, puts on his best British accent. That’s meant to be worth something here, right? “Excuse me, I was just wondering—do you know how much longer it will be?” She looks up at him from across an expanse of IKEA farmed pine, his skin color and accent triggering a wave of cognitive dissonance to flicker across her face. Her skin pale against the beige. She stares into mid-space, focusing on text he can’t see. “Rushdi Manaan?” “Yes.” “You shouldn’t be too long. They’re just running some background checks. You’ll be out within a couple of hours.” “Okay.” He tries to hide his shock at a couple of hours. How long has it been already? He ramps up the Englishness. “I was just wondering if it would be at all possible to send a message?

Apart from a little head-nodding and shuffling the party has died. At least half sit on the floor, wrapping themselves in blankets, huddled together. Here and there some tend to the injured and fallen. Others stand, grouped together in suspicious circles, whispering to one another and glancing around. Faces are stunned, tired, resigned, and sobbing eyes are bleached red by gas and tears. Anika is struck by a sudden, disturbed cognitive dissonance: all-too-familiar news footage of foreign war zones or distant refugee camps suddenly playing out on her doorstep, and all to a relentless soundtrack of grime-tinged techno. Industrial drums and distorted analog chord stabs. Refugee crisis or music festival? Terrorist attack aftermath or warehouse rave morning-after? The sound systems are at full volume. Unrepentant and penetrating. She blinks to her filter settings again and kills their volume, and then remembers why they’ve been cranked so high—from the other side of the makeshift barricades that now fill the space under the 5102 comes the booming voice of repeating police announcements.


pages: 306 words: 82,765

Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Brownian motion, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, David Graeber, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Edward Thorp, equity premium, financial independence, information asymmetry, invisible hand, knowledge economy, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, mental accounting, microbiome, moral hazard, Murray Gell-Mann, offshore financial centre, p-value, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, Ralph Nader, random walk, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, survivorship bias, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, urban planning, Yogi Berra

While this paralysis can arise because the distribution of responsibilities causes a serious dilution, there is another problem of scale. We saw the effect with the Vietnam War. Most people (sort of) believed that certain courses of action were absurd, but it was easier to continue than to stop—particularly since one can always spin a story explaining why continuing is better than stopping (the backfitting story of sour grapes now known as cognitive dissonance). We have been witnessing the same problem in the U.S. attitude toward Saudi Arabia. It is clear since the attack on the World Trade Center (in which most of the attackers were Saudi citizens) that someone in that nonpartying kingdom had a hand—somehow—in the matter. But no bureaucrat, fearful of oil disruptions, made the right decision—instead, the absurd invasion of Iraq was endorsed because it appeared to be simpler.

One can use Montaigne and Erasmus as a portal to the ancients: Montaigne was the popularizer of his day; Erasmus was the thorough compiler. A BRIEF TOUR OF YOUR GRANDPARENTS’ WISDOM Let us now close by sampling a few ideas that exist in both ancient lore and are sort of reconfirmed by modern psychology. These are sampled organically, meaning they are not the result of research but of what spontaneously comes to mind (remember this book is called Skin in the Game), then verified in the texts. Cognitive dissonance (a psychological theory by Leon Festinger about sour grapes, by which people, in order to avoid inconsistent beliefs, rationalize that, say, the grapes they can’t reach got to be sour). It is seen first in Aesop, of course, repackaged by La Fontaine. But its roots look even more ancient, with the Assyrian Ahiqar of Nineveh. Loss aversion (a psychological theory by which a loss is more painful than a gain is pleasant): in Livy’s Annals (XXX, 21) Men feel the good less intensely than the bad.fn6 Nearly all the letters of Seneca have some element of loss aversion.


pages: 309 words: 79,414

Going Dark: The Secret Social Lives of Extremists by Julia Ebner

23andMe, 4chan, Airbnb, anti-communist, anti-globalists, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, feminist movement, game design, glass ceiling, Google Earth, job satisfaction, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Network effects, off grid, pattern recognition, pre–internet, QAnon, RAND corporation, ransomware, rising living standards, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, Transnistria, WikiLeaks, zero day

More people had their DNA analysed in 2017 than in all previous years combined.6 But white supremacists’ genetic ancestry test results don’t always match their own purity requirements, which can push them into profound identity crises. When your main scapegoats are Jews and Muslims, and you consider Blacks and Arabs biologically inferior, it can be a little discomfiting to find out you are a quarter Jewish and an eighth Moroccan. New technologies tend to reinforce radicalisation dynamics, but genetic tests show that they can also have the opposite effect. The cognitive dissonance that arises when mono-ethnic ideals of the future meet the multiracial realities of the past can set in motion profound attitude and behaviour changes. Aaron Panofsky of UCLA’s Institute for Society and Genetics and Joan Donovan of the Data and Society Research Institute analysed discussions around genetic ancestry on the white supremacist forums of Stormfront. They found that many individuals who had undesired test results employed twisted logic in an attempt to reconcile their ideological beliefs with their multiracial heritage.7 ‘You’d think that the members of this site would say, “Get out!

Apocalyptic fantasies can be appealing, as they offer a bridge between fictional tales and real life.10 As the British historian Norman Cohn showed in his famous book The Pursuit of the Millennium, millenarian expectations of profound societal transformation often went hand in hand with social unrest in the Middle Ages.11 The term ‘apocalypse’ comes from the Greek word apokalypsis, which means ‘uncovering, disclosure, revelation’.12 But it’s hard to deny that the predicted disclosure has been delayed multiple times by now.13 ‘Lol, 5453 threads, and still no storm’, one commentator wrote mockingly on the image-board website 8chan, which is used widely among far-right and conspiracy-theory adherents. ‘The entire country is laughing at you Q losers.’ As the predicted disclosure is constantly postponed, the clash between imagination and reality can create cognitive dissonance, a feeling of mental discomfort. The incentive to reinterpret facts and reframe experiences tends to grow the more time and money one invests in the failed apocalypse.14 Just take the Doomsday preppers who spend $6,000 on freeze-dried and dehydrated food cans worth around 50,000 servings in order to survive ‘the inevitable zombie apocalypse’, which televangelists like Jim Bakker, host of the American Survival Food show, predict and postpone on a weekly basis.15 (Next to these zombie apocalypse kits the fifteen-kilo Brexit emergency boxes of chicken tikka and beef and potato stew look fairly reasonable.)16 Conspiracy theories, however absurd and counterfactual, can inspire dangerous real-life action.


pages: 432 words: 85,707

QI: The Third Book of General Ignorance (Qi: Book of General Ignorance) by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson

Albert Einstein, Boris Johnson, British Empire, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, dark matter, double helix, epigenetics, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, Kickstarter, music of the spheres, Nelson Mandela, out of africa, Ronald Reagan, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route

One suggestion is that lower temperatures during the ‘Little Ice Age’ of the late seventeenth century led to slower tree growth, producing denser wood with superior acoustic properties. Others believe Stradivarius added a secret ingredient to his varnish or used magically endowed wood from ancient churches. The human tendency to experience expensive things as ‘better’ is driven by the psychological phenomenon known as ‘cognitive dissonance’. We become uncomfortable if reality doesn’t live up to our expectations, so we adjust reality accordingly. And it works. If people pay a higher price for an energy drink, like Red Bull, they are able to solve more brain-teasers afterwards than those who paid a lower price for the same drink. They expect the more expensive drink to be more effective, and their brains make reality conform to this expectation.

K. 1 chickens 1, 2 childbirth 1 Chile 1, 2 chimpanzees 1 China, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 Chinchorro 1 chlorine 1 chlorofluorocarbons 1 chocolate 1 Cholula pyramid 1 Chopin, Frédéric 1 chopines 1 chromosomes 1 Christianity 1, 2, 3, 4 Christmas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Churchill, Winston S. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ciabatta 1 Cielo, César 1 cinnamon 1, 2 Cistercians 1 citrus fruit 1, 2 clams 1 Clare of Assisi, St 1 Clarke, Jeremiah 1 CLARKSON, JEREMY 1, 2, 3 claws 1 Clement X, Pope 1 Cleopatra 1 Clinton, Bill 1 cloacal kiss 1 cloning 1 Club 1 2 coal-fired power stations 1 cobras 1 coca leaves 1 cocaine 1 Cochabamba 1 Cochran, Josephine Garis 1 Cockerell, Christopher 1 cockroaches 1 coffee, 1 cognitive dissonance 1 Cold War 1 Coleridge, Samuel Taylor 1 COLES, RICHARD 1 Colosseum 1 colour 1, 2, 3 Columbus, Christopher 1, 2 comb jellies 1 Commonwealth 1 compost 1 Conan Doyle, Arthur 1, 2, 3 conception 1 conditioned response 1 conscription 1 conservation 1 Conservatives 1 contract law 1 Cook, Thomas 1 Cool Running (film) 1 COREN-MITCHELL, VICTORIA 1 Cornelius, Robert 1 Cornwall 1, 2, 3 corrugated iron 1 corsets 1 Corvan, Ned 1 Coryat, Thomas 1 Coutts, Thomas 1 Coventry 1 cowbirds 1 cowboys 1, 2 cows 1, 2 crabs 1, 2, 3, 4 Creighton, James George Aylwin 1 Crick, Francis 1 cricket 1, 2 crickets 1 crime rates 1 Croatia 1 crocodiles 1 Croton 1 Crown Court 1 crows 1, 2 crude oil 1 Cruikshank, John 1 Cruise, Tom 1 crusades 1 crushing 1 cryogenics 1 cryonics 1 Cuba 1, 2 cuckoos 1 Cup-a-Soup 1 Currey, Donald 1 Cyprus 1 Dakar Rally 1 damnatio ad bestias 1 dams 1 dangerous sports 1 Darius the Great 1 Darwin, Charles 1, 2, 3, 4 Darwin, Emma 1 Darwin, George 1 Darwin, William Erasmus 1 dating 1 dating systems 1 Dauger, Eustache 1 David, Jacques-Louis 1 DAVIES, ALAN 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 Dead Sea 1 deductive reasoning 1 DEE, JACK 1 Denmark 1, 2, 3, 4 Dennis the Small 1 deserts 1 diabetes 1, 2 diamonds 1 diarrhoea 1, 2 DiCaprio, Leonardo 1 dictionaries 1 Dienekes 1 Dietrich, Marlene 1 Digby, Everard 1 dinosaurs 1, 2, 3 Dionysus Exiguus 1 dishwashers 1 Disney, Walt 1 DNA 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Doctor Who 1 Dodge City 1 dogs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Dolbear, Amos 1 dolphins 1, 2 Don, Monty 1 Don Juan Pond 1 doves 1 dragonflies 1 Drake, Sir Francis 1, 2 drawings 1 driving tests 1 drowning 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 drunkenness 1 dugongs 1 Dumas, Alexandre 1 dumb laws 1 Duncan, King of Scotland 1 dunce 1 Dunlop, John Boyd 1 Duns Scotus 1 Dürer, Albrecht 1 Dutch language 1 dyeing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 E. coli 1 Ea 1 Earth 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 atmosphere 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 magnetic field 1, 2, 3 orbit 1, 2, 3 population 1, 2 earthquakes 1 earthshine 1 earthworms 1, 2, 3 Easter 1, 2 eating for two 1 Eaton, Cyrus 1 Ebola 1 echolocation 1 Edinburgh 1 Edward VII, King 1 Edward VIII, King 1 Edward the Confessor 1 eggs 1, 2 Egypt 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Einstein, Albert 1, 2 Eisenhower, Dwight D. 1 elasticity 1 Eleanor of Aquitaine 1 elections 1 electricity 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 electrolytes 1 elephants 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Elizabeth I, Queen 1, 2 Elizabeth II, Queen 1, 2, 3, 4 Ellis, Eric 1 emissions standards 1 Empire State Building 1, 2 energy 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 energy drinks 1 England 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 England, Bank of 1 English Civil War 1 English language 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 eons 1 Ephialtes 1 epigenetics 1 epochs 1 eras 1 ergs 1 Eriksson, Leif 1 Escoffier, Auguste 1 Ethiopia 1, 2 ethylene 1 EU 1 eucalyptus trees 1 Eugenie, Princess 1 euphemisms 1 Europe 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 European Convention on Human Rights 1 Eurytus 1 Evening Birds 1 Everest (Churchill’s nanny) 1 Everest (mountain) 1 Eves, Stuart 1 exosphere 1 extracellular matrix 1 eyelids 1 Fair Isle 1 Famous Five 1 Farrow, Mia 1 fascism 1 fashion 1 Faunce, Thomas 1 feathers 1 Federal Reserve 1 feeding of the 5,000 1 female franchise 1 Ferrero Rocher 1 Ferris, George Washington Gale 1 ferris wheels 1, 2 FIELDING, NOEL 1 Fiennes, Sir Ranulph 1 film-making 1 finches 1, 2 fingers 1 Finkelstein, Nat 1 Finland 1 Fiorelli, Giuseppe 1 fire extinguishers 1 First World War 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Fisher, John Arbuthnot 1 Fitzgerald, F.


pages: 271 words: 83,944

The Sellout: A Novel by Paul Beatty

affirmative action, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, desegregation, El Camino Real, haute couture, illegal immigration, Lao Tzu, late fees, mass incarceration, p-value, publish or perish, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, telemarketer, theory of mind, War on Poverty, white flight, yellow journalism

I’m no longer party to that collective guilt that keeps the third-chair cellist, the administrative secretary, the stock clerk, the not-really-all-that-attractive-but-she’s-black beauty pageant winner from showing up for work Monday morning and shooting every white motherfucker in the place. It’s a guilt that has obligated me to mutter “My bad” for every misplaced bounce pass, politician under federal investigation, every bug-eyed and Rastus-voiced comedian, and every black film made since 1968. But I don’t feel responsible anymore. I understand now that the only time black people don’t feel guilty is when we’ve actually done something wrong, because that relieves us of the cognitive dissonance of being black and innocent, and in a way the prospect of going to jail becomes a relief. In the way that cooning is a relief, voting Republican is a relief, marrying white is a relief—albeit a temporary one. Uncomfortable with being so comfortable, I make one last attempt to be at one with my people. I close my eyes, place my head on the table, and bury my broad nose in the crook of my arm.

His grandmamma slaps him so hard she almost knocks him down. ‘Don’t you ever say that,’ she says. ‘Now what did you learn?’ The boy starts rubbing his cheek and says, ‘I learned that I’ve been white for only ten minutes and I hate you niggers already!’” The kids couldn’t tell whether he was joking or just ranting, but they laughed anyway, each finding something funny in his expressions, his inflections, the cognitive dissonance in hearing the word “nigger” coming from the mouth of a man as old as the slur itself. Most of them had never seen his work. They just knew he was a star. That’s the beauty of minstrelsy—its timelessness. The soothing foreverness in the languid bojangle of his limbs, the rhythm of his juba, the sublime profundity of his jive as he ushered the kids into the farm, retelling his joke in Spanish to an uncaptive audience running past him, cups and thermoses in hand, scattering the damn chickens.


pages: 291 words: 90,200

Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age by Manuel Castells

access to a mobile phone, banking crisis, call centre, centre right, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, currency manipulation / currency intervention, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, housing crisis, income inequality, microcredit, Mohammed Bouazizi, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Port of Oakland, social software, statistical model, We are the 99%, web application, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, young professional, zero-sum game

Among the causes for this extraordinary reversal of public opinion were the austerity policies implemented responsibly by the social democratic government in order to restore the economy; the pro-European Union stand of the governing coalition, in contrast to the nationalistic, xenophobic attitude of traditional Icelandic parties; and the resentment of the majority of the population against their deep indebtedness as a result of the mortgage crisis and the inefficiency of the government in resolving the debt crisis. But perhaps the main source of discontent was the cognitive dissonance between the hopes of the social movement and the grim reality of institutional politics, a recurrent theme in the history of social movements. As a result, the new parliament tabled the project of constitutional reform and one of the most daring experiments in constitutional democracy became yet another faded dream. However, if the crisis of political legitimacy continues to expand throughout the world, and if citizens everywhere keep looking for inspiration in their search for real democracy, the cultural and technological bases for the deepening of representative democracy might have been laid out in a small country made of ice and fire on a North Atlantic island.

