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In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction by Gabor Mate, Peter A. Levine
Albert Einstein, Anton Chekhov, corporate governance, epigenetics, ghettoisation, impulse control, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, phenotype, placebo effect, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), source of truth, Yogi Berra
I, too, have had a tendency to look to outside sources of solace such as work and binge buying when there have been strains in my marriage—even when these strains originated in my own underdeveloped self-regulation and lack of basic differentiation. These, then, are the traits that most often underlie the addiction process: poor self-regulation; lack of basic differentiation; lack of a healthy sense of self; a sense of deficient emptiness; and impaired impulse control. The development of these traits is not mysterious—or, more correctly, there is no mystery about the circumstances under which the positive qualities of self-regulation, self-worth, differentiation and impulse control fail to develop. Any gardener knows that if a plant hasn’t grown, most likely the conditions were lacking. The same goes for children. The addictive personality is a personality that hasn’t matured. When we come to address healing, a key question will be how to promote maturity in ourselves or in others whose early environment sabotaged healthy emotional growth.
Calling myself an addict in such company may be nothing more than an attempt to excuse my selfishness and lack of discipline. I fear being recognized. People may have seen me on TV or read something I’ve written. It’s one thing to be on stage as an authority figure, addressing an audience on stress or ADHD or parenting and childhood development, and to acknowledge that I’ve had problems with impulse control over the years. In that context my public self-revelations are received as honest, authentic and even courageous. It’s quite another matter to confess as a peer—to a group who have had a much closer confrontation with life’s gritty realities than I have—that I’m “powerless,” that my addictive behaviours often get the better of me. That I’m unhappy. Of course, in my mind there also lurks a craving to be recognized.
One of the most important duties of the cortex is “to inhibit inappropriate response rather than to produce the appropriate one,” suggests neuropsychologist Joseph Ledoux.2 The prefrontal cortex (PFC), writes psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz, “plays a central role in the seemingly free selection of behaviours” by inhibiting many of the alternative responses that arise in a situation, allowing only one to proceed. “It makes sense, then, that when this region is damaged patients become unable to stifle inappropriate responses to their environment.”3 In other words, people with impaired PFC function will have poor impulse control and will behave in ways that to others seem uncalled for, childish or bizarre. It is also in the frontal cortex that social behaviours are learned. When the executive parts of the cortex have been destroyed in rats, they are still able to function—but only as immature youngsters who haven’t acquired any social skills. They are impulsive, aggressive and sexually inappropriate. They behave very much like rats reared in isolation with no access to social play and other interactions.4 Monkeys injured in the area of the right prefrontal cortex lose interactive skills such as the reading of emotional cues and the mutual grooming necessary for normal social contact.
The Narcissist Next Door by Jeffrey Kluger
Albert Einstein, always be closing, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bernie Madoff, Columbine, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, impulse control, Jony Ive, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, theory of mind, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Walter Mischel, zero-sum game
“Even without thinking about this, parents seem to know it instinctively, which is why when they read a storybook to a small child they’ll so often discuss the feelings of the characters. Children who can describe the feelings can understand and communicate them better.” — LACK OF EMPATHY is hardly the only thing that makes most babies unalloyed narcissists—even if they’re age-appropriate narcissists. Lack of impulse control contributes too, and indeed, that one’s a lot harder to overcome. The empathic response comes on kids slowly, usually with little effort, and it costs them nothing to act on it; indeed, parents may reward them when they do. Impulse control is a whole different matter. The ability to want something and not take it—or at least to put off taking it—is something human beings struggle with their entire lives. Play must come second to work, gluttony must yield to restraint, and all manner of other pleasures must be passed up entirely if they violate marriage vows, the law or simple common sense.
All of the kids then took the marshmallow test—and, perhaps no surprise, the ones who had learned in the earlier exercise that the researchers could be trusted showed much better impulse control than the ones who hadn’t. In the group that had learned to trust, the median wait time before giving in and scarfing up the solitary marshmallow was a respectable 12 minutes and 2 seconds. In the unreliable group, it was just 3 minutes and 2 seconds. Admittedly, this is only the poorest approximation of the larger world. It takes just a single broken promise from a researcher in a lab for a child to conclude that that same adult is not to be trusted. It’s hardly as straightforward a thing for a child in a shelter or an unstable home to reach a broader conclusion—that the lessons of unreliability they learn where they live are applicable to other situations in life. Still, kids do make that leap, and when they do, impulse control can be powerfully affected
They are moved equally by the fact that they want the cookie they’ve got their eye on and the belief they have a right to the cookie—are owed the cookie—and woe betide the person who tries to deny it to them. And as for asking babies to police themselves—to keep their hands off the plate of snacks or their playmate’s belongings? Not a chance. The heart wants what it wants. It was in the 1960s that Stanford University psychologist Walter Mischel first conducted his landmark study in impulse control that became simply and universally known as “the marshmallow test.” Working with a sample group of four-year-olds, he offered each of the kids a deal: They could have one marshmallow right away or, if they waited fifteen minutes while he stepped out to run an errand, they could have two upon his return. When he did leave the room, he left the single marshmallow on a plate in easy reach of the child.
Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky
autonomous vehicles, Bernie Madoff, biofilm, blood diamonds, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Brownian motion, car-free, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate personhood, corporate social responsibility, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, desegregation, double helix, Drosophila, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, framing effect, fudge factor, George Santayana, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, John von Neumann, Loma Prieta earthquake, long peace, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mohammed Bouazizi, mouse model, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, placebo effect, publication bias, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Rosa Parks, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, Walter Mischel, wikimedia commons, zero-sum game
An oft-repeated fact about adolescents is how “emotional intelligence” and “social intelligence” predict adult success and happiness better than do IQ or SAT scores.33 It’s all about social memory, emotional perspective taking, impulse control, empathy, ability to work with others, self-regulation. There is a parallel in other primates, with their big, slowly maturing frontal cortices. For example, what makes for a “successful” male baboon in his dominance hierarchy? Attaining high rank is about muscle, sharp canines, well-timed aggression. But once high status is achieved, maintaining it is all about social smarts—knowing which coalitions to form, how to intimidate a rival, having sufficient impulse control to ignore most provocations and to keep displacement aggression to a reasonable level. Similarly, as noted in chapter 2, among male rhesus monkeys a large prefrontal cortex goes hand in hand with social dominance.
Laurence Steinberg, whose research on adolescent brain development was covered heavily in chapter 7 (and whose work was influential in the Roper v. Simmons decision), offers a logical resolution.16 Deciding whether to have an abortion involves logical reasoning about moral, social, and interpersonal issues, stretching out over days to weeks. In contrast, deciding whether to, say, shoot someone can involve issues of impulse control over the course of seconds. The frontal immaturity of the adolescent brain is more pertinent to split-second issues of impulse control than to slow, deliberative reasoning processes. Or in a mitigated-free-will framework, rapid-fire, impulsive behaviors can occur while the homunculus has gone to the bathroom. Causation and Compulsion Some proponents of mitigated free will distinguish between the concepts of “causation” and “compulsion.”17 In a way that feels a bit nebulous, the former involves every behavior having been caused by something, of course, but the latter reflects only a subset of behaviors being really, really caused by something, something that compromises rational, deliberative processes.
Naturally, things are subtler than “male = fight/flight and female = tend/befriend.” There are frequent counterexamples to each; stress elicits prosociality in more males than just pair-bonded male marmosets, and we saw that females are plenty capable of aggression. Then there’s Mahatma Gandhi and Sarah Palin.* Why are some people exceptions to these gender stereotypes? That’s part of what the rest of this book is about. Stress can disrupt cognition, impulse control, emotional regulation, decision making, empathy, and prosociality. One final point. Recall from chapter 2 how the frontal cortex making you do the harder thing when it’s the right thing is value free—“right thing” is purely instrumental. Same with stress. Its effects on decision making are “adverse” only in a neurobiological sense. During a stressful crisis, an EMT may become perseverative, making her ineffectual at saving lives.
The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin
airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anton Chekhov, Bayesian statistics, big-box store, business process, call centre, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Eratosthenes, Exxon Valdez, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Golden Gate Park, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, impulse control, index card, indoor plumbing, information retrieval, invention of writing, iterative process, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, life extension, meta analysis, meta-analysis, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, pre–internet, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Rubik’s Cube, Skype, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Turing test, ultimatum game, zero-sum game
In the scientific literature, to be agreeable is to be cooperative, friendly, considerate, and helpful—attributes that are more or less stable across the lifetime, and show up early in childhood. Agreeable people are able to control undesirable emotions such as anger and frustration. This control happens in the frontal lobes, which govern impulse control and help us to regulate negative emotions, the same region that governs our executive attention mode. When the frontal lobes are damaged—from injury, stroke, Alzheimer’s, or a tumor, for example—agreeableness is often among the first things to go, along with impulse control and emotional stability. Some of this emotional regulation can be learned—children who receive positive reinforcement for impulse control and anger management become agreeable adults. As you might imagine, being an agreeable person is a tremendous advantage for maintaining positive social relationships. During adolescence, when behavior is somewhat unpredictable and strongly influenced by interpersonal relations, we react and are guided by what our friends are doing to a much larger degree.
It’s natural to think that because the prefrontal cortex is orchestrating all this activity and thought, it must have massive neural tracts for back-and-forth communication with other brain regions so that it can excite them and bring them on line. In fact, most of the prefrontal cortex’s connections to other brain regions are not excitatory; they’re the opposite: inhibitory. That’s because one of the great achievements of the human prefrontal cortex is that it provides us with impulse control and, consequently, the ability to delay gratification, something that most animals lack. Try dangling a string in front of a cat or throwing a ball in front of a retriever and see if they can sit still. Because the prefrontal cortex doesn’t fully develop in humans until after age twenty, impulse control isn’t fully developed in adolescents (as many parents of teenagers have observed). It’s also why children and adolescents are not especially good at planning or delaying gratification. When the prefrontal cortex becomes damaged (such as from disease, injury, or a tumor), it leads to a specific medical condition called dysexecutive syndrome.
Ioana knew that keeping up with her coursework was more important than what pen to buy, but the mere situation of facing so many trivial decisions in daily life created neural fatigue, leaving no energy for the important decisions. Recent research shows that people who were asked to make a series of meaningless decisions of just this type—for example, whether to write with a ballpoint pen or a felt-tip pen—showed poorer impulse control and lack of judgment about subsequent decisions. It’s as though our brains are configured to make a certain number of decisions per day and once we reach that limit, we can’t make any more, regardless of how important they are. One of the most useful findings in recent neuroscience could be summed up as: The decision-making network in our brain doesn’t prioritize. Today, we are confronted with an unprecedented amount of information, and each of us generates more information than ever before in human history.
banking crisis, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive bias, delayed gratification, game design, impulse control, lifelogging, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, Richard Thaler, Wall-E, Walter Mischel
Your willpower challenge could be something you’ve been avoiding (what we’ll call an “I will” power challenge) or a habit you want to break (an “I won’t” power challenge). You could also choose an important goal in your life that you’d like to give more energy and focus to (an “I want” power challenge)—whether it’s improving your health, managing stress, honing your parenting skills, or furthering your career. Because distraction, temptation, impulse control, and procrastination are such universal human challenges, the strategies in this book will be helpful for any goal you choose. By the time you finish the book, you’ll have greater insight into your challenges and a new set of self-control strategies to support you. TAKE YOUR TIME This book is designed to be used as if you were taking my ten-week course. It’s divided into ten chapters, each of which describes one key idea, the science behind it, and how it can be applied to your goals.
Extra weight has become a health risk, not an insurance policy, and the ability to resist tempting foods is more important for long-term survival. But because it paid off for our ancestors, our modern brains still come equipped with a well-preserved instinct to crave fat and sweets. Fortunately, we can use the brain’s more recently evolved self-control system to override those cravings and keep our hands out of the candy bowl. So while we’re stuck with the impulse, we’re also equipped with the impulse control. Some neuroscientists go so far as to say that we have one brain but two minds—or even, two people living inside our mind. There’s the version of us that acts on impulse and seeks immediate gratification, and the version of us that controls our impulses and delays gratification to protect our long-term goals. They’re both us, but we switch back and forth between these two selves. Sometimes we identify with the person who wants to lose weight, and sometimes we identify with the person who just wants the cookie.
Or you could build your own “I will” power obstacle course, with stations that require you to drink wheat grass juice, do twenty jumping jacks, and file your taxes early. Or you could do something a lot simpler and less painful: meditate. Neuroscientists have discovered that when you ask the brain to meditate, it gets better not just at meditating, but at a wide range of self-control skills, including attention, focus, stress management, impulse control, and self-awareness. People who meditate regularly aren’t just better at these things. Over time, their brains become finely tuned willpower machines. Regular meditators have more gray matter in the prefrontal cortex, as well as regions of the brain that support self-awareness. It doesn’t take a lifetime of meditation to change the brain. Some researchers have started to look for the smallest dose of meditation needed to see benefits (an approach my students deeply appreciate, since not many are going to head off to the Himalayas to sit in a cave for the next decade).
Scarcity: The True Cost of Not Having Enough by Sendhil Mullainathan
American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Andrei Shleifer, Cass Sunstein, clean water, computer vision, delayed gratification, double entry bookkeeping, Exxon Valdez, fault tolerance, happiness index / gross national happiness, impulse control, indoor plumbing, inventory management, knowledge worker, late fees, linear programming, mental accounting, microcredit, p-value, payday loans, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, Walter Mischel, Yogi Berra
The concept of less mind is well studied by psychologists. Though careful research in psychology employs several fine distinctions to capture this idea, we will use the single umbrella term bandwidth to cover them all. Bandwidth measures our computational capacity, our ability to pay attention, to make good decisions, to stick with our plans, and to resist temptations. Bandwidth correlates with everything from intelligence and SAT performance to impulse control and success on diets. This chapter makes a bold claim. By constantly drawing us back into the tunnel, scarcity taxes our bandwidth and, as a result, inhibits our most fundamental capacities. IT’S LOUD IN HERE Imagine sitting in an office located near the railroad tracks. Trains rattle by several times an hour. They are not deafening. They do not disrupt conversation. In principle they are not loud enough to prevent you from working.
