impulse control

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pages: 265 words: 75,669

Potatoes not Prozac by Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph. D.

impulse control, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)

She sighs and thinks, “Well, um, maybe that’s not such a good idea.” Diane has just exercised impulse control, courtesy of serotonin. When we increased Diane’s imaginary serotonin level, there were many more serotonin molecules hitting the serotonin receptors, and the cells passed the message throughout her brain, in effect telling Diane to “wait.” Diane’s impulse quieted down as the message got through. Diane got another benefit from increasing her level of serotonin: her feelings of irritability, isolation, and depression were quieted as well. Diane didn’t understand how all this worked in her brain. She didn’t have a clue about the serotonin action. And she didn’t need to. She just felt more in control of her life and her behavior. Diane’s brain knew exactly what it was doing, though: more serotonin equals impulse control and better feelings. Later, you’ll learn how to safely increase your serotonin and beta-endorphin levels by changing the foods you eat and doing other things like exercise, meditation or prayer, laughter, and even having good sex!

Now that you have a better sense of the overall chemistry affecting your brain process, let’s take a deeper look at the specific neurotransmitters affecting the sugarsensitive person. SEROTONIN As we saw in chapter 3, when your serotonin level is in an ideal state, you feel mellow and relaxed. You feel at peace with life. Serotonin also increases your impulse control, which allows you to more easily “just say no.” People with low levels of serotonin do not have good impulse control. It is almost impossible for them to “just say no” because there is such a short time period between the urge to do something and doing it. This is why the warm cookies on the kitchen table hop into your mouth before you even know what has happened. This is why no matter how many times you vow to stick with your diet, you are not able to.

Green things Complex carbohydrates, including green, yellow, white, purple, and red vegetables. Hypoglycemia Low blood sugar resulting from a number of causes, such as not eating regularly or eating foods high in sugars. sugarsensitive people are more vulnerable to hypoglycemia because they are thought to have an exaggerated insulin response to sweet foods. (See Low blood sugar.) Impulse control The ability to “just say no.” The gap between your intention and your actually doing something. Mediated by the level of serotonin in your brain. Low serotonin results in low impulse control and vice versa. Isolation distress Emotional pain induced from being separated from a loving and supportive environment. Feelings of isolation distress increase as a person’s level of beta-endorphin drops and decrease as beta-endorphin rises. Low blood sugar A physical state in which the amount of glucose in the blood drops and creates such symptoms as fatigue, irritability, loss of concentration, and emotional vulnerability.


pages: 295 words: 89,280

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, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, theory of mind, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, twin studies, 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.


pages: 504 words: 147,660

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction by Gabor Mate, Peter A. Levine

addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, Anton Chekhov, corporate governance, epigenetics, ghettoisation, impulse control, longitudinal study, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, phenotype, placebo effect, Rat Park, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), source of truth, twin studies, 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.


pages: 1,261 words: 294,715

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, different worldview, double helix, Drosophila, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, framing effect, fudge factor, George Santayana, global pandemic, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, John von Neumann, Loma Prieta earthquake, long peace, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, mouse model, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, 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, social intelligence, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, twin studies, 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.


pages: 383 words: 92,837

Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Columbine, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, endowment effect, facts on the ground, impulse control, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, out of africa, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Saturday Night Live, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Steven Pinker, Thales of Miletus

Because it’s a competition, this means the outcome can be tipped. Poor impulse control is a hallmark characteristic of the majority of criminals in the prison system.29 They generally know the difference between right and wrong actions, and they understand the seriousness of the punishment—but they are hamstrung by an inability to control their impulses. They see a woman with an expensive purse walking alone in an alley, and they cannot think but to take advantage of the opportunity. The temptation overrides the concern for their future. If it seems difficult to empathize with people who have poor impulse control, just think of all the things you succumb to that you don’t want to. Snacks? Alcohol? Chocolate cake? Television? One doesn’t have to look far to find poor impulse control pervading our own landscape of decision making.

For the past billion years this has been a tremendously successful approach, yielding human beings in rocket ships from single self-replicating molecules in pre-biotic soup. But this variation is also a source of trouble for the legal system, which is built partially upon the premise that humans are all equal before the law. This built-in myth of human equality suggests that all people are equally capable of decision making, impulse control, and comprehending consequences. While admirable, the notion is simply not true. Some argue that even though the myth may be bullet-riddled, it may still be useful to hold on to. The argument suggests that whether or not the equality is realistic, it yields a “particularly admirable kind of social order, a counterfactual that pays dividends in fairness and stability.”33 In other words, assumptions can be provably wrong and still have utility.

The argument suggests that whether or not the equality is realistic, it yields a “particularly admirable kind of social order, a counterfactual that pays dividends in fairness and stability.”33 In other words, assumptions can be provably wrong and still have utility. I disagree. As we have seen throughout the book, people do not arrive at the scene with the same capacities. Their genetics and their personal histories mold their brains to quite different end points. In fact, the law partially acknowledges this, because the strain is too great to pretend that all brains are equal. Consider age. Adolescents command different skills in decision making and impulse control than do adults; a child’s brain is simply not like an adult’s brain.34 So American law draws a bright line between seventeen years and eighteen years to ham-handedly acknowledge this. And the United States Supreme Court ruled in Roper v Simmons that those under the age of eighteen when they committed a crime could not be given the death penalty.35 The law also recognizes that IQ matters. Thus, the Supreme Court made a similar decision that the mentally retarded cannot be executed for capital crimes.


pages: 685 words: 203,949

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, longitudinal study, 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, shared worldview, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, 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.


pages: 354 words: 91,875

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Doto Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal

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, Stanford marshmallow experiment, 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).


pages: 305 words: 89,103

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.


pages: 350 words: 96,803

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, twin studies

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).


pages: 211 words: 66,203

Life Will Be the Death of Me: ...And You Too! by Chelsea Handler

airport security, Burning Man, Donald Trump, forensic accounting, impulse control, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, zero-sum game

Then you simply modify your behavior—and/or your reaction. You may find that after you give it some space, you may not want to react at all.” “Yes, I’ve heard about people doing that.” “Are you ever able to sit back when you’ve heard a story more than once, or know the person you’re speaking to is wrong about something, but you withhold?” Dan asked. Dan was talking about impulse control. He may as well have been speaking Portuguese. “Does impulse control go with empathy? Because I don’t have that one either.” I came to understand that motion had been cemented in my life at a time when I needed it to survive, and over time it became the only way I knew. It was my oxygen. I didn’t know how not to move fast, or how not to state my opinion, or how to just observe something rather than insert myself. “But all that action doesn’t coincide with my sleep schedule,” I pointed out.

I don’t think aliens are going to come out of the sky and eat us, or that I’m going to get attacked by birds, or that there’s going to be a nuclear war. Well, I do worry about that, but not as an existential threat—more like it will happen, but hopefully, I’ll be in Spain when it does. “I’m a big proponent of being responsible for your own happiness,” I continued, “and have always had a surfeit of dopamine to go along with it, so the only thing I really want to work on is my temper and impulse control…or, at the very least, behavior modification. I’m basically looking for a behaviorist. Like, for a puppy. I’d like to learn how to make my point without yelling.” Our first few sessions consisted of Dan guiding me through meditation, after which I would spend the rest of the time bitching about Donald Trump and what a piece of shit he was. I was paying someone hundreds of dollars an hour to complain about Donald Trump, which seemed like the exact right move.

* * * • • • If someone logged the amount of time I spend petting Bert and Bernice, I’d probably be arrested. I’m not going to pretend I don’t like Bert’s body more than Bernice’s—because I have a type—but I love them both the same. It’s hard for me not to molest my dogs. I know that if I squeeze them as tight as I want to, I’ll cut off their circulation. If I had gotten Bert before I met Dan, and not learned about impulse control, Bert would probably be dead. I didn’t know the snugglefest I was missing out on, because Chunk and Tammy were both affectionate, but they weren’t hedonists. Neither was interested in drawn-out body rubs and would always at some point politely let me know they were done being petted by me. Bert is the type of dog that could wake up to a beer every morning and then walk directly into a massage parlor for twenty-four hours straight.


pages: 330 words: 88,445

The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance by Steven Kotler

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, lateral thinking, life extension, lifelogging, low earth orbit, Maui Hawaii, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, risk tolerance, rolodex, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment, 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.


pages: 327 words: 88,121

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, business cycle, call centre, clean water, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, David Brooks, delayed gratification, different worldview, double helix, Downton Abbey, 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, Khyber Pass, Louis Pasteur, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, Nate Silver, obamacare, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, Richard Florida, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, social intelligence, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, 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.


pages: 435 words: 95,864

Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

epigenetics, fear of failure, impulse control, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)

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.


The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum by Temple Grandin, Richard Panek

Asperger Syndrome, correlation does not imply causation, dark matter, David Brooks, deliberate practice, double helix, ghettoisation, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, impulse control, Khan Academy, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, neurotypical, pattern recognition, phenotype, Richard Feynman, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, theory of mind, twin studies

Those who previously would have been diagnosed with Asperger’s might learn that they don’t belong in the neurodevelopmental-disorders category at all, at least not officially. They could find themselves in a whole other diagnostic category: disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders. The decision ultimately comes down to an individual doctor’s opinion—and if you say that that doesn’t sound like science, I wouldn’t disagree. First, as a biologist, I find just about this whole diagnostic category scientifically suspect. The category includes six diagnoses. As far as I can see, only one has any basis in science: intermittent explosive disorder. Neuroimaging shows that if you lack top-down control from the frontal cortex to the amygdala, you’ll be prone to outbursts that will get you fired or arrested. But as for the other diagnoses in the disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders category? I smell a strong case of “If we label them that, then we don’t have to give them ASD services and we can just let the police deal with them.”