It benefitted to some extent from the opinion created by the Gezi movement, but it is usually perceived as a platform created by the Kurdish party to attract votes in the west of the country, and so it only obtained 2 percent of the votes at the ballot box as most of the non-Kurdish population would be suspicious of HDP’s attachment to Kurdish nationalism. Confirming the pre-eminence of AKP in Turkish politics, the first presidential election held in 2014 after a constitutional change to establish a more presidential regime was easily won by Erdogan, the leader of AKP and the most direct adversary of the Gezi movement. A number of reasons have been advanced to explain this cognitive dissonance between the popularity of the Gezi movement in June 2013 and the undisputed electoral success of AKP and Erdogan in 2014. Beyond specific circumstances that would require a complex analytical journey through the intricacies of Turkish politics, the most convincing explanation is the persistence of fundamental cleavages in the Turkish society that are fixed in rigid political alignments. These include the historically rooted hostility between secularism and religion (expressed in the opposition between CHP and AKP); the confrontation between nationalism (supported by the still Kemalist armed forces) and the pro-democracy movement that brings together the democratic aspirations of the middle class and the need of the Islamists to use democratic institutions as a protective shield against secularist armed forces; the significant split between the Turkish population, and particularly Turkish nationalism, and the Kurdish minority, in search for national autonomy and ultimately for independence.


pages: 307 words: 94,069

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath, Dan Heath

Atul Gawande, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate social responsibility, en.wikipedia.org, fundamental attribution error, impulse control, longitudinal study, medical residency, Piper Alpha, placebo effect, publish or perish, Richard Thaler, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs

For instance, when the Eiffel Tower was first erected, Parisians hated it. They thought it was a half-finished skeletal blight on their fair city, and they responded with a frenzy of protest. But as time went by, public opinion evolved from hatred to acceptance to adoration. The mere exposure principle assures us that a change effort that initially feels unwelcome and foreign will gradually be perceived more favorably as people grow accustomed to it. Also, cognitive dissonance works in your favor. People don’t like to act in one way and think in another. So once a small step has been taken, and people have begun to act in a new way, it will be increasingly difficult for them to dislike the way they’re acting. Similarly, as people begin to act differently, they’ll start to think of themselves differently, and as their identity evolves, it will reinforce the new way of doing things.

The “verbal grooming” quotation and other details are from an interview between Dan Heath and Amy Sutherland in January 2008. Psychologist Alan Kazdin. See Kazdin (2008), The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child: With No Pills, No Therapy, No Contest of Wills, New York: Houghton Mifflin. The quotations are from p. 34. Change isn’t an event; it’s a process. Chip Heath thanks Bo Brockman for teaching this idea. Steven Kelman. On pp. 22–24, Kelman explains why mere exposure and cognitive dissonance may cause people to resist change. Then, in an insightful analysis on pp. 123–127, he shows how the same factors make change hard to stop once they get going. See Kelman (2005), Unleashing Change: A Study of Organizational Renewal in Government, Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Acknowledgments Some readers gave us feedback on an early draft of the text. You helped us separate the wheat from the chaff and also saved us from a major Clocky miscue.


pages: 321 words: 92,828

Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed With Early Achievement by Rich Karlgaard

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bernie Madoff, Bob Noyce, Brownian motion, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, experimental economics, fear of failure, financial independence, follow your passion, Frederick Winslow Taylor, hiring and firing, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Sand Hill Road, science of happiness, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, Toyota Production System, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, working poor

., a law firm partnership, or that career in fashion would be a waste of time, money, sweat, and tears if we gave up now. The sunk-cost fallacy is a major impediment to making positive changes and subsequently living a better life. There are additional psychological factors, however, that hold us back from quitting things in order to be happier or more successful. According Dan Ariely, author of the bestselling 2008 book Predictably Irrational, we’re hindered in quitting by a mental state called “cognitive dissonance.” Ariely says that if we’ve acted in a certain way, over time, we’ll overly justify our behavior. If we’ve put ten years into a job—even though we despise that job on a daily basis—we’ll convince ourselves that we love it. In addition, Ariely suggests that we actually like suffering for things we love. In fact, we like it so much that if we suffer for something, we’ll decide we must love it!

That’s how beholden we are to the sunk-cost fallacy: Interesting to note—and good for late bloomers—older adults are possibly less subject to the sunk-cost fallacy than younger adults: “Older adults were less likely than younger adults to commit the sunk-cost fallacy.” JoNell Strough et al., “Are Older Adults Less Subject to the Sunk-Cost Fallacy Than Younger Adults?,” Psychological Science 19, no. 7 (2008): 650–52. “Assume that you have spent”: Hal R. Arkes and Peter Ayton, “The Sunk Cost and Concorde Effects: Are Humans Less Rational Than Lower Animals?,” Psychological Bulletin 125, no. 5 (1999): 591. “cognitive dissonance”: Dan Ariely in Stephen J. Dubner, “The Upside of Quitting,” Freakonomics (podcast), http://bit.ly/​2x8fxoY. See also Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational (New York: HarperCollins, 2008). “smart quitters”: Seth Godin, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) (New York: Penguin, 2007). “If I were to say one”: Steven Levitt in Stephen J. Dubner, “The Upside of Quitting,” Freakonomics (podcast), http://bit.ly/​2x8fxoY.


pages: 901 words: 234,905

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Defenestration of Prague, desegregation, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, Hobbesian trap, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, Joan Didion, long peace, meta analysis, meta-analysis, More Guns, Less Crime, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Potemkin village, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Bork, Rodney Brooks, Saturday Night Live, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the new new thing, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, twin studies, ultimatum game, urban renewal, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

They overestimate their contribution to a joint effort, chalk up their successes to skill and their failures to luck, and always feel that the other side has gotten the better deal in a compromise.81 People keep up these self-serving illusions even when they are wired to what they think is an accurate lie-detector. This shows that they are not lying to the experimenter but lying to themselves. For decades every psychology student has learned about “cognitive disson Sance reduction,” in which people change whatever opinion it takes to maintain a positive self-image.82 The cartoonist Scott Adams illustrates it well: Dilbert reprinted by permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc. If the cartoon were completely accurate, though, life would be a cacophony of spoinks. Self-deception is among the deepest roots of human strife and folly. It implies that the faculties that ought to allow us to settle our differences—seeking the truth and discussing it rationally—are miscalibrated so that all parties assess themselves to be wiser, abler, and nobler than they really are.

Among them I would include the following: The primacy of family ties in all human societies and the consequent appeal of nepotism and inheritance.20 The limited scope of communal sharing in human groups, the more common ethos of reciprocity, and the resulting phenomena of social loafing and the collapse of contributions to public goods when reciprocity cannot be implemented.21 The universality of dominance and violence across human societies (including supposedly peaceable hunter-gatherers) and the existence of genetic and neurological mechanisms that underlie it.22 The universality of ethnocentrism and other forms of group-against-group hostility across societies, and the ease with which such hostility can be aroused in people within our own society.23 The partial heritability of intelligence, conscientiousness, and antisocial tendencies, implying that some degree of inequality will arise even in perfectly fair economic systems, and that we therefore face an inherent tradeoff between equality and freedom.24 The prevalence of defense mechanisms, self-serving biases, and cognitive dissonance reduction, by which people deceive themselves about their autonomy, wisdom, and integrity.25 The biases of the human moral sense, including a preference for kin and friends, a susceptibility to a taboo mentality, and a tendency to confuse morality with conformity, rank, cleanliness, and beauty.26 It is not just conventional scientific data that tell us the mind is not infinitely malleable.

Strong reciprocity, human cooperation and the enforcement of social norms. Human Nature. Fehr, E., & Gächter, S. 2000. Fairness and retaliation: The economics of reciprocity. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 14, 159–181. Fernández-Jalvo, Y., Diez, J. C., Bermúdez de Castro, J. M., Carbonell, E., & Arsuaga, J. L. 1996. Evidence of early cannibalism. Science, 271, 277–278. Festinger, L. 1957. A theory of cognitive dissonance. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. Finch, C. E., & Kirkwood, T. B. L. 2000. Chance, development, and aging. New York: Oxford University Press. Fischoff, S. 1999. Psychology’s quixotic quest for the media-violence connection. Journal of Media Psychology, 4. Fisher, S. E., Vargha-Khadem, F., Watkins, K. E., Monaco, A. P., & Pembrey, M. E. 1998. Localisation of a gene implicated in a severe speech and language disorder.


pages: 840 words: 224,391

Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel by Max Blumenthal

airport security, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, centre right, cognitive dissonance, corporate raider, crony capitalism, European colonialism, facts on the ground, ghettoisation, housing crisis, knowledge economy, megacity, moral panic, open borders, plutocrats, Plutocrats, surplus humans, upwardly mobile, urban planning, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War, young professional, zero-sum game

“We were like a family,” he explained, “and even though you are just a lieutenant, you could criticize the general when you flew together because we believed were all equal when it came to the actual operations. They planted the idea in our heads that the system would only improve and become progressive through internal, collective criticism. So the notion that things could go very wrong, with war crimes and abuses of power or rape and sexual harassment on the base—that was out of the question. We developed a sense of cognitive dissonance that allowed us to push away all the bad thoughts.” In one of the most glaring instances of Israel’s disregard for civilian life during the Second Intifada, then–Air Force commander Dan Halutz and Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter authorized the assassination of a top-ranking Hamas military commander, Salah Shehadeh, while he slept with his family in a crowded apartment bloc in downtown Gaza City.

But the images of fresh-faced Israeli kids smiling beside corpses reflected much more than the dehumanization of the enemy in the “fog of war.” These photos were documents of a colonial culture in which Jewish Israeli youth became conditioned to act as sadistic overlords toward their Palestinian neighbors, and of a perpetual conquest that demanded indoctrination begin at an early age and continue perpetually throughout their lives. The young soldiers provided a perfect example of cognitive dissonance, in which chants of “Am Yisrael Chai!” (“The People of Israel Live!”) alternated easily with “Death to Arabs!” In March 2011, months after her photos drew international attention and widespread condemnation, Abergil began uploading other soldiers’ trophy shots to her Facebook page. She captioned one upload with the increasingly common refrain: “DDDEATHHH to ARABSSSSSS.” Beside the next photo, Abergil wrote: “Fuck you, stinking Arabs!!!”

Among the tower’s most famous residents was Marty Peretz, the former New Republic magazine owner who had abandoned his East Coast intellectual environs. “I’ve made Tel Aviv my locale now because in Jerusalem you wake up in the morning with the Jewish problem, and you go to sleep with the Palestinian problem,” Peretz told a reporter, invoking the cliché of the Tel Aviv bubble. I turned to Jesse to complain about the sense of cognitive dissonance, of hanging out at a hipster bar that could have been anywhere in the West, in Berlin or Brooklyn, with the residue of teargas still on my shirt. “Yeah, I know,” he said. “It’s always incredibly jarring to be in these rural Palestinian villages and experience army raids and repression at demos, and then you get back into this bright urban metropolis where you’re living in the cultural equivalent of Brooklyn, except it’s completely segregated.


Driverless Cars: On a Road to Nowhere by Christian Wolmar

Airbnb, autonomous vehicles, Beeching cuts, bitcoin, Boris Johnson, BRICs, carbon footprint, Chris Urmson, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, connected car, deskilling, Diane Coyle, don't be evil, Elon Musk, high net worth, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Tesla Model S, Travis Kalanick, wikimedia commons, Zipcar

The article argues that the autonomous-car industry must learn from mistakes made in aviation that have led to disasters, such as those mentioned above, which, the author says, partly result from the fact that the technology has made pilots’ tasks more difficult and complex, not easier: The airline industry trend towards higher levels of autonomy created new opportunities for confusion and mistakes – a situation called an ‘automation surprise’. In another irony of automation, this cognitive dissonance often occurred in exactly the kind of unusual situation 42 The triple revolution where advanced technology could have proven most valuable to their human operator. Yet, instead, they were doubly-burdened to sort through a confusing, dangerous and potentially escalating situation.23 Harford sums it up succinctly: ‘Automation will routinely tidy up ordinary messes but occasionally cause an extraordinary mess.’ 24 Paul Jennings, Professor of Energy and Electrical Systems at WMG, University of Warwick, who is heading a team developing a simulator for driverless cars, is a great advocate of the technology, but he is particularly concerned about the implications of Level 3: I don’t like Level 3.


pages: 537 words: 99,778

Dreaming in Public: Building the Occupy Movement by Amy Lang, Daniel Lang/levitsky

activist lawyer, Bay Area Rapid Transit, bonus culture, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate personhood, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, deindustrialization, different worldview, facts on the ground, glass ceiling, housing crisis, Kibera, late capitalism, mass incarceration, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Port of Oakland, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Slavoj Žižek, structural adjustment programs, the medium is the message, too big to fail, trade liberalization, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, white flight, working poor

Oakland simply did what any self-respecting city does with such disfiguring blots on its honor: it occasionally sends the police out to chase them away and then it ignores them when they come back. And it longed for that plaza to be clean and picturesque in the way a good plaza should be: empty of people. But hey, did you see what I did there? I was talking about rats, and then suddenly I was talking about human beings. Did you notice it when you were reading it? Did you feel any cognitive dissonance? What kind of cognitive dissonance did you feel? If you didn’t, it’s probably because ‘rats’ and ‘vermin’ is a common way of talking and thinking about this country’s underclass, the human beings who, because they sell drugs or don’t have a stable home, don’t quite seem like the sort of people we have to care about. They seem dirty. We might even let ourselves get stupid enough to imagine them as parasites (as if we ever gave them anything).


pages: 360 words: 100,991

Heart of the Machine: Our Future in a World of Artificial Emotional Intelligence by Richard Yonck

3D printing, AI winter, artificial general intelligence, Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, Berlin Wall, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, friendly AI, ghettoisation, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of writing, Jacques de Vaucanson, job automation, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, Loebner Prize, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, neurotypical, Oculus Rift, old age dependency ratio, pattern recognition, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Skype, social intelligence, software as a service, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing test, twin studies, undersea cable, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Review, working-age population, zero day

Other tests that have used fMRI brain scans while subjects look at humans, robots, and androids have also suggested that the uncanny valley is real. Why might this be happening and how is it likely to impact a field such as affective computing? Some cognitive scientists have suggested the uncanny valley may be caused by a disconnect between different parts of our brain that we use to categorize and make sense of the world. They suggest this cognitive dissonance arises when our expectations based on an object’s appearance aren’t met by some other feature or aspect of its behavior. Movement is a commonly used example when describing this disconnect because the way a human being or other animal moves is quite distinctive. The graph in Figure 1 above highlights the importance of movement, indicating that the effect can become even more pronounced when faced with something that isn’t static or stationary.

This is essential if the nation’s defenders are to be able to function efficiently and effectively. Anything less could ultimately result in defeat. That said, a good soldier is certainly not an emotionless weapon. Just the opposite. In the field, emotional intelligence is continually called upon in assessing risks, in dealing with civilians on both sides of the conflict, and in maintaining the close-knit connections between comrades. The trauma and cognitive dissonance that arises from all of these conflicting demands on a soldier’s emotions can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and other psychological problems. These conditions can cause difficulties both while in the military and after returning to civilian life. Domestic violence, breakdowns, and suicides are just a few of the outcomes from the emotional discord that can be brought on by the experience of war.2 The global policy think tank RAND reports that at least 20 percent of veterans from the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars suffer from PTSD and depression.


pages: 572 words: 94,002

Reset: How to Restart Your Life and Get F.U. Money: The Unconventional Early Retirement Plan for Midlife Careerists Who Want to Be Happy by David Sawyer

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, beat the dealer, bitcoin, Cal Newport, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Attenborough, David Heinemeier Hansson, Desert Island Discs, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, Elon Musk, financial independence, follow your passion, gig economy, hiring and firing, index card, index fund, invention of the wheel, knowledge worker, loadsamoney, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mortgage debt, passive income, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart meter, Snapchat, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple, Vanguard fund, Y Combinator

Before the pursuit of fame and fortune and the culture of personality became a defining force from the 1920s onwards, we lived in the age of character where morals, manners, honour and good deeds done without expectation of anything in return, were prized above all else. That I think this is a shame is immaterial. What is important is you do the soul-searching to know what your values are (tip: pick three and stick to them), then let them define your vision and your purpose. This is the key to living a life with meaning: no cognitive dissonance (saying or thinking one thing and doing another). As Darren Hardy writes, values “define both who you are and what you stand for.” He adds: “Your core values are your internal compass, your guiding beacon, your personal GPS…nothing creates more stress than when our actions and behaviors aren’t congruent with our values[89].” Values are a motivating force. When you’re going through difficult times, it’s acting in line with values you hold dear, in the pit of your stomach, that pulls you through.

Be-fore we begin, let me give you an insight into our home life a few years ago, that of a married-with-two-children, early-forties couple living in an upmarket suburb of Glasgow: Two hours’ non-work-related social media use a day, while limiting the kids’ screen time. An inability to either do meaningful work or be present in the moment through digital-distractedness. This led to cognitive dissonance: a dad who extolled the virtues of reading to his kids – and himself – but rarely read a book. A fairly tidy house but with ever-growing piles. Exhibit A: kids’ art corner. Exhibit B: two of those 12-hole IKEA units housing rattan cubes, in which lurked a multitude of plastic. We could never find anything we didn’t use every day, leading to stress and precious hours wasted. We had a cleaner who spent half the time clearing our clutter into a tidier version of the same clutter (shoes, kitchen surface adornments, the piles on the floor in every room) and the other half cleaning the house.


pages: 297 words: 96,509

Time Paradox by Philip G. Zimbardo, John Boyd

Albert Einstein, cognitive dissonance, Drosophila, endowment effect, hedonic treadmill, impulse control, indoor plumbing, loss aversion, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, twin studies

Chen, “Omission, Commission, and Dissonance Reduction: Overcoming Regret in the Monty Hall Problem,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 21: 182–90 (1995). 22. H. B. Gerard and G. C. Mathewson, “The Effects of Severity of Initiation on Liking for a Group: A Replication,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 2: 278–87 (1966). 23. P. G. Zimbardo, “Control of Pain Motivation by Cognitive Dissonance,” Science 151: 217–19 (1966). 24. See also E. Aronson and J. Mills, “The Effect of Severity of Initiation on Liking for a Group,” Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 59: 177–81 (1958); J. L. Freedman, “Long-Term Behavioral Effects of Cognitive Dissonance,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1: 145–55 (1965); D. R. Shaffer and C. Hendrick, “Effects of Actual Effort and Anticipated Effort on Task Enhancement,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 7: 435–47 (1971); H. R. Arkes and C. Blumer, “The Psychology of Sunk Cost,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 35: 124–40 (1985); and J.


Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America by Christopher Wylie

4chan, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, Boris Johnson, British Empire, call centre, Chelsea Manning, chief data officer, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, computer vision, conceptual framework, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Etonian, first-past-the-post, Google Earth, housing crisis, income inequality, indoor plumbing, information asymmetry, Internet of things, Julian Assange, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Peter Thiel, Potemkin village, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, Shoshana Zuboff, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, uber lyft, unpaid internship, Valery Gerasimov, web application, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

This is what is known as “white fragility”: White people in North American society enjoy environments insulated from racial disadvantages, which fosters an expectation among white people of racial comfort while lowering their ability to tolerate racial stress. In our research, we saw that white fragility prevented people from confronting their latent prejudices. This cognitive dissonance also meant that subjects would often amplify their responses expressing positive statements toward minorities in an effort to satiate their self-concept of “not being racist.” For example, when presented with a series of hypothetical biographies with photos, some respondents who scored higher in prior implicit racial bias testing would rate minority biographies higher than identical white biographies. See? I scored the black person higher, because I am not racist. This cognitive dissonance created an opening: Many respondents were reacting to their own racism not out of concern about how they may be contributing to structural oppression, but rather to protect their own social status.


pages: 104 words: 34,784

The Trouble With Brunch: Work, Class and the Pursuit of Leisure by Shawn Micallef

big-box store, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, deindustrialization, ghettoisation, Jane Jacobs, Joan Didion, knowledge worker, liberation theology, Mason jar, McMansion, new economy, post scarcity, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Thorstein Veblen, urban sprawl, World Values Survey

Anyone who remembers the first dot-com bubble of the late 1990s is familiar with this kind of workspace. And though that bubble burst in the early 2000s, the aesthetic it spawned – which disguises work as play – remains popular. Does it make it easier to give up our leisure time when a meeting room is called a granny flat and designed in floral prints with easy chairs? What happens when work is going badly and a workspace that looks leisurely is suddenly a place of great stress? There is a cognitive dissonance in form and function here, perhaps the reason an event like brunch becomes such an overt act of leisure, even if in practice it isn’t leisurely. Many other people don’t have anything resembling a workspace at all. Work happens everywhere now. Many of us work from home, or from actual cafés, freelance vagabonds who move from one rickety table to the next, renting the space with our coffee purchases, getting more wired as the day goes on.


pages: 120 words: 33,892

The Acquirer's Multiple: How the Billionaire Contrarians of Deep Value Beat the Market by Tobias E. Carlisle

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, business cycle, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, corporate raider, Jeff Bezos, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Richard Thaler, shareholder value, Tim Cook: Apple

He used to pay a bigger kid a quarter a day to protect him when it got him into trouble in the schoolyard. Now he plans to use it to stir up some trouble for Stiritz. He will put Stiritz’s plan under a spotlight. Chapman had written his letter in high English like he’d swallowed a dictionary. He filled it with phrases like “tacitly dissuade,” “egregious inefficiencies,” “proffering,” “efficacious means,” “nepotistic practices,” and “cognitive dissonance.” A shareholder needed a degree in English literature to know what he meant. That won’t be a problem for Loeb. He’s part of the new breed of investors trolling Internet message boards, posting rumors and flaming (insulting) one another. Loeb’s screen name is “Mr. Pink,” who is also one of the main characters in Quentin Tarantino’s bloody heist-gone-wrong film Reservoir Dogs. Mr. Pink gets away with the diamonds in the end.


pages: 411 words: 108,119

The Irrational Economist: Making Decisions in a Dangerous World by Erwann Michel-Kerjan, Paul Slovic

"Robert Solow", Andrei Shleifer, availability heuristic, bank run, Black Swan, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cross-subsidies, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, experimental economics, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, George Akerlof, hindsight bias, incomplete markets, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Kenneth Arrow, Loma Prieta earthquake, London Interbank Offered Rate, market bubble, market clearing, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, placebo effect, price discrimination, price stability, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, source of truth, statistical model, stochastic process, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, transaction costs, ultimatum game, University of East Anglia, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto

A survey of law school students published in 2003 by economists Kip Viscusi and Richard Zeckhauser in the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, however, found that around 40 percent of respondents believed their personal risk assessment was higher before the attacks than currently.2 In another study of professional-school students and undergraduate business students in 2005, they showed that over two-thirds of respondents exhibited the same phenomenon.3 These respondents experienced a recollection bias, whereby after the occurrence of a low-probability event, one thinks that one’s prior risk assessment was much higher than it actually was. This could be due to an attempt to reduce cognitive dissonance, for self-justification, or simply to misremembering. It may also be a variant of hindsight bias, in which knowing the outcome alters an individual’s assessment of how likely it was to have occurred. For example, in a 1975 study by psychologist Baruch Fischhoff, who is also a contributor to this book, subjects were given passages to read about the Gurkha raids on the British in the early 1800s.

From an economic perspective this faith is unfounded, and Friedman in his role as a scholar was aware of this fact and even alluded to it in footnotes. But his followers were not aware of it, and are still not. From the perspective of an ardent free-marketer, environmental problems are a threat: They require government intervention in the economy. It’s hard to believe both that we need to solve environmental problems and that the government is the problem and not the solution! Believing both leads to cognitive dissonance. Many conservatives ignore environmental problems, pretending that they don’t exist. Roosevelt and Nixon did not have this conflict: In their day, conservatism was consistent with a role for the government. Compounding this ideological change is an empirical one: the rise of climate change as an issue. Climate change threatens the fossil fuel industry, the oil, coal, and gas industries.


pages: 352 words: 104,411

Rush Hour: How 500 Million Commuters Survive the Daily Journey to Work by Iain Gately

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, Beeching cuts, blue-collar work, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, car-free, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, connected car, corporate raider, DARPA: Urban Challenge, Dean Kamen, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, don't be evil, Elon Musk, extreme commuting, global pandemic, Google bus, Henri Poincaré, Hyperloop, Jeff Bezos, lateral thinking, low skilled workers, Marchetti’s constant, postnationalism / post nation state, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, telepresence, Tesla Model S, urban planning, éminence grise

Two-thirds of all drivers ‘rate themselves almost perfect in excellence as a driver (9 or 10 on a 10-point scale), while the rest consider themselves above average (6 to 8)’. In their own minds, they can’t put a wheel wrong when they’re on the road. As a consequence, while ‘70 per cent of drivers report being a victim of an aggressive driver’, only ‘30 per cent admit to being aggressive drivers’. Such mismatches between perception and reality suggest that cognitive dissonance rules the highways. Drivers operate in a parallel universe where they are perfect and everyone else is bad and dangerous. The territoriality, belligerence, vindictiveness and, above all, double standards that typify road-rage sufferers have been investigated in depth. It’s now treated as a problem in its own right that claims hundreds of casualties each year, and is in urgent need of solution.

The OECD Well-Being Index of thirty-six countries also rates commuting badly. Denmark, which tops its chart, wins partly because average commutes in that country are very short, and 34 per cent of Danish workers travel to their offices by bike. This combination boosts its scores on three counts – health (bicycle commuters have a 28 per cent lower mortality rate than the population average), environment and ‘work/life balance’. So are commuters all suffering from cognitive dissonance and, like smokers, addicted to a habit that will inevitably make them sick and possibly kill them? Some experts think so, and describe such blindness as a ‘weighting mistake’. We humans mess up our priorities: we invest our passions in trivia, and overlook important matters – we splash out on a new pair of shoes, and forget to pay our taxes. When it comes to commuting, we dream of having houses with gardens in the suburbs and sending our children to good schools, but forget that we’re spending a fortune on season tickets or fuel, and will seldom have time for our gardens or money to pay for private educations for our kids.


pages: 354 words: 105,322

The Road to Ruin: The Global Elites' Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis by James Rickards

"Robert Solow", Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, butterfly effect, buy and hold, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, cellular automata, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, distributed ledger, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial repression, fixed income, Flash crash, floating exchange rates, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, G4S, George Akerlof, global reserve currency, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, jitney, John Meriwether, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, large denomination, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, nuclear winter, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peace of Westphalia, Pierre-Simon Laplace, plutocrats, Plutocrats, prediction markets, price anchoring, price stability, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, reserve currency, RFID, risk-adjusted returns, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, stocks for the long run, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, transfer pricing, value at risk, Washington Consensus, Westphalian system

I had seen six years before how little informed more capable rulers had been; the information available to insiders, and precisely the most highly placed among them, is all too often misleading. I relied more the on the judgment of The Times than of the King. On behalf of those friends whose assets I was managing, I converted bank deposits and securities into gold and invested in Switzerland and Norway. A few days later the war broke out. Today, the king’s mistaken views would be described by behavioral psychologists as cognitive dissonance or confirmation bias. Somary did not use those terms, yet understood that elites live in bubbles beside other elites. They are often the last to know a crisis is imminent. Somary’s memoir was published in German in 1960; the English-language translation only appeared in 1986. Both editions are long out of print; only a few copies are available from specialty booksellers. One year after the English edition was published, on October 19, 1987, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped over 20 percent in a single day, ushering in the modern age of financial complexity and market fragility.

The United States is no longer helping its partners, it is hurting itself. Empire of Debt The elite worldview rests on the intellectual pillars of equilibrium models, monetarism, Keynesianism, floating exchange rates, free trade, globalization, and fiat money. Meanwhile, the real world is best understood through the lens of complexity theory, conditional probability, behavioral psychology, currency wars, neomercantilism, and gold. Cognitive dissonance between the elite worldview and real-world economics is taking its toll on elite self-confidence and control. The elites now divide into two types: those who are confused by lost credibility, and those who are quietly panicked because they understand their intellectual failure and its consequences. The principal rebuttal to this critique of the elite consensus is the demonstrable global growth and prosperity since the end of the Second World War.


pages: 1,737 words: 491,616

Rationality: From AI to Zombies by Eliezer Yudkowsky

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, anti-pattern, anti-work, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, Build a better mousetrap, Cass Sunstein, cellular automata, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological constant, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, different worldview, discovery of DNA, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, effective altruism, experimental subject, Extropian, friendly AI, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, Nash equilibrium, Necker cube, NP-complete, P = NP, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, planetary scale, prediction markets, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific mainstream, scientific worldview, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Solar eclipse in 1919, speech recognition, statistical model, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the map is not the territory, the scientific method, Turing complete, Turing machine, ultimatum game, X Prize, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

The Unarian cult, still going strong today, survived the nonappearance of an intergalactic spacefleet on September 27, 1975. Why would a group belief become stronger after encountering crushing counterevidence? The conventional interpretation of this phenomenon is based on cognitive dissonance. When people have taken “irrevocable” actions in the service of a belief—given away all their property in anticipation of the saucers landing—they cannot possibly admit they were mistaken. The challenge to their belief presents an immense cognitive dissonance; they must find reinforcing thoughts to counter the shock, and so become more fanatical. In this interpretation, the increased group fanaticism is the result of increased individual fanaticism. I was looking at a Java applet which demonstrates the use of evaporative cooling to form a Bose-Einstein condensate, when it occurred to me that another force entirely might operate to increase fanaticism.

You may also think that making things illegal just makes them more expensive, that regulators will abuse their power, or that her individual freedom trumps your desire to meddle with her life. But, as a matter of simple fact, she’s still going to die. We live in an unfair universe. Like all primates, humans have strong negative reactions to perceived unfairness; thus we find this fact stressful. There are two popular methods of dealing with the resulting cognitive dissonance. First, one may change one’s view of the facts—deny that the unfair events took place, or edit the history to make it appear fair. (This is mediated by the affect heuristic and the just-world fallacy.) Second, one may change one’s morality—deny that the events are unfair. Some libertarians might say that if you go into a “banned products shop,” passing clear warning labels that say THINGS IN THIS STORE MAY KILL YOU, and buy something that kills you, then it’s your own fault and you deserve it.

Just shift downward a little, and wait for more evidence. If the theory is true, supporting evidence will come in shortly, and the probability will climb again. If the theory is false, you don’t really want it anyway. The problem with using black-and-white, binary, qualitative reasoning is that any single observation either destroys the theory or it does not. When not even a single contrary observation is allowed, it creates cognitive dissonance and has to be argued away. And this rules out incremental progress; it rules out correct integration of all the evidence. Reasoning probabilistically, we realize that on average, a correct theory will generate a greater weight of support than countersupport. And so you can, without fear, say to yourself: “This is gently contrary evidence, I will shift my belief downward.” Yes, down. It does not destroy your cherished theory.


Reactive Messaging Patterns With the Actor Model: Applications and Integration in Scala and Akka by Vaughn Vernon

A Pattern Language, business intelligence, business process, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, domain-specific language, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, finite state, Internet of things, Kickstarter, loose coupling, remote working, type inference, web application

The actors shown in Figure 1.8 could easily have references to other actors by means of endowment or introduction. If the application process is more complex, you can introduce a Process Manager (292) or other kind of Message Router (140) between the BookOrderController, BookOrder, and OrderFulfillment. See also Figure 1.5. Figure 1.8 Allow the Actor model to rid your mind of the layers of implicit cognitive dissonance. Go ahead, be explicit. Rid your mind of the layers of implicit cognitive dissonance. It’s just you and your software model and perhaps a user interface. Go ahead, be explicit. The rest of the book helps you see how you can put much of the other conventional software layers behind you as a thing of the distant past. You are now in the fast lane with the Actor model and its concurrency and parallelism. What Next? With the foregoing foundation laid, you should be ready to experience the use of the Actor model.


The Diet Myth: Why America's Obsessions With Weight Is Hazardous to Your Health by Paul Campos

cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, feminist movement, longitudinal study, moral hazard, moral panic, profit maximization, Saturday Night Live, upwardly mobile

“Most of the obesity research community has deemed such data [on the risks of weight loss] compelling—but not enough to state that weight-loss attempts by obese 46 Fat Science people are dangerous . . . Nowadays it is not uncommon to hear ‘Diets don’t work.’ In fact, diets do work. It is prescriptions to diet that fail, because patients usually do not follow them.” A better illustration of rampaging cognitive dissonance, as well as of the classic “the operation was a success but the patient died” line of argument, would be difficult to find. As we have seen, such conclusions can be explained by the economic structure of obesity research. As a practical matter, obesity research must be funded either by the weight loss industry or by government grants. Government grant money is supposed to ameliorate the obviously distorting effects that arise when a big pharmaceutical firm is paying researchers to do work that will justify the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars the firm has invested in developing a particular “cure” for the “disease” of a higher-than-average weight.

But then it all goes wrong: “A sexy woman is a woman who likes her body so of course she takes care of it which makes her lose weight which makes her like her body even more which makes her even sexier which makes her exercise more which makes her lose more weight . . .” A more precise description of the theoretical pretzel logic behind the practice of anorexia and bulimia would be difficult to formulate. Even within the context of the doublethink so characteristic of the diet culture, the level of cognitive dissonance at the center of Estrich’s arguments is breathtaking. Again, at the same time that she recognizes such truths as that there isn’t “a single woman alive who doesn’t do better, personally and professionally, when she feels great about herself,” and that the key to a fulfilling life is to choose “to be your best, to be happy with yourself, to be fit and strong and self-confident for however long you are blessed to be here” she steadfastly refuses to acknowledge the empirically undeniable fact that, for almost all people— indeed, for Susan Estrich herself, until a couple of years before she wrote 212 Fat Politics this book—feeling great about themselves and being fit and strong and self-confident precludes the whole idea of dieting, which at its core is all about weakness and self-loathing and endless dissatisfaction.


pages: 789 words: 207,744

The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning by Jeremy Lent

"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Atahualpa, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, complexity theory, conceptual framework, dematerialisation, demographic transition, different worldview, Doomsday Book, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, failed state, Firefox, Francisco Pizarro, Georg Cantor, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of gunpowder, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, mass immigration, megacity, Metcalfe's law, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, peak oil, Pierre-Simon Laplace, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Kurzweil, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Scientific racism, scientific worldview, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, social intelligence, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, technological singularity, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, ultimatum game, urban sprawl, Vernor Vinge, wikimedia commons

For example, when anthropologist Roger Keesing attempted to pin down the Kwaio of the Solomon Islands about their ancestors, he noted that people were “remarkably vague” and “not even very precise about the process whereby a living person becomes an ancestor. The few who bother to think about such matters only do so as a result of being prompted by an anthropologist, and they have wildly divergent representations of the process.” The ancient Egyptians, however, attempted to turn their mythic patterns into a comprehensive system and, in so doing, uncovered what Assmann has called the “cognitive dissonance” that results from an attempt to resolve the relationship between unity and diversity.22 In a traditional polytheistic cosmology, there's no need for a worldview to be systematic. Each god may have unique powers that are not necessarily consistent with those of another god. However, once we conceive of a sole creative power in the universe, the gods that previously represented natural forces and creatures are no longer the source of divinity.