They randomly, and instantaneously, created perceived scarcity by leading their subjects to anticipate loneliness. After the information had sunk in, they gave the subjects a Raven’s test and found that those who anticipated being lonely did much worse. In fact, when they placed subjects in the scanner, they saw that making people think they would be lonely reduced activation of the executive control areas of the brain. Finally, in a study looking at impulse control, when subjects who anticipated being lonely were given the opportunity to taste chocolate-chip cookies, they ate roughly twice as many. Consistent with this, research on the diets of older adults has found that those who feel lonely in their daily lives have a substantially higher consumption of fatty foods. Finally, we see similar effects even for artificial scarcity. Recall the Angry Blueberries study from chapter 1.
The student forgets his study group meeting. The server rings up the wrong item. The bandwidth tax changes us in surprising and powerful ways. It is not merely its presence but also its magnitude that is surprising. Psychologists have spent decades documenting the impact of cognitive load on many aspects of behavior. Some of the most important are the behaviors captured in these vignettes: from distraction and forgetfulness to impulse control. The size of these effects suggests a substantial influence of the bandwidth tax on a full array of behaviors, even those like patience, tolerance, attention, and dedication that usually fall under the umbrella of “personality” or “talent.” So much of what we attribute to talent or personality is predicated on cognitive capacity and executive control. The restaurant manager looks to all the usual places to explain his employees’ behavior—lack of skill, no motivation, or insufficient education.
Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution by Francis Fukuyama
Albert Einstein, Asilomar, assortative mating, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Columbine, demographic transition, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, impulse control, life extension, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, Scientific racism, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sexual politics, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Turing test
Travis Hirschi and Michael Gottfredson have argued that because crime is a socially constructed category, it cannot have biological origins.38 That is, what one society counts as a crime is not necessarily illegal in another; how then can one speak of someone having a “gene for” date rape or loitering? While many genetic theories of crime have been thoroughly discredited, crime is one area of social behavior where there are actually good reasons to think that genetic factors operate. Crime is of course a socially constructed category, but certain serious acts like murder and theft are not condoned in any society, and behavior traits, such as poor impulse control, that can lead certain individuals to transgress these rules could plausibly have genetic sources.39 A criminal who shoots someone else in the head over a pair of running shoes is obviously not making a rational trade-off between short-term gratification and long-term costs; this can easily be the result of poor early childhood socialization, but it is not absurd to think that some people are simply innately bad at making this sort of decision.
Take the antidepressant Prozac, manufactured by Eli Lilly, and related drugs, such as Pfizer’s Zoloft and SmithKline Beecham’s Paxil. Prozac, or fluoxetine, is a so-called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which, as its name implies, blocks the reabsorption of serotonin by the nerve synapses and effectively increases the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a key neurotransmitter: low levels are associated, in both humans and other primates, with poor impulse control and uncontrolled aggression against inappropriate targets, and in humans, with depression, aggression, and suicide.3 It is unsurprising, then, that Prozac and its relatives have emerged as a major cultural phenomenon in the late twentieth century. Peter D. Kramer’s Listening to Prozac and Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Prozac Nation both celebrate Prozac as a wonder drug that effects miraculous changes in personality.4 Kramer describes a patient of his, Tess, who was chronically depressed, locked into a series of masochistic relationships with married men, and at a dead end at work.
Klackenberg-Larsson, “Early Language and Intelligence Development and Their Relationship to Future Criminal Behavior,” Journal of Abnormal Psychology 102 (1993): 369–378. 40 For a systematic account of the evidence for this, see Wilson and Herrnstein (1985), pp. 104–147. 41 Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson, Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996). 42 For further examples of chimp violence, see Frans de Waal, Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex among Apes (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989). 43 H. G. Brunner, “Abnormal Behavior Associated with a Point Mutation in the Structural Gene for Monoamine Oxidase A,” Science 262 (1993): 578–580. 44 Lois Wingerson, Unnatural Selection: The Promise and the Power of Human Gene Research (New York: Bantam Books, 1998), pp. 291–294. 45 The theory that crime is the result of a failure to learn impulse control at a certain key developmental stage is sometimes referred to as the “life course” theory of crime; it offers an explanation as to why so large a percentage of crimes are committed by recidivists. The classic study establishing the existence of criminal “life courses” is Sheldon Glueck and Eleanor Glueck, Delinquency and Nondelinquency in Perspective (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1968).
Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Clayton Christensen, data acquisition, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, fear of failure, Google Earth, haute couture, impulse control, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Lao Tzu, life extension, lifelogging, Maui Hawaii, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, risk tolerance, rolodex, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Walter Mischel, X Prize
The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is an area of the brain best known for self-monitoring and impulse control—both of which are important here. Self-monitoring is the voice of doubt and disparagement, that defeatist nag, our inner critic. Since flow is a fluid state—where problem solving is nearly automatic—second-guessing can only slow that process. When the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex goes quiet, those guesses are cut off at the source. The result is liberation. We act without hesitation. Creativity becomes more free-flowing, risk taking becomes less frightening. In fact, without this structure deactivated, there would have been no way for Potter to “follow the Voice, no questions asked.” The job of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is to ask those questions, to start the process of second-guessing. It is the enemy of flow junkies everywhere. Impulse control, meanwhile, is another enemy.
This may not sound like that much, but, as fellow Stanford psychologist Philip Zimbardo explains: “[That] is as large as the average difference recorded between the abilities of economically advantaged and disadvantaged children. It is larger than the difference between the abilities of children from families who parents have graduate degrees and children whose parents did not finish high school. The ability to delay gratification at four is twice as good a predictor of later SAT scores as IQ. Poor impulse control is also a better predictor of juvenile delinquency than IQ.” But there’s another issue. According to psychologists, by definition, action and adventure athletes are “sensation seekers.” They’re impulsive pleasure junkies. Delayed gratification is not their game. Hell, in a 2009 Outside magazine profile of Shane McConkey, journalist Tim Sohn wrote: “Riding in a backpack as his mother skied, a three-year-old McConkey would shake the pack’s support bars while making known what he wanted: ‘Pow, Mommy, pow,’ or ‘Bump, Mommy, bump.”
See also mastery Gervais, Michael, xv, 68, 87, 175, 179, 182, 188 Gladwell, Malcolm, 80 goals, 30, 114–15 gratification, delayed, 81–82, 83–84, 86 Great Wall, 4–8 Gregersen, Hal, 178 group flow creativity in, 129, 133, 143, 145–48 need for, 129–30 neuroscience of, 132, 135 performance enhancement by, 130–32, 135–39, 140–43 of Primal Crew, 140–43 psychology of, 130–32 social support and, 135–37 social triggers for, 133–35 video recording and, 137–39 growth mindset, 118–22, 123–26 gymnastics, 3–4 Haag, Gunder, 174 hacking, flow, 101–2 Haines, 156–57 Half Dome, 44, 183–86 Hallowell, Ned, viii Hamilton, Bill, 25 Hamilton, Laird flow explained by, 41 at Jaws, 38–39 at Teahupoo, 23–27, 29–30 happiness, ix, 19–20, 132 Hawaii Bonzai Pipeline, 25 Jaws, 37–39, 123–26 Waimea Bay, 24 Hawk, Tony, 170–71 Hawkins, Jeff, 63–64 Heim, Albert, 8–10 helper’s high, 97–98 Herr, Hugh, 181 Holbeck, Lars, 95 Hollekim, Karina, 121 Holmes, JT double ski-BASE by, 143, 148–49 wingsuit flying by, 60–62, 65, 69–73 Honnold, Alex, 183–86 Hosoi, Christian, 15 humility, 108, 133 hypofrontality, 49–51, 56–57, 177 imagination, 26, 175–77 immediate feedback, 30, 115–16, 134–35 implicit decision making, 34–35 impossibility, 136, 175, 177 improvisation, 131, 133 impulse control, 50–51 impulsiveness, 81–82 Incognito (Eagleman), 34 injury threshold, 13–16 innovation. See creativity Internet surfing, 98 videos, group flow and, 139 intrinsic motivation, 19–20, 30, 85–86 intuition oneness and, 58 phenomenon of, 43–44, 57–58 psychology of, 44 invincibility, 159 invisible gorilla experiment, 114 Italy, Dolomites of, 148–49 iWalk prosthetic, 181 Jackson, Susan, 21 Jackson Hole, 154 Jacobson, Edmund, 175 James, William, 11–12, 15 Jaws, 37–39, 123–26 jobs.
The Vanishing Neighbor: The Transformation of American Community by Marc J. Dunkelman
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, assortative mating, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, Broken windows theory, call centre, clean water, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, David Brooks, delayed gratification, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Santayana, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, global supply chain, global village, helicopter parent, if you build it, they will come, impulse control, income inequality, invention of movable type, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Khyber Pass, Louis Pasteur, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, McMansion, Nate Silver, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, Richard Florida, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban decay, urban planning, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, World Values Survey, zero-sum game
What he found was that those who had been able to withstand the impulse to eat the first marshmallow were, by most measures, more successful than those who had gobbled it down.4 Those who had given in to temptation had “lower S.A.T. scores, higher body mass indexes, problems with drugs and trouble paying attention.”5 As Mischel and his fellow researchers later argued, “The seconds of time preschool children were willing to delay for a preferred outcome predicted their cognitive and social competence and coping as adolescents.”6 That result suggested something else: the attribute measured by the marshmallow test is, as psychologist Joachim de Posada once told a TED conference, “the most important factor for success.”7 Reams of subsequent studies, often ignored in the midst of our polarized debate over education policy, have supported that supposition. It’s virtually undeniable today that what academics have labeled “noncognitive skills” are the most influential determinants of lifetime achievement.8 The most convincing evidence of the connection between impulse control and long-term success has been documented by Terrie Moffit, a Duke University professor who, with a group of colleagues, spent decades keeping tabs on roughly one thousand subjects born in Dunedin, a city in southern New Zealand.9 What Moffit concluded, looking at her subjects after they had turned thirty-two, was that those who had displayed only a limited capacity to withstand emotional impulses at a young age were much more likely to have developed problems as adults: decades on, they were more likely to be overweight, to have contracted a sexually transmitted disease, to be alcoholics, and to abuse drugs.
“Psychologists call them personality traits, [but] the rest of us sometimes think of them as character.”14 Inspired broadly by Walter Mischel’s earlier work on the marshmallow test and keyed generally to the concern that contemporary American education fails students too frequently, a field of research has more recently emerged to explore the causes and effects of self-control. Frequently tied to the mission many educators have to break the cycle of urban poverty, a small coterie of scholars has tried to answer the question whether impulse control might explain why certain individuals are able to escape the traps of dysfunction while others are not. At the vanguard of the campaign to determine whether “grit” holds the key to boosting the potential of underprivileged students is Angela Duckworth, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who developed a “grit scale.”15 After years of research, Duckworth was able to determine that additional grit not only lined up with lifelong success, it correlated with an individual’s proficiency in specific tasks.
But we have to wonder whether there are things that could be included more proactively in our school curricula to prompt a grittier America. And fortunately, we’re in the midst of an educational revolution that sheds light on that very challenge. Galvanized by the research derived from the marshmallow test, a field of research has emerged more recently on the causes and effects of delayed gratification. Some scholars have come to wonder whether impulse control might offer insights into why certain individuals are able to escape dysfunction while others are mired in counterproductive patterns. At the vanguard of the campaign to instill more grit in students are widely acclaimed efforts like Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), and charter-school organizations led by the likes of the “Knowledge Is Power Program” (KIPP) in cities throughout the United States.
Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal by Donna Jackson Nakazawa
Girls who reported adversity were more likely to experience decreases in gray matter volume in brain regions associated with regulating emotions, and depression—including the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus. Boys, on the other hand, were more likely to show decreases in brain matter volume in the caudate region of the brain—an area responsible for impulse control and behavior. Blumberg speculates that the difference in brain changes that occur in girls and boys “might contribute to the relatively greater risk for mood disorders in girls, and disorders of impulse control in boys” who have been exposed to childhood adversity. Certainly girls can have issues with attention and impulse control, and boys can become depressed and anxious in the aftermath of adversity. Any child psychiatrist can attest to that. Moreover, kids who have never been treated harshly can develop depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Diet, genetics, chemicals, viruses, and infections all play a part.
“It is very possible that when microglia go off kilter, they are actually pruning away neurons,” McCarthy says. That is, they are killing off brain cells that we need. In a healthy brain, microglia control the number of neurons that the cerebral cortex needs—but unhappy microglia can excessively prune away cells in areas that would normally play a key role in basic executive functions, like reasoning and impulse control. They are essential in a healthy brain, but in the face of chronic unpredictable stress, they can start eating away at the brain’s synapses. “In some cases, microglia are engulfing and destroying dying neurons, and they are taking out the trash, just as we always thought,” says McCarthy. “But in other cases, microglia are destroying healthy neurons—and in that case, it’s more like murder.” This excessive pruning can lead to what McCarthy refers to as a “reset tone” in the brain.
Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Bayesian statistics, cognitive bias, end world poverty, endowment effect, energy security, experimental subject, framing effect, hindsight bias, impulse control, John Nash: game theory, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, pattern recognition, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, ultimatum game, World Values Survey
When one considers the proportion of our limited time and resources that must be squandered merely to guard against theft and violence (to say nothing of addressing their effects), the problem of human cooperation seems almost the only problem worth thinking about.1 “Ethics” and “morality” (I use these terms interchangeably) are the names we give to our deliberate thinking on these matters.2 Clearly, few subjects have greater bearing upon the question of human well-being. As we better understand the brain, we will increasingly understand all of the forces—kindness, reciprocity, trust, openness to argument, respect for evidence, intuitions of fairness, impulse control, the mitigation of aggression, etc.—that allow friends and strangers to collaborate successfully on the common projects of civilization. Understanding ourselves in this way, and using this knowledge to improve human life, will be among the most important challenges to science in the decades to come. Many people imagine that the theory of evolution entails selfishness as a biological imperative.
Is his wife having an affair? What should you do? Several regions of the brain will contribute to this impression of moral salience and to the subsequent stirrings of moral emotion. There are many separate strands of cognition and feeling that intersect here: sensitivity to context, reasoning about other people’s beliefs, the interpretation of facial expressions and body language, suspicion, indignation, impulse control, etc. At what point do these disparate processes constitute an instance of moral cognition? It is difficult to say. At a minimum, we know that we have entered moral territory once thoughts about morally relevant events (e.g., the possibility of a friend’s betrayal) have been consciously entertained. For the purposes of this discussion, we need draw the line no more precisely than this. The brain regions involved in moral cognition span many areas of the prefrontal cortex and the temporal lobes.
The resulting picture is complicated: factors like moral sensitivity, moral motivation, moral judgment, and moral reasoning rely on separable, mutually overlapping processes. The medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) is central to most discussions of morality and the brain. As discussed further in chapters 3 and 4, this region is involved in emotion, reward, and judgments of self-relevance. It also seems to register the difference between belief and disbelief. Injuries here have been associated with a variety of deficits including poor impulse control, emotional blunting, and the attenuation of social emotions like empathy, shame, embarrassment, and guilt. When frontal damage is limited to the MPFC, reasoning ability as well as the conceptual knowledge of moral norms are generally spared, but the ability to behave appropriately toward others tends to be disrupted. Interestingly, patients suffering from MPFC damage are more inclined to consequentialist reasoning than normal subjects are when evaluating certain moral dilemmas—when, for instance, the means of sacrificing one person’s life to save many others is personal rather than impersonal.65 Consider the following two scenarios: 1.
The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry by Gary Greenberg
Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, back-to-the-land, David Brooks, impulse control, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Snow's cholera map, late capitalism, Louis Pasteur, McMansion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, neurotypical, phenotype, placebo effect, random walk, selection bias, statistical model, theory of mind, Winter of Discontent
Doctors would be able to diagnose and get paid to treat Psychosis Risk Syndrome and other disorders, such as Minor Neurocognitive Disorder, that were more harbingers of future trouble than present illnesses. Kids labeled bipolar by the Biederman protocol would now have Temper Dysregulation Disorder, and kids diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder would suddenly come down with a case of Autistic Spectrum Disorder, if they were still sick at all. Pathological gambling would no longer be an Impulse Control Disorder, but instead would become a behavioral addiction, joining Alcohol Use Disorder and Cannabis Use Disorder in the Substance-Related Disorders section, which would be renamed “Addiction and Related Disorders.” Pathological gambling would be the only behavioral addiction for now; Internet Addiction had not made the cut, and Money Addiction apparently hadn’t been considered. But you would no longer have to be addicted to or dependent on a drug to warrant a diagnosis; any kind of troublesome use was enough.
(IED, which got its initials before the war in Iraq made them piquant, is pretty much what it sounds like—a propensity, mostly among children and adolescents, to become quickly and unpredictably enraged, and then quickly return to normal.) He pointed out that IED is one of those “socially constructed, I-don’t-know-what-it-means” diagnoses, one that you would think any major revision would reconsider. But, he explained, no one on the work group seemed interested in IED (or, he added, in two other impulse-control disorders—kleptomania and pyromania). It wasn’t anyone’s pet project, so the criteria had been left unmolested.* On the other hand, he continued, consider Specific Phobia, described in the DSM-IV as a “marked and persistent fear cued by . . . a specific object.” There was apparently no shortage of experts interested in this one, with the predictable result. First flashed a PowerPoint slide on which he had highlighted the differences between the existing and the proposed criteria.
O’Brien ended his talk by pointing out that it’s not just boozers and cokeheads whose addiction (and, presumably, recovery) can be verified by the magic machines. “We’ve listed gambling with the use disorders and we’ve put Internet Use Disorder in the Appendix,” O’Brien said. He’d saved it to the end, but this news was hardly an afterthought. By poaching what the DSM-IV had called Pathological Gambling from the disorders of impulse control work group, his committee had pulled off a coup. It had made official what once was only folk wisdom: that we could be addicted to behaviors as well as to drugs. We could be workaholics and shopaholics, sex addicts and love addicts, hooked on cyberporn and jonesing for carbs. (Indeed, the first question O’Brien fielded was from the head of the Food Addiction Institute, who demanded to know why food addiction hadn’t been included.)
Toxic Parents by Susan Forward
These feelings can be especially strong when a child won’t stop crying, nagging, or defying us. Sometimes it has less to do with a child’s behavior than with our own exhaustion, stress level, anxiety, or unhappiness. A lot of us manage to resist the impulse to hit our children. Unfortunately, many parents are not so restrained. We can only speculate why, but physically abusive parents seem to share certain characteristics. First, they have an appalling lack of impulse control. Physically abusive parents will assault their children whenever they have strong negative feelings that they need to discharge. These parents seem to have little, if any, awareness of the consequences of what they are doing to their children. It is almost an automatic reaction to stress. The impulse and the action are one and the same. Physical abusers themselves often come from families in which abuse was the norm.
They often look upon their own children as surrogate parents, to fulfill the emotional needs that their real parents never fulfilled. The abuser becomes enraged when his child can’t meet his needs. He lashes out. At that moment, the child is more of a surrogate parent than ever, because it is the abuser’s parent at whom the abuser is truly enraged. Many of these parents also have problems with alcohol or drugs. Substance abuse is a frequent contributor to the breakdown of impulse control, though by no means is it the only one. There are many types of physical abusers, but at the darkest end of the spectrum are those who have children seemingly for the sole purpose of brutalizing them. Many of these people look, talk, and act just like human beings, but they are monsters—totally devoid of the feelings and characteristics that give most of us our humanity. These people defy comprehension; there is no logic to their behavior.
Unless you break the cycle, there is a strong likelihood that they in turn will become either alcoholics or enablers. “I DON’T WANT TO HURT MY CHILD” In chapter 6 I introduced Holly, who was referred to me by the courts after having been reported for physically abusing her young son. I knew that to truly break the cycle, Holly would have to work on two tracks: the past and the present. But in her first few sessions I focused almost exclusively on techniques that would enable her to achieve the impulse control she so desperately needed. She had to regain control of her day-to-day life, which meant gaining control of her anger, before she’d be ready to begin the lengthier process of dealing with the pain of her childhood. I insisted that Holly attend weekly meetings of Parents Anonymous, an extremely supportive self-help group for abusive parents. At P.A., Holly found a “sponsor”—someone to call if she felt she was in danger of hurting her son.
Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales
But sitting there in the chill air with the view and the spicy juniper smell of the mountains was intoxicating. The big wide clearing led up to tremendous vaulted peaks, which seemed to leap through the gently falling snow and into the low deck of clouds like a ramp to heaven. The desire to ride a fast, open machine such as a motorcycle or a snowmobile is evidence of a certain propensity toward sensation seeking, as the psychologists call it. In addition, that particular group had demonstrated poor impulse control (boldness, or a willingness to take risks, if you like) by racing ahead of the others. Now there they were, with their throttles in their fists and all that physical power ready at a touch. There was more sensory input to urge them on: the throaty animal roar of the engines. The horsepower throbbing between their thighs. And there was Mother Nature rising into the gauzy curtains of falling snow, which both concealed and revealed her great, concupiscent backside in the swaying fabric of the clouds.
But as Boone Bracket used to say, “I’d much rather be on the ground wishing I were in the air than in the air wishing I were on the ground.” Gary Hough (chapter 4) pulled out of the Illinois River when he saw 18-inch trees shooting past him at 15 miles an hour, while others drowned. David Stone (chapter 5) was struck by lightning on the southeast buttress of Cathedral Peak because of an inflexible plan, a failure to have a bailout plan, and perhaps even a bit of difficulty with impulse control, a difficulty that all of us who pursue adventure have. Drew Leeman is director of risk management for the National Outdoor Leadership School, which trains the guides and guides the trainers in anything from whitewater kayaking to snowboarding. “You need humility,” Leeman said, in order to resign in time. “We say at NOLS, ‘The summit is not the only place on the mountain.’ Maybe you’ve tried to climb this peak for five years and maybe you’re on the third try and the weather is getting lousy again.”
But a climber named Karl Iwen, unfamiliar with Three Fingered Jack, a volcanic mountain in Oregon, which he was descending, left his companions, left the trail, left his ice ax strapped to his pack, and ventured out onto the snow, where he treated his companions to a spectacular show as he slid into the couloir and did a 600-foot Peter Pan. Karl did not die doing what he loved. He died of poor impulse control, or what I call “the rapture of the shallow.” The perfect adventure shouldn’t be that much more hazardous in a real sense than ordinary life, for that invisible rope that holds us here can always break. We can live a life of bored caution and die of cancer. Better to take the adventure, minimize the risks, get the information, and then go forward in the knowledge that we’ve done everything we can.
The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations by Christopher Lasch
cuban missile crisis, delayed gratification, desegregation, feminist movement, full employment, George Santayana, impulse control, Induced demand, invisible hand, Kitchen Debate, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, means of production, Norman Mailer, road to serfdom, Scientific racism, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, yellow journalism
As Jules Henry writes There is-a constant interplay between each family and the culture at large, one reinforcing the other; each unique family upbringing gives rise to needs in the child that are satisfied by one or another aspect of the adolescent-and-school-culture. According to Henry and other observers of American culture, the collapse of parental authority reflects the collapse of ancient impulse controls" and the shift "from a society in which Super Ego values (the values of self-restraint) were ascendant, to one in which more and more recognition was being given to the values of the id (the values of self-indulgence)." The reversal of the normal " " " Kenneth Keniston, Philip Slater, and other Parsonian critics of American culture have argued that the nuclear family, in Keniston s words, produces deep discontinuities between childhood and adulthood."
The prevailing social conditions thus brought out narcissistic personality traits that were present in varying degrees in everyonea certain protective shallowness a fear of binding commitments a willingness to pull up roots whenever the need arose a desire to keep one s options open a dislike of depending on anyone an incapacity for loyalty or gratitude Narcissists may have paid more attention to their own needs than , conduct. A number of other observers had come to similar conclusions about the direction of personality change. They spoke of a collapse of Afterword: The Culture of Narcissism Revisited " " impulse controls," the "decline of the superego, " and the grow- ing influence of peer groups. Psychiatrists, moreover, described a shift in the pattern of the symptoms displayed by their patients. The classic neuroses treated by Freud, they said, were giving way to narcissistic personality disorders. You used to see people coming in with hand-washing compulsions, phobias, and familiar neu" , , , , ' , , .
Kenneth Keniston, The Uncommitted: Alienated youth in American Society (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1965); Herbert Hendin, The Age of Sensation (New York: Norton, 1975), pp. 72, 75, 98, 108, 129, 130, 133, 215, 297; Giovacchini, Psychoanalysis of Character Disorders, pp. 60-62. 177 Keniston, The Uncommitted, pp. 309-10; Philip Slater, The Pursuit of Loneliness (Boston: Beacon Press, 1970), ch. 3. 178 "decline of the superego Jules of " VIII. The Flight from Feeling page Henry, Culture against Man (New York: Knopf, 1963), p. 127 (collapse 187 ancient impulse controls ), p. 238 (interplay of family and culture), p-. " " 179 Women (New York: McGraw-Hill 1977), pp. 170-71. espe- , 187 Bertrand Russell Marriage and Morals (New York: Bantam 1959 ) 188 pp. 127, 137. celebrations of the new marital intimacy changing structure of the superego Sigmund Freud, The Ego and the Id (New York: Norton, 1962 ), pp. 42-43; Henry Lowenfeld and Yela Lowenfeld, Our Permissive Society and the Superego, Psychoanalytic Quarterly 39 (1970): 590-607. " , , " Graham B.
This is great for dealing with concrete, short-term dangers, but if stress is chronic and we’re in this state all the time, we jump at every sound and become anxious and irritable. Chronic overproduction of cortisol can also lead to depression (Raber 1998). And both excess cortisol and adrenaline can cause anxiety disorders, panic attacks, phobias, and mood swings (Brown, Varghese, and McEwen 2004). Impulse control and emotional equanimity can also become impaired (Arnsten and Goldman-Rakic 1998). * * * Helen’s Story Helen, a CPA, was forty-six when she came to my clinic with insomnia, fatigue, chronic heartburn, weight gain, and elevated cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. She had a large stomach and a round face and was forty-five pounds over her optimum weight. Her diet and lifestyle evaluation revealed quite a few problem areas: Her meals, generally eaten at her desk, consisted mainly of high-fat foods and refined carbs.
It’s been suggested, but not conclusively proven, that REM sleep improves memory recall. Although benefits of REM sleep are still somewhat unclear, it obviously plays a fundamental role in sleep. Behavioral Changes Deficient cortisol results in behavior changes that may include increased anger and even psychopathic tendencies (Honk et al. 2003). It’s also associated with aggression, depressed mood, and lack of impulse control and emotion regulation (Stansbury and Gunnar 1994). Studies have shown that low cortisol levels caused by an underfunctioning HPA axis may be the cause of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) in adolescents (Kariyawasam, Zaw, and Handley 2002). Effects of Deficient DHEA When the adrenals become fatigued, DHEA production slows alongside cortisol production.