., [>]–[>] D’Argento, Savino Nuccio, [>] Dawson, Michelle, [>]–[>], [>]–[>], [>], [>], [>], [>] de novo mutations, [>], [>]–[>] detail, attention to, [>]–[>] diagnosis of autism changing criteria for, [>]–[>], [>], [>]–[>], [>] early, as important, [>]–[>] Kanner and, [>]–[>], [>] limitations of labels and, [>]–[>] potential for biomarkers and, [>]–[>] psychoanalytic approach and, [>]–[>] for TG, [>]–[>], [>]–[>] Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), [>]–[>], [>], [>]–[>], [>] DSM-III criteria and, [>]–[>], [>], [>], [>] DSM-IV criteria and, [>]–[>], [>], [>], [>], [>], [>]–[>] DSM-[>] criteria and, [>] diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), [>], [>], [>]–[>]. See also high-definition fiber tracking (HDFT) disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders (DSM category), [>]–[>] DNA. See genetics of autism Down syndrome, [>] DRD4-7R gene, [>]–[>] drugs cognitive responsiveness and, [>]–[>] environmental triggers and, [>]–[>] focus on effects and, [>] DSM. See Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) DTI. See diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) dyad model, in DSM-[>], [>]–[>] dyslexia, [>] Easter Seals, [>], [>] education accommodation of deficits and, [>]–[>] exploitation of strengths and, [>]–[>] special classrooms and, [>]–[>] three-ways-of-thinking model and, [>]–[>] useful online accessories and, [>]–[>] Eichler, Evan E., [>], [>] embedded-figure tests, [>] “The Emerging Biology of Autism Spectrum Disorders” (2012 Science article), [>] emotions amygdala and, [>], [>], [>] management of, [>]–[>] object vs. spatial imagery and, [>]–[>] parental distance and, [>]–[>] sensory overload and, [>]–[>] employment advice on preparation for, [>]–[>], [>]–[>] Asperger syndrome and, [>]–[>], [>] other employees and, [>]–[>] pattern thinkers and, [>], [>], [>], [>]–[>] picture thinkers and, [>], [>], [>], [>]–[>] selling of work and, [>]–[>] social impairments and, [>]–[>] word-fact thinkers and, [>]–[>], [>]–[>] Encode.


pages: 412 words: 115,266

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris

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, longitudinal study, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, pattern recognition, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, scientific worldview, 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.


pages: 138 words: 43,748

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

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

Erratic behavior, unmoored from principle, is the opposite of conservatism, which is, I believe, the animating idea of government and its relationship to the governed as established by our Founders—that government should be limited and prudent in its exercise of the power granted it by the people. It is these principles that I was schooled in and that inspire and humble me every day. In short, there is a significant difference between appearing to have problems with impulse control and actually having impulse-control problems. And so in our own time, in a very different presidency, we would do well to examine anew the efficacy of unpredictability. — On December 2, 2016, at 7:44 P.M., not quite a month after he was elected president, President-Elect Donald J. Trump tweeted this message to his followers: “The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency.


pages: 158 words: 46,760

Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue: How to Restore Hormonal Balance and Feel Renewed, Energized, and Stress Free by Kathryn Simpson

impulse control, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, randomized controlled trial

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.


pages: 480 words: 138,041

The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry by Gary Greenberg

addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, back-to-the-land, David Brooks, impulse control, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Snow's cholera map, Kickstarter, late capitalism, longitudinal study, 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.)


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Toxic Parents by Susan Forward

impulse control

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.


pages: 407 words: 90,238

Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work by Steven Kotler, Jamie Wheal

3D printing, Alexander Shulgin, augmented reality, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, delayed gratification, disruptive innovation, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, high batting average, hive mind, Hyperloop, impulse control, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lateral thinking, Mason jar, Maui Hawaii, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, music of the spheres, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, science of happiness, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, urban planning

The novelty of the experience; the rapid shift in sensations; the lights, music, and cheering crowd, was all more than enough to trigger the brain’s pleasure machinery and get red-blooded twenty-somethings fixating over no-money-down leasing options for weeks to come. That Jeep campaign worked so well because it effectively created a state of peak arousal for its participants and then sold them on an imagined transformation of their lives (starting with the purchase of a 4x4). Under those amped-up conditions, salience—that is, the attention paid to incoming stimuli—increases. But, with the prefrontal cortex down-regulated, most impulse control mechanisms go offline too. For people who aren’t used to this combination, the results can be expensive. The video game industry may have gone further down this path than anyone. “Games are a multi-billion dollar industry that employ the best neuroscientists42 and behavior psychologists to make them as addicting as possible,” Nicholas Kardaras, one of the country’s top addiction specialists, recently explained to Vice.

Some of those connections are legitimate insights; others are flights of fancy. In 2009, Swiss neurologist Peter Brugger discovered that people4 with more dopamine in their systems are more likely to believe in secret conspiracies and alien abductions. They’re suffering from apophenia, “the tendency to be overwhelmed by meaningful coincidence,” and detecting patterns where others see none. When the prefrontal cortex shuts down, impulse control,5 long-term planning, and critical reasoning faculties go offline, too. We lose our checks and balances. Combine that with excessive dopamine telling us that the connections we’re making are radically important and must be immediately acted upon—that we’re radically important and must be listened to—and it’s not hard to imagine how this goes wrong. So no matter what comes up, no matter how fantastical your experience, it helps to remember: It’s not about you.

The emotions and the stress will still be in your system for some time; do not allow them to unduly influence your life.” 4. In 2009, Swiss neurologist Peter Brugger: Peter Brugger, Christine Mohr, Peter Krummenacher, and Helene Haker, “Dopamine, Paranormal Belief, and the Detection of Meaningful Stimuli,” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 22, no. 8, 2010: 1670–81. 5. When the prefrontal cortex shuts down, impulse control: Julie A. Alvarez and Eugene Emory, “Executive Function and the Frontal Lobes: A Meta-Analytic Review,” Neuropsychology Review 16, no. 1 (March 2006). We have oversimplified the relationship between the PFC and executive function; as this meta-analysis suggests, there are more complex relationships between neuroanatomy and consciousness. 6. As Buddhist teacher and author Jack Kornfield: Jack Kornfield, After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path (New York: Bantam, 2001). 7.


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Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales

business climate, butterfly effect, complexity theory, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, impulse control, Lao Tzu, loose coupling, Louis Pasteur

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 [1929]) 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 [1923]), pp. 42-43; Henry Lowenfeld and Yela Lowenfeld, Our Permissive Society and the Superego, Psychoanalytic Quarterly 39 (1970): 590-607. " , , " Graham B.


pages: 369 words: 105,819

The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President by Bandy X. Lee

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, declining real wages, delayed gratification, demand response, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, facts on the ground, fear of failure, illegal immigration, impulse control, meta analysis, meta-analysis, national security letter, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School

A number of conditions, including living in a temperate zone (where it’s necessary to anticipate seasonal change), living in a stable family or stable economic/political society (where a person learns to trust promises made to him), and becoming educated, can create future-positive-oriented people. In general, future-oriented people do very well in life. They are less aggressive, are less depressed, have more energy, take care of their health, have good impulse control, and have more self-esteem. Those stuck in the past, and locked into negative memories, feel fatalistic about the present and may have lost the ability even to conceive of a hopeful future (future negative). Healthy Versus Unhealthy Time Perspectives Through years of research, we have discovered that people who live healthy, productive, optimistic lives share the following traits—what we call an “ideal time perspective”: • High past positive/low past negative; • Low present fatalism/moderate selected present hedonism; and • Moderately high future-positive orientation.

The successful sociopath’s predatory “empathy” reflects a definite perceptive acumen, making him a genius at manipulation. When this works, it produces a disastrous trust in him. Yet, like the tiger, he is unconcerned about the welfare of his target. The pathological emotional problems in sociopathy make one another worse. An inability to have a consistent realistic view of the world, or to maintain emotionally genuine relationships, leads to more paranoia. The weakness in impulse control which arises from enraged reactions to imagined slights and produces reckless, destructive behavior, leads to a greater need to deny criticism with more lies to tell oneself and everyone else, and an increasing distance from reality. The more a sociopath needs to scapegoat others the more he genuinely hates them, making him even more aggressive and sadistic. Life is devoted to endless destruction in the service of an endless quest for power and admiration, unmitigated by basic empathy or guilt.

Although military personnel who are responsible for relaying nuclear orders must undergo rigorous mental health and medical evaluations that assess psychological, financial, and medical fitness for duty (Osnos 2017; Colón-Francia and Fortner 2014), there is no such requirement for their commander in chief. Over the course of the U.S. 2016 presidential campaign, it became increasingly apparent that Donald Trump’s inability or unwillingness to distinguish fact from fiction (Barbaro 2016), wanton disregard for the rule of law (Kendall 2016), intolerance of perspectives different from his own (DelReal and Gearan 2016), rageful responses to criticism (Sebastian 2016), lack of impulse control (“Transcript” 2016), and sweeping condemnations of entire populations (Reilly 2016) rendered him temperamentally unsuitable to be in command of the nuclear arsenal. When Mr. Trump became the president-elect, we, as psychiatrists, had grave concerns about his mental stability and fitness for office. Despite the claim by gastroenterologist Dr. Harold Bornstein that Mr. Trump “will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency” (Schecter, Francescani, and Connor 2016), there is no evidence that Mr.