The patterning instinct compels an attempt to understand the system this creator has bestowed: if the universe, which seems so variegated, is really a unified entity, then isn't this unity the true wellspring of meaning? Trying to reconcile a universe composed of “the one” and “the many” was a massive conceptual challenge, one that has been described as a “meltdown” in polytheistic mythology.23 One solution to this meltdown was that promulgated by Akhenaten: the imposition of a systematic monotheism forcefully excluding any other form of worship. In Assmann's words, it “resolved the cognitive dissonance…of the relationship between unity and diversity by abolishing diversity.”24 Monotheism is one solution. But it's not the only one. Assmann describes how, in the post-Akhenaten era, known as the Ramesside period, a new pantheistic cosmology arose that explained the various deities as different aspects and forms of a single transcendent creator god, thus making it possible “to conceive of the diversity of deities as the colorful reflection of a hidden unity.”25 This new pantheistic god didn't just create the universe—he was the universe, in all its variegated forms.

You are the sky, You are the earth, You are the netherworld, You are the water, You are the air between them. Another hymn from this period hails “the One who makes himself into millions,” and, in another text, he's actually referred to as “million of millions.”26 These two choices for a coherent cosmological system held significance beyond ancient Egypt. As we'll see, centuries after Akhenaten's revolution, the civilizations of ancient Greece and India came across the same cognitive dissonance and chose different paths: Greece laying the framework for monotheism and India choosing a form of transcendent pantheism. In later Chinese thought, philosophers grappled with similar questions about the one and the many, leading to a sophisticated new understanding of the universe. In the struggles of ancient Egypt, we glimpse the first attempts to arrive at systematic cosmological solutions that have come to structure the thought patterns of much of the human race today.


A United Ireland: Why Unification Is Inevitable and How It Will Come About by Kevin Meagher

Boris Johnson, British Empire, Celtic Tiger, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, deindustrialization, knowledge economy, kremlinology, land reform, Nelson Mandela, period drama, Right to Buy, trade route, transaction costs

Despite the extensive commemorations for the Easter Rising, it is often overlooked that the original events of that week 100 years ago were not immediately greeted with a popular surge of public support. Tales abound of how apprehended Volunteers were marched through the streets of Dublin to the jeers and scorn of passers-by. Yet, in the general election of 1918, Sinn Féin won three-quarters of the parliamentary seats in Ireland. Evidence, perhaps, that the Irish suffer from cognitive dissonance – holding two, mutually exclusive, opinions – in relation to how their freedom from Britain came about. A case of public respectability and private radicalism? Many – indeed most – Irish people would like to see the country reunified, but blanch at the methods that have, hitherto, been employed to bring it about. On the one hand, the prim and law-abiding Irish disown violence and criminality, yet the gun, as they say, has never been far from the ballot box in Ireland.


pages: 138 words: 43,748

Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle by Jeff Flake

4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, cognitive dissonance, crony capitalism, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global supply chain, immigration reform, impulse control, invisible hand, Mark Zuckerberg, obamacare, Potemkin village, race to the bottom, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, uranium enrichment, zero-sum game

If by 2017 the conservative bargain was to go along for the very bumpy ride because with congressional hegemony and the White House we had the numbers to achieve some long-held policy goals—even as we put at risk our institutions and our values—then it was a very real question whether any such policy victories wouldn’t be pyrrhic ones. If this was our Faustian bargain, then it was not worth it. If ultimately our principles were so malleable as to no longer be principles, then what was the point of political victories in the first place? Meanwhile, the strange specter of an American president’s seeming affection for strongmen and authoritarians created such a cognitive dissonance among my generation of conservatives—who had come of age under existential threat from the Soviet Union—that it was almost impossible to believe. Even as our own government was documenting a concerted attack against our democratic processes by an enemy foreign power, our own White House was rejecting the authority of its own intelligence agencies, disclaiming their findings as a Democratic ruse and a hoax.


pages: 538 words: 121,670

Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress--And a Plan to Stop It by Lawrence Lessig

asset-backed security, banking crisis, carried interest, circulation of elites, cognitive dissonance, corporate personhood, correlation does not imply causation, crony capitalism, David Brooks, Edward Glaeser, Filter Bubble, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, invisible hand, jimmy wales, Martin Wolf, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Pareto efficiency, place-making, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Sam Peltzman, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, upwardly mobile, WikiLeaks, Zipcar

The vast majority of Americans (70 percent) either believe the answer to the latter question is no or they don’t know.14 Part of that belief comes from the same sort of confidence I’ve just described—we’ve had cell phone technology for almost fifty years; certainly someone must have determined whether the radiation does any damage. Part of that belief could also come from reports of actual studies—hundreds of studies of cell phone radiation have concluded that cell phones cause no increased risk of biological harm.15 And, finally, part of that belief comes from a familiar psychological phenomenon: cognitive dissonance—it would be too hard to believe to the contrary. Like smokers who disbelieved reports about the link between smoking and lung cancer, we cell phone users would find it too hard to accept that this essential technology of modern life was in fact (yet) another ticking cancer time bomb. Yet, once again, the research raises some questions. Depending on how you count, there have been at least three hundred studies related to cell phone safety—or, more precisely, studies that try to determine if there is any “biologic effect” from cell phone radiation.

Indeed, in a number of polls I’ve seen, the idea is more popular among Republicans than among Democrats. That’s because, for many Republicans, the idea of special-interest influence is the corrupting force in government today. Everything they complain about is tied to that idea. Beltway Republicans are different of course. The party of Tom DeLay had to make some pretty awful deals with the devil in order to raise the money they needed to win. They’ve developed a fairly complicated, cognitively dissonant account that justifies selling government to the highest bidder. Outside the Beltway, citizen Republicans aren’t similarly burdened. Citizen Republicans care about the ideals of the party. And those ideals resonate well with the objective of removing the influence of cash in political campaigns. Citizen Republicans identify with those who attack systematic corruption—government that organizes itself to hand out favors to the privileged so as to strengthen its own power.


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The Gang That Wouldn't Write Straight: Wolfe, Thompson, Didion, Capote, and the New Journalism Revolution by Marc Weingarten

1960s counterculture, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, Donner party, East Village, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Haight Ashbury, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Joan Didion, Kickstarter, Menlo Park, New Journalism, non-fiction novel, Norman Mailer, post-work, pre–internet, rent control, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Stewart Brand, upwardly mobile, working poor, yellow journalism

In Hue, Herr saw a dead Vietnamese man whose skull had been sheared off by shrapnel debris, so that the top of his head resembled an open flap loosely hinged to the back of his head. The image spooked him. “I knew that if I stayed here he would drift in over me that night, grinning and dripping, all rot and green-black bloat.” Herr now viewed Vietnam as a bifurcated war: “There are two Vietnams, the one that I’m up to my ass in here and the one perceived in the States by people who’ve never been here. They are mutually exclusive.” Herr was appalled at the cognitive dissonance that existed between the cushy major press outlets in Saigon, with their lavish budgets and extensive R&R excursions, their “$3,000 a month digs at the Continental or the Caravelle,” and the horrors that were taking place within the city and nearly every other major city in the South. “I have colleagues in the press corps here, some of them incredible fakes, fantastic hacks, who live so well on their expense accounts that they may never be able to adjust to peace.”

The Mojave Desert, the West’s last untouched frontier, had been colonized by the greed-mongers, and nobody at the keno tables seemed bothered by the rising body count in Vietnam. For Sal Paradise/Kerouac, the characters on his cross-country trip are an affirmation of the beatitude and bedrock virtue of the underclass; the freak parade of humanity that Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo encounters is merely bestial and overfed on excess. Raoul Duke/Thompson’s cognitive dissonance in Vegas is most acute when he and Dr. Gonzo attend the National District Attorneys’ Association conference on narcotics and dangerous drugs in the ballroom of the Dunes Hotel. Thompson, who was registered as an accredited journalist for the event, ducked out to score mescaline from a Vegas contact, only to return to a ballroom of fifteen hundred vehemently antidrug cops loudly deriding the use of controlled substances: Their sound system looked like something Ulysses S.


pages: 484 words: 131,168

The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart by Bill Bishop, Robert G. Cushing

"Robert Solow", 1960s counterculture, affirmative action, American Legislative Exchange Council, assortative mating, big-box store, blue-collar work, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, demographic transition, desegregation, Edward Glaeser, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial cluster, Jane Jacobs, knowledge economy, longitudinal study, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, music of the spheres, New Urbanism, post-industrial society, post-materialism, Ralph Nader, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, union organizing, War on Poverty, white flight, World Values Survey

Self-reinforcing majorities grow larger, while isolated and dispirited minorities shrink. Majorities gain confidence in their opinions, which grow more extreme over time. As a result, misunderstanding between Republicans and Democrats grows as they seclude themselves. Americans' political lives are baffling. Reconciling the narrowness of recent national elections with the lopsidedness of local results produces mass cognitive dissonance. The facts we see on television—a nearly fifty-fifty Congress, a teetering Electoral College, and presidential elections decided by teaspoons of votes—simply don't square with the overwhelming majorities we experience in our neighborhoods. In focus groups held in Omaha, University of Nebraska political scientist Elizabeth Theiss-Morse revealed how confused people are by the consensus they see in their neighborhoods versus the conflict they see at large in the nation.

Two geographers studying the 2004 U.S. presidential election said that they were "motivated by the striking similarity between U.S. electoral polarization and [O'Loughlin's] finding of significant geographic variations of local populations' effects on the outcome of the critical Nazi vote " Ian Sue Wing and Joan Walker, "The 2004 Presidential Election from a Spatial Perspective" (unpublished paper, 2005) [back] *** *Another example of this is a 1951 experiment in which students at Princeton and Dartmouth watched a film of a football game between the two schools. The students were asked to take note of foul play. "Dartmouth students saw mostly Princeton's offenses; Princeton students saw mostly Dartmouth's," reported the Wall Street journal (Cynthia Crossen, '"Cognitive Dissonance' Became a Milestone in 1950s Psychology," Wall Street Journal, December 4, 2006, p. B1) [back] *** *In early 2007, when the Pew Research Center charted views of "traditional values" championed by the Republican Party, the polls showed an increasing number of Americans holding more liberal views on abortion and sexual orientation, for example. If Republicans have found their traditional base to be eroding, it may have something to do with the failures of George W Bush or the war in Iraq But the change is also the result of a post-materialist shift in American culture.


pages: 401 words: 119,488

Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Air France Flight 447, Asperger Syndrome, Atul Gawande, Black Swan, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, digital map, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, framing effect, hiring and firing, index card, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, statistical model, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, theory of mind, Toyota Production System, William Langewiesche, Yom Kippur War

“The Confidence of Choice: Evidence for an Augmentation Effect on Self-Perceived Performance,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 25, no. 11 (1999): 1405–16; Jack W. Brehm, “Postdecision Changes in the Desirability of Alternatives,” The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 52, no. 3 (1956): 384; Leon Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, vol. 2 (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1962); Daryl J. Bem, “An Experimental Analysis of Self-Persuasion,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1, no. 3 (1965): 199–218; Louisa C. Egan, Laurie R. Santos, and Paul Bloom, “The Origins of Cognitive Dissonance: Evidence from Children and Monkeys,” Psychological Science 18, no. 11 (2007): 978–83. longer than their peers E. J. Langer and J. Rodin, “The Effects of Choice and Enhanced Personal Responsibility for the Aged: A Field Experiment in an Institutional Setting,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 34, no. 2 (1976): 191–98.


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Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber

1960s counterculture, active measures, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, David Graeber, Donald Trump, equal pay for equal work, full employment, global supply chain, High speed trading, hiring and firing, informal economy, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, knowledge worker, moral panic, post-work, precariat, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, single-payer health, software as a service, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, universal basic income, unpaid internship, wage slave, wages for housework, women in the workforce, working poor, Works Progress Administration, young professional, éminence grise

All this was barely tolerable, but once Greg actually saw the abovementioned studies, which also revealed that even if the surfer did see them, she wouldn’t click on the banner anyway, he began to experience symptoms of clinical anxiety. Greg: That job taught me that pointlessness compounds stress. When I started working on those banners, I had patience for the process. Once I realized that the task was more or less meaningless, all that patience evaporated. It takes effort to overcome cognitive dissonance—to actually care about the process while pretending to care about the result. Eventually the stress became too much for him, and he quit to take another job. • • • Stress was another theme that popped up regularly. When, as with Greg, one’s bullshit job involves not just sitting around pretending to work but actually working on something everyone knows—but can’t say—is pointless, the level of ambient tension increases and often causes people to lash out in arbitrary ways.

The useful work he performs consists mainly of duct taping: solving problems caused by various unnecessarily convoluted bureaucratic processes within the company. Plus, the company itself is fairly pointless. Finn: Still, sitting down to write this, there’s part of my brain that wants to defend my bullshit job. Mostly because the job provides for me and my family. I think that’s where the cognitive dissonance comes in. From an emotional standpoint, it’s not like I’m invested in my job or the company in any way. If I showed up on Monday and the building had disappeared, not only would society not care, I wouldn’t, either. If there’s any satisfaction that comes from my job, it’s being an expert in navigating the waters of our disorganized organization and being able to get things done. But being an expert in something that is unnecessary is, as you can imagine, not all that fulfilling.


pages: 385 words: 121,550

Three Years in Hell: The Brexit Chronicles by Fintan O'Toole

airport security, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, blockchain, Bob Geldof, Boris Johnson, British Empire, centre right, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, deindustrialization, deliberate practice, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Downton Abbey, Etonian, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, full employment, income inequality, l'esprit de l'escalier, labour mobility, late capitalism, open borders, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, technoutopianism, zero-sum game

You can embrace the richness of a dual (or indeed multiple) heritage and use the insider/outsider position creatively. Generations of Irish artists in England did this – and Morrissey used to be one of them. ‘The Queen Is Dead’ is a provocation in the great tradition of Wilde and Shaw. But dual identity can also lead to cognitive dissonance, the unbearable state of having attitudes and beliefs fundamentally incompatible with each other. If you can’t hack both/and – if, in this case, the Irish blood is not flowing easily through the English heart – you go for either/or. You overcome the cognitive dissonance by adopting an exaggerated version of one or other identity. There’s a very powerful strain of this in modern Irish history. Without figures with dual British/Irish identities (from Patrick Pearse to Maud Gonne to James Connolly to Erskine Childers) deciding to be hyper-Irish, that history would probably look very different.


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The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama

Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, currency manipulation / currency intervention, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, endogenous growth, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, invention of agriculture, invention of the printing press, Khyber Pass, land reform, land tenure, means of production, offshore financial centre, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, principal–agent problem, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Right to Buy, Scramble for Africa, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), spice trade, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transaction costs, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game

On the other hand, the fact that societies are so enormously conservative with regard to institutions means that when the original conditions leading to the creation or adoption of an institution change, the institution fails to adjust quickly to meet the new circumstances. The disjunction in rates of change between institutions and the external environment then accounts for political decay or deinstitutionalization. Legacy investments in existing institutions lead to failures not simply in changing outmoded institutions but also in the very ability to perceive that a failure has taken place. This phenomenon is described by social psychologists as “cognitive dissonance,” of which history is littered with examples. 18 If one society is getting more powerful militarily, or wealthier, as a result of superior institutions, members of a less competitive society have to correctly attribute those advantages to the underlying institutions if they are to have any hope of surviving. Social outcomes are inherently multicausal, however, and it is always possible to come up with alternative explanations for social weakness or failure that are plausible—but wrong.

The ministry has its own vision of how to manage the Japanese economy and at times has manipulated its political bosses rather than being subordinated by them. It is therefore often seen as a paradigmatic case of an autonomous institution. See Peter B. Evans, Embedded Autonomy: States and Industrial Transformation (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995). 18 Leon Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1962). See also Carol Tavris, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts (New York: Mariner Books, 2008). 19 This is the argument made about twentieth-century Britain in Mancur Olson, The Rise and Decline of Nations (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982). This book is based on the more general theory of collective action he outlined in The Logic of Collective Action. 20 Steven LeBlanc, private conversation. 21 See, for example, Bates, Prosperity and Violence; Bates, Greif, and Singh, “Organizing Violence”; North, Weingast, and Wallis, Violence and Social Orders. 30: POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT, THEN AND NOW 1 For background, see Nils Gilman, Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), chap. 1.