And then our two hours were up, and a guard called time, and with barely a good-bye, Tony obediently rushed across the Wellness Centre and was gone. 3. PSYCHOPATHS DREAM IN BLACK-AND-WHITE It was the French psychiatrist Philippe Pinel who first suggested, early in the nineteenth century, that there was a madness that didn’t involve mania or depression or psychosis. He called it “manie sans delire”—insanity without delusions. He said sufferers appeared normal on the surface but they lacked impulse controls and were prone to outbursts of violence. It wasn’t until 1891, when the German doctor J. L. A. Koch published his book Die Psychopatischen Minderwertigkeiter, that it got its name: psychopathy. Back in the old days—in the days before Bob Hare—the definitions were rudimentary. The 1959 Mental Health Act for England and Wales described psychopaths simply as having “a persistent disorder or disability of mind (whether or not including subnormality of intelligence) which results in abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct on the part of the patient, and requires or is susceptible to medical treatment.”
One care worker had told me earlier that she’d been sent by her employers and she wasn’t happy about it. Surely it was unfair to doom a person to a lifetime of a horrifying-sounding psychopathy diagnosis (“It’s a huge label,” she said) just because they didn’t do well on the Hare Checklist. At least in the old days it was quite simple. If someone was a persistent violent offender who lacked impulse controls, they were a psychopath. But the Hare Checklist was much wilier. It was all to do with reading between the lines of a person’s turn of phrase, a person’s sentence construction. This was, she said, amateur-sleuth territory. I told Bob about her skepticism and I said I shared it to an extent, but that was possibly because I’d been spending a lot of time lately with Scientologists. He shot me a grumpy look.
23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bioinformatics, business intelligence, call centre, cloud computing, computer age, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data is the new oil, David Brooks, East Village, Edward Snowden, Emanuel Derman, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Google Glasses, impulse control, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, invention of writing, John Markoff, John von Neumann, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, natural language processing, obamacare, pattern recognition, payday loans, personalized medicine, precision agriculture, pre–internet, Productivity paradox, RAND corporation, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!
The life lesson learned, in retrospect, Hammerbacher says: “Don’t scrimp and save on food. It’s where your mood comes from.” The penny-pinching apparently didn’t extend to nightlife. The pair got along well that summer, Smeall says, in part because “we both had trouble saying no—to one more drink, to one more place to go. It was fun to have someone who could keep up with you in that sort of way, who had the social stamina. “A lot of it was impulse control, or lack of it,” recalls Smeall, a Chinese scholar with an MBA degree as well. “He’s very different now. We both are.” The computer-networking job didn’t last long. A casual approach to showing up for jobs on time and a know-it-all attitude exhausted the patience of the managers of small firm in Queens. Hammerbacher was fired after three months. Then he called home. Glenn and Lenore told him they would pick him and his things up, but he would have to rent the van.
He cited numbers from the Global Burden of Disease Study, a collaboration of health experts worldwide, showing that mental health ranks third in terms of deaths and disability—behind infectious and parasitic diseases and cardiovascular disease. “It’s huge, huge crisis from my perspective,” Hammerbacher told the audience. In the United States, 46 percent of the population will develop a mental disorder over the course of their lives. The leading categories are anxiety, impulse control, mood swings, and substance abuse. Pointing to the 46 percent figure, Hammerbacher said, “It is one of those numbers that causes you to reevaluate what it means to be human and what it means to be sane and what it means to be crazy.” The opportunity, Hammerbacher said, is wide open. The causes of most mental disorders are little understood, and there are puzzling debates over the definitions, symptoms, and diagnosis.
$2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn Edin, H. Luke Shaefer
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, clean water, ending welfare as we know it, future of work, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, impulse control, indoor plumbing, informal economy, low-wage service sector, mass incarceration, race to the bottom, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, The Future of Employment, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration
Exposure to toxic stress affects people mentally and even physically. It can impair “executive functions, such as decision-making, working memory, behavioral self-regulation, and mood and impulse control.” It “may result in anatomic changes and/or physiologic dysregulations that are the precursors of later impairments in learning and behavior as well as the roots of chronic, stress-related physical and mental illness.” Toxic stress can literally wear you down and, in the end, kill you. Memory loss is very common in people who have been exposed to the conditions Rae has faced. And she certainly has impaired mood and impulse control. She takes medication for her high blood pressure and is going blind in her right eye. She has lost all her teeth. Recently, she reports, “I fucked up my knee. I’m having, like, pains that would, like, literally send most people to the hospital, but because I have a high pain tolerance because of how I used to be a cutter, . . .
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van Der Kolk M. D.
anesthesia awareness, British Empire, conceptual framework, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, false memory syndrome, feminist movement, impulse control, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, placebo effect, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), theory of mind, Yogi Berra
Over the subsequent five decades research has firmly established that having a safe haven promotes self-reliance and instills a sense of sympathy and helpfulness to others in distress. From the intimate give-and-take of the attachment bond children learn that other people have feelings and thoughts that are both similar to and different from theirs. In other words, they get “in sync” with their environment and with the people around them and develop the self-awareness, empathy, impulse control, and self-motivation that make it possible to become contributing members of the larger social culture. These qualities were painfully missing in the kids at our Children’s Clinic. THE DANCE OF ATTUNEMENT Children become attached to whoever functions as their primary caregiver. But the nature of that attachment—whether it is secure or insecure—makes a huge difference over the course of a child’s life.
In February 2009 we submitted our proposed new diagnosis of Developmental Trauma Disorder to the American Psychiatric Association, stating the following in a cover letter: Children who develop in the context of ongoing danger, maltreatment and disrupted caregiving systems are being ill served by the current diagnostic systems that lead to an emphasis on behavioral control with no recognition of interpersonal trauma. Studies on the sequelae of childhood trauma in the context of caregiver abuse or neglect consistently demonstrate chronic and severe problems with emotion regulation, impulse control, attention and cognition, dissociation, interpersonal relationships, and self and relational schemas. In absence of a sensitive trauma-specific diagnosis, such children are currently diagnosed with an average of 3–8 co-morbid disorders. The continued practice of applying multiple distinct co-morbid diagnoses to traumatized children has grave consequences: it defies parsimony, obscures etiological clarity, and runs the danger of relegating treatment and intervention to a small aspect of the child’s psychopathology rather than promoting a comprehensive treatment approach.
THE DSM-5: A VERITABLE SMORGASBORD OF “DIAGNOSES” When DSM-5 was published in May 2013 it included some three hundred disorders in its 945 pages. It offers a veritable smorgasbord of possible labels for the problems associated with severe early-life trauma, including some new ones such as Disruptive Mood Regulation Disorder,26 Non-suicidal Self Injury, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Dysregulated Social Engagement Disorder, and Disruptive Impulse Control Disorder.27 Before the late nineteenth century doctors classified illnesses according to their surface manifestations, like fevers and pustules, which was not unreasonable, given that they had little else to go on.28 This changed when scientists like Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch discovered that many diseases were caused by bacteria that were invisible to the naked eye. Medicine then was transformed by its attempts to discover ways to get rid of those organisms rather than just treating the boils and the fevers that they caused.
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Gail Steketee, Randy Frost
In many ways, hoarding looks like an impulse control disorder (ICD). ICDs are characterized by the inability to resist an urge or impulse even though the behavior is dangerous or harmful. In fact, compulsive buying, a major component of hoarding, is considered to be an ICD, as is kleptomania. Because pathological gambling, like compulsive buying, is classified as an ICD, we wondered whether it, too, would be related to hoarding. To find out, we put an ad in the newspaper looking for people with gambling problems. We found that people with serious gambling problems reported problems with clutter, excessive buying, and difficulty discarding things at much higher rates than people without gambling problems. What may unite these disorders, besides a lack of impulse control, is a psychology of opportunity.
They keep breaking the rules and hitting themselves, breaking and hitting. Beating yourself will not make you a better trader. It is better to celebrate even partial achievements and soberly take stock of your shortcomings. In my own trading, I have a reward system for celebrating successful trades, but do not punish myself for losses. • Some traders are destined to fail The markets produce endless temptations, which is why people with a history of poor impulse control are likely to lose in trading. Those who are actively drinking or using substances are highly unlikely to succeed. They may have a few lucky trades, but their long-term forecast is grim. If your drinking, eating, or other behavior is out of control, you are better off not trading until you resolve your addiction problem. Obsessional nit-pickers and greedy people who cannot tolerate losing a dime are also unlikely to do well in trading
The mind of a trader continually filters the incoming information. 3. Wishful thinking causes traders to “see” non-existent technical signals. 4. A bullish trader is more likely to overlook sell signals. Question 10—Trading Discipline Discipline is essential because the markets present an endless parade of temptations. Please identify the incorrect statement among the following:1. People with a history of poor impulse control are likely to fail in trading. 2. AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) provides a useful model for dealing with market temptations. 3. If you have a good trading system, discipline is not really an issue. 4. Some traders have personality flaws that make them destined to fail. Question 11—Dealing with Losses Traders feel ashamed of their losses. Please review the following statements and find the correct one:1.
The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification by Paul Roberts
2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, accounting loophole / creative accounting, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, asset allocation, business process, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, David Brooks, delayed gratification, double helix, factory automation, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, game design, greed is good, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop - Herbert Stein's Law, impulse control, income inequality, inflation targeting, invisible hand, job automation, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, late fees, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, low skilled workers, mass immigration, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, performance metric, postindustrial economy, profit maximization, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, reshoring, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Walter Mischel, winner-take-all economy
These corrections emerged gradually, in the form of what anthropologists Robert Boyd and Peter Richerson call “social workarounds”: everything from taboos and laws, which harshly penalized impulsiveness, to institutions such as marriage, property rights, and contracts, which encouraged long-term investments and commitments. By alternately punishing short-termism and rewarding patience, society was able to embrace more sophisticated survival strategies (such as trade, irrigated farming, and manufacturing) with longer time frames, bigger operating scales, and better efficiencies. And with the greater wealth that these more efficient strategies generated, society could develop even more finely tuned forms of impulse control. The story of civilization is arguably the story of societies getting better and better at persuading, coercing, or otherwise inducing individuals to repress their impulsiveness and myopia, or repress them sufficiently, to keep civilization moving forward. That story became much more complex in the sixteenth century, with institutions such as capitalism, liberal democracy, and Protestantism.
In place of “character,” we were now encouraged to pursue “personality,” or the “enhancement of self through the compulsive search for individual differentiation,” usually through serial consumption.24 Such complaints were often voiced by social conservatives and prudes—and the social norms they mourned were frequently repressive, unfair, discriminatory, or medieval. But those moral codes had served a purpose: impulse control—and now they were being eradicated as impediments to efficient consumption. And where it might have been conceivable to replace those old-fashioned norms with something less medieval, we never got the chance. In many cases, those old constraints had been removed without any conscious deliberation, or any careful weighing of costs and benefits, but automatically, reflexively—because the market happened to be offering yet another increment of efficient, and profitable, self-expressive power.
Ego depletion had passed some irreversible threshold, and I’d lost my capacity to withhold . The tissues of my dACC were depleted of neurotransmitters. My limbic system was operating on its own, without guidance. This was one version of the state we’ve called dissociation. Dissociative drugs serve to dissolve the bridges between the cortex and limbic system, and the dACC is one of those bridges. That’s how the dACC imposes sense on meaning to achieve its function of impulse control. But tonight I managed to shut down the bridge without drugs. I was in a dream. I’d gone limbic. I saw a dark house, a large dark house, that reminded me of something from my childhood, and beside it was a kind of TV antenna, popular in those days, with triangular rungs that you could climb as easily as any ladder. I climbed it without thinking. The only emotion I felt was a kind of release.
Fight or flight Firing patterns Flexibility, loss of Freaking out, fear of Fred Mom and motorcycle accident and Freud, Sigmund: cocaine and Frisch, Ron: dismissal by GABA alcohol and Gay men Gelsthorpe, Thomas advice from drugs and girlfriend of living with smoking with the Heap and visiting Getting too much wanting and Getting down Ginsberg, Allen Giving up, joy of Glutamate alcohol and dopamine and drugs and nitrous oxide and OFC and pathways slowing/halting Goals conflicting emotional potency of pursuing Gombak Hospital described drugs from Granic, Isabel Guilt Hallucinations Hannah, sex with Hash smoking Have to, want to and Heap, the described drugs and end of marriage of memories of problems with sexual activities of visiting Hedonism Heroin brain and buying depression and dreaming about effects of high on overdosing on receptor sites and red rock and scoring using withdrawal symptoms from Highs codeine heroin methamphetamine searching for Hippies Hippocampus Hitchhiking Homosexuals Hopkins, Dr. concern from meeting with Howard Johnson’s restaurant, arrest at Huxley, Aldous Hydrocodone Hyperarousal Hyperrealism Hypothalamus anger and brain stem and changes in fear and norepinephrine and opioids and peptides and Identity damage to searching for Impulses controlling Independence Indian Room Information LSD and excess incoming sensory serotonin and Inhibition neuronal Inner world, exploring Insight therapy Internal dialogues. See also Voices, internal Isolation Jail acid trip in release from time in James, William Jim death of described heroin and marriage of PCP and Pumpkin and Ralph and Jimmy departure of falseness of hanging out with heroin and meeting Joints, swallowing Junkies Ketamine Krishnamurti Kuala Lampur arrival in leaving Kubrick, Stanley Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital dismissal from internship at Laos, visiting Laura Learning corrupted synapses and Lebanese Blonde, smoking Leonard (marriage counselor), seeing Libido Liking, wanting and Limbic system cortex and dissociatives (DM, nitrous oxide) and meaning and Lisa being with dopamine and drinking with wanting/getting Loneliness addiction and anxiety and learning about persistent sting of Love addiction to looking for LSD.