The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease by Lanius, Ruth A.; Vermetten, Eric; Pain, Clare

conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, delayed gratification, epigenetics, false memory syndrome, impulse control, intermodal, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nelson Mandela, p-value, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), social intelligence, Socratic dialogue, theory of mind, twin studies, yellow journalism

A survey of 1699 children receiving trauma�focused treatment across 25 network sites of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network [20] showed that the vast majority (78%) were exposed to multiple and/or prolonged interpersonal trauma, with a modal 3 trauma exposure types; less than 25% met diagnostic criteria for PTSD. Less than 10% were exposed to �serious accidents or medical illness. Most children exhibited post-traumatic sequelae not captured by PTSD:€ at least 50% had significant disturbances in affect regulation; attention and concentration; negative self-image; impulse control; and aggression and risk taking [20]. These findings are in line with the voluminous �epidemiological, biological and psychological research on the impact of childhood interpersonal trauma that has been published since the mid 1980s, which includes effects on tens of thousands of children. Hence, it is critical to find a way out of this morass of multiple comorbid diagnoses and to Chapter 6: A developmental trauma disorder diagnosis identify a new diagnostic category that captures the profusion of symptoms in these children.

Functional impairment The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in at least two of the following areas of functioning: • scholastic:€underperformance, nonattendance, disciplinary problems, dropout, failure to complete degree/credential(s), conflict with school personnel, learning disabilities or intellectual impairment that cannot be accounted for by neurological or other factors • familial:€conflict, avoidance/passivity, running away, detachment and surrogate replacements, attempts to physically or emotionally hurt family members, nonfulfillment of responsibilities within the family • peer group:€isolation, deviant affiliations, persistent physical or emotional conflict, avoidance/passivity, involvement in violence or unsafe acts, age-inappropriate affiliations or style of interaction • legal:€arrests/recidivism, detention, convictions, incarceration, violation of probation or other court orders, increasingly severe offenses, crimes against other persons, disregard or contempt for the law or for conventional moral standards • health:€physical illness or problems that cannot be fully accounted for by physical injury or degeneration, involving the digestive, neurological (including conversion symptoms and analgesia), sexual, immune, cardiopulmonary, proprioceptive or sensory systems; severe headaches (including migraine); chronic pain or fatigue • vocational (for youth involved in, seeking or referred for employment, volunteer work or job training):€disinterest in work/vocation, inability to get or keep jobs, persistent conflict with coworkers or supervisors, underemployment in relation to abilities, failure to achieve expectable advancements. These chronic and severe coexisting problems (emotion regulation, impulse control, attention and cognition, dissociation, interpersonal relationships, and self and relational schemas) are best understood as a single coherent pathology. However, in absence of a developmentally sensitive trauma-specific diagnosis for children, these children are instead diagnosed with an average of 3–8 comorbid axis I and II disorders [28]. Although various psychiatric diagnoses have overlapping symptoms with other diagnoses (e.g., anxiety and depression may both feature psychomotor agitation), the purpose of a diagnosis is to capture a relatively unique constellation of symptoms.

Moreover, these symptoms most frequently co-occur with each other following childhood interpersonal trauma. We propose that DTD is made up of posttrauma adaptations across these five domains. Affect and impulse dysregulation Approximately 700 studies have documented the increased disturbance of affect and impulse regulation following childhood interpersonal trauma [29]. Dysregulation of affect and impulse control following exposure to interpersonal trauma is manifested in a broad spectrum of symptoms. Affect dysregulation can include lability, explosive anger, self-destructive behavior, psychic numbing and social withdrawal, dysphoria, depression and loss of motivation. Impulse dysregulation is associated with self-injury, risktaking, aggression, eating disorders, substance use, �oppositional behavior and reenactment of trauma.


pages: 600 words: 174,620

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, different worldview, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, false memory syndrome, feminist movement, impulse control, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Nelson Mandela, phenotype, placebo effect, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), social intelligence, 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.


pages: 632 words: 166,729

Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas by Natasha Dow Schüll

airport security, Albert Einstein, Build a better mousetrap, business intelligence, capital controls, cashless society, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, deskilling, game design, impulse control, information asymmetry, inventory management, iterative process, jitney, large denomination, late capitalism, late fees, longitudinal study, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nash equilibrium, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, profit motive, RFID, Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, statistical model, the built environment, yield curve, zero-sum game

Given that gambling is an ego-syntonic and pleasurable activity (at least initially), the members of the original American Psychiatric Association diagnostic task force for pathological gambling collectively decided that the condition was better classified as an impulse control disorder than a compulsion (APA 1980). Some considered that decision debatable, since gambling typically becomes a problem only at the point when it feels involuntary and driven. The debate is likely to become obsolete with the recent decision to rename pathological gambling “disordered gambling” and to reclassify it as an addiction rather than an impulse control disorder. 98. The Las Vegas Trimeridian clinic, no longer in operation, was conceived in 1997. Investors believed that profit was to be made if insurance companies could be convinced that the pathological gambling diagnosis warranted coverage; they have yet to be convinced.

Studies based on other jurisdictions estimate that up to 70 percent of gamblers seeking treatment identify electronic gaming machines as their primary, if not exclusive, problem form of gambling (see, for example, Schellinck and Schrans 1998, 2003; Breen and Zimmerman 2002; Gorman 2003, A20). 49. APA 1980. Although pathological gambling was officially listed in the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) as an “Impulse Control Disorder Not Elsewhere Classified,” most psychiatrists and clinicians felt that the condition was best conceived as an addiction, and the category of psychoactive substance dependence was used as a model when the criteria for pathological gambling were modified in a later revision of the manual (APA 1994, 4th ed.; see also Castellani 2000, 54; Lesieur and Rosenthal 1991). The DSM-V (anticipated for 2013) will change “pathological gambling” to “disordered gambling,” and will classify it under “Addiction and Related Disorders.” 50.

A 299-page report by a group of respected scholars notes of the industry’s position: “The usual stance is that pathological gambling is a rare mental disorder that is predominantly physically and/or psychologically determined” (Abbott et al. 2004, 53). See also Vrecko 2007, 57. 12. Bybee 1988, 304; Castellani 2000, 130, 125. 13. While the 1980 version of the DSM used the language “unable to resist impulses,” this was changed to “failure to resist impulses” in the 1987 revision of the manual (APA 1987). As Castellani discusses, this change in language (not to mention the initial classification of the condition under “Impulse Control Disorders”) had to do with concerns that the diagnosis could be used as the basis for insanity pleas in courts of law (2000, 125). For more on the “pathological gambling” diagnosis, see the introduction. 14. See Brandt (2007) for an exhaustive history of the tobacco industry and its strategic positioning toward the question of smoking addiction. One aspect of this positioning was the establishment of the Tobacco Industry Research Council, set up in 1954 as an “industry shield” (ibid., 333).


pages: 274 words: 70,481

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson

Albert Einstein, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach, impulse control, Norman Mailer, Ronald Reagan, Skype

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.


pages: 239 words: 70,206

Data-Ism: The Revolution Transforming Decision Making, Consumer Behavior, and Almost Everything Else by Steve Lohr

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bioinformatics, business cycle, 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, Johannes Kepler, 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.


pages: 442 words: 127,300

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker

A. Roger Ekirch, active measures, clockwatching, Dmitri Mendeleev, Donald Trump, Exxon Valdez, impulse control, lifelogging, longitudinal study, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mouse model, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, placebo effect, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, the scientific method

Why is it that we lust after quick-fix sugars and complex carbohydrates when sleep-deprived? My research team and I decided to conduct a study in which we scanned people’s brains while they were viewing and choosing food items, and then rated how much they desired each one. We hypothesized that changes within the brain may help explain this unhealthy shift in food preference caused by a lack of sleep. Was there a breakdown in impulse-control regions that normally keep our basic hedonic food desires in check, making us reach for doughnuts or pizza rather than whole grains and leafy greens? Healthy, average-weight participants performed the experiment twice: once when they had had a full night of sleep, and once after they had been sleep-deprived for a night. In each of the two conditions they viewed eighty similar food images, ranging from fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, apples, and carrots, to high-calorie items, such as ice cream, pasta, and doughnuts.

When we tallied up the extra food items that participants wanted when they were sleep-deprived, it amounted to an extra 600 calories. The encouraging news is that getting enough sleep will help you control body weight. We found that a full night of sleep repairs the communication pathway between deep-brain areas that unleash hedonic desires and higher-order brain regions whose job it is to rein in these cravings. Ample sleep can therefore restore a system of impulse control within your brain, putting the appropriate brakes on potentially excessive eating. South of the brain, we are also discovering that plentiful sleep makes your gut happier. Sleep’s role in redressing the balance of the body’s nervous system, especially its calming of the fight-or-flight sympathetic branch, improves the bacterial community known as your microbiome, which is located in your gut (also known as the enteric nervous system).