The Nuer: A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Institutions of a Nilotic People. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ———. 1951. Kinship and Marriage Among the Nuer. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ———. 1981. A History of Anthropological Thought. New York: Basic Books. Feldman, Noah. 2008. The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Festinger, Leon. 1962. A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Finer, S. E. 1997. The History of Government, Vol. 1: Ancient Monarchies and Empires. New York: Oxford University Press. Fiorina, Morris P., et al., eds. 2010. Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America. 3rd ed. Boston: Longman. Flannery, Kent V. 1972. “The Cultural Evolution of Civilizations.” Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 3:399–426.


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Distrust That Particular Flavor by William Gibson

AltaVista, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, cuban missile crisis, edge city, informal economy, Joi Ito, means of production, megastructure, pattern recognition, proxy bid, telepresence, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

In 2001, I was writing a book that became Pattern Recognition, my seventh novel, though it only did so after 9-11, which I’m fairly certain will be the real start of every documentary ever to be made about the present century. I found the material of the actual twenty-first century richer, stranger, more multiplex, than any imaginary twenty-first century could ever have been. And it could be unpacked with the toolkit of science fiction. I don’t really see how it can be unpacked otherwise, as so much of it is so utterly akin to science fiction, complete with a workaday level of cognitive dissonance we now take utterly for granted. Zero History, my ninth novel, will be published this September, rounding out that third set of three books. It’s set in London and Paris, last year, in the wake of global financial collapse. I wish that I could tell you what it’s about, but I haven’t yet discovered my best likely story, about that. That will come with reviews, audience and bookseller feedback (and booksellers are especially helpful, in that way).


pages: 447 words: 141,811

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Atahualpa, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, David Graeber, Edmond Halley, European colonialism, Francisco Pizarro, glass ceiling, global village, greed is good, income per capita, invention of gunpowder, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, out of africa, personalized medicine, Ponzi scheme, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, urban planning, zero-sum game

Just as when two clashing musical notes played together force a piece of music forward, so discord in our thoughts, ideas and values compel us to think, reevaluate and criticise. Consistency is the playground of dull minds. If tensions, conflicts and irresolvable dilemmas are the spice of every culture, a human being who belongs to any particular culture must hold contradictory beliefs and be riven by incompatible values. It’s such an essential feature of any culture that it even has a name: cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is often considered a failure of the human psyche. In fact, it is a vital asset. Had people been unable to hold contradictory beliefs and values, it would probably have been impossible to establish and maintain any human culture. If, say, a Christian really wants to understand the Muslims who attend that mosque down the street, he shouldn’t look for a pristine set of values that every Muslim holds dear.


pages: 500 words: 145,005

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard H. Thaler

"Robert Solow", 3Com Palm IPO, Albert Einstein, Alvin Roth, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrei Shleifer, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Atul Gawande, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black-Scholes formula, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Glaeser, endowment effect, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, George Akerlof, hindsight bias, Home mortgage interest deduction, impulse control, index fund, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, late fees, law of one price, libertarian paternalism, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market clearing, Mason jar, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, More Guns, Less Crime, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, New Journalism, nudge unit, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, presumed consent, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Stanford marshmallow experiment, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Supply of New York City Cabdrivers, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, zero-sum game

We invited three groups of people: distinguished psychologists who were willing to endure a day spent talking to economists, some senior economists who were known to have an open mind about new approaches to doing economics, and the few hard-core folks who were engaged in doing research. Eric is a persuasive guy, and as a result of his charm and arm-twisting, the collection of psychologists who showed up at our initial meeting was truly astonishing. We had not just Amos and Danny, but also Walter Mischel, of the Oreo and marshmallow experiment fame, Leon Festinger, who formulated the idea of cognitive dissonance, and Stanley Schachter, one of the pioneers of the study of emotions. Together they were the psychology version of the dream team. Some of the friendly economists who agreed to participate were also an all-star cast: George Akerlof, William Baumol, Tom Schelling, and Richard Zeckhauser. The hard-core group was Colin, George, Bob, and me. Eric also invited Larry Summers to come to the inaugural meeting, but Larry couldn’t come and suggested inviting one of his recent students, Andrei Shleifer.

(Lamont and Thaler), 250 capital asset pricing model (CAPM), 226–29, 348 “CAPM is Wanted, Dead or Alive, The” (Fama and French), 228 Car Talk, 32 Case, Chip, 235 Case-Shiller Home Price Index, 235 cashews, 21, 24, 42, 85–86, 92, 100, 102–3, 107n casinos, 49n cautious paternalism, 323 Census Bureau, 47 Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP), 208, 221 charity, 66, 129 cheap stocks, 219–21 Checklist Manifesto, The (Gawande), 356 Chen, Nai-fu, 243 Chetty, Raj, 320, 357–58 Chicago, University of, 255–56 behavioral economics conference at, 159–64, 167–68, 169, 170, 205 conference on 1987 crash at, 237 debate on behavioral economics at, 159–63, 167–68, 169, 170, 205 finance studied at, 208 offices at, 270–76, 278 Chicago Bulls, 19 Chicago police department, 260 chicken (game of), 183 choice: number of, 21, 85, 99–103 preferences revealed by, 86 choice architecture, 276, 326–27, 357 Choices, Values, and Frames, xiv Chrysler, 121, 123, 363 Cialdini, Robert, 180, 335, 336 Clegg, Nick, 333 Clinton, Hillary, 22 closed-end funds, 238–39, 239, 240 puzzles of, 240–43, 244, 250 coaches, 292–93 Coase, Ronald, 261 Coase theorem, 261–62, 264–65, 264, 267–68 Cobb, David, 115 Cobb, Michael, 115, 116, 117, 118n, 119, 120, 123 Coca-Cola, 134–35 cognitive dissonance, 178 commitment strategies, 100, 102–3, 106–7 compliance (medical), 189–90 COMPUSTAT, 221 computing power, 208 concert tickets, 18–19, 66 conditional cooperators, 146, 182, 335n “Conference Handbook, The” (Stigler), 162–63 confirmation bias, 171–72 Conservative Party, U.K., 330–33 constrained optimization, 5–6, 8, 27, 43, 161, 207, 365 “Consumer Choice: A Theory of Economists’ Behavior” (Thaler), 35 consumers, optimization problem faced by, 5–6, 8, 27, 43, 161, 207, 365 consumer sovereignty, 268–69 consumer surplus, 59 consumption function, 94–98, 106, 309 “Contrarian Investment, Extrapolation, and Risk” (Lakonishok, Shleifer and Vishny), 228 cooperation, 143–47 conditional, 146, 182, 335n Prisoner’s Dilemma and, 143–44, 145, 301–5, 302 Copernican revolution, 169 Cornell University, 42, 43, 115, 140–43, 153–55, 157 Costco, 63, 71–72 Council of Economic Advisors, 352 coupons, 62, 63, 67–68, 120 credit cards, 18, 74, 76–77 late fees for, 360 crime, 265 Daily Mail, 135 Daily Show, The, 352 Dallas Cowboys, 281 data: financial, 208 collection and recording of, 355–56 Dawes, Robyn, 146 Deal or No Deal, 296–301, 297, 303 path dependence on, 298–300 deals, 61–62 De Bondt, Werner, 216–18, 221, 222–24, 226n, 233, 278 debt, 78 default investment portfolio, 316 default option, 313–16, 327 default saving rate, 312, 316, 319, 357 delayed gratification, 100–102 De Long, Brad, 240 Demos, 330 Denmark, 320, 357–58 descriptive, 25, 30, 45, 89 Design of Everyday Things, The (Norman), 326 Diamond, Doug, 273, 276 Diamond, Peter, 323 Dictator Game, 140–41, 142, 160, 182, 301 diets, 342 diminishing marginal utility, 106 of wealth, 28, 30 diminishing sensitivity, 30–34 discount, surcharge vs., 18 discounts, returns and, 242–43 discounted utility model, 89–94, 99, 110, 362 discretion, 106 Ditka, Mike, 279, 280 dividends, 164–67, 365 present value of, 231–33, 231, 237 Dodd, David, 219 doers, planners vs., 104–9 Donoghue, John, 265n “Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?”


pages: 505 words: 142,118

A Man for All Markets by Edward O. Thorp

3Com Palm IPO, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, beat the dealer, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Brownian motion, buy and hold, buy low sell high, carried interest, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, Edward Thorp, Erdős number, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, George Santayana, German hyperinflation, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, High speed trading, index arbitrage, index fund, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jeff Bezos, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, Livingstone, I presume, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, Mason jar, merger arbitrage, Murray Gell-Mann, Myron Scholes, NetJets, Norbert Wiener, passive investing, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, publish or perish, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Richard Feynman, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment, statistical arbitrage, stem cell, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Predators' Ball, the rule of 72, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Vanguard fund, Vilfredo Pareto, Works Progress Administration

Although we lost touch in the mid-1990s, I was astonished in 2008 to find that he and his family were on the government’s list of Madoff’s investors. Moreover, a mutual acquaintance told me that Ned, who had made hundreds of millions advising clients, was still directing investors to Madoff the same week that the latter confessed. Having once known Ned well, I thought back to get more insight into why he believed in Madoff. In my opinion Ned was not a crook. Instead, I think he suffered from so-called cognitive dissonance. That’s where you want to believe something enough that you simply reject any information to the contrary. Nicotine addicts will often deny that smoking endangers their health. Members of political parties react mildly to lies, crimes, and other immorality by their own but are out for blood when the same is done by politicians in the other party. I also learned early that when I gave Ned my opinion on anything, no matter how careful or reasoned, it didn’t have much impact.

corresponding economic loss These extra taxable gains or losses will be offset later if you liquidate your investment. to catch up Taxes leave me with 70 percent of my sales price. To get back to $100, $70 has to increase by $30 or 42.6 percent. CHAPTER 26 beat the market This sounds nonsensical at first. What it means is that no one has any information whatsoever that has predictive value. to the contrary They display the well-known characteristic known as cognitive dissonance. and hundreds of books An excellent history of these meanderings is Justin Fox’s book The Myth of the Rational Market. all the future earnings Interpreted as net value paid out or accumulated for the benefit of a sole owner. on inside information As chronicled by James Stewart in Den of Thieves, Connie Bruck in The Predators’ Ball, and others. this type profitably Tobias, Andrew, Money Angles, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1984, pp. 71–72.


Norco '80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History by Peter Houlahan

blue-collar work, cognitive dissonance, cuban missile crisis, friendly fire, index card, reserve currency

Hanne was introspective enough to recognize her role in the disintegration of the marriage, but she had also seen something in George she knew would only become a bigger problem as time went on. “I think his dreams are just too big for what he can really do.” By Christmas 1979, George Smith was without a job, without a car, and without a family. It was a demoralizing condition for a young man who had always thought of himself as destined for great things. George struggled with a painful cognitive dissonance between who he thought he was and what he had really become. He had a solid support system of family and friends, but to fall back on it was utterly unimaginable to him. George was the one who always saved other people, whether it be with a few extra bucks, a solution to a problem, or the salvation of their very souls. What other people might have seen as merely a rough patch, George Smith saw as a desperate situation and one that he needed to escape at any cost.

Rudolph Holguin, who oversaw the evaluation of George Smith: “TM’s showed bilateral perforations and dry blood in the ear canal secondary to concussion syndrome of the gun firing.” In other words, George had fired the Heckler so many times that the concussion waves from .308 rounds going off next to his head had punched holes in the temporal membranes of both ears. Walter was locked in a cognitive dissonance between the George he thought he knew and the one who had just tried to rob a bank. Why would you do that, George? Walter wanted to know. Because of what I have been telling you for years, George said. The end of the world is upon us. The signs are everywhere you look, the fulfillment of the prophecies is at hand. He didn’t have a choice, he said. It was a matter of life and death. Without the money to buy that land and cabin in the mountains, how would he have been able to save them all from the catastrophes to come?


pages: 184 words: 53,625

Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age by Steven Johnson

Airbus A320, airport security, algorithmic trading, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Cass Sunstein, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Dava Sobel, David Brooks, Donald Davies, future of journalism, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, Jane Jacobs, John Gruber, John Harrison: Longitude, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, mega-rich, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Occupy movement, packet switching, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, pre–internet, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Tim Cook: Apple, urban planning, US Airways Flight 1549, WikiLeaks, William Langewiesche, working poor, X Prize, your tax dollars at work

Facebook is a private corporation; the social graph that Zuckerberg celebrates is a proprietary technology, an asset owned by the shareholders of Facebook itself. And as far as corporations go, Facebook is astonishingly top-heavy: the S-1 revealed that Zuckerberg personally controls 57 percent of Facebook’s voting stock, giving him control over the company’s destiny that far exceeds anything Bill Gates or Steve Jobs ever had. The cognitive dissonance could drown out a Sonic Youth concert: Facebook believes in peer-to-peer networks for the world, but within its own walls, the company prefers top-down control centralized in a charismatic leader. If Facebook is any indication, it would seem that top-down control is a habit that will be hard to shake. From Henry Ford to Jack Welch to Steve Jobs to Zuckerberg himself, we have long associated corporate success with visionary and inspiring executives.


pages: 198 words: 53,264

Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments by Michael Batnick

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, buy and hold, buy low sell high, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, financial innovation, fixed income, hindsight bias, index fund, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, Kickstarter, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, mega-rich, merger arbitrage, Myron Scholes, Paul Samuelson, quantitative easing, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, stocks for the long run, transcontinental railway, value at risk, Vanguard fund, Y Combinator

Our inability to process information that challenges our ego is one of the biggest reasons why so many investors fail to capture market returns. The world is always changing, but our views usually don't evolve alongside it. Even when we're presented with evidence that disconfirms our previous views, straying far from our original feelings is too painful for most to bear. This is so deeply ingrained in the fabric of our DNA that there is a name for this natural mental malfunction; it's called cognitive dissonance. For example, ask anybody if they have the ability to predict the future. They might look at you funny, and say, “Are you asking me if I have a crystal ball? No, I do not.” Okay then, do you select individual stocks. And do you regularly buy and sell them, in anticipation that their future price will be higher or lower? These people are paying lip service to the idea that they can't predict the future, because their actions contradict their words.


pages: 223 words: 52,808

Intertwingled: The Work and Influence of Ted Nelson (History of Computing) by Douglas R. Dechow

3D printing, Apple II, Bill Duvall, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, game design, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, linked data, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, pre–internet, RAND corporation, semantic web, Silicon Valley, software studies, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, Whole Earth Catalog

ZigZag is more of an environment that the user inhabits. Depending on what someone builds into a ZigZag data space, you could wander along many multisensory paths, taking unexpected turns down the dimensions of color then branching off into textures or shapes, or from a sound to a flavor… Maybe multivoice music-like counterpoint could also be explored in the paths through ZigZag’s spaces, with cognitive dissonance resolving to cognitive harmony—or whatever. I could see my Music Mouse software running around inside a ZigZag space. Transpublishing and the way linking would have been done were Ted to have designed the Web, these deserve much more thought than they’re getting. One of the great deficits of the existing public web, with its one way links is that there is no way to trace anything back to its origin, no provenance.


pages: 559 words: 155,372

Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez

Airbnb, airport security, always be closing, Amazon Web Services, Burning Man, Celtic Tiger, centralized clearinghouse, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, disruptive innovation, drone strike, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, financial independence, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, hive mind, income inequality, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, intermodal, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, MITM: man-in-the-middle, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, second-price auction, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, social web, Socratic dialogue, source of truth, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, undersea cable, urban renewal, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, éminence grise

The cult’s membership grew in time, and as the apocalyptic date approached, the members left jobs, let properties and businesses languish, and alienated their disbelieving families in expectation of the end times. When the flying saucers and ensuing apocalypse failed to appear on the appointed date, the cult’s believers did not lose faith. On the contrary, the experience bolstered their beliefs, annealing them into an intimate confederacy of false belief. Vestiges of the cult persist even to this day. This study would lay the groundwork for Festinger’s theory of “cognitive dissonance”: the mental stress people suffer when presented with realities contrary to their deeply held beliefs. The key takeaway is that humans naturally avoid this discomfort, skirting situations that aggravate it, or ignoring data that make their mental contradiction more apparent. Note: The purpose of the following exposition is not a neener-neener troll of Facebook, reveling in an embarrassing fiasco for the sadistic glee of it.