The End of Illness by David B. Agus M. D.
Danny Hillis, discovery of penicillin, double helix, epigenetics, germ theory of disease, Google Earth, impulse control, information retrieval, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Murray Gell-Mann, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, Steve Jobs, the scientific method
In the spring of 2010, this promising young student-athlete hanged himself in his off-campus apartment after what friends and family described as a sudden and uncharacteristic emotional collapse. He had no previous history of depression. A brain autopsy revealed the same trauma-induced disease found in more than twenty deceased National Football League players: chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a disease linked to depression and impulse control primarily found in NFL players, two of whom also committed suicide in the last ten years. The doctors who examined Thomas’s brain tissue cautioned that his suicide should not be attributed solely or even primarily to the damage in his brain, given the prevalence of suicide among college students in general. But they did say that a twenty-one-year-old’s having developed the disease so early raised the possibility that it played a role in his death and provided arresting new evidence that the brain damage found in NFL veterans can afflict younger players, as damage starts accruing early.
He played freshman football and then started the last two seasons on the varsity, earning second-team all–Ivy League honors in 2009 and helping lead the Quakers to the Ivy title. Popular, charismatic, and destined for success, Thomas left no note and still had his cell phone in his pocket at the time he killed himself, a potential sign that he was acting on impulse, not forethought. Lack of impulse control is a consistent manifestation of how executive function can be compromised by CTE, which is characterized by the presence of twisted proteinlike formations in the frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex that resemble the plaques found in Alzheimer’s patients’ brains. His brain fogged by these intrusive proteins, Thomas’s ability to think rationally was compromised. The point of this story is not so much about determining what exactly precipitated Thomas’s rare condition and eventual death as it is about the fragility of the human body (and in this case, brain) when confronted with chronic inflammation.
The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkinson; Kate Pickett
basic income, Berlin Wall, clean water, Diane Coyle, epigenetics, experimental economics, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, God and Mammon, impulse control, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), knowledge economy, labor-force participation, land reform, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, moral panic, offshore financial centre, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit maximization, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, statistical model, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey, zero-sum game
In Germany, Italy, Japan and Spain, fewer than 1 in 10 people had been mentally ill within the previous year; in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK the numbers are more than 1 in 5 people; and in the USA, as we described above, more than 1 in 4. Overall, it looks as if differences in inequality tally with more than threefold differences in the percentage of people with mental illness in different countries. For our nine countries with data from the WHO surveys, we can also look at sub-types of mental illness, specifically anxiety disorders, mood disorders, impulse-control disorders and addictions, as well as a measure of severe mental illness. Anxiety disorders, impulse-control disorders and severe illness are all strongly correlated with inequality; mood disorders less so. We saw in Chapter 3 how anxiety has been increasing in developed countries in recent decades. Anxiety disorders represent the largest sub-group of mental illness in all our countries. Indeed, the percentage of all mental illnesses that are anxiety disorders is itself significantly higher in more unequal countries.
Albert Einstein, asset allocation, assortative mating, Atul Gawande, Bernie Madoff, business process, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, fear of failure, financial deregulation, financial independence, Flynn Effect, George Akerlof, Henri Poincaré, hiring and firing, impulse control, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, loss aversion, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Monroe Doctrine, Paul Samuelson, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, school vouchers, six sigma, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, Walter Mischel, young professional
This affects a variety of cognitive systems, including memory, pattern awareness, cognitive control (the ability to resist obvious but wrong answers), and verbal facility. Poor children are also much less likely to live with two biological parents in the home. Research with small mammals has found that animals raised without a father present were slower to develop neural connections than those raised with a father present, and as a result have less impulse control. It is not only a shortage of money and opportunity. Poverty and family disruption can alter the unconscious—the way people perceive and understand the future and their world. The cumulative effects of these differences are there for all to see. Students from the poorest quarter of the population have an 8.6 percent chance of getting a college degree. Students in the top quarter have a 75 percent chance of earning a college degree.
They were much more likely to suffer from drug- and alcohol-addiction problems. The test presented kids with a conflict between short-term impulse and long-term reward. The marshmallow test measured whether kids had learned strategies to control their impulses. The ones who learned to do that did well in school and life. Those that hadn’t found school endlessly frustrating. The kids who possessed these impulse-control abilities had usually grown up in organized homes. In their upbringing, actions had led to predictable consequences. They possessed a certain level of self-confidence, the assumption that they could succeed at what they set out to do. Kids who could not resist the marshmallows often came from disorganized homes. They were less likely to see the link between actions and consequences and less likely to have learned strategies to help them master immediate temptations.
Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Story of Anonymous by Gabriella Coleman
1960s counterculture, 4chan, Amazon Web Services, Bay Area Rapid Transit, bitcoin, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collective bargaining, corporate governance, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, Debian, East Village, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, George Santayana, hive mind, impulse control, Jacob Appelbaum, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, mandatory minimum, Mohammed Bouazizi, Network effects, Occupy movement, pirate software, Richard Stallman, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steven Levy, WikiLeaks, zero day
Maybe there is something unethical, too, about disclosing how important the media is in amplifying Anonymous’s power—a bit like drawing open a curtain to reveal that the Wizard is a little old man pulling at the levers of a machine. On the other hand, the media’s power is an open secret within Anonymous, a topic routinely discussed by the activists themselves. In hindsight, and for better or worse, I believe some element of the trickster spirit nudged me to accept CSIS’s invitation. Tricksters, like the Norse god Loki, have poor impulse control. They are driven by lust or curiosity. Intrigue propelled me to visit CSIS, despite my anxiety and reservations. I had a burning question that I needed answered: would they would laugh at the lulz? So I guess, like trolls, “I did it for the lulz.” Thanks to my glimpse inside Canada’s spy agency, I got my answer: the infectious spirit of the lulz knows no bounds. But I learned even more than that, thanks to the other anthropologist in the room.
Puck, the “shrewd and knavish sprite” who “misleads night-wanderers, laughing at their harm” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, was not an invention of Shakespeare’s, but has roots in a mischievous fairy of English folklore. The shapeshifter Loki of Nordic mythology has recently reappeared in Hollywood films, mostly as a bland version of his mythological self, and still serves as a reminder of the capricious, vindictive role the trickster can perform. Tricksters are united by a few characteristics, such as the burning desire to defy or defile rules, norms, and laws. Often lacking both impulse control and the capability to experience shame, they are outrageous and unfiltered in their speech. Some tricksters are driven by a higher calling, like Loki, who sometimes works for the gods (though true to his fearsome nature, he sometimes causes problems for them). Many are propelled by unbridled curiosity and voracious appetite. They rarely plan their actions, choosing instead an unbridled spontaneity that translates into a wily unpredictability.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
Atul Gawande, Checklist Manifesto, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, delayed gratification, desegregation, game design, haute couture, impulse control, index card, meta analysis, meta-analysis, patient HM, pattern recognition, randomized controlled trial, rolodex, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, telemarketer, Tenerife airport disaster, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, Walter Mischel
For example, it would have been sufficient for a participant to have been counted as a pathological gambler if they simply: 1) had gambled to win money that they had previously lost gambling, and 2) on some occasions they gambled more than they had intended to. We used a very low threshold to classify our subjects as pathological gamblers.” 9.25 circuitry involved in the habit loop M. Potenza, V. Voon, and D. Weintraub, “Drug Insight: Impulse Control Disorders and Dopamine Therapies in Parkinson’s Disease,” Nature Clinical Practice Neurology 12, no. 3 (2007): 664–72; J. R. Cornelius et al., “Impulse Control Disorders with the Use of Dopaminergic Agents in Restless Legs Syndrome: A Case Control Study,” Sleep 22, no. 1 (2010): 81–87. 9.26 Hundreds of similar cases are pending Ed Silverman, “Compulsive Gambler Wins Lawsuit Over Mirapex,” Pharmalot, July 31, 2008. 9.27 “gamblers are in control of their actions” For more on the neurology of gambling, see A.
A People's History of Poverty in America by Stephen Pimpare
affirmative action, British Empire, car-free, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dumpster diving, East Village, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Gilder, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, index card, Jane Jacobs, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, payday loans, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, union organizing, urban renewal, War on Poverty, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration
Some even suggest that poor Americans inhabit an entirely separate culture, a “culture of poverty,” one that manifests itself, according to anthropologist Oscar Lewis, in seventy-five distinct traits. Among them, we find a hatred and fear of the police; the absence of participation in mainstream institutions (and a distrust of them); low marriage rates; a “present-time” and fatalistic orientation; territoriality; early sexual activity; female-centered families; a lack of impulse control; a “tolerance for pathology”; and feelings of marginality, helplessness, dependence, and inferiority. 1 It is the urban poor, others have argued, who are especially distinct, and their inability or unwillingness to alter these “pathologies” is the chief cause of their poverty. As Jacob Riis professed long before Lewis:The thief is infinitely easier to deal with than the pauper, because the very fact of his being a thief presupposes some bottom to the man.2 It is the supposed passivity among the very poor that often draws the attention of politicians, reformers, and critics of welfare.
About half of all spells of homelessness lasted from one month to one year, with 13 percent for more than a year.15 Between 1987 and 1995, one in twenty New Yorkers used a homeless shelter at least once; between 1987 and 1992, it was one in ten for African American children.16 Mental illness is also more widespread than point-in-time measures might suggest: almost half of all Americans will experience an officially recognized (DSM-IV) anxiety, mood, impulse control, or substance use disorder, usually for the first time as children or adolescents.17 Hardships are part of our national experience, and poverty is not the exception, but the rule; it is not an anomaly confined to some marginal and marginalized population. In America, poverty is endemic. Relative Poverty Some will insist, however, that poverty isn’t what it used to be. For instance, according to Robert Rector and his colleagues at the Heritage Foundation, by the late 1990s, 41 percent of all poor households owned their own homes, almost 70 percent owned a car or a truck (and 27 percent owned two or more), 60 percent had a washing machine, 48 percent had a clothes dryer, 66 percent had air conditioning, almost all had a refrigerator, 87 percent had a telephone, and more than half had a stereo, color television, VCR, or microwave.
The Talent Code: Greatest Isn't Born, It's Grown, Here's How by Daniel Coyle
KIPP shows that character might be more like a skill—ignited by certain signals, and honed through deep practice. Seen this way, KIPP stands on a foundation of myelin. Every time a KIPP student imagines himself in college, a surge of energy is created, not unlike that created in South Korea when girls imagine themselves to be Se Ri Pak. Every time a KIPP student forces himself to obey one of these persnickety rules, a circuit is fired, insulated, and strengthened. (Impulse control, after all, is a circuit like any other.) Every time the entire school screeches to a halt to fix misbehavior, skills are being built as surely as they were when Clarissa did her start-stop attack on “Golden Wedding.” No wonder Daniel Magana is such a polite, well-disciplined young man—he has been ignited to deep-practice those qualities. “What we do here is like lighting a switch,” Ali said.
Affluenza: When Too Much Is Never Enough by Clive Hamilton, Richard Denniss
call centre, delayed gratification, experimental subject, full employment, impulse control, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, mega-rich, Naomi Klein, Own Your Own Home, Post-materialism, post-materialism, purchasing power parity, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, wage slave
Compulsive shopping has been called the ‘smiled upon’ addiction because it is socially sanctioned. But its consequences can be far-reaching. It often results in financial hardship, distress 15 AFFLUENZA and family difficulties. Psychologists have also noticed some interesting patterns of co-morbidity, that is, the simultaneous presence of other disorders. Individuals afflicted by oniomania often suffer from eating disorders, drug dependence, and other impulse-control disorders such as anorexia among women and gambling among men.21 The research shows that most compulsive buyers have histories of depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse. Yet ‘shopping til you drop’ is seen as the sign of a happy-go-lucky disposition rather than a meaningless life. Like alcohol, shopping has become both an expression of our discontent and an apparent cure for it. Indeed, it has recently been shown that oniomania can be treated effectively with particular antidepressant drugs,22 suggesting that the condition is not in itself a psychological disorder but rather a manifestation of something more pervasive—entrenched depression and anxiety for which shopping is a form of self-medication, a phenomenon widely acknowledged in the expression ‘retail therapy’.
They’ve differentiated from their original family relationships sufficiently to build a life of their own (Bowen 1978). They have a well-developed sense of self (Kohut 1985) and identity (Erikson 1963) and treasure their closest relationships. Emotionally mature people are comfortable and honest about their own feelings and get along well with other people, thanks to their well-developed empathy, impulse control, and emotional intelligence (Goleman 1995). They’re interested in other people’s inner lives and enjoy opening up and sharing with others in an emotionally intimate way. When there’s a problem, they deal with others directly to smooth out differences (Bowen 1978). Emotionally mature people cope with stress in a realistic, forward-looking way, while consciously processing their thoughts and feelings.
The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment by Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, Robert M. Pressman
The first, who resemble Bach's "darlings of the gods,"26 are successful or gifted enough that they manage to receive all the admiration they require, and so they may never enter therapy. The second are marginally successful but often seek treatment because of difficulty in maintaining long-term relationships or general feelings of aimlessness and dissatisfaction. The third group are those who are probably diagnosed with borderline personality disorder; they function clearly on a borderline level and manifest severe problems in the areas of impulse control, anxiety tolerance, and sublimation." These narcissists also evidence paranoid traits (masked by haughtiness or detachment), believing others to be always lurking, waiting for opportunities to persecute them.2" While Kernberg is clearly a classical Freudian and tends to use medical terms (such as malignant and terminal) that cannot help but convey the severity-if not hopelessness-of the narcissistic condition, his exposition on what the narcissist faces in middle age (what the layperson would dub a "midlife crisis") is compassionate and empathic.
Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate crimes, said college campuses are the third leading location for hate crimes, after homes and highways. 121 Young people are viewed as more racially tolerant because schools have taught them about multi-culturalism and diversity since they were children, said Melissa Harris-Lacewell, an African American studies expert from Princeton. “On the other hand, young people lack impulse control, drink heavily and stand around outside.”122 In October 2005, Steve Wessler, the executive director of the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence, conducted a series of focus groups at Keene State College in New Hampshire, a college that has a black president but whose student body is 98 percent white. Students had scrawled the word nigger across the front of a poster advertising Black History Month events and there had been complaints about harassment of Muslin students, gay students, handicapped students, and women.
Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, David Brooks, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, Flynn Effect, framing effect, Google Earth, impulse control, informal economy, Isaac Newton, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, Naomi Klein, neurotypical, new economy, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, selection bias, Silicon Valley, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind
The autistic interest in ordering information may reflect forces that become stronger when the top-down manager is weaker or turned off. A number of cognitive problems occur in many autistics at higher-than-average rates. It is common, though by no means universal, that autistics have difficulty with speaking intelligibly or that they are late talkers or that they understand written instructions better than spoken instructions. Some researchers include “weak executive function” (a bundled function of strategic planning, impulse control, working memory, flexibility in thought and action, and other features) as part of the cognitive profile of autism. Other research focuses on the question of “weak central coherence,” or failure to see the “bigger picture.” But it seems these are secondary traits, more common in autistic subgroups than in autism per se. The evidence also indicates that high-IQ autistics are quite able to see the big picture when they want to, even if they have a preference for processing small bits of information.
The Eureka Factor by John Kounios
active measures, Albert Einstein, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, deliberate practice, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Flynn Effect, functional fixedness, Google Hangouts, impulse control, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, pattern recognition, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, theory of mind, US Airways Flight 1549, Wall-E, William of Occam
The “unusual experiences” component contributes to one’s creative output (for example, poems, paintings, songs, and so forth), which may serve as a kind of display to attract mates in the way that birdsongs do. (It’s not lost on teenagers that one of the best ways to find romance is to join a rock band.) Another is “impulsive nonconformity,” which describes people who don’t conform to social norms or expectations and who are low in impulse control. These characteristics can make schizotypes seem odd, sometimes to the point where they cause discomfort or discord. Nevertheless, many of the best managers and leaders in business, education, and other walks of life realize that creative ideas tend to come from unusual people and that if an organization wants to be innovative, then it must accept their quirkiness. However, the boundary between schizotypy and schizophrenia can sometimes be thin.
The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease by Marc Lewis Phd
Brain change—or neuroplasticity—is the fundamental mechanism by which infants grow into toddlers, who grow into children, who grow into adults, who continue to grow. Brain change underlies the transformations in thinking and feeling that characterize early adolescence. In fact, developmental neuroscientists estimate that “as many as 30,000 synapses may be lost per second over the entire cortex during the pubertal/adolescent period.”24 Brain change is necessary for language acquisition and impulse control in early childhood, and for learning to drive a car, play a musical instrument, or appreciate opera later in life. Brain change underlies religious conversion, becoming a parent, and, not surprisingly, falling in love. Brains have to change for learning to take place. Without physical changes in brain matter, learning is impossible. Synapses appear and self-perpetuate or weaken and disappear in everyday learning.
The Best Interface Is No Interface: The Simple Path to Brilliant Technology (Voices That Matter) by Golden Krishna
Airbnb, computer vision, crossover SUV, en.wikipedia.org, fear of failure, impulse control, Inbox Zero, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, QR code, RFID, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Tim Cook: Apple, Y Combinator, Y2K
On May 2, 2012, Junior Seau fired a gun into his chest.10 A shocking, awful, stomach-dropping moment for the many lives he blessed. In the autopsy, coroners discovered that Junior had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease. CTE is believed to be caused by repetitive head trauma, in Junior’s case, from the many hits he endured while playing football.11 The brain disease—symptoms include “memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia”—appears to have altered Junior’s demeanor from selfless joy to inescapable depression.12 The sport through which he brought us joy removed his. Sadly, his case appears to be part of a larger pattern. Thirty-three of the first thirty-four brains of deceased NFL players studied at Boston University showed signs of CTE. After a few years of testing, the league has even admitted in federal court that “it expects nearly a third of retired players to develop long-term cognitive problems and that the conditions are likely to emerge at ‘notably younger ages’ than in the general population.”13 Head trauma appears to have serious consequences.
NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson, Ashley Merryman
affirmative action, Columbine, delayed gratification, desegregation, impulse control, index card, job satisfaction, lake wobegon effect, meta analysis, meta-analysis, randomized controlled trial, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, theory of mind
Sleep loss debilitates the body’s ability to extract glucose from the bloodstream. Without this stream of basic energy, one part of the brain suffers more than the rest—the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for what’s called “Executive Function.” Among these executive functions are the orchestration of thoughts to fulfill a goal, prediction of outcomes, and perceiving consequences of actions. So tired people have difficulty with impulse control, and their abstract goals like studying take a back seat to more entertaining diversions. A tired brain perseverates—it gets stuck on a wrong answer and can’t come up with a more creative solution, repeatedly returning to the same answer it already knows is erroneous. Both those mechanisms weaken a child’s capacity to learn during the day. But the most exciting science concerns what the brain is up to, when a child is asleep at night.
The End of Secrecy: The Rise and Fall of WikiLeaks by The "Guardian", David Leigh, Luke Harding
4chan, banking crisis, centre right, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, Climategate, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, Downton Abbey, drone strike, eurozone crisis, friendly fire, global village, Hacker Ethic, impulse control, Jacob Appelbaum, Julian Assange, knowledge economy, Mohammed Bouazizi, offshore financial centre, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steven Levy, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks
The Sydney Morning Herald hailed Assange as the “Ned Kelly of the internet age”, in reference to the country’s 19th-century outlaw folk hero. However, Australia’s prime minister, Julia Gillard, behaved more like the rest of the irritated world leaders: she condemned the publication as illegal, and Assange’s actions as “grossly irresponsible”. The cables themselves revealed an unflattering view of Australia’s political class. The former prime minister – now foreign minister – Kevin Rudd was called an abrasive, impulsive “control freak” presiding over a series of foreign policy blunders. Was the Big Leak of the cables changing anything? As the year ended, it was for the most part too early to say. The short-term fall-out in some cases was certainly rapid, with diplomats shuffled and officials made to walk the plank. Der Spiegel reported that a “well-placed source” within the Free Democratic Party had been briefing the US embassy about secret coalition negotiations in the immediate aftermath of the German general election in 2009.
The Caryatids by Bruce Sterling
carbon footprint, clean water, failed state, impulse control, negative equity, new economy, nuclear winter, semantic web, sexual politics, social software, stem cell, supervolcano, urban renewal, Whole Earth Review
Derelict buildings, dreadful places, worse even than the car trunk from which you had just been dragged … Even a little kid could set fire to a wrecked building. How many kids were you willing to wound, or injure, or kill with an automatic antitheft “armed response”? After all, the kids were just kids … kids were always trying to look around … explore … do some graffiti … throw some bricks through the glass windows … steal some furniture … vandalize the building and burn everything to the ground. Teenagers were energetic and had poor impulse control. Teenage kids were stigmergic, they learned and acted like termites—they had no grand master plan, but they learned fast and easily from their peers, whatever they saw other kids doing. So many places like that in Los Angeles … in every big town really … where security cameras had stored months of perfectly shot and focused video of a steadily gathering mayhem. The mere fact that a machine “saw” things happening didn’t mean that a machine could apprehend the crime, prosecute it, convict it, put an end to it… What if the surveillance itself was the victim of the crime?
Halting State by Charles Stross
augmented reality, call centre, forensic accounting, game design, Google Earth, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, impulse control, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, lifelogging, Necker cube, Potemkin village, RFID, Schrödinger's Cat, Vernor Vinge, zero day
Barnaby may rise slightly to give you access. She will keep both hands on the table as she does so. If she takes either hand off the table or moves either foot while she is standing, I will shoot you. If you understand, nod.” You feel yourself nodding. This can’t be happening, can it? He’s about three metres away, too damn far to try and get to him—he’d shoot one of you first. If it was just you, you might try something (poor impulse control said Miss Fuller in elementary fourth, a damning diagnosis of potential heroism), but he’s aiming at Elaine, and just the thought of him putting a bullet in her makes your heart hammer and turns your vision grey at the edges. “Do it,” he says. “Ms. Barnaby first.” Elaine puts her hands on the table and tenses, rising out of her chair slowly. She’s got her head cranked round, looking over her shoulder with an expression of profound apprehension (or is it calculation?)
23andMe, affirmative action, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, Asperger Syndrome, barriers to entry, brain emulation, cloud computing, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, Netflix Prize, neurotypical, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, phenotype, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture
As few parents would want to have a child who suffered depression serious enough to induce suicide, if great artistic talent and depression are genetically linked (and if pharmaceutical technology couldn’t alleviate this kind of depression), then embryo selection will likely reduce the number of future great artists. How would you like this kind of offspring: “The manipulative con-man. The guy who lies to your face, even when he doesn’t have to. The child who tortures animals. The cold-blooded killer”?215 Sociopaths are “characterized by an absence of empathy and poor impulse control, with a total lack of conscience.”216 An estimated 1 percent of humans are sociopaths, and the condition appears to have strong genetic roots.217 If given the choice, almost all parents would select against sociopathic genes. But I wonder if sociopaths have a kind of genius society sometimes benefits from. As one anonymous person claiming to be a sociopath writes: What the experts call superficial charm, I call having a natural ability to win friends and influence people.
What's the Matter with White People by Joan Walsh
affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, banking crisis, clean water, collective bargaining, David Brooks, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, full employment, global village, Golden Gate Park, hiring and firing, impulse control, income inequality, invisible hand, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, mass immigration, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, upwardly mobile, urban decay, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, white flight, women in the workforce, zero-sum game
A rambunctious tomboy, she mostly hung out with boys in the early grades, including black boys—and she spent a lot of time on the time-out bench with them in kindergarten and first grade. A black friend suggested that she was being punished for befriending black kids, but I couldn’t see it that way. My girl was a handful. She wound up the only white kid in a special Kwanzaa study group that doubled as a small-group session on impulse control. The dad of one of the black boys in her group told me his son was there because he was just wired differently, being black. He couldn’t sit still, and he shouldn’t have to. Of course, white parents don’t think that about their fidgety kids: once it was believed they just needed discipline; now they all apparently needed Ritalin. Either way, I was again struck by my friend not noticing that my daughter had some of the same issues his son did.
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman by Richard P. Feynman, Jeffrey Robbins
Albert Einstein, Brownian motion, impulse control, index card, John von Neumann, Murray Gell-Mann, pattern recognition, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, the scientific method
Q: I have recently read in a newspaper article that operations of the nerve system in a brain are much slower than present-day computers and the unit in the nerve system is much smaller. Do you think that the computers you have talked about today have something in common with the nerve system in the brain? A: There is an analogy between the brain and the computer in that there are apparently elements that can switch under the control of others. Nerve impulses controlling or exciting other nerves, in a way that often depends upon whether more than one impulse comes in–something like an AND or its generalization. What is the amount of energy used in the brain cell for one of these transitions? I don’t know the number. The time it takes to make a switching in the brain is very much longer than it is in our computers even today, never mind the fancy business of some future atomic computer, but the brain’s interconnection system is much more elaborate.
Wait: The Art and Science of Delay by Frank Partnoy
algorithmic trading, Atul Gawande, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, blood diamonds, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, computerized trading, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Flash crash, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, High speed trading, impulse control, income inequality, information asymmetry, Isaac Newton, Long Term Capital Management, Menlo Park, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nick Leeson, paper trading, Paul Graham, payday loans, Ralph Nader, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, six sigma, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, statistical model, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, upwardly mobile, Walter Mischel
Although we have some understanding of the brain regions that are triggered by these kinds of tests, we don’t really know whether some four-year-olds are naturally able to wait fifteen minutes to get a second marshmallow and therefore do better in life, or whether we can save impatient children by training them to delay gratification for a few extra minutes. This is a new version of the old debate about nature versus nurture. Nor do we understand precisely how long children should be able to wait. We think a four-year-old who is only capable of waiting a second or two before scarfing down a marshmallow might be in trouble because children without impulse control are more likely to encounter emotional problems. It makes sense that a kid who can wait several minutes for a second marshmallow would end up better off, because that amount of delay reflects a useful degree of willpower and self-control. However, these experiments don’t tell us how short is too short, how long is too long, or which factors affect the ideal amount of delay. Arguably, we should worry less about the impatient child who grabs the marshmallow right away than the one who is still staring it down hours later, obstinately refusing to give in.
asset allocation, Bernie Madoff, Cass Sunstein, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, delayed gratification, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, estate planning, financial innovation, Flash crash, game design, greed is good, high net worth, impulse control, income inequality, index fund, London Whale, Mark Zuckerberg, money market fund, mortgage debt, oil shock, payday loans, pension reform, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, too big to fail, transaction costs, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile, Vanguard fund, wage slave, women in the workforce, working poor, éminence grise
Moreover, the objective evidence shows it is men, not women, who are more emotional and less strategic, to steal Barbara Stanny’s turn of phrase, about their investments and money, something anyone who has ever had the misfortune of hanging around a group of Wall Street investment bankers comparing notes during bonus season might guess. When Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (which merged with BlackRock in 2006) looked at the investment habits of high-income individuals, they found it was men, not women, who suffered from lack of impulse control when it came to their investments, buying “hot” stocks without performing due diligence and ignoring the tax consequences of their investment decisions. Women, it seems, were also much less attached to their picks and were quicker to dump a losing stock than their male counterparts. Those studying the behavior of men versus women during the dramatic stock market swoon of 2008–2009 also came to believe that female investors reacted to the ongoing stock market train wreck in a more rational fashion than their male counterparts.
Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson
See, if I were trying to impress you I would have deleted this whole paragraph and just changed “polar bear” to “unwanted guest,” but I’m leaving it all out there because I’m too lazy to erase it. And also to show you the difficult truth about the pain of living with a mental illness. Mostly that first part, though. And basically this entire paragraph is what it’s like in my head all the time. So, yeah. It’s a goddamn mess in here. I thank God, though, that I do at least possess the good side of my brain, because I once had a neighbor who lost the impulse-control part of his mind in a car accident and would randomly yell strange things at me when I’d go check the mailbox. Things like “Hi, pretty lady! Your butt is getting bigger!” and “I’d still plow that ass!” I’d always just force a smile and wave at him, because, yes, it was kind of insulting, but I’m fairly sure he meant it to be complimentary. I mean, that guy didn’t even have a good side of the brain to filter his thoughts, so it seems a bit selfish of me to not be thankful for mine, even if it is kind of broken and seems to recognize how fucked up the things that I’m talking about are only after I’ve already said them.
Some Remarks by Neal Stephenson
airport security, augmented reality, barriers to entry, British Empire, cable laying ship, call centre, cellular automata, edge city, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Hacker Ethic, impulse control, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, music of the spheres, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shock, packet switching, pirate software, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social web, Socratic dialogue, South China Sea, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, X Prize
It’s inherently difficult to get reliable information about an event that consisted of the destruction of all recorded information. The second library was called the Library of Cleopatra and was built around a couple of hundred thousand manuscripts that were given to her by Marc Antony in what was either a magnificent gesture of romantic love or a shrewd political maneuver. Marc Antony suffered from what we would today call “poor impulse control,” so the former explanation is more likely. This library was wiped out by Christians in AD 391. Depending on which version of events you read, its life span may have overlapped with that of the first library for a few years, a few decades, or not at all. Whether or not the two libraries ever existed at the same time, the fact remains that between about 300 BC and AD 400, Alexandria was by far the world capital of high-quality information.
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, medical residency, Piper Alpha, placebo effect, publish or perish, Richard Thaler, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs
Funderburk said, “In my experience, the physically abusive parent has the same goals as a normal parent; it’s their method and their ideas that are wrong. They think that their child is woeful, because they told their 3-year-old to just play in the front yard, and then he wandered off into the street. And they don’t understand that a 3-year-old might forget an instruction, or might not have that kind of impulse control, so they think they have to punish the child for his own good because he was disobedient and dangerous.” Earlier, we said that what looks like stubbornness or opposition may actually be a lack of clarity. The PCIT intervention suggests that child abuse, too, may be partly the result of a lack of understanding, a lack of clear instruction or guidance on what to do. This is not to excuse the parents’ behavior, of course.
23andMe, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, biofilm, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, data acquisition, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, hive mind, impulse control, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, mandelbrot fractal, market design, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Carr, open economy, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, placebo effect, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Satyajit Das, Schrödinger's Cat, security theater, selection bias, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, Turing complete, Turing machine, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Catalog, zero-sum game
The Big Five are all normally distributed in a bell curve, statistically independent of one another, genetically heritable, stable across the life course, unconsciously judged when choosing mates or friends, and found in other species, such as chimpanzees. They predict a wide range of behaviors in school, work, marriage, parenting, crime, economics, and politics. Mental disorders are often associated with maladaptive extremes of the Big Five traits. Overconscientiousness predicts obsessive-compulsive disorder, whereas low conscientiousness predicts drug addiction and other “impulse control” disorders. Low emotional stability predicts depression, anxiety, bipolar, borderline, and histrionic disorders. Low extroversion predicts avoidant and schizoid personality disorders. Low agreeableness predicts psychopathy and paranoid personality disorder. High openness is on a continuum with schizotypy and schizophrenia. Twin studies show that these links between personality traits and mental illnesses exist not just at the behavioral level but also at the genetic level.
Truths, Half Truths and Little White Lies by Nick Frost
I had to know and sticking my finger into the socket was the only way I could think to find out, so I did it. The whole room popped and for a moment the darkness became bright like a supernova. I woke up on the floor, muffled voices filtering into my consciousness; I’d been flung across the room, what a fucking idiot. I was absolutely compelled to stick my finger into that live socket, perhaps this is a valuable insight into my powerful lack of impulse control. Brett also went on the school canal trips, and was the main reason really that I wanted to go. From my first year at secondary school until the fifth year when I left we went on the annual canal trip. It was a week over the Easter holidays with the groovy gang from the school’s canal club travelling different routes around the highways and byways of Britain’s majestic canal network. We were the uncoolest people in the world, but it was fab and I friggin loved it, especially the feeling of responsibility.
Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr
Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, Airbus A320, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, centralized clearinghouse, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, deskilling, digital map, Donald Trump, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, factory automation, failed state, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, game design, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mental accounting, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Snapchat, social graph, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator
<3S AND MINDS September 11, 2015 IN THAT JUNE Q&A SESSION, Mark Zuckerberg also offered a peek into the future of interpersonal communication: “One day, I believe we’ll be able to send full, rich thoughts to each other directly using technology. You’ll just be able to think of something and your friends will immediately be able to experience it too if you’d like. This would be the ultimate communication technology.” Wow. That’s really going to require some incredible impulse control. Your inner filter is going to have to kick in not between thought and expression, as it does now, but before the formation of the thought itself. I mean, would you really want to share your raw thought-stream with another person, even a friend? Zuck may want instantaneous thought-sharing, but I’m thinking there’s going to have to be some kind of broadcast delay built into the system, like they have on talk radio.
Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John T. Cacioppo
Alfred Russel Wallace, biofilm, butterfly effect, Celebration, Florida, corporate governance, delayed gratification, experimental subject, impulse control, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, post-industrial society, Rodney Brooks, Ted Kaczynski, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, theory of mind, urban planning, urban renewal, Walter Mischel
A dominant chimpanzee usually gains his top-dog position with more than a little help from his friends, cousins, and brothers. They, in turn, gain greater access to sexual privileges as a form of political patronage. So while attaining and maintaining alpha status definitely requires genetic brawn, it also depends on a genetic endowment for the kinds of executive-control functions that, as we have seen, are challenged by feelings of social exclusion: attention focus, self-restraint, impulse control, social awareness, even social sensitivity. Alpha status depends on male-male cooperation, so even among apes, senior management requires insight, trust building, ability to detect treachery, and reciprocation. This is the only way that the leadership can establish and maintain “minimally winning coalitions” that preserve important roles, and attractive benefits, for all members of the team.
Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff
3D printing, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, business process, buy low sell high, California gold rush, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, centralized clearinghouse, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate personhood, corporate raider, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, Firefox, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Google bus, Howard Rheingold, IBM and the Holocaust, impulse control, income inequality, index fund, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, loss aversion, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, medical bankruptcy, minimum viable product, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, passive investing, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social graph, software patent, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, trade route, transportation-network company, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, unpaid internship, Y Combinator, young professional, zero-sum game, Zipcar
So they accept the hypergrowth logic of the startup economy as if it really were the religion of technology development. They listen to their new mentors and accept their teachings as gifts of wisdom. These folks already gave me millions of dollars; of course they have my best interests at heart. After all, these are young and impressionable developers. At age nineteen or twenty, the prefrontal cortex isn’t even fully developed yet.42 That’s the part of the brain responsible for decision making and impulse control. These are the years when one’s ability to weigh priorities against one another is developed. The founders’ original desires for a realistic, if limited, success are quickly replaced by venture capital’s requirement for a home run. Before long, they have forgotten whatever social need they left college to serve and have convinced themselves that absolute market domination is the only possible way forward.
Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
Albert Einstein, cognitive dissonance, Drosophila, endowment effect, 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
Ross, “Conceiving the Past and Future,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 29: 807–18 (2003); and M. Ross and I. R. Newby-Clark, “Construing the Past and Future,” Social Cognition 16: 133–50 (1998). 23. N. Liberman, M. Sagristano, and Y. Trope, “The Effect of Temporal Distance on Level of Mental Construal,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 38: 523–34 (2002). 24. G. Ainslie, “Specious Reward: A Behavioral Theory of Impulsiveness and Impulse Control,” Psychological Bulletin 82: 463–96 (1975); and G. Ainslie, Picoeconomics: The Strategic Interaction of Successive Motivational States Within the Person (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992). 25. The first author to notice this was Plato, who used this fact to make his case for an objective measurement of happiness: “Do not the same magnitudes appear larger to your sight when near, and smaller when at a distance?
Time Paradox by Philip, John Boyd Zimbardo
Albert Einstein, cognitive dissonance, Drosophila, endowment effect, 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
Ross, “Conceiving the Past and Future,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 29: 807–18 (2003); and M. Ross and I. R. Newby-Clark, “Construing the Past and Future,” Social Cognition 16: 133–50 (1998). 23. N. Liberman, M. Sagristano, and Y. Trope, “The Effect of Temporal Distance on Level of Mental Construal,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 38: 523–34 (2002). 24. G. Ainslie, “Specious Reward: A Behavioral Theory of Impulsiveness and Impulse Control,” Psychological Bulletin 82: 463–96 (1975); and G. Ainslie, Picoeconomics: The Strategic Interaction of Successive Motivational States Within the Person (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992). 25. The first author to notice this was Plato, who used this fact to make his case for an objective measurement of happiness: “Do not the same magnitudes appear larger to your sight when near, and smaller when at a distance?
Among Chimpanzees by Nancy J. Merrick
Early learning was also essential, allowing young chimps to learn from their family and community how to groom, collect termites, hammer open an impenetrable nut or fruit, build a nest for sleep, and perform all the many other skills necessary for survival. Overall, we were learning a vast array of scientific morsels that, when you inspect them, speak to how much chimps resemble humans. Their hypermuscular bodies, easily excitable natures, and poor impulse control almost seem to make them caricatures of humans, emulating both the best and worst of our behavior. But they are—along with humans, orangutans, bonobos, elephants, and dolphins—one of a handful of beings capable of recognizing themselves in a mirror, they are the only other creature besides humans that will search out and kill others of their kind militia-style, and they, along with the bonobos, are the animals whose genome so closely matches our own.
The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart
Moon suddenly, his round, wrinkled face suddenly coming alive with the appearance of two fierce red eyes in its ravaged landscape. He was leaning forward intensely, his mouth, after he had finished his short sentence, dangling open. `Go on,' said Dr. Weinburger. Dr Rhinehart nodded gravely to Dr. Moon and resumed. 'Every personality is the sum total of accumulated suppressions of minorities. Were a man to develop a consistent pattern of impulse control he would have no definable personality: ha would be unpredictable and anarchic, one might even say, free.' 'He would be insane,' came Dr. Peerman's high-pitched voice from his end of the table. His thin, pale face was expressionless. `Let us hear the man out,' said Dr. Cobblestone. `Go on,' said Dr. Weinburger. `In stable, unified, consistent societies the narrow personality had value; men could fulfill themselves with only one self.
Liars and Outliers: How Security Holds Society Together by Bruce Schneier
airport security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Brian Krebs, Broken windows theory, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, commoditize, corporate governance, crack epidemic, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, desegregation, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Douglas Hofstadter, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, George Akerlof, hydraulic fracturing, impulse control, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invention of gunpowder, iterative process, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Julian Assange, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, patent troll, phenotype, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, security theater, shareholder value, slashdot, statistical model, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, traffic fines, transaction costs, ultimatum game, UNCLOS, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y2K, zero-sum game
Someone might defect because he believes—rightly or wrongly—that others are already defecting at his expense and he can't stand being seen as a sucker. Broker Rhonda Breard embezzled $11.4 million from her clients, driven both by greed and the need to appear rich. Other psychological motivations. This is a catch-all category for personal interests that don't fit anywhere else. It includes fears, anxieties, poor impulse control, genuine laziness, and temporary—or permanent—insanity. Envy can motivate deception.1 So can greed or sloth. People do things out of anger that they wouldn't otherwise do. Some pretty heinous behavior can result from a chronic deprivation of basic human needs. And there's a lot we're still learning about how people make risk trade-offs, especially in extreme situations. Relational interest.
Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert D. Putnam
assortative mating, correlation does not imply causation, deindustrialization, demographic transition, desegregation, ending welfare as we know it, epigenetics, full employment, George Akerlof, helicopter parent, impulse control, income inequality, index card, jobless men, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Occupy movement, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, school choice, selection bias, Socratic dialogue, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the built environment, upwardly mobile, Walter Mischel, white flight, working poor
Children who grow up with parents who listen and talk with them frequently (a practice that Simone and Carl followed regularly) develop more advanced language skills than kids whose parents rarely engage them in conversation (as happened with Stephanie, who explained, “We ain’t got time for all that talk-about-our-day stuff”). The brain, in short, develops as a social organ, not an isolated computer. Neuroscientists and developmental psychologists have identified an especially important set of brain-based skills that they call “executive functions,” that is, the air traffic control activities that are manifest in concentration, impulse control, mental flexibility, and working memory. These functions, concentrated in the part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, allow you to put this book down when your cell phone rings, make a mental note to pick up the kids after soccer, and then resume reading where you left off. Deficiencies in executive functions show up in such conditions as learning disabilities and ADHD. Under normal circumstances, with supportive caregivers, executive functions develop especially rapidly between the ages of three and five.