Instead, muscle mass is depleted while fat is retained. Lean and toned is unlikely to be the outcome of dieting when you are cutting sleep short. The latter is counterproductive of the former. The upshot of all this work can be summarized as follows: short sleep (of the type that many adults in first-world countries commonly and routinely report) will increase hunger and appetite, compromise impulse control within the brain, increase food consumption (especially of high-calorie foods), decrease feelings of food satisfaction after eating, and prevent effective weight loss when dieting. SLEEP LOSS AND THE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM If you have hopes of reproductive success, fitness, or prowess, you would do well to get a full night’s sleep every night. Charles Darwin would, I’m sure, cleave easily to this advice, had he reviewed the evidence I now present.


pages: 249 words: 77,342

The Behavioral Investor by Daniel Crosby

affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, availability heuristic, backtesting, bank run, Black Swan, buy and hold, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, compound rate of return, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, endowment effect, feminist movement, Flash crash, haute cuisine, hedonic treadmill, housing crisis, IKEA effect, impulse control, index fund, Isaac Newton, job automation, longitudinal study, loss aversion, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, moral panic, Murray Gell-Mann, Nate Silver, neurotypical, passive investing, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, science of happiness, Shai Danziger, short selling, South Sea Bubble, Stanford prison experiment, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, stocks for the long run, Thales of Miletus, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, tulip mania, Vanguard fund

The authors found that the more the daters varied along various dimensions (height, job, education), the fewer proposals got made. The daters were overwhelmed by the variety and so did nothing. Dimoka studied the brains of volunteers engaged in complicated, combinatorial auctions. As early information began to roll in, so did brain activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain implicated in decision-making and impulse control. But as the researchers gave the participants more and more information, the brain activity suddenly fell off, as if snapping a circuit breaker. “With too much information,” says Dimoka, “people’s decisions make less and less sense.” Ever had a hankering for sweets only to arrive in the candy aisle and become totally overwhelmed by your options? Research shows that lots of choices lead to both paralysis and dissatisfaction with your eventual choice.

Arbitraging the national psyche The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is a widely used assessment of mental disorders that provides interesting insights into the American national psyche. Between 1938 and 2007, the levels of psychopathology in the US, as measured by the MMPI, have risen greatly. Specific areas on the rise include: Moodiness Restlessness Dissatisfaction Instability Narcissism Self-centeredness Anxiety Unrealistically positive self-appraisal Impulse control For all the societal progress made over that time, it would appear that emotional wellbeing remains more elusive. Arbitraging emotionality seems to be an enduring form of investing advantage – one that may actually be increasing. Emotion impacts our assessment of probability One of the things that makes adhering to probabilities so difficult (and profitable) for an investor is that emotion has a pronounced impact on how we assess probability.


pages: 309 words: 86,909

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, longitudinal study, 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.


pages: 261 words: 78,884

$2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn Edin, H. Luke Shaefer

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, business cycle, 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, . . .


pages: 394 words: 85,252

The New Sell and Sell Short: How to Take Profits, Cut Losses, and Benefit From Price Declines by Alexander Elder

Atul Gawande, backtesting, buy and hold, buy low sell high, Checklist Manifesto, double helix, impulse control, paper trading, short selling, systematic trading, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

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.


pages: 280 words: 85,091

The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success by Kevin Dutton

Asperger Syndrome, Bernie Madoff, business climate, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, delayed gratification, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, G4S, impulse control, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, place-making, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, ultimatum game

“Though I guess”—he pauses briefly as he weighs up the options—“it kind of depends on which type of psychopath he was testing.” Beasley tells me about a study conducted by Alfred Heilbrun, a psychologist at Emory University, back in the 1980s. Heilbrun analyzed the personality structures of more than 150 criminals and, on the basis of that analysis, differentiated between two very different types of psychopaths: those who had poor impulse control, low IQ, and little empathy (the Henry Lee Lucas type); and those who had better impulse control, high IQ, a sadistic motivation, and heightened empathy (the Ted Bundy or, if you like, Hannibal Lecter type). But the data concealed a spine-chilling twist. The group, in fact, that exhibited the most empathy of all, according to Heilbrun’s taxonomy, comprised high-IQ psychopaths with a history of extreme violence. And in particular, rape: an act that occasionally incorporates a vicarious, sadistic component.


pages: 287 words: 93,908

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Gail Steketee, Randy Frost

Asperger Syndrome, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, dumpster diving, haute couture, Honoré de Balzac, impulse control, McMansion

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.


pages: 324 words: 92,805

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 cycle, 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, disruptive innovation, 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.


pages: 526 words: 160,601

A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America by Bruce Cannon Gibney

1960s counterculture, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate personhood, Corrections Corporation of America, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, equal pay for equal work, failed state, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Haight Ashbury, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kitchen Debate, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, mass incarceration, McMansion, medical bankruptcy, Menlo Park, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shock, operation paperclip, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, school choice, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, smart grid, Snapchat, source of truth, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, survivorship bias, TaskRabbit, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, War on Poverty, white picket fence, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

But before the revolution would be political, it had to be personal, fashioning a template of sociopathic improvidence that would provide the policy agenda once Boomers gained control of the state. The first agenda item would be unfettering individuals from the bonds of society, allowing the Boomers’ true priorities, license and indulgence, to flourish. The Hedonist at Home: Sex and Drugs [Sociopaths] may have a history of many sexual partners… They may have associated disorders… substance use disorders… and other disorders of impulse control… [They] also often have personality features that meet criteria for other personality disorders, particularly borderline, histrionic, and narcissistic personality disorders. —DSM-V2 As we’ve seen, the Boomers’ engagement with Vietnam faded along with the draft. The Boomers’ growing emphasis on personal satisfaction proved more enduring. As a historical moment, then, 1967 is best understood not as a summer of love or a season of protest, but as Year One of the Self.

But during the period of steep savings decline, the Boomers had major influence on the savings rate and should have been aggressive savers, yet the inexorable direction was down, until the crash of 2008 forced people to save more. The fact that many Boomers have relatively little net worth compared to their retirement needs (data we do have on a cohort basis) also tests the idea that lower income savings could be offset by gains in homes and stocks, though these assets have been prone to bubbles the Boomers have been keen to inflate.40 Failures in impulse control also manifested in gluttony. As American travelers know, and Europeans delight in observing, the United States is an unusually heavy place. This is so measured against international peers and against America itself, at least the America of sixty years ago. Relatively few adults were obese before the 1960s, about one in ten. Since then, adult obesity has been increasing, with a sharp rise from 12.7 percent in the late 1970s to 36.4 percent by 2011–2014.41 Younger generations are also now heavy, with the shift occurring in the 1980s and 1990s, though there have been some recent improvements.

(Foreign students often pay more, and cash-hungry universities recruit accordingly.) What changed, then, is not the employment prospects for scientists and engineers, or some mass shuttering of American engineering schools; what changed was the culture. Part of the problem was caused by the difficulty of STEM, which is more challenging for the average student than other disciplines. Difficult things do not sit well with people for whom immediate gratification and impulse control present problems, i.e., sociopaths. That the empirical disciplines are hard was bad enough, but their embrace of reality posed the greatest challenges. These—like the fact that the sun does not revolve around the earth, or less facetiously, that humans are warming the planet—can be inconvenient for people who hold opinions contrary to reality. They may require long-term planning and other behaviors incompatible with the need for immediate gratification.


pages: 332 words: 101,772

Memoirs of an Addicted Brain: A Neuroscientist Examines His Former Life on Drugs by Marc Lewis Phd

dark matter, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, Golden Gate Park, impulse control, Malacca Straits, Rat Park, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea

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.


pages: 433 words: 106,048

The End of Illness by David B. Agus

Danny Hillis, discovery of penicillin, double helix, epigenetics, germ theory of disease, Google Earth, impulse control, information retrieval, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Murray Gell-Mann, pattern recognition, Pepto Bismol, 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.


pages: 455 words: 116,578

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, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, patient HM, pattern recognition, randomized controlled trial, rolodex, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment, 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.


Tyler Cowen - Stubborn Attachments A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals by Meg Patrick

"Robert Solow", agricultural Revolution, Berlin Wall, conceptual framework, Fall of the Berlin Wall, framing effect, hedonic treadmill, impulse control, Peter Singer: altruism, rent-seeking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, zero-sum game

That’s the kind of thinking we need to generalize more thoroughly. Look at which people are the most likely to seize the current benefit, rather than waiting more patiently for a superior reward in the future. It’s the young, the uneducated, and also people with lower IQs and people who measure as having problems of cognition or self-control. Those same people are also more likely to have problems with obesity, gambling, impulse control, and even violence. These correlations don’t philosophically prove that their impatient choices are incorrect (maybe the gamblers are the wise ones and the rest of us are fools for missing out on their risky delights), but it does lend support to the idea that they are making a mistake. They are failing to imagine the future and its import. Further evidence suggests that children with higher impatience have greater problems doing well in school and they are more likely to encounter disciplinary action.31 Very often the choice between the present and the future takes place at the social level.


pages: 457 words: 126,996

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, do-ocracy, East Village, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, George Santayana, hive mind, impulse control, Jacob Appelbaum, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, low cost airline, 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.


pages: 468 words: 123,823

A People's History of Poverty in America by Stephen Pimpare

"Robert Solow", 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, hedonic treadmill, 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.


pages: 178 words: 47,457

A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby K. Payne

conceptual framework, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, impulse control, Isaac Newton, post scarcity, War on Poverty, working poor

Input Strategies (Quality and Quantity of Data) Use planning behaviors includes goal-setting, identifying the procedures in the task, identifying the parts of the task, assigning time to the task(s), and identifying the quality of the work necessary to complete the task. Focus perception on specific stimulus is the strategy of seeing every detail on the page or in the environment. It is the strategy of identifying everything noticed by the five senses. Control impulsivity is the strategy of stopping action until one has thought about the task. There is a direct correlation between impulse control and improved behavior and achievement. Explore data systematically means that a strategy is employed to procedurally and systematically go through every piece of data. Numbering is a way to go systematically through data. Highlighting each piece of data can be another method. Use appropriate and accurate labels is the use of precise words and vocabulary to identify and explain. If a student does not have specific words to use, then his/her ability to retrieve and use information is severely limited.


pages: 487 words: 151,810

The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks

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, longitudinal study, loss aversion, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Monroe Doctrine, Paul Samuelson, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, school vouchers, six sigma, social intelligence, Stanford marshmallow experiment, 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.


pages: 678 words: 148,827

Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization by Scott Barry Kaufman

Albert Einstein, David Brooks, desegregation, Donald Trump, fear of failure, happiness index / gross national happiness, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, impulse control, job satisfaction, longitudinal study, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nelson Mandela, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, Rosa Parks, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social intelligence, Steven Pinker, theory of mind

They do so by activating genes that cause critical developmental periods to come to a close.57 As Martin Teicher and colleagues explain, “Brain development is directed by genes but sculpted by experiences.” The areas of the brain that are particularly sensitive to early life stressors include the hippocampus, involved in the formation and retrieval of memories and imaginings; the amygdala, involved in vigilance and detection of emotional significance; the anterior cingulate cortex, involved in error detection, impulse control, and allocation of mental resources; the corpus callosum, which connects the brain’s left and right hemispheres; and the prefrontal cortex, particularly the medial and orbital prefrontal cortices, which are involved in long-term decision-making, evaluating situations, and emotional self-regulation.58 Each of the brain areas has a different sensitive period in which stress can do the most damage.