See also Internet advertising; marketing brand, 39–40 budgets, 461 business model, 191, 325 direct-mail, 381, 385–86, 391 direct-response, 362–63 display, 154 fuzzy world, 388 immature markets, 318 as inducement, 450 investors, 83 Jobs and, 485 mathematics for, 28 as name-calling, 380–81 newspaper, 36–37 ROAS, 81 truth in, 54 Zuckerberg knowledge, 393–94 AdWords, 106, 186, 222, 286, 300, 364 Airbnb for cars, 241 founders, 78 Internet advertising, 25 logo, 124 success, 50 taking off, 198 as visionary, 164 alpha products, 44 Altman, Sam, 160–62, 178 Amazon Amazon Web Services, 103, 155, 233 meeting with A9 team, 429–30 mobile commerce, 484 scheming, 382 shopping cart, 328 AmEx, 301 Amit, Alon, 217 analytics software, 448 Andreessen, Marc, 25, 47 Andretti, Mario, 94 Android phones, 198, 282 angel investors, 110–13, 115, 117, 154, 206 Animal House, 399 antibiotics, 293 Apple Apple OS X, 47 joining, 346 platform control, 485 product launches, 365 scheming, 382 application programming interface (API), 186 aQuantive, 454 Arjay Miller Scholar, 110 Association for Computing Machinery, 368 Atari, 124, 149 Atlas, 383, 453–55 AT&T, 315, 324 Audience Network (AN), 486 August Capital, 154, 156, 159 Ayala, 496 Badros, Greg, 3, 410, 454, 457 Bain, Adam, 184, 188–90, 203, 478–79, 494 Baker Scholar, 110 Bakshy, Eytan, 368 bar-code reading, 51 batch, 105 Battles, Matt, 430 Beacon, 335 bedroom communities, 338 beer and diapers, 363 Beltway Boomers, 385 Belushi, John, 399 Best Buy, 328 best effort, 418 beta products, 44 Bezos, Jeff, 428 Big Brother, 384, 402 Bin Laden, Osama, 384 birth, 59–60 black-hat hackers, 314 Blackwell, Trevor, 60 Bluebeard (Vonnegut), 43 BMW, 31, 39, 130, 218, 265, 372 Boland, Brian, 382, 398 digital marketing and, 389 first meeting, 3–4 in great debate, 459–61 on integration, 443 middle manager, 463–64 reporting to, 277 seducing, 408 slides, 7–8 Sponsored Stories and, 371 stripping of duties, 452 Bolshevism, 356 Bond, Jon, 173 boot camp, 269 Bosworth, Andrew (“Boz”), 2, 444–46, 457–60, 473–74 Boyd, John, 436, 437 The Boy Kings (Losse), 445 brand advertising, 39–40 Brazil, 377–78 Brazil, Alan, 22–23 British Trader babies, 58–59, 170, 304–5 child support to, 306–7 family, 84 meeting, 54–56 relationship, 165, 168, 245 separating, 169–70, 303 Brogramming, 400 Bronson, Po, 308 Brown, Bonnie, 357 bugs, 269 Bulfinch, Thomas, 447 bumping phones, 218 Burberry, 39, 362, 372 Burke, Galyn, 349 Bushnell, Nolan, 149–50 business development, 429–30, 464, 494 Business Insider, 101 Campbell, Joseph, 259 Candy Crush, 383, 384 cap, 114–17 capitalism beef with, 411–12 extremes, 355–56 marching onward, 22 Silicon Valley, 74 spectacle, 181 speed of, 25 victorious, 124 wheels of, 36 work of, 23 Car and Driver, 261 Carrey, Jim, 424 Carthago delenda est, 288–90, 428, 492–93 Casablanca, 418 Castro, Fidel, 65, 354, 456 Cato the Elder, 289 Century 21, 21 channeling, 360 chaos monkey, 103 character development, 190 Charles River Ventures, 126–27 China, 374–75 Choe, David, 333 Chrome, 484 Chrysler, 349 Church of Latter Day Saints, 356 Churchill, Winston, 167, 411 Citibank, 57 CityVille, 228 class-action lawsuits, 81 Clavier, Jean-François (“Jeff”), 160 Clickable, 83 clickbait-y publishing, 81, 101 clickthrough rates, 309, 368, 450–51, 487 clown car, 428–29 Clune, David, 312 Coca-Cola, 311 Coelius, Zach, 396–99 cognitive dissonance, 361 Cole, Rodger, 132–34, 138 Comcast Ventures, 105 common investors, 397 communism, 355–56 company culture, 74 company-wide Q&A, 348–49 conference names, 311 connected world, 285 consultancy firms, 70 consumption patterns, 385, 412 conversion data, 318 turning data into cash, 274 tracking software, 222 Conway, Ron, 98 cookies data, 392 dropping, 387 pool, 484 reading, 6, 387 retargeting, 381–82 corporate culture, 88, 262, 332, 335, 464 corporate development, 97, 180, 209, 254, 256, 494 corporate mergers, 341 cost per mille (CPM), 275, 348, 386, 424, 486 countdown clock, 347 Country Casuals, 385 Coupa Cafe, 84 Cox, Chris, 278, 356 leadership, 410 at on-boarding, 260–64 Craigslist, 52, 54, 99 The Creamery, 229 credit derivatives, 20, 26–27 credit-default swap (CDS), 19–20 Crowe, Russell, 202 CrunchBase, 43 Crusades, 356 Cuba, 227–28, 354–55 culture company, 74 corporate, 88, 262, 332, 335, 464 cultural fit, 220 engineering, 285 Facebook, 268–69, 334–35, 345 hacker, 284 Silicon Valley engineering-first, 262, 283 tech companies’ cultural fit, 220 Cureton, Aileen, 331 Custom Audiences (CA) data matching, 452, 465 expanded version, 440 FBX versus, 439, 459–62 impact, 482 introduction, 388 losing as product, 452 open plan and, 442–43 as vulture, 401–2 working of, 394–95 customer acquisition cost (CAC), 486–87 customer relations management (CRM), 384–85 cyclists, 338 cynicism, 264 DabbleDB, 236–37 Dalal, Yogen, 154, 162–63 Daniel, Rob, 391 data conversion, 318 cookies, 392 turning data into cash, 274 data-per-pixel, 274 Facebook buying, 328 geographic, 301 Irish Data Privacy Audit, 278, 320–23 joining, 465 matching, 452, 465 mobile, 382, 477, 484, 486 on-boarding, 386–87 real-time synchronization, 38 sprawl, 321 targeting, 318, 485 third-party, 390, 423, 440, 484 velocity, 319 data protection agency (DPA), 320 Datalogix, 386, 388 Debord, Guy, 32, 353 defection, 255 Deloitte, 70 demand-side platform (DSP), 396, 423–24 democracy digital, 326–27 form of government, 411 Dempster, Mark, 122–23 derivatives, 19–20, 24 Derman, Emanuel, 16 desengaño, 239 Deutsche Bank, 57 development AdGrok, 234 business, 429–30, 464, 494 character, 190 corporate, 97, 180, 209, 254, 256, 494 costs, 487 defined, 95 dev team, 234–35 environment, 270 mobile, 79 product, 47, 94, 191, 220, 334, 370, 389 software, 455 technical, 156 technology, 294 tools, 336 Dhawan, Rohit, 217 DiggBar, 85 digital advertising, 448 digital democracy, 326–27 digital marketing, 388–89 digital monetization, 184 Direct Marketing News, 173 direct response (DR), 39 direct-mail advertising, 381, 385–86, 391 direct-response advertising, 362–63 Disk Operating System (DOS), 149 Dixon, Chris, 101–2 Docker, 119 dogfooding, 43 dominoes, 227 Dorsey, Jack, 177, 464, 490 Dostoyevsky, Fyodor, 190, 291 DotCloud, 119 Dove, 496 Dr.


pages: 1,034 words: 241,773

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker

3D printing, access to a mobile phone, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Ayatollah Khomeini, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwork universe, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, endogenous growth, energy transition, European colonialism, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, frictionless market, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, Hans Rosling, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, Laplace demon, life extension, long peace, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, obamacare, open economy, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, Scientific racism, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supervolcano, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, union organizing, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey, Y2K

It’s true that people can cling to beliefs in defiance of all evidence, like Lucy in Peanuts who insisted that snow comes out of the ground and rises into the sky even as she was being slowly buried in a snowfall. But there are limits as to how high the snow can pile up. When people are first confronted with information that contradicts a staked-out position, they become even more committed to it, as we’d expect from the theories of identity-protective cognition, motivated reasoning, and cognitive dissonance reduction. Feeling their identity threatened, belief holders double down and muster more ammunition to fend off the challenge. But since another part of the human mind keeps a person in touch with reality, as the counterevidence piles up the dissonance can mount until it becomes too much to bear and the opinion topples over, a phenomenon called the affective tipping point.80 The tipping point depends on the balance between how badly the opinion holder’s reputation would be damaged by relinquishing the opinion and whether the counterevidence is so blatant and public as to be common knowledge: a naked emperor, an elephant in the room.81 As we saw in chapter 10, that is starting to happen with public opinion on climate change.

See Enlightenment, the Clemenceau, Georges, 341 climate change, 136–54 carbon capture and storage, 150–51 carbon taxes, 139, 145–6, 149 climate justice movement, 138–9, 141–2 cognitive impediments to understanding, 140 decarbonization, 142–6, 143–4, 150–52 denial of, 137, 138, 139, 357 depoliticizing the discourse of, 382 geoengineering solutions, 150–51, 152–4, 382–3 nuclear power and, 144–5, 146–50, 465n76 Paris agreement, 134, 152, 335, 449 religious Cornwall Declaration on, 287 scientific literacy on, 356–7 spokespeople for, 382 Trump and, 335 Clinton, Bill, 67, 294, 449 Clinton, Hillary, presidential campaign of analysis of voting patterns, 339, 438 conspiracy theories and, 358, 449 loss of, 214, 215 media and, 343, 449 popular vote won by, 214, 334, 338 theoconservatives and, 449 Clockwork Orange, A (film), 175 clothing affordable, 80, 94, 117, 118 globalization and, 118, 462n63 coal carbon-to-hydrogen ratio of, 143, 144, 465n67 cooking with, 183 gasification conversion to liquid fuel, 151 as replacing nuclear power plants, 147 See also climate change; energy; petroleum Coal Miner’s Daughter (film), 113 Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire (1942), 183 cognition combinatorial/recursive power of, 27 evolution of, not adapted to modernity, 25 language and, 27 See also abstract thinking; cognitive biases; Flynn effect; identity-protective cognition; intelligence cognitive behavioral therapy, 175, 282 cognitive biases, 25–6, 353, 354–5, 403–4 adulthood mistaken for harsher world, 48 autobiographical memory and, 48, 281 bias bias of researchers, 361–3, 374 biased evaluation, 359 cognitive dissonance reduction, 377 confirmation biases, 369, 378 critical thinking courses, 377–8 debiasing programs, 378–9 decline in self mistaken for decline in times, 48 historical lag in recognizing, 383 Illusion of Explanatory Depth, 379–80 information sought to reinforce identity, 360 intuition outperformed by formulas, 403–4 motivated reasoning, 359, 377 My-Side bias, 359 Negativity bias, 47–8, 293 Optimism Gap, 40, 115, 225–6, 268 Rationality Community avoiding, 381 science as helping to overcome, 403 thinking in scale and in orders of change, 140 See also Availability heuristic; identity-protective cognition cognitive psychology and human irrationality, 351, 353 and literary scholarship, 407 Cohen, Leonard, 183 Cohen, Roger, 420 cohort (generational) effects depression, 280–81, 282, 283, 476n74 emancipative values, 225–8, 226, 227 happiness, 273–4 liberalism, 216–17 populist support, 341–2, 342 religious belief, 437–8 social support, 275 suicide, 279–80 voting patterns, 342 See also age (life cycle) effects; Baby Boomers; Generation X; GI Generation; Millennials; period (zeitgeist) effects; Silent Generation Cold War autocratic governments propped up during, 91 civil wars during, 91, 158–60, 164 Colombian peace agreement and end of, 158 end of, and alleviation of poverty, 91 famine and, 78 New Peace following, 43 terrorism declining in period following, 195 See also nuclear war Collier, Paul, 91 Colombia, 71, 71, 158, 172 colonial governments and conquest, 163–4 famine exacerbated by, 78, 459n35 See also imperialism; postcolonial governments commerce, 12–13 bourgeois virtue, development of, 84–5 cronyism, 83 institutions facilitating, 83–4 open economies, 83–4, 90–91 sectarian hatreds ameliorated by, 84 See also trade —GENTLE COMMERCE, 13, 84, 162, 198–9, 228 American founders and, 13 and violent crime, historical reduction of, 168–9 communality, as scientific virtue, xvii–xviii communism collapse of, and escape from poverty, 90–91 democratic second wave pushed back by, 200 as failing to promote human flourishing, 364 famine exacerbated by, 78, 459n36 opposition to religion, 430, 436, 438 “primitive,” 102–3 quality of life and, 247, 248 romantic heroism and, 31, 165, 445 “scientific racism” and, 398 See also Marxism; Marxist guerrillas and terrorists Compstat program, 380 computation and consciousness, 426 and knowledge, 21 computers, delayed productivity growth from, 330.

See food and food security; poverty hunter-gatherer peoples child mortality in, 55 diet of, 23 and egalitarianism vs. inequality, 102–3 life expectancy of, 53–4, 58, 457n4 persistence hunting, 353–4 reason and, 353–4 scientific skepticism among, 354 violence among, 199, 470n1 See also Hadza people; San people Huntington, Samuel, 200 Hussein, Leyla, 442–3 Hussein, Saddam, 199, 291, 366, 447 Hutu people, 161 Huxley, Aldous, 418 Ibsen, Henrik, 284 Iceland, 171, 475n30 ideas democracy as, 206 as historical forces, 347, 349–50, 405, 443, 448 and infectious disease improvement, 67 language and communication of, 27 as patterns in matter, 22 identity politics, 31, 342, 375 identity-protective cognition blue lies and, 358–9 cognitive dissonance and, 377 institutions of reason as mitigating, 27–8, 376–7 media and intellectuals and, 366–7 and politics as predicting scientific belief, 356–8 rationalization vs. reason and, 359 scientific literacy as no cure for, 403 and Tragedy of the Belief Commons, 358 unappreciated, 379, 383 See also cognitive biases Illusion of Explanatory Depth, 379–80 immigrants and immigration cuisines introduced by, 259–60 literature written by, 284 social spending and, 110 Trump and, 335, 336 immortality, 60–61 imperialism blamed on science, 34, 388, 399 Muslim countries and, 439 See also colonial governments income, 85–7, 86, 95–6 and class distribution, 114–15 disposable (after taxes and transfers) vs. market, 115–16, 116, 118, 254–5, 254 global distribution of, 111 after Great Recession, 115 happiness as increasing with, 268–71, 269 universal basic income, 119 India agriculture in, 76 Axial Age and, 23 calories available per person in, 70, 70 carbon emissions of, 143, 143–4 civil wars in, 160 colonial government of, 78 democratization and, 200, 203 education in, 238 equal rights, moderate support for, 222 escape from poverty of, 85, 86, 90 famine in, 69, 72, 78 GDP of, 85 globalization and, 111 industrialization and women in the workforce, 94 liberalization of economy, 90 liberal Muslim rule of 16th century, 442 nuclear power and, 150 nuclear weapons and, 307–8, 317, 318 partition of, 49, 160 per capita income of, 86 as permit bureaucracy (“license raj”), 90 population-control program of, 74 poverty in, 89 refugees and displaced persons, 160 secularization and, 436 social spending in, 109 and Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 419 women’s rights and, 222 indigenous peoples, 123, 199.


pages: 209 words: 54,638

Team Geek by Brian W. Fitzpatrick, Ben Collins-Sussman

anti-pattern, barriers to entry, cognitive dissonance, Dean Kamen, en.wikipedia.org, fear of failure, Guido van Rossum, Paul Graham, publish or perish, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, web application

If I do get fired, this is the wrong employer to work for in the first place. So, either way, I win. That is my career strategy. I discovered where I got this rebel streak from only very recently. I realized I inherited it from my dad, which was very strange to me because when I was growing up, I perceived my dad as an establishment figure, part of the very establishment I was rebelling against, so it was a severe cognitive dissonance for me to think of my dad as a rebel. But rebel he was. My dad started his career as a child laborer (yes, one of those millions of faceless children in developing countries you read about occasionally in National Geographic), but by mid-career, he rose up the ranks to become one of the most senior military officers in all of Singapore. I recently learned that one reason he was so successful was because he was unafraid to speak the unpleasant truth to his superiors to their faces, including Defense Ministers and Prime Ministers.


pages: 223 words: 58,732

The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, affirmative action, Airbnb, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, carried interest, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, computer age, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, George Santayana, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global pandemic, global supply chain, illegal immigration, imperial preference, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, knowledge economy, lateral thinking, liberal capitalism, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, moral panic, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, offshore financial centre, one-China policy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, reshoring, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, software is eating the world, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, superstar cities, telepresence, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, unpaid internship, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, white flight, World Values Survey, Yogi Berra

‘They are fed up to the back teeth with the cardboard cut-out careerists in Westminster,’ said Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader, of his party’s voter base. ‘The spot-the-difference politicians. Desperate to fight the middle ground, but can’t even find it. Focus groupies. The triangulators. The dog whistlers. The politicians who daren’t say what they really mean.’30 Britain’s London-centric elites got into the habit of compartmentalising signs of a backlash. Cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing. Long before the 2016 referendum, there were plenty of signs that Britain’s malaise went far deeper than the antics of fringe activists. In the 2001 general election, British voter turnout fell to an historic low of just 59 per cent. This ought to have sounded alarms. Much of the drop was due to rising apathy among working-class voters, who felt Labour put more energy into promoting multiculturalism than to addressing their concerns.