The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
Palmer worked his controls. "Ready, sir." "Hit him straight on. I don't want him to miss this time." Wood watched the heading indicator on the sonar plot swing. The Pogy was turning rapidly, but not rapidly enough to suit him. The Red October—only he and Reynolds knew that she was Russian, though the crew was speculating like mad—was coming in too fast. "Ready, sir." "Hit it." Palmer punched the impulse control. Ping ping ping ping ping! The Red October "Skipper," Jones yelled. "Danger signal!" Mancuso jumped to the annunciator without waiting for Ramius to react. He twisted the dial to All Stop. When this was done he looked at Ramius. "Sorry, sir." "All right." Ramius scowled at the chart. The phone buzzed a moment later. He took it and spoke in Russian for several seconds before hanging up.
Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard H. Thaler
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, 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, 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, statistical model, Steve Jobs, 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
“Financial Incentives and Student Achievement: Evidence from Randomized Trials.” Working Paper 15898, National Bureau of Economic Research. ———, Steven D. Levitt, John List, and Sally Sadoff. 2012. “Enhancing the Efficacy of Teacher Incentives through Loss Aversion: A Field Experiment.” Working Paper 18237, National Bureau of Economic Research. Fudenberg, Drew, and David K. Levine. 2006. “A Dual-Self Model of Impulse Control.” American Economic Review 96, no. 5: 1449–76. Gabaix, Xavier, and David Laibson. 2006. “Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 121, no. 2: 505–40. Gawande, Atul. 2010. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. New York: Metropolitan Books. Geanakoplos, John, David Pearce, and Ennio Stacchetti. 1989.
The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene by Richard Dawkins
Alfred Russel Wallace, assortative mating, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, epigenetics, Gödel, Escher, Bach, impulse control, Menlo Park, Necker cube, p-value, phenotype, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, selection bias, stem cell
Goodwin is, of course, quite right that development is terribly complicated, and we don’t yet understand much about how phenotypes are generated. But that they are generated, and that genes contribute significantly to their variation are incontrovertible facts, and those facts are all we need in order to make neo-Darwinism coherent. Goodwin might just as well say that, before Hodgkin and Huxley worked out how the nerve impulse fired, we were not entitled to believe that nerve impulses controlled behaviour. Of course it would be nice to know how phenotypes are made but, while embryologists are busy finding out, the rest of us are entitled by the known facts of genetics to carry on being neo-Darwinians, treating embryonic development as a black box. There is no competing theory that has even a remote claim to be called coherent. It follows from the fact that geneticists are always concerned with phenotypic differences that we need not be afraid of postulating genes with indefinitely complex phenotypic effects, and with phenotypic effects that show themselves only in highly complex developmental conditions.
Woman On The Edge Of Time by Piercy, Marge
Alice grinned under the hill of bandages. “That fat kid doctor there, he scared. He scared of me. Thinking I be fixing to bite it off.” Alice snapped her teeth. Under the sheet she wriggled her long body. “Behold, Francis,” Dr. Redding said genially. “Patients recognize hesitation. You were reluctant to include Alice in the experiment because of the very violence that makes her a suitable subject. Your fears are groundless. Poor impulse control has brought this subject into repeated scrapes with society. The very lack of control that has stunted her development, we can provide her.” “You just saying I do what I want. Don’t you wish you just sometime know what you be craving to do? Mr. Beardo there, he poor at controlling impulses too. Making it with Miss White Coat Hot Pants. You all just go have one on me and get this crap out from my head.”
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, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, unbiased observer, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks
But in spite of the prudential and moral arguments against engaging in avoidable violent confrontations, such confrontations periodically break out among ordinary individuals. Why does this occur? In essence, the reason is that in the general population, there are a wide variety of attitudes and motivations, and among all this variety there are some individuals with unusually high degrees of physical confidence, unusually low concern for their own physical safety, and unusually low capacity for impulse control – a collection of traits often referred to as ‘recklessness’.5 Business managers, however, are considerably more uniform than the general population. They tend to share two traits in particular: a strong desire to generate profits for their businesses, and a reasonable awareness of the effective means of doing so. Individuals who lack these traits are unlikely to emerge at the head of a business, and if they do, the market is likely either to remove them from that position (as where a company’s board of directors replaces its CEO) or to remove the company from the marketplace (as in bankruptcy).
activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, card file, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discovery of the americas, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Glaeser, Edward Thorp, endowment effect, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, floating exchange rates, George Akerlof, Henri Poincaré, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, impulse control, index arbitrage, index card, index fund, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, libertarian paternalism, linear programming, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, market design, Myron Scholes, New Journalism, Nikolai Kondratiev, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, performance metric, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, pushing on a string, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, transaction costs, tulip mania, value at risk, Vanguard fund, Vilfredo Pareto, volatility smile, Yogi Berra
Barber and Terrance Odean, “Boys Will Be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence and Common Stock Investment,” Quarterly Journal of Economics (Feb. 2001): 261–92. 10. A good summary of the evidence can be found in James Choi, David Laibson, Brigitte Madrian, and Andrew Metrick, “Saving for Retirement on the Path of Least Resistance,” in Behavioral Public Finance: Toward a New Agenda, Edward J. McCaffrey and Joel Slemrod, eds. (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2006), 304–51. 11. George Ainslie, “Impulse Control in Pigeons,” Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 21 (1974): 485–89. 12. Samuel M. McClure, David I. Laibson, George Loewenstein, and Jonathan D. Cohen, “Separate Neural Systems Value Immediate and Delayed Rewards,” Science (Oct. 15, 2004): 503–7. 13. Richard Thaler and Shlomo Benartzi, “Save More Tomorrow: Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Savings,” Journal of Political Economy (Feb. 2004): pt. 2, S164–S187. 14.
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt
4chan, affirmative action, Black Swan, cognitive bias, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, index card, invisible hand, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, social web, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Spirit Level, theory of mind, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, ultimatum game
A bipartisan group of congressmen stood up for children and against the chemical industry, and by the 1990s lead had been completely removed from gasoline.55 This simple public health intervention worked miracles: lead levels in children’s blood dropped in lockstep with declining levels of lead in gasoline, and the decline has been credited with some of the rise in IQ that has been measured in recent decades.56 Even more amazingly, several studies have demonstrated that the phaseout, which began in the late 1970s, may have been responsible for up to half of the extraordinary and otherwise unexplained drop in crime that occurred in the 1990s.57 Tens of millions of children, particularly poor children in big cities, had grown up with high levels of lead, which interfered with their neural development from the 1950s until the late 1970s. The boys in this group went on to cause the giant surge of criminality that terrified America—and drove it to the right—from the 1960s until the early 1990s. These young men were eventually replaced by a new generation of young men with unleaded brains (and therefore better impulse control), which seems to be part of the reason the crime rate plummeted. From a Durkheimian utilitarian perspective, it is hard to imagine a better case for government intervention to solve a national health problem. This one regulation saved vast quantities of lives, IQ points, money, and moral capital all at the same time.58 And lead is far from the only environmental hazard that disrupts neural development.
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, 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, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, 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, 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, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game
Many commercial logos from the 1950s featured mushroom clouds, including Atomic Fireball Jawbreaker candies, the Atomic Market (a mom-and-pop grocery store not far from MIT), and the Atomic Café, which lent its name to a 1982 documentary on the bizarre nonchalance with which the world treated nuclear weapons through the early 1960s, when horror finally began to sink in. Another major change we have lived through is an intolerance of displays of force in everyday life. In earlier decades a man’s willingness to use his fists in response to an insult was the sign of respectability.52 Today it is the sign of a boor, a symptom of impulse control disorder, a ticket to anger management therapy. An incident from 1950 illustrates the change. President Harry Truman had seen an unkind review in the Washington Post of a performance by his daughter, Margaret, an aspiring singer. Truman wrote to the critic on White House stationery: “Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below.”
Obedience to authority: An experimental view. New York: Harper & Row. Milner, L. S. 2000. Hardness of heart /Hardness of life: The stain of human infanticide. New York: University Press of America. Mischel, W., Ayduk, O., Berman, M. G., Casey, B. J., Gotlib, I., Jonides, J., Kross, E., Teslovich, T., Wilson, N., Zayas, V., & Shoda, Y. I. In press. “Willpower” over the life span: Decomposing impulse control. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience. Mitani, J. C., Watts, D. P., & Amsler, S. J. 2010. Lethal intergroup aggression leads to territorial expansion in wild chimpanzees. Current Biology, 20, R507–8. Mitzenmacher, M. 2004. A brief history of generative models for power laws and lognormal distributions. Internet Mathematics, 1, 226–51. Mitzenmacher, M. 2006. Editorial: The future of power law research.
23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day
In the Gattaca-inspired dystopia of the future, all of this information can and will be used against you. As a small-business owner, why would I hire a woman who had a predisposition to breast cancer? My health insurance rates would skyrocket. I want a “normal” kid; maybe I should abort the gay fetus my wife is carrying. Of course he committed the rape; his DNA proved he was hyperaggressive and had impulse control issues. In the United States, there is very little law protecting how this information can be used, save for GINA—the 2008 Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act—which makes it illegal for employers to fire or refuse employment based on genetic information. Though GINA applies to health insurance, it does not protect against insurance companies’ using genetic testing information to discriminate when writing life, disability, or long-term-care insurance policies.
The Transhumanist Reader by Max More, Natasha Vita-More
23andMe, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, data acquisition, discovery of DNA, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, experimental subject, Extropian, fault tolerance, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, friendly AI, game design, germ theory of disease, hypertext link, impulse control, index fund, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, P = NP, pattern recognition, phenotype, positional goods, prediction markets, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, RFID, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, silicon-based life, Singularitarianism, stem cell, stochastic process, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, the built environment, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce, zero-sum game
You have made us vulnerable to disease and damage. You compel us to age and die – just as we’re beginning to attain wisdom. You were miserly in the extent to which you gave us awareness of our somatic, cognitive, and emotional processes. You held out on us by giving the sharpest senses to other animals. You made us functional only under narrow environmental conditions. You gave us limited memory, poor impulse control, and tribalistic, xenophobic urges. And, you forgot to give us the operating manual for ourselves! What you have made us is glorious, yet deeply flawed. You seem to have lost interest in our further evolution some 100,000 years ago. Or perhaps you have been biding your time, waiting for us to take the next step ourselves. Either way, we have reached our childhood’s end. We have decided that it is time to amend the human constitution.
Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Haight Ashbury, impulse control, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, life extension, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, packet switching, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Stanislav Petrov, Stewart Brand, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche
Aronson thought that an unauthorized nuclear detonation would have a unique appeal to people suffering from a variety of paranoid delusions—those who were seeking fame, who believed themselves “invested with a special mission that sets them apart from society,” who wanted to save the world and thought that “the authorities … covertly wish destruction of the enemy but are uncomfortably constrained by outmoded convention.” In addition to the mentally ill, officers and enlisted men with poor impulse control might be drawn to nuclear weapons. The same need for immediate gratification that pyromaniacs often exhibited, “the desire to see the tangible result of their own power as it brings about a visual holocaust,” might find expression in detonating an atomic bomb. A number of case histories in the report illustrated the unpredictable, often infantile nature of impulse-driven behavior: [An] assistant cook improperly obtained a charge of TNT in order to blast fish.
3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, Apple II, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, deindustrialization, Detroit bankruptcy, discovery of penicillin, Donner party, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, feminist movement, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, high net worth, housing crisis, immigration reform, impulse control, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of air conditioning, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labor-force participation, Loma Prieta earthquake, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, Mason jar, mass immigration, mass incarceration, McMansion, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, occupational segregation, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, rent control, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Coase, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism, yield management
James Heckman and others have studied follow-up data on outcomes of children who have completed experimental preschool programs.11 They estimate that one program yielded a per-year return of 7 percent to 10 percent, consisting of increased school and career achievement together with reduced costs of remedial education as well as lower health and criminal justice system expenditures. They argue that preschool education for at-risk children from poor families pays for itself in the long run, and that each dollar yields a higher return than if that dollar were added to spending on elementary and secondary education. Effective preschool education is devoted not only to vocabulary and other learning skills, but also to “character skills such as attentiveness, impulse control, persistence and teamwork.” 12 Secondary and Higher Education Preschool comes first, because each level of disappointing performance in the American educational system, from poor outcomes on international PISA tests administered to 15-year-olds to remedial classes in community colleges, reflects the cascade of underachievement that children carry with them from one grade to the next. No panacea has emerged in the form of school choice and charter schools, although there has been much experimentation—with some notable successes in which children from low-income backgrounds have earned high school diplomas and gone on to college.13 An important component of the inequality and education headwinds is the U.S. system of financing elementary and secondary education by local property taxes, leading to the contrast between lavish facilities in rich suburbs which coexist with run-down, often outmoded schools in the poor areas of central cities.
Food Allergy: Adverse Reactions to Foods and Food Additives by Dean D. Metcalfe
active measures, Albert Einstein, bioinformatics, epigenetics, hygiene hypothesis, impulse control, life extension, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, statistical model, stem cell
Patients with rare deletions in their MAO-A gene have increased levels of serotonin, epinephrine, and norepinephrine detectable in their urine, whereas MAO-B deficient subjects have increased urinary phenylethylamine levels . Although no studies have examined pharmacologic food reactions in these individuals, it is interesting to note that the MAO-A deficient individuals clinically have problems with impaired impulse control, including a propensity toward stress-induced aggression. MAO-B deficient individuals do not seem to have clinically apparent disturbances in their behavior . Although the reasons for these clinical differences are not known, it may be that raised serotonin levels in MAO-A deficient individuals have a disruptive effect on the developing brain . Specific monoamines Tyramine Many fermented foods contain tyramine derived from the bacterial decarboxylation of tyrosine.