Psychologist Bruce Ellis and colleagues argue that individuals who have grossly unmet safety needs may prioritize skills and abilities that make sense in context even though such skills may make them less likely to do well on standardized tests of academic achievement.76 According to his Theory of Successful Intelligence, intelligence researcher Robert Sternberg emphasizes the importance of viewing intelligence in context.77 The kinds of executive functioning skills (such as attention and impulse control) that support doing well in school may not be the same skills necessary for survival in one’s local ecology. According to Sternberg: Successful intelligence is one’s ability to choose and successfully work toward the attainment of one’s goals in life, within one’s cultural context or contexts. . . . What differs is the nature of the problems encountered in various ecological contexts. . . .


Affluenza: When Too Much Is Never Enough by Clive Hamilton, Richard Denniss

call centre, delayed gratification, experimental subject, full employment, hedonic treadmill, impulse control, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, mega-rich, Naomi Klein, Own Your Own Home, post-materialism, post-work, 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’.


pages: 193 words: 56,895

The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment by Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, Robert M. Pressman

delayed gratification, Donald Trump, equal pay for equal work, impulse control

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.


pages: 257 words: 68,203

The Talent Code: Greatest Isn't Born, It's Grown, Here's How by Daniel Coyle

Albert Einstein, Bob Geldof, deliberate practice, experimental subject, impulse control, longitudinal study, Ralph Waldo Emerson

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.


pages: 200 words: 61,579

Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal From Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson

impulse control, theory of mind

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.


pages: 191 words: 67,625

The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches From the Border by Francisco Cantú

Corrections Corporation of America, Google Earth, immigration reform, impulse control

In 1962 the woman’s peaceable grand-uncle, a teacher at an institution for the learning disabled, traced the violence in his family as far back as 1870, identifying nine male family members and ancestors with a history of such behavior. For over a decade, geneticists at the University of Nijmegen conducted research on the woman and her family. In 1993, after fifteen years of investigation, researchers identified a deficiency in a gene that produces an enzyme called monoamine oxidase A, or MAOA, a key regulator of impulse control. Individuals with low levels of MAOA, it seemed, were predisposed to violence, and researchers came to refer to them as carriers of a “warrior gene.” Since the occurrence of this deficiency is tied to a defect in the X chromosome, men—possessing only one X chromosome, while women possess two—are more prone to the defect, although women may carry it and pass it on to their sons. Subsequent studies revealed that about one-third of the world’s male population carry the warrior gene, the expression of which can be triggered by childhood exposure to trauma.


pages: 271 words: 62,538

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.


Drink?: The New Science of Alcohol and Your Health by David Nutt

Boris Johnson, carbon footprint, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, impulse control, Kickstarter, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, microbiome, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)

Preventing suicide and self-harm is very difficult, but for people with underlying depression antidepressant medications can be very effective and for those where the primary driver is alcohol, stopping drinking through medication or psychological treatments will be helpful. Other mental health conditions and alcohol ADHD/IMPULSIVITY People who are very impulsive – they may have been diagnosed with ADHD or an impulse control disorder – may be more vulnerable to abusing alcohol. For example, studies suggest that the likelihood of becoming alcoholic for an adult diagnosed with ADHD is five to ten times higher than in the general population.9 ADHD is thought to occur because the top-down control of behaviour from the brain’s frontal cortex isn’t sufficient to control the bottom-up drives and impulses. This failure of control may be because the dopamine and noradrenaline systems in the frontal cortex haven’t developed adequately.


The Other Side of Happiness: Embracing a More Fearless Approach to Living by Brock Bastian

cognitive dissonance, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, helicopter parent, impulse control, income inequality, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Steven Pinker, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce

A phenomenological investigation of the experience of taking part in extreme sports. Journal of Health Psychology, 13 (5), 690–702. 17 Berkman, E. T., Burklund, L. and Lieberman, M. D. (2009). Inhibitory spillover: Intentional motor inhibition produces incidental limbic inhibition via right inferior frontal cortex. NeuroImage, 47 (2), 705–12. 18 Tuk, M. A., Trampe, D. and Warlop, L. (2011). Inhibitory spillover: Increased urination urgency facilitates impulse control in unrelated domains. Psychological Science, 22 (5), 627–33. 19 Fenn, E., Blandón-Gitlin, I., Coons, J., Pineda, C. and Echon, R. (2015). The inhibitory spillover effect: Controlling the bladder makes better liars. Consciousness and Cognition, 37, 112–22. 20 Bastian, B., Jetten, J. and Hornsey, M. J. (2014). Gustatory pleasure and pain: The offset of acute physical pain enhances responsiveness to taste.


pages: 631 words: 177,227

The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter by Joseph Henrich

agricultural Revolution, capital asset pricing model, Climategate, cognitive bias, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, demographic transition, endowment effect, experimental economics, experimental subject, Flynn Effect, impulse control, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, Nash equilibrium, out of africa, phenotype, placebo effect, profit maximization, randomized controlled trial, risk tolerance, side project, social intelligence, social web, Steven Pinker, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, ultimatum game

Not only do people from some societies get angry when they receive a low offer, but also the participants are quicker when deciding to reject low offers. By contrast, deciding to accept a low offer—the rational and self-interested thing to do—seems to take much careful consideration. When placed under time pressure for their responses, individuals from these societies reject more of the unfair offers. In one experiment, researchers used drugs to reduce people’s impulse control (serotonin depletion). Loss of their impulse control resulted in more rejections of low offers, but not of 50/50 offers. Negative emotional reactions are our automatic and unreflective response to norm violations and norm violators.15 Figure 11 3. Graph showing average percentage contributed in three treatments. Under time pressure people cooperated more. The power of norms in economic games first impressed me in 1995 when I was administering the Ultimatum Game among the Matsigenka, in the Peruvian Amazon.


pages: 282 words: 26,931

The Five-Year Party: How Colleges Have Given Up on Educating Your Child and What You Can Do About It by Craig Brandon

Bernie Madoff, call centre, corporate raider, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Gordon Gekko, helicopter parent, impulse control, new economy, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Nader

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.


pages: 254 words: 72,929

The Age of the Infovore: Succeeding in the Information Economy by Tyler Cowen

Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, business cycle, 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, social intelligence, 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.


pages: 224 words: 73,737

Poverty Safari: Understanding the Anger of Britain's Underclass by Darren McGarvey

basic income, British Empire, carbon footprint, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, impulse control, means of production, side project, universal basic income, urban decay, wage slave

The thought of those first few bites, the emotional relief and instant fulfilment they induce, possesses such an allure that resistance is futile; an allure so intoxicating that you forget things you swore you would always remember. Like how deeply it depresses you to obsess about this sort of food and gorge on it. Only days ago, I was hiding sweet and chocolate wrappers in a jacket pocket because I didn’t want my partner to know I had been bingeing again. Yes, there are millions of people who enjoy McDonald’s in moderation. But for people of my disposition, with serious impulse control problems, emotional eating is not only dangerous but also soul-destroying. The thought at the end of the meal is always the same: I don’t know why I did that. This cycle of emotional discomfort and self-defeating behaviour extends to many other areas of my life. For many years, I believed my lifestyle and associated health problems – fatigue, depression, anxiety, gum disease, insomnia, toothache, obesity, sexual dysfunction, alcoholism and substance misuse – were by-products of capitalism.


pages: 261 words: 71,798

Dangerous Personalities: An FBI Profiler Shows You How to Identify and Protect Yourself From Harmful People by Joe Navarro, Toni Sciarra Poynter

Bernie Madoff, business climate, call centre, Columbine, delayed gratification, impulse control, Louis Pasteur, Norman Mailer, Ponzi scheme, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, Ted Kaczynski

Can’t be bothered to work, claiming it would interfere with “thinking,” “planning,” “networking,” “studying,” or “preparing.” 84. Joined a club or purchased a golf membership or organization, just to be seen in the right places with the “right kind of people,” but can ill afford to do so. 85. Sees flaws in others routinely, but none in herself. 86. Does not like to be critiqued, even when it is helpful. 87. Sees personal problems in others as signs of inferiority, weakness, or poor impulse control. 88. Consistently brags or boasts about expensive purchases (jewelry, toys, properties, cars, etc.). 89. At work, repeatedly overstates to management his value and contributions. 90. Very easily sees weaknesses in others and is quick to exploit those weaknesses. 91. Is in a parasitic or exploitative relationship, taking advantage of someone financially (refuses to work or contribute although healthy and capable). 92.