On Palestine by Noam Chomsky, Ilan Pappé, Frank Barat

Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, David Brooks, facts on the ground, failed state, ghettoisation, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, one-state solution, Stephen Hawking

I hope that the world has become more opened with what happened in the Arab world as well. You thought that these were closed societies who would not know what is going on, so I hope this is going to change, but for us, we were like in a bubble, we did not know that there was a different existence; it was very difficult to get out of it. FB: I guess the older generation, your generation and Nurit’s, the amount of cognitive dissonance as well when you’ve believed in something so strongly all your life, even though the facts show after a while that you are wrong, it is so hard to accept that you were wrong for, let’s say, thirty or forty years of your life. You see that all the time, at events when you always see the same people coming to every single Palestinian event, I always think, they know as much as I do about Palestine and they know the facts.


Digital Transformation at Scale: Why the Strategy Is Delivery by Andrew Greenway,Ben Terrett,Mike Bracken,Tom Loosemore

Airbnb, bitcoin, blockchain, butterfly effect, call centre, chief data officer, choice architecture, cognitive dissonance, cryptocurrency, Diane Coyle, en.wikipedia.org, G4S, Internet of things, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, loose coupling, M-Pesa, minimum viable product, nudge unit, performance metric, ransomware, Silicon Valley, social web, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds

Worse, they insist on teams being able to deliver many pages of fiction about how certain they are about the assumptions they make for their project’s success. The truth is that many finance ministries or heads of finance would prefer to see a complete lie about the lifetime cost of a project than a relatively certain estimate of how much the next three months will cost – that is what their spreadsheet demands. This is cognitive dissonance operating on a grand scale. Unpicking all of this will take a long time. In the UK, it took more than a year to put in place a business case process more suited to agile projects than the Treasury’s waterfall-friendly Green Book guidance. As a digital team, your focus – beyond challenging and adapting default processes to stop them from breaking agile projects before they begin – is to help make sure that the people making investment decisions in your finance ministry or elsewhere are properly qualified to opine about technology.


pages: 1,157 words: 379,558

Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris by Richard Kluger

air freight, Albert Einstein, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, corporate raider, desegregation, double entry bookkeeping, family office, feminist movement, full employment, ghettoisation, Indoor air pollution, medical malpractice, Mikhail Gorbachev, plutocrats, Plutocrats, publication bias, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, trade route, transaction costs, traveling salesman, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, War on Poverty

For youth or adult alike, the habit may serve to compensate for profound feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, or an abiding bitterness that stems from degraded social status, low occupational achievement, certifiable injustice, or paranoid delusion. Such victims of social pathology are suspected of smoking not in spite of the hazards associated with it but because of them. Even better-adjusted smokers, though, are susceptible to the perverse condition that behavioral specialists call “cognitive dissonance,” acting in direct and self-destructive contradiction of known truths or indisputable fact. And all smokers are gifted at rationalizing their habit. Many smokers, for example, readily acknowledge, even insist, that they are hopelessly hooked. But as addictions go, they may argue, it is pretty benign. Even as the mild kick of the inhaled cigarette does not compare with heroin’s euphoric high or the giddiness induced by marijuana or the sudden brightening of spirits that alcohol can bring on, neither does smoking result in any of the acute physical impairments or social disruptions of those more powerful narcotics.

Their fears of withdrawal symptoms are surpassed in many cases, furthermore, by the dread of assault from life’s countless vicissitudes, which they have convinced themselves they could not cope with if denied a cigarette at the next stressful moment. Smokers are thus classic rationalizers and hiders from fact when unwelcome word arrives about the perils of the one thing they think lets them cope with life. They are the very model of the type described by Leon Festinger in his 1957 treatise, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance—people who act in ways that deny knowledge of the consequences of hurtful or self-destructive acts. Yet for all the conflict they endure over their dependency, most smokers deeply resent the ever more widely held suspicion by smoke-free society that they suffer from flawed characters or emotional instability because they persist in what they shouldn’t. The more articulate of them reply with two basic arguments.

Even when the warning labels went on, she refused to believe it. The antismoking commercials ordered by the FCC soon followed, and Tony often pointed them out to her. She remembered one that went, “Smoking—it’s a matter of life and breath,” and got lectured by her granddaughter, who told her, “Grandma, smoking kills.” Yet she kept on. Rose Cipollone, in short, had a textbook case of what academics termed “cognitive dissonance”. A pair of social psychologists, Harold Kasarjian and Joel Cohen, both of whom would testify in the Cipollone trial, had suggested in the autumn 1965 issue of California Management Review how smokers dwelled in a constant state of disequilibrium because their dependency conflicted with the human impulse to survive and continued “in the face of undeniable and overwhelming evidence that cancer is directly attributable” to smoking.


pages: 898 words: 266,274

The Irrational Bundle by Dan Ariely

accounting loophole / creative accounting, air freight, Albert Einstein, Alvin Roth, assortative mating, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, business process, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, end world poverty, endowment effect, Exxon Valdez, first-price auction, Frederick Winslow Taylor, fudge factor, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, IKEA effect, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lake wobegon effect, late fees, loss aversion, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, Peter Singer: altruism, placebo effect, price anchoring, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, second-price auction, Shai Danziger, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, young professional

Ellen Langer, “The Illusion of Control,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 32, no. 2 (1975): 311–328. Anne Preston, “The Nonprofit Worker in a For-Profit World,” Journal of Labor Economics 7, no. 4 (1989): 438–463. Chapter 3: The IKEA Effect: Why We Overvalue What We Make Based on Gary Becker, Morris H. DeGroot, and Jacob Marschak, “An Experimental Study of Some Stochastic Models for Wagers,” Behavioral Science 8, no. 3 (1963): 199–201. Leon Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1957). Nikolaus Franke, Martin Schreier, and Ulrike Kaiser, “The ‘I Designed It Myself’ Effect in Mass Customization,” Management Science 56, no. 1 (2009): 125–140. Michael Norton, Daniel Mochon, and Dan Ariely, “The IKEA Effect: When Labor Leads to Love,” manuscript, Harvard University, 2010. Additional readings Hal Arkes and Catherine Blumer, “The Psychology of Sunk Cost,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 35, no. 1 (1985): 124–140.

They found that after giving a short lecture about the benefits of a certain drug, the speaker would begin to believe his own words and soon prescribe accordingly. Psychological studies show that we quickly and easily start believing whatever comes out of our own mouths, even when the original reason for expressing the opinion is no longer relevant (in the doctors’ case, that they were paid to say it). This is cognitive dissonance at play; doctors reason that if they are telling others about a drug, it must be good—and so their own beliefs change to correspond to their speech, and they start prescribing accordingly. The reps told us that they employed other tricks too, turning into chameleons—switching various accents, personalities, and political affiliations on and off. They prided themselves on their ability to put doctors at ease.

., 246 cashless society, implications for dishonesty in, 34 Catch Me If You Can (Abagnale), 173 certificates for (false) achievements, 153–54 Chance, Zoë, 145, 264 charitable behavior, 23–24 cheating: aggressive cheaters and, 239 altruistic, 222–23, 225–26, 227–28, 232 being made blatantly aware of, 156–57 being watched and, 223–25, 227 collaborative, see collaborative cheating desire to benefit from, 12–14, 27, 29, 237 ego depletion, 104–6, 111–12 fake products’ impact on, 125–31 in golf, 55–65 honor codes and, 41–45 increasing creativity to increase level of, 184–87 as infection, 191–216; see also infectious nature of cheating infidelity and, 244–45 on IQ-like tests, self-deception and, 145–49, 151, 153–54, 156–57 reducing amount of, 39–51, 248–54 removing oneself from tempting situation and, 108–11 signing forms at top and, 46–51 Ten Commandments and, 39–40, 41, 44 what-the-hell effect and, 127–31, 136 see also dishonesty China, cheating in, 241–42 Chloé accessories, studies with, 123–34 Civil War veterans, 152 classes, infectious nature of cheating in, 195–97 Coca-Cola, stealing money vs., 32–33 cognitive dissonance, 81 cognitive load: ability to resist temptation and, 99–100 judges’ parole rulings and, 102–3 Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT), 173–74 coin logic, 167–68 collaborative cheating, 217–35 altruism and, 222–23, 225–26, 227–28, 232 being watched or monitored and, 223–25, 227–28, 234–35 emphasis on working as group or team and, 217–18 infectious nature of cheating in relation to, 221–22 social utility and, 222–23 companies: being one step removed from money and, 34–37 irrationality of, 51 see also corporate dishonesty compliments, insincere, 159 conflicts of interest, 67–95, 238, 248 in academia, 82, 84–85 in dentistry, 67–71, 93, 94, 230 disclosure and, 88–92 dots task and, 129 eradication of, 92–95 exclusion of experimental data and, 86–88 expert witnesses and, 85–86 in financial services industry, 83–85, 93, 94 governmental lobbyists and, 77–78, 94 honesty threshold and, 130–31 inherent inclination to return favors and, 74–75 medical procedures and, 71–74, 92–94, 229 pharmaceutical companies’ influence in academia and, 82 pharma reps and, 78–82 what-the-hell effect and, 129–31 congressional staffers, cheating among, 243 Congress members, PAC money misused by, 208–10 contractors, 93 Conway, Alan, 150–51 Cooper, Cynthia, 215 Cornell University, 250–51 corpora callosa, 164–65 corporate dishonesty: cheating a little bit and, 239–40 Enron collapse and, 1–3, 192, 207, 215, 234 recent spread of, 192, 207–8 cost-benefit analysis, 4–5, 26–27, 237, 239 infectious nature of cheating and, 201–3, 205 see also Simple Model of Rational Crime counterfeits, see fake products creativity, 88, 163–89, 238 brain structure and, 164–65 dark side of, 187–89 fooling oneself and, 165–67 increasing, to increase level of cheating, 184–87 infidelity and, 244 intelligence vs., as predictor of dishonesty, 172–77 link between dishonesty and, 170–72, 186–89 logical-sounding rationales for choices and, 163–64 measures of, 171 moral flexibility and, 186–87 pathological liars and, 168–70 revenge and, 177–84 credit card companies, 239–40 crime, reducing, 52 cultural differences, 240–43 Danziger, Shai, 102 decision making: creating efficient process for, 167–68 effectiveness of group work in, 217–18 rationalization process and, 163–67 Denfield, George, 75 dentists: continuity of care and, 228–31 treating patients using equipment that they own, 67–68, 93–94 unnecessary work and, 67–71 depletion, see ego depletion dieting, 98, 109, 112–13, 114–15 what-the-hell effect and, 127, 130 “dine-and-dash,” 79 diplomas, lying about, 135–36, 153, 154 disabled person, author’s adoption of role of, 143–44 disclosure, 88–92, 248 study on impact of, 89–92 discounting, fixed vs. probabilistic, 194 dishonesty: causes of, 3–4, 5 collaborative, see collaborative cheating cultural differences and, 240–43 discouraging small and ubiquitous forms of, 239–40 importance of first act of, 137 infectious nature of, 191–216; see also infectious nature of cheating intelligence vs. creativity as predictor of, 172–77 link between creativity and, 170–72, 186–89 opportunities for, passed up by vast majority, 238 of others, fake products and assessing of, 131–34 rational and irrational forces in, 254 reducing amount of, 39–51, 248–54 society’s means for dealing with, 4–5 summary of forces that shape (figure), 245 when traveling, 183n see also cheating dissertation proposals and defenses, 101 distance factors, 238 in golf, 58–59 stealing Coca-Cola vs. money and, 32–33 token experiment and, 33–34 doctors: consulting for or investing in drug companies, 82, 93 continuity of care and, 228–29 lecturing about drugs, 81 pharma reps and, 78–82 treating or testing patients with equipment that they own, 92–94 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, 234 dots task: conflict of interest and, 129 description of, 127–29 link between creativity and dishonesty and, 171–72, 185–86 what-the-hell effect and, 129–31 downloads, illegal, 137–39 dressing above one’s station, 120–21 Ebbers, Bernie, 13 ego depletion, 100–116, 238, 249 basic idea behind, 101 cheating and, 104–6 in everyday life, 112–16 removing oneself from tempting situations and, 108–11, 115–16 of Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones, 103 sometimes succumbing to temptation and, 114–15 sudden deaths among students’ grandmothers at exam time and, 106–8 ego motivation, 27 England, cheating in, 242 Enron, 1–3, 192, 207, 215, 234 essay mills, 210–13 exams, sudden deaths among students’ grandmothers and, 106–8 exhaustion, 249 consumption of junk food and, 97–98 judges’ parole rulings and, 102–3 see also ego depletion experimental data, exclusion of, 86–88 expert witnesses, 85–86 explanations, logical-sounding, creation of, 163–65 external signaling, 120–22 dressing above one’s station and, 120–21 fake products and, 121–22 failures, tendency to turn blind eye to, 151 “fair,” determination of what is, 57 fake products, 119, 121–40, 238 illegal downloads and, 137–39 misrepresentation of academic credentials and, 135–36 rationalizations and, 134–35 self-signaling and, 123–26, 135 signaling value of authentic version diluted by, 121–22 suspiciousness of others and, 131–34 what-the-hell effect and, 127–31, 135 farmer’s market, benevolent behavior toward blind customer in, 23–24 fashion, 117–26 counterfeit goods and, 119, 121–22, 121–40, 123–26; see also fake products dressing above one’s station and, 120–21 external signaling and, 120–22 self-signaling and, 122–26 Fastow, Andrew, 2 favors, 74–82 aesthetic preferences and, 75–77 governmental lobbyists and, 77–78 inherent inclination to return, 74–75 pharma reps and, 78–82 see also conflicts of interest Fawal-Farah, Freeda, 117, 118 FBI, 215 Fedorikhin, Sasha, 99–100 Feynman, Richard, 165 financial crisis of 2008, 83–85, 192, 207, 234, 246–47 financial favors, aesthetic preferences and, 77 financial services industry: anonymous monitoring and, 234–35 cheating among politicians vs., 243 conflicts of interest in, 83–85, 93, 94 government regulation of, 234 fishing, lying about, 28 Frederick, Shane, 173 friends, invited to join in questionable behavior, 195 fudge factor theory, 27–29, 237 acceptable rate of lying and, 28–29, 91 distance between actions and money and, 34–37 getting people to cheat less and, 39–51 infidelity and, 244 rationalization of selfish desires and, 53 stealing Coca-Cola vs. money and, 32–33 Gazzaniga, Michael, 164–65 Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), 219–20 generous behavior, 23–24 Get Rich Cheating (Kreisler), 14 Gilovich, Tom, 250, 263–64 Gino, Francesca, 45, 104, 123, 127, 131, 145, 170, 184, 197, 225, 234–35, 242, 258–59 Glass, Ira, 6 Gneezy, Ayelet, 177, 257–58 golf, 55–65 cheating by “average golfer” vs. study participants and, 63–64 mistallying score in, 61–64 moving location of ball in, 58–59, 63 mulligans in, 60–61, 63–64 self-monitoring in, 56–57 survey on cheating in, 57–64 government regulations, 234 grandmothers, sudden deaths of, at exam time, 106–8 gray matter, 169–70 Green, Jennifer Wideman, 117 grocery shopping, ego depletion and, 109, 112–13 group or team work, 220–23 performance unaffected by, 233 possible benefits of, 223 predominance of, in professional lives, 217–18, 235 social utility and, 222–23 see also collaborative cheating Grüneisen, Aline, 210–11, 257 guilt, self-inflicted pain and, 250–52 Harford, Tim, 3–4 Harper’s Bazaar, 117–18 Harvard Medical School, 82 Harvey, Ann, 75 Henn, Steve, 209 heretics, external signaling of, 120 Hinduism, 25 honesty threshold, 130–31 honor codes, 41–45, 204 ideological organizations, 232n “I knew it all along” feeling, 149 illegal businesses, loyalty and care for customers in, 138–39 impulsive (or emotional) vs. rational (or deliberative) parts of ourselves, 97–106 cognitive load and, 99–100 ego depletion and, 100–106 exhaustion and, 97–98 Inbar, Yoel, 250, 264 infectious nature of cheating, 191–216, 249 bacterial infections compared to, 192–93 in class, 195–97 collaborative cheating in relation to, 221–22 Congress members’ misuse of PAC money and, 208–10 corporate dishonesty and, 192, 207–8 cost-benefit analysis and, 201–3, 205 essay mills and, 210–13 matrix task and, 197–204 positive side of moral contagion and, 215–16 regaining ethical health and, 214–15 slow and subtle process of accretion in, 193–94, 214–15 social norms and, 195, 201–3, 205–7, 209 social outsiders and, 205–7 vending machine experiment and, 194–95 infidelity, 244–45 “in good faith” notion, 219–20 Inside Job, 84–85 insurance claims, 49–51 intelligence: creativity vs., as predictor of dishonesty, 172–77 measures of, 173–75 IQ-like tests, cheating and self-deception on, 145–49 certificates emphasizing (false) achievement and, 153–54 increasing awareness of cheating and, 156–57 individuals’ tendency to turn a blind eye to their own failures and, 151 IRS, 47–49 Islam, 249 Israel, cheating in, 241 Italy, cheating in, 242 Jerome, Jerome K., 28 Jobs, Steve, 184 Jones, Bobby, 56 Jones, Marilee, 136 Judaism, 45, 249 judges, exhausted, parole decisions and, 102–3 junk food, exhaustion and consumption of, 97–98 Keiser, Kenneth, 135 Kelling, George, 214–15 John F.