pages: 252 words: 79,452

To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O'Connell

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, artificial general intelligence, brain emulation, clean water, cognitive dissonance, computer age, cosmological principle, dark matter, disruptive innovation, double helix, Edward Snowden, effective altruism, Elon Musk, Extropian, friendly AI, global pandemic, impulse control, income inequality, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, Lyft, Mars Rover, means of production, Norbert Wiener, Peter Thiel, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, uber lyft, Vernor Vinge

The text, in an initial tone of mild passive aggression, began by thanking Mother Nature for her mostly solid work on the project of humanity thus far, for raising us from simple self-replicating chemicals to trillion-celled mammals with the capacity for self-understanding and empathy. The letter then smoothly transitioned into full J’accuse mode, briefly outlining some of the more shoddy workmanship evident in the functioning of Homo sapiens: the vulnerability to disease and injury and death, for instance, the ability to function only in highly circumscribed environmental conditions, the limited memory, the notoriously poor impulse control. The author—addressing Mother Nature as the collective voice of her “ambitious human offspring”—then proposed a total of seven amendments to “the human constitution.” We would no longer consent to live under the tyranny of aging and death, but would use the tools of biotechnology to “endow ourselves with enduring vitality and remove our expiration date.” We would augment our powers of perception and cognition through technological enhancements of our sense organs and our neural capacities.


pages: 288 words: 73,297

The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease by Marc Lewis Phd

delayed gratification, helicopter parent, impulse control, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Rat Park, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Walter Mischel

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.


pages: 269 words: 72,752

Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, anti-communist, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid-19, Donald Trump, fear of failure, glass ceiling, global pandemic, impulse control, Maui Hawaii, zero-sum game

At the same time, though, life at NYMA reinforced one of Fred’s lessons: the person with the power (no matter how arbitrarily that power was conferred or attained) got to decide what was right and wrong. Anything that helped you maintain power was by definition right, even if it wasn’t always fair. NYMA also reinforced Donald’s aversion to vulnerability, which is essential for tapping into love and creativity because it can also expose us to shame, something he could not tolerate. By necessity he had to improve his impulse control, not only to avoid punishment but to help him get away with transgressions that required a little more finesse. * * * Freddy’s senior year was one of the best and most productive years of his whole life. The BA in business was the least of it. He’d been made president of Sigma Alpha Mu, and he completed ROTC and would enter the Air Force National Guard as a second lieutenant after graduation.


pages: 261 words: 86,261

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, Pepto Bismol, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, scientific worldview, 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.


pages: 284 words: 85,643

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.


pages: 262 words: 80,257

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.


pages: 281 words: 79,464

Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion by Paul Bloom

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Atul Gawande, Columbine, David Brooks, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Ferguson, Missouri, impulse control, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Paul Erdős, period drama, Peter Singer: altruism, publication bias, Ralph Waldo Emerson, replication crisis, Ronald Reagan, social intelligence, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steven Pinker, theory of mind, Walter Mischel, Yogi Berra

They note that scores on both the “callous/lack of empathy” item and the “shallow affect” item are weak predictors of future violence and crime. The Psychopathy Checklist is predictive of future bad behavior not because it assesses empathy and related sentiments but because, first, it contains items that assess criminal history and current antisocial behavior—questions about juvenile delinquency, criminal versatility, parasitic lifestyle—and, second, it contains items that have to do with lack of inhibition and poor impulse control. This conclusion about psychopaths fits well with what we know about aggressive behavior in nonpsychopaths. As we discussed in an earlier chapter, a meta-analysis summarized the data from all studies that looked at the relationship between empathy and aggression, including verbal aggression, physical aggression, and sexual aggression. It turns out that the relationship is surprisingly low.


pages: 301 words: 89,076

The Globotics Upheaval: Globalisation, Robotics and the Future of Work by Richard Baldwin

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, commoditize, computer vision, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, deindustrialization, deskilling, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Downton Abbey, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, future of journalism, future of work, George Gilder, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, hiring and firing, impulse control, income inequality, industrial robot, intangible asset, Internet of things, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, mass incarceration, Metcalfe’s law, new economy, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, post-work, profit motive, remote working, reshoring, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, standardized shipping container, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, universal basic income

Normal children, for instance, reach the first level by four years old and the second level by six years old. This type of social brilliance is one of the evolutionary gifts bestowed on us by hundreds of thousands of years of evolutionary selection in a world where humans were viewed as food by more physically capable species. Our edge over white-collar robots is our innate embrace of team-building practices like fairness and reciprocity, and empathy and impulse control. Most of us actually enjoy working cooperatively. In short, humans are social-math geniuses; computers aren’t. A second critical workplace skill that arose from evolutionary pressure is the ability to detect cheating and assign trust. Social cooperation slips very quickly into social exploitation and free riding. If you worry about yourself when everyone else is worrying about the collective good, you are likely to thrive if the others cannot detect your cheating.


pages: 256 words: 83,469

Surprisingly Down to Earth, and Very Funny: My Autobiography by Limmy

impulse control, pirate software, placebo effect

We got into another argument, and I said to her, ‘Oh for fuck’s sake, Lynn, why have you got to be such a bastard?’ She just pulled over to the side of the road and said, ‘Get out.’ And I got out. She must have felt that I was a right waste of her time. A waste of her life. But I didn’t care. I cared a bit, but not enough. And I still don’t. What I mean is, whatever it is that prevents the average person from becoming an alky, whether it’s pride or decency or common sense or restraint or impulse control or remorse or just plain old fucking happiness, I don’t have it. I’m trying to imagine how she must have felt, and I can’t. I can say the words, but I don’t feel it. When I got kicked out the motor, there was the feeling that I’d done something wrong, that I’d drunk too much. But now I’d been given the opportunity to drink some more. I headed over to my office, which wasn’t too far away. I didn’t do any work.


Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain's Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal by Erik Vance

fixed income, hive mind, impulse control, Isaac Newton, meta analysis, meta-analysis, personalized medicine, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, side project, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Yogi Berra

Not only do addicts have less dopamine from drug overuse, but also their dopamine receptors are affected (either changing their numbers or changing how well they transmit messages). Additionally, regular drug use actually twists our memories so that we crave both the drug and the circumstances surrounding the drug use (which is why people crave a cigarette and also pulling it from the pack and lighting it). Meanwhile, addiction causes the brain’s impulse control centers to shut down, guaranteeing relapse. Remember how Karin Jensen trained people’s brains to release a placebo response when they saw an image of a face flicker so quickly they couldn’t consciously register it? The same thing happens with cocaine addicts. Show them an image of blow for just 33 milliseconds—too fast for the conscious brain to take in—and they will have immediate cravings.


pages: 342 words: 94,762

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, MITM: man-in-the-middle, 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, Stanford marshmallow experiment, 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.


pages: 307 words: 94,069

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

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

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.


pages: 366 words: 94,209

Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff

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 and hold, 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, 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, Mitch Kapor, 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, uber lyft, 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.


pages: 358 words: 95,115

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson, Ashley Merryman

affirmative action, Columbine, delayed gratification, desegregation, hedonic treadmill, impulse control, index card, job satisfaction, lake wobegon effect, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, randomized controlled trial, social intelligence, 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.


pages: 322 words: 99,066

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, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, post-work, 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.


pages: 377 words: 97,144

Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World by James D. Miller

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, Norman Macrae, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, phenotype, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, 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, twin studies, 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.


pages: 308 words: 98,022

Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson

impulse control, Mason jar, Pepto Bismol, Rubik’s Cube, Saturday Night Live, telemarketer, Y2K

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.


pages: 327 words: 97,720

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, longitudinal study, 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.


pages: 292 words: 97,911

Truths, Half Truths and Little White Lies by Nick Frost

Alexander Shulgin, call centre, David Attenborough, hive mind, impulse control, job-hopping, Norman Mailer, Rubik’s Cube

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.


pages: 321 words: 96,349

Among Chimpanzees by Nancy J. Merrick

carbon footprint, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, experimental subject, Google Earth, impulse control, microcredit, profit motive, the scientific method

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.


Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? by Bill McKibben

23andMe, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, American Legislative Exchange Council, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, Bernie Sanders, Bill Joy: nanobots, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, David Attenborough, Donald Trump, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, energy transition, Flynn Effect, Google Earth, Hyperloop, impulse control, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, life extension, light touch regulation, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart meter, Snapchat, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, supervolcano, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, traffic fines, Travis Kalanick, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator, Y2K, yield curve

His proposal is important for our discussion because it unites the two halves of this book: in essence, he contends that the only way to solve global warming before it destroys our planet is to genetically alter human beings so that they become more altruistic and willing to make more sacrifices for the common good. He argues that we have “a moral obligation to overcome our moral limitations.” People, he says, evolved to form groups of about 150 individuals, and to be violent to those outside their tribe. “We’re far from perfect,” he says, but “science offers us the opportunity … to directly overcome those limitations” by producing embryos with improved “intelligence, impulse control, self-control—some level of empathy or ability to understand other people’s emotions, some willingness to make self-sacrificial decisions for other people,” all qualities that “have some biological bases.”18 Left to themselves, he insists, democracies can’t solve climate change, “for in order to do so a majority of their voters must support the adoption of substantial restrictions on their excessively consumerist lifestyle, and there is no indication they would be willing to make such sacrifices.”19 Also, our ingrained suspicion of outsiders keeps us from working together globally.


pages: 297 words: 96,509

Time Paradox by Philip G. Zimbardo, John Boyd

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

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?


pages: 307 words: 96,543

Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope by Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl Wudunn