pages: 213 words: 61,911

In defense of food: an eater's manifesto by Michael Pollan

back-to-the-land, cognitive dissonance, Community Supported Agriculture, Gary Taubes, global pandemic, placebo effect, Upton Sinclair

It’s no wonder that omega-3 fatty acids are poised to become the oat bran of our time as food scientists rush to microencapsulate fish and algae oil and blast it into such formerly all-terrestrial foods as bread and pasta, milk and yogurt and cheese, all of which will soon, you can be sure, spout fishy new health claims. (I hope you remember the relevant rule.) By now you’re probably feeling the cognitive dissonance of the supermarket shopper or science-section reader as well as some nostalgia for the simplicity and solidity of the first few words of this book. Words I’m still prepared to defend against the shifting winds of nutritional science and food-industry marketing, and will. But before I do, it’s important to understand how we arrived at our present state of nutritional confusion and anxiety.


pages: 190 words: 62,941

Wild Ride: Inside Uber's Quest for World Domination by Adam Lashinsky

"side hustle", Airbnb, always be closing, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, business process, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, DARPA: Urban Challenge, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, gig economy, Golden Gate Park, Google X / Alphabet X, information retrieval, Jeff Bezos, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Menlo Park, new economy, pattern recognition, price mechanism, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, South of Market, San Francisco, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, turn-by-turn navigation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, young professional

Indeed, though Kalanick blanches at acknowledging any influences, obsessing over the “kerning” of a logo is exactly what Steve Jobs did at Apple. And he was revered for it. Kalanick never met Jobs, but everyone in Silicon Valley can recite the lines from the hymnal of how Jobs wouldn’t rest until every font, typeface, and finely beveled edge had reached perfection. The Apple CEO was a master at instilling cognitive dissonance, persuading customers to overlook (usually fixable) defects in his products as well as the troubling working conditions of the contractors who made them. Similarly, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos gets away with jerking around just about everyone—suppliers, employees, shippers, other merchants—so long as he delivers the lowest prices to customers. So far, Kalanick has succeeded neither at creating the type of “reality-distortion field” for which Jobs was famous nor at convincing the lion’s share of Uber’s riders and drivers to overlook his callous statements and outward lack of empathy for their plight.


pages: 200 words: 60,314

Beer Money: A Memoir of Privilege and Loss by Frances Stroh

cognitive dissonance, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Golden Gate Park, Kickstarter, new economy, nuclear winter, post-work, South of Market, San Francisco, urban renewal

Our family was like one of those hand-painted road signs that point in a multitude of directions at once: laziness and bad genes were the problem, according to my mother; according to my father and Whitney, Charlie himself was the problem; Charlie would have it that our father alone was the problem; while, according to Bobby and me, an unfortunate alchemy of both Charlie’s and our father’s problems was to blame. The cognitive dissonance between my parents’ versions of the story and ours simply could not be reconciled. I had written a paper to be presented on a panel at the gallery discussing my piece in purely conceptual terms, yet now I was unearthing a truth that could not be bound by any intellectual discussion. Looking at the piece as an outsider, I liked the tension of the raw emotional material pressing up against the cool, minimalist look I’d chosen—those six rectangular screens displaying enormous talking mouths—but these had nothing to do with me, with what went on inside of me when I myself watched the tapes: the horror, the shock of recognition.


pages: 239 words: 62,005

Don't Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason by Dave Rubin

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, battle of ideas, Bernie Sanders, Burning Man, butterfly effect, centre right, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, Donald Trump, failed state, gender pay gap, illegal immigration, immigration reform, job automation, low skilled workers, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, school choice, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, Tim Cook: Apple, unpaid internship, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

In other words: when it’s convenient she’s black, female, and Muslim—all things that score big in the Oppression Olympics—yet, when the mask slips and her ideas require scrutiny, she’s immediately protected via the victimhood status that comes with those labels. It’s quite a brilliant strategy, actually. Play the victim card to attain power, then, once you have it, use it to shield yourself from legitimate criticism. This cognitive dissonance stems from one key truth about modern leftism: progressives see racism, sexism, and discrimination everywhere, except where it actually exists. That’s not to say America doesn’t have issues with prejudice and discrimination. Do white supremacists exist? Yes. Do black, Jew, and Hispanic haters exist? Yes. But are these people fringe and irrelevant? Hell yeah. They have no institutional power.


pages: 254 words: 61,387

This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World by Yancey Strickler

basic income, big-box store, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, effective altruism, Elon Musk, financial independence, gender pay gap, global supply chain, housing crisis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Nash: game theory, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, medical bankruptcy, new economy, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Snapchat, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, stem cell, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Travis Kalanick, universal basic income, white flight

As the force of financial maximization grew, society shifted from a focus on values (what’s right and wrong, what’s meaningful) to a focus on value (maximizing, optimizing). Our choices stopped being about ideals and became about money. There are understandable reasons for this. Value can be more precise than values. Value is easier to compare across contexts. There are many technological tools for measuring value (singular) and few for values (plural). The measured surpassed the not-measured. But when our only concept of value is financial, there’s cognitive dissonance between how people want to live and how our metrics want us to live. This is a dangerous misalignment. Remember, our main value metric (GDP) counts something as valuable only if money is spent on it. According to this logic, the only value that Google and Twitter add to the world are the ad units they sell. The dissemination of knowledge is not valuable, but data harvesting and targeted advertising are valuable.


pages: 467 words: 503

The omnivore's dilemma: a natural history of four meals by Michael Pollan

additive manufacturing, back-to-the-land, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Community Supported Agriculture, double entry bookkeeping, Gary Taubes, Haber-Bosch Process, index card, informal economy, invention of agriculture, means of production, new economy, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, transaction costs, Upton Sinclair, Whole Earth Catalog

There are few things humans eat that are quite so elemental—a handful of leaves, after all, consumed raw. » 167 168 * THE O M N I V O R E ' S DILEMMA When we're eating salad we're behaving a lot like herbivores, drawing as close as we ever do to all those creatures who bend their heads down to the grass, or reach up into the trees, to nibble on plant leaves. We add only the thinnest veneer of culture to these raw leaves, dressing them in oil and vinegar. Much virtue attaches to this kind of eating, for what do we regard as more wholesome than tucking into a pile of green leaves? The contrast of the simplicity of this sort of eating, with all its pastoral overtones, and the complexity of the industrial process behind it produced a certain cognitive dissonance in my refrigerated mind. I began to feel that I no longer understood what this word I'd been following across the country and the decades really meant—I mean, of course, the word "organic." It is an unavoidable and in some ways impolite question, and very possibly besides the point if you look at the world the way Gene Kahn or Drew and Myra Goodman do, but in precisely what sense can that box of salad on sale in a Whole Foods three thousand miles and five days away from this place truly be said to be organic?

Such has been the genius of capitalism, to re-create something akin to a state of nature in the modern supermarket or fast-food outlet, throwing us back on a perplexing, nutritionally perilous landscape deeply shadowed again by the omnivore 's dilemma. • 303 SEVENTEEN THE ETHICS OF EATING ANIMALS 1. THE STEAKHOUSE DIALOGUES The first time I opened Peter Singer's Animal Liberation I was dining alone at the Palm, trying to enjoy a rib-eye steak cooked medium rare. If that sounds like a recipe for cognitive dissonance, if not indigestion, well, that was sort of the idea. It had been a long time since this particular omnivore had felt any dilemma about eating meat, but then I had never before involved myself so directly in the processes of turning animals into food: owning a steak-bound steer, working the killing cones in Joel Salatin's processing shed, and now preparing to hunt a wild animal. The steak dinner in question took place on the evening before steer number 534's slaughter, the one event in his life I was not allowed to witness or even learn anything about, save its likely date.


pages: 512 words: 165,704

Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, call centre, cellular automata, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, congestion charging, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, DARPA: Urban Challenge, endowment effect, extreme commuting, fundamental attribution error, Google Earth, hedonic treadmill, hindsight bias, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, impulse control, income inequality, Induced demand, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, lake wobegon effect, loss aversion, megacity, Milgram experiment, Nash equilibrium, Sam Peltzman, Silicon Valley, statistical model, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, traffic fines, ultimatum game, urban planning, urban sprawl, women in the workforce, working poor

This may be why speeding tickets are so common at the entrances to small towns all over the world. Rather than the simple greed of the local municipality, it is also that the road through the village so often feels the same as the road outside the village—the same width, the same shoulders. The speed limit has suddenly been cut in half, but the driver feels as if he or she is still driving the same road. That speeding ticket is cognitive dissonance. In the mid-1980s, Monderman had an epiphany that is still reverberating throughout the world. He was called in to rework the main street of a village called Oudehaske. Villagers, as they do the world over, were complaining about cars speeding through the village, on a wide asphalt road with steady traffic volumes. Before Oudehaske, Monderman’s response, like that of any good Dutch traffic engineer, had been to deploy the arsenal of what is known as “traffic calming.”

MOOSE SIGNS AHEAD: The moose story comes from Robert Finch, “Moose Signs Ahead,” Orion, July–August 2007, p. 7. “they’ll behave like that”: Monderman’s suspicion of traffic signs was not necessarily a radical stance. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the bible of American traffic engineers, itself has a warning about warning signs: “The use of warning signs,” it notes, “should be kept to a minimum as the unnecessary use of warning signs tends to breed disrespect for all signs.” is cognitive dissonance: Whether a driver actually gets the ticket may depend on several factors, as a study by Thomas Stratmann and Michael Makowsky argued. “The farther the residence of a driver from the municipality where the ticket could be contested,” they wrote, “the higher is the likelihood of a speeding fine, and the larger the amount of the fine. The probability of a fine issued by a local officer is higher in towns when constraints on increasing property taxes are binding, the property tax base is lower, and the town is more dependent on revenues from tourism.”


Manias, Panics and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises, Sixth Edition by Kindleberger, Charles P., Robert Z., Aliber

active measures, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, break the buck, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, buy and hold, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency peg, death of newspapers, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, diversification, diversified portfolio, edge city, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial repression, fixed income, floating exchange rates, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Honoré de Balzac, Hyman Minsky, index fund, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, large denomination, law of one price, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, price stability, railway mania, Richard Thaler, riskless arbitrage, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, special drawing rights, telemarketer, The Chicago School, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, very high income, Washington Consensus, Y2K, Yogi Berra, Yom Kippur War

The credit at banks was stretched to the limit; a move from commodities, land, shares, and debt back into money was under way and the chain of accommodation bills was extended as far as it would go. Nonetheless the banks and the firms hung on, waiting for the exhibition to open, because they thought or at least hoped that the increase in sales would save the situation. When the exhibition opened and the increase in sales was disappointing, the market collapsed in early May.54 As an illustration of repression of contradictory evidence – the cognitive dissonance case – consider J.W. Beyen’s analysis of the German failure to restrict short-term borrowing from abroad at the end of the 1920s. He suggested that the dangers were not faced, even by Schacht, the German finance minister, and added: ‘It would not have been the first nor the last time that consciousness was being “repressed”.’55 These examples suggest that despite the general usefulness of the assumption of rationality, markets have on occasions – infrequent occasions – acted in ways that were irrational even when each participant in the market believed he or she was acting rationally.

Alfred Marshall, Money, Credit and Commerce (1923; reprint edn, New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1965), p. 305. 10. More and more economic theorists are moving away from unswerving reliance on the assumption that market participants are uniformly intelligent, informed, and independent in thought, introducing such concepts as asymmetric information (different knowledge available to different participants), cognitive dissonance (unconscious suppression of information that fails to fit a priori views), herd behavior, procrastination that results in failure to act in timely fashion, and so on. Those interested should consult the work especially of George Akerlof and Richard Thaler. For relevant studies, see Frederic S. Miskin, ‘Asymmetric Information and Financial Crises: a Historical Perspective’, in R. Glenn Hubbard, ed., Financial Markets and Financial Crises (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), pp. 69–108; and Thomas Lux, ‘Herd Behavior, Bubbles and Crashes’, Economic Journal, vol. 105 (July 1995), pp. 881–96. 11.


pages: 266 words: 67,272

Fun Inc. by Tom Chatfield

Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Boris Johnson, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer age, credit crunch, game design, invention of writing, longitudinal study, moral panic, publication bias, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, upwardly mobile

Indeed, as is often the way with modern video games, dissident voices have begun to be heard within the game itself, with a number of members of the public choosing to make ‘virtual protests’ against the actions of the US military by, among other things, registering accounts under the names of soldiers killed while on active duty in Iraq. Think too long or hard about the ethical intricacies of a simulated environment modelling a combat situation and you’re certain to experience a peculiarly modern kind of cognitive dissonance. It’s something described in detail in reporter Evan Wright’s Generation Kill, an account published in 2004 of the author’s experience of being ‘embedded’ with the First Recon unit of Marines on combat duty during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The young men he watched fighting represented, he writes, ‘more or less America’s first generation of disposable children. More than half of the guys in the platoon come from broken homes and were raised by absentee, single, working parents.


pages: 262 words: 65,959

The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets by Simon Singh

Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Benoit Mandelbrot, cognitive dissonance, Donald Knuth, Erdős number, Georg Cantor, Grace Hopper, Isaac Newton, John Nash: game theory, Kickstarter, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, P = NP, Paul Erdős, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, Richard Feynman, Rubik’s Cube, Schrödinger's Cat, Simon Singh, Stephen Hawking, Wolfskehl Prize, women in the workforce

There are bonus points if either of these punch lines make you smile: Joke 7 “The share of the hypertense muse equals the sum of the shares of the other two brides.” 2 points Joke 8 “The squire of the high pot and noose is equal to the sum of the squires of the other two sides.” 2 points TOTAL – 20 POINTS CHAPTER 5 Six Degrees of Separation While visiting Los Angeles in October 2012, I was lucky enough to attend a table-read of an upcoming episode of The Simpsons titled “Four Regrettings and a Funeral.” This involved the cast reading through the entire episode in order to iron out any problems before the script was finalized in preparation for animation. It was bizarre to see and hear a fully grown Yeardley Smith delivering lines with little Lisa’s voice. Similarly, I experienced extreme cognitive dissonance when I heard the voices of Homer, Marge, and Moe Szyslak, whose tones and diction are so familiar from years of watching The Simpsons, emerge from the all-too-human forms of Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, and Hank Azaria. Although there is much else to appreciate in “Four Regrettings and a Funeral,” it is sadly lacking in mathematical references. However, that same day I was given a preliminary script for another upcoming episode, “The Saga of Carl,” which contained an entire scene dedicated to the mathematics of probability.


The Techno-Human Condition by Braden R. Allenby, Daniel R. Sarewitz

airport security, augmented reality, carbon footprint, clean water, cognitive dissonance, coherent worldview, conceptual framework, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, decarbonisation, different worldview, facts on the ground, friendly fire, industrial cluster, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, Peter Singer: altruism, planetary scale, prediction markets, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, smart grid, source of truth, stem cell, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, Whole Earth Catalog

Given our enslavement to our own individual consciousnesses (at least until redesign), what lies between the Scylla of Level I narcissism and the Charybdis of Level III resignation and despair? What could it meant to engage authentically-fearlessly, openly, honestly-in a world that seems not only to render the individual meaningless but also to make comprehension impossible? It means that authenticity must build on a foundational cognitive dissonance. One must accept the validity of one's own experience, upbringing, culture, and other contributions to one's own grounding while simultaneously understanding that one is 186 Chapter 8 a partial and contingent reflection of the evolving and incomprehensible complexity that is out there. The continual temptation offered by the Enlightenment is to escape this dilemma through resort to ideas and ideals of progress, especially the expansion of knowledge about our world.


pages: 265 words: 71,143

Empires of the Weak: The Real Story of European Expansion and the Creation of the New World Order by Jason Sharman

British Empire, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, death of newspapers, European colonialism, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, land tenure, offshore financial centre, passive investing, Peace of Westphalia, performance metric, profit maximization, Scramble for Africa, South China Sea, spice trade, trade route, transaction costs

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pages: 244 words: 66,977