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, basic income, Bernie Sanders, carried interest, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, David Brooks, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, epigenetics, full employment, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, impulse control, income inequality, Jeff Bezos, job automation, jobless men, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, mandatory minimum, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, Mikhail Gorbachev, offshore financial centre, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Shai Danziger, single-payer health, Steven Pinker, The Spirit Level, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, working poor

Evidence from neuroscience, psychology and economics underscores that a crucial window for helping American children is the first five years, partly because they often suffer lifelong brain damage when raised in chaos and deprivation during those years. In these circumstances, they are exposed to “toxic stress” and their brains are flooded with cortisol, a stress hormone that changes brain anatomy. Peer-reviewed studies have found that five-year-olds who have experienced serious adversity have thinner frontal cortexes on average, and as a result less impulse control, less emotional regulation and less working memory. Given the scale of substance abuse in America, it’s also inevitable that large numbers of children are exposed prenatally. Almost one-fifth of children born in West Virginia have been exposed in the womb to drugs or alcohol, and research, while not conclusive, suggests that later in life they will be much more susceptible to substance abuse.


pages: 307 words: 102,477

The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep by Dr. Guy Leschziner

23andMe, Berlin Wall, British Empire, impulse control, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, phenotype, stem cell, twin studies

Dopamine, as well as being a neurotransmitter influencing movement, is also fundamental to how the brain is rewarded. The pleasure associated with shopping or gambling, for example, is mediated by dopamine. But ropinirole and other drugs in this class of dopamine mimics, termed dopamine receptor agonists, can mess up this reward system and cause it to go haywire. In recent years, we have become aware of a side effect of these drugs called impulse control disorders. Occasionally, patients on dopamine receptor agonists show striking changes in behaviour, involving activities that generate reward — things like compulsive gambling, excessive shopping, compulsive eating or hypersexuality. And patients are often not aware that their behaviour is different. It is only when they come off the drug and their behaviour normalises that they realise that a change has occurred.


pages: 325 words: 97,162

The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life. by Robin Sharma

Albert Einstein, dematerialisation, epigenetics, Grace Hopper, hedonic treadmill, impulse control, index card, invisible hand, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, large denomination, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, Rosa Parks, telemarketer, white picket fence

Here’s the real gift from your excellence and devotion over the sixty-six or so days: the willpower you were using to lay down the early-rising habit is now freed up for another world-class behavior, so you have the chance to grow even more productive, prosperous, joyful and successful. This is the hidden secret of all pro athletes, for example. It’s not that they have more self-discipline than the average person. It’s just that they capitalized on whatever impulse-control they had for sixty-six days until the game-winning routines got installed. After that, they redirected their willpower to something else that would improve their expertise. Another practice that would help them lead their field and achieve victory. One habit installation after another habit installation is how the pros play. Over time, their winning behaviors became automated. Systematized.


pages: 387 words: 105,250

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, starchitect, 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?


pages: 350 words: 107,834

Halting State by Charles Stross

augmented reality, Boris Johnson, 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?)


pages: 375 words: 105,067

Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry by Helaine Olen

American ideology, asset allocation, Bernie Madoff, buy and hold, 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, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, money market fund, mortgage debt, oil shock, payday loans, pension reform, Ponzi scheme, post-work, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Stanford marshmallow experiment, stocks for the long run, 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.


pages: 335 words: 107,779

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, 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, undersea cable, 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.


pages: 416 words: 106,582

This Will Make You Smarter: 150 New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking by John Brockman

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, Johannes Kepler, 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: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Satyajit Das, Schrödinger's Cat, security theater, selection bias, Silicon Valley, Stanford marshmallow experiment, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, Turing complete, Turing machine, twin studies, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, 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.


pages: 391 words: 105,382

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, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, 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, Joan Didion, 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.


pages: 381 words: 111,629

The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer by Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, Dr. Elissa Epel

Albert Einstein, epigenetics, impulse control, income inequality, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, survivorship bias, The Spirit Level, twin studies

Conscientious people are organized, persistent, and task oriented; they work hard toward long-term goals—and their telomeres tend to be longer.28 In one study, teachers were asked to rank their young students according to their conscientiousness. Forty years later, the students who’d scored highest on conscientiousness had longer telomeres than the ones who were the least conscientious.29 This finding is important, because conscientiousness is the personality trait that is the most consistent predictor of longevity.30 Part of conscientiousness is having good impulse control, being able to delay the lure of immediately rewarding (and often dangerous) things like overspending money, driving too fast, excess eating, or alcohol use. Having high levels of impulsivity is associated with shorter telomeres as well.31 Conscientiousness in childhood predicts longevity decades later, and in a study of Medicare patients, those with high self-discipline lived 34 percent longer than their less conscientious counterparts.32 Perhaps that’s because conscientious people are better able to control impulses, engage in healthy daily behaviors, and follow medical advice.


pages: 394 words: 112,770

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, centre right, disintermediation, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, forensic accounting, illegal immigration, impulse control, Jeff Bezos, Jeffrey Epstein, obamacare, Peter Thiel, Renaissance Technologies, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, Travis Kalanick, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

Among Trump’s first moves as president was to have a series of inspirational photographs in the West Wing replaced with images of big crowd scenes at his inaugural ceremony. Bannon had come to rationalize Trump’s reality distortions. Trump’s hyperbole, exaggerations, flights of fancy, improvisations, and general freedom toward and mangling of the facts, were products of the basic lack of guile, pretense, and impulse control that helped create the immediacy and spontaneity that was so successful with so many on the stump—while so horrifying to so many others. For Bannon, Obama was the north star of aloofness. “Politics,” said Bannon with an authority that belayed the fact that until the previous August he had never worked in politics, “is a more immediate game than he ever played it.” Trump was, for Bannon, a modern-day William Jennings Bryan.


pages: 359 words: 113,847

Siege: Trump Under Fire by Michael Wolff

Bernie Madoff, Boris Johnson, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, forensic accounting, gig economy, high net worth, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, immigration reform, impulse control, Jeffrey Epstein, Julian Assange, oil shale / tar sands, Potemkin village, Saturday Night Live, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, WikiLeaks

“Let’s have a do-over election. That’s what the libs want. They can have it. Let’s do it. Up or down, Trump or no Trump.” Impeachment was not to be feared, it was to be embraced. “That’s what you’re voting for: to impeach Donald Trump or to save him from impeachment.” The legal threat, however, might be moving faster than the election. And to Bannon—who knew more about the president’s hankerings, mood swings, and impulse-control issues than almost anyone—you could not have produced a needier or more hapless defendant. * * * Since coming aboard in the summer of 2017, the president’s legal team—Dowd, Cobb, and Sekulow—had delivered the message their client insisted upon hearing, that he was not a target and would shortly be exonerated. But the lawyers went even further with their feel-good strategy. Presidents, faced with hostile investigations by the other coequal branches of government, Congress and the judiciary, invariably cite executive privilege both as a legitimate principle and as a dilatory tactic.


pages: 459 words: 123,220

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert D. Putnam

assortative mating, business cycle, 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, longitudinal study, 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.


pages: 480 words: 123,979

Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters With Reality and Virtual Reality by Jaron Lanier

4chan, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative editing, commoditize, cosmological constant, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Firefox, game design, general-purpose programming language, gig economy, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, impulse control, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kuiper Belt, lifelogging, mandelbrot fractal, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Murray Gell-Mann, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, wikimedia commons

Walter remembers an enthusiastic reception. I remember potential customers grossed out by seeing animated representations of their guts. I also remember feeling the joy of entrepreneurship. Invent. Bring it to people. Enjoy. Repeat. In the 1990s, after VPL’s demise, Walter became interested in VR as a tool for research and treatment, especially in behavioral medicine. He’s since used VR to work with gang members on violent impulse control, and other fascinating applications. And in the new century he introduced me to my wife. “She’s like Betty Boop” were the first words I heard about her, and they were true. Legitimacy, Hair, a Giant’s Shoulder It sounds ridiculous now, but around age twenty-two I was enjoying all I have described, and yet I also feared that I was an irredeemable failure. I was ashamed that I had blown my education.


pages: 424 words: 119,679

It's Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear by Gregg Easterbrook

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, air freight, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Branko Milanovic, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, coronavirus, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Exxon Valdez, factory automation, failed state, full employment, Gini coefficient, Google Earth, Home mortgage interest deduction, hydraulic fracturing, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, Indoor air pollution, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, longitudinal study, Lyft, mandatory minimum, manufacturing employment, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, The Chicago School, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, uber lyft, universal basic income, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, working poor, Works Progress Administration

Homicide rates have been diminishing in most though not all of the world, regardless of laws, sentence severity, or policing tactics. Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and a few other nations have seen homicides rise: most nations have seen murder become less frequent, including El Salvador and Nicaragua, not long ago violent lands. IS THE UNDERLYING REASON FOR less crime the reduction of lead in products and pollution? Lead is a potent toxin, associated with reduced IQ and loss of impulse control. Leaded paint can peel off walls and be eaten by children. Beginning in the 1920s, lead was blended into gasoline to boost octane. When consumer use of gasoline soared following World War II, lead levels of the atmosphere rose—and though most toddlers don’t eat peeled paint, everyone breathes, rendering atmospheric lead an exposure pathway. Through the 1960s, the amount of lead in the air of most nations went up—and when children born into leaded air became teens, they committed violent crimes.


pages: 416 words: 121,024

How to Murder Your Life: A Memoir by Cat Marnell

Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, East Village, Frank Gehry, impulse control, Joan Didion, Norman Mailer, period drama, pez dispenser, Rosa Parks, urban decay, walkable city, Wall-E, Zipcar

The second apartment I saw was an alcove studio at 112 First Avenue between Fifth and Sixth Streets. I liked that it was near St. Mark’s Place, the former punk rock mecca, and Tompkins Square Park, which filled up with cute teen runaways in the summer. The creaky, dark, small building was above a strange Polish restaurant and a porny video shop; there was also a McDonald’s and a combination Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins on the block. The setup screamed “mice.” But of course I screamed “impulse control problems.” “I’ll take it!” I exclaimed. It reminded me of a treehouse. I loved the weird shelves built into corners and the wood-paneled walls. There were three closets, which was crazy for four hundred square feet. And I liked that the treetops were right outside my windows. It was special to have a green view in downtown New York! The branches danced right up the glass. It reminded me of my dorm room junior year at boarding school.


Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom, Molyn Leszcz

cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, delayed gratification, deskilling, epigenetics, experimental subject, impulse control, meta analysis, meta-analysis, randomized controlled trial, the scientific method, traveling salesman, unbiased observer

Although demographic variables such as sex and education make little difference, there is evidence that level of functioning is significantly related to the ranking of therapeutic factors, for example, higher-functioning individuals value interpersonal learning (the cluster of interpersonal input and output, catharsis, and self-understanding) more than do the lower-functioning members in the same group.107 It has also been shown that lower-functioning inpatient group members value the instillation of hope, whereas higher-functioning members in the same groups value universality, vicarious learning, and interpersonal learning.108 A large number of other studies demonstrate differences between individuals (high encounter group learners vs. low learners, dominant vs. nondominant clients, overly responsible vs. nonresponsible clients, high self acceptors vs. low self acceptors, highly affiliative vs. low affiliative students).109 Not everyone needs the same things or responds in the same way to group therapy. There are many therapeutic pathways through the group therapy experience. Consider, for example, catharsis. Some restricted individuals benefit by experiencing and expressing strong affect, whereas others who have problems of impulse control and great emotional liability may not benefit from catharsis but instead from reining in emotional expression and acquiring intellectual structure. Narcissistic individuals need to learn to share and to give, whereas passive, self-effacing individuals need to learn to express their needs and to become more selfish. Some clients may need to develop satisfactory, even rudimentary, social skills; others may need to work with more subtle issues—for example, a male client who needs to stop sexualizing all women and devaluing or competing with all men.

An overly restricted definition of the role of group therapist—whether based on transparency or any other criterion—may cause the leader to lose sight of the individuality of each client’s needs. Despite your group orientation, you must retain some individual focus; not all clients need the same thing. Some, perhaps most, clients need to relax controls; they need to learn how to express their affect—anger, love, tenderness, hatred. Others, however, need the opposite: they need to gain impulse control because their lifestyles are already characterized by labile, immediately acted-upon affect. One final consequence of more or less unlimited therapist transparency is that the cognitive aspects of therapy may be completely neglected. As I noted earlier, mere catharsis is not in itself a corrective experience. Cognitive learning or restructuring (much of which is provided by the therapist) seems necessary for the client to be able to generalize group experiences to outside life; without this transfer or carryover, we have succeeded only in creating better, more gracious therapy group members.


pages: 524 words: 143,596

The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart

call centre, East Village, fear of failure, impulse control, land reform, Lao Tzu, Socratic dialogue, the medium is the message

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.


pages: 503 words: 131,064

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, longitudinal study, 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.


pages: 500 words: 145,005

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

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

“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.


pages: 454 words: 139,811

Woman On The Edge Of Time by Piercy, Marge

clean water, impulse control, War on Poverty

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.”


pages: 539 words: 139,378

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt

affirmative action, Black Swan, cognitive bias, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, index card, invisible hand, lateral thinking, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, Necker cube, Nelson Mandela, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, social intelligence, 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.


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

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

., “A Fenfluramine-Activated FDG-PET Study of Borderline Personality Disorder,” Biological Psychiatry 47 (2000): 540–47. 31. Eva Irle, Claudia Lange, and Ulrich Sachsse, “Reduced Size and Abnormal Asymmetry of Parietal Cortex in Women with Borderline Personality Disorder,” Biological Psychiatry 57 (2005): 173–82. 32. Leanne M. Williams et al., “‘Missing Links’ in Borderline Personality Disorder: Loss of Neural Synchrony Relates to Lack of Emotion Regulation and Impulse Control,” Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience 31, no. 3 (2006): 181–88. 33. Irle, Lange, and Sachsse, “Reduced Size.” 34. M. I. Posner et al., “An Approach to the Psychobiology of Personality Disorders,” Development and Psychopathology 15, no. 4 (2003): 1093–1106. M. I. Posner et al., “Attentional Mechanisms of Borderline Personality Disorder,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99, no. 25 (2002): 16366–70. 35.


pages: 461 words: 128,421

The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street by Justin Fox

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, business cycle, buy and hold, 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, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, stocks for the long run, 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.


pages: 435 words: 136,906

The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius(tm) by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen

Albert Einstein, fear of failure, impulse control, Isaac Newton, Mahatma Gandhi, out of africa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stephen Hawking, urban sprawl, Walter Mischel

This cannot be overlooked if we are intent on self-mastery. There are indeed times when we must protect ourselves, especially to avoid carrying the weight of every negative thing that moves us to respond. Instead of always questioning the impulse behind the reaction, we must do the opposite—understand and accept the impulse yet challenge and question the response before we act. This is the consequential thinking that is key to impulse control: the conscious and rational interpretation of feelings and events, which is also the cardinal rule of cognitive psychotherapy. Events happen and stimuli collide with us all the time; this is something we can only partially control. We must take greater control of how we interpret what triggers and stirs up our emotions. In fact, the mental interpretation of what is happening is frequently the only point at which we have any control over our subsequent response.


pages: 473 words: 130,141

The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution by Richard Wrangham

agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, Defenestration of Prague, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, impulse control, income inequality, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, phenotype, Ronald Reagan, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Steven Pinker, twin studies, ultimatum game

As a result, psychiatric patients with a history of excess reactive aggression can be helped by taking “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors” (SSRIs), drugs that increase serotonin concentration.38 By contrast, no successful psychopharmacological interventions have been found to influence proactive aggression in humans.39 The regulatory action of serotonin depends not only on its concentration but also on the density of the relevant kind of serotonin receptors. People with a high level of impulsivity (who are therefore liable to reactive aggression) tend to have unusually high densities of a particular kind of receptor (the 5-HT1A receptor) in parts of the prefrontal cortex associated with impulse control. Sex steroids (such as androgens and estrogens) also regulate the serotonin system. Men with low brain serotonin are more likely to be aggressive if they produce a high ratio of testosterone to the stress hormone, cortisol. Women show changes in the distribution of 5-HT1A receptors associated with changes in levels of circulating hormones across phases of the menstrual cycle. Severe cases of premenstrual syndrome, which can involve increased irritability and aggressiveness, can be helped by SSRIs.


pages: 506 words: 152,049

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.


pages: 543 words: 153,550

Model Thinker: What You Need to Know to Make Data Work for You by Scott E. Page

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, algorithmic trading, Alvin Roth, assortative mating, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Checklist Manifesto, computer age, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, deliberate practice, discrete time, distributed ledger, en.wikipedia.org, Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Science, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental economics, first-price auction, Flash crash, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, High speed trading, impulse control, income inequality, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, meta analysis, meta-analysis, money market fund, Nash equilibrium, natural language processing, Network effects, p-value, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Paul Samuelson, phenotype, pre–internet, prisoner's dilemma, race to the bottom, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, school choice, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, selection bias, six sigma, social graph, spectrum auction, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Supply of New York City Cabdrivers, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the rule of 72, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, urban sprawl, value at risk, web application, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

The Winner-Take-All Society: Why the Few at the Top Get So Much More than the Rest of Us. New York: Penguin. Freeman, Richard, and Wei Huang. 2015. “Collaborating with People Like Me: Ethnic Co-authorship Within the U.S.” Journal of Labor Economics 33 no. S1: S289-S318. Fudenberg, Drew, and David Levine. 1998. Theory of Learning in Games. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Fudenberg, Drew, and David Levine. 2006. “A Dual-Self Model of Impulse Control.” American Economic Review 96: 1449–1476. Gammill, James F., Jr., and Terry A. Marsh. 1988. “Trading Activity and Price Behavior in the Stock and Stock Index Futures Markets in October 1987.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 2, no. 3: 25–44. Gawande, Atul. 2009. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. New York: Henry Holt. Geithner, Timothy. 2014. Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises.


pages: 577 words: 149,554

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

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

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).


pages: 594 words: 165,413

The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

Ada Lovelace, cuban missile crisis, financial independence, impulse control, LNG terminal, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, trade route, Upton Sinclair

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.


pages: 512 words: 165,704

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

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

One reason, most simply, is that we have little actual information about people in traffic, as with the “Bumper of My S.U.V.” dilemma. The second reason is that we rely on stereotypes as “mental shortcuts” to help us make sense of complex environments in which there is little time to develop subtle evaluations. This is not necessarily bad: A driver who sees a small child standing on the roadside may make a stereotypical judgment that “children have no impulse control” and assume that the child may dash out. The driver slows. It does not take a great leap to imagine, however, the problems of seeing something that does not conform to our expectations. Consider the results of one well-known psychological study. People were read a word describing a personal attribute that confirmed, countered, or avoided gender stereotypes. They were then given a name and asked to judge whether it was male or female.


pages: 1,351 words: 385,579

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

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

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.


pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

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, Charles Lindbergh, 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, global pandemic, 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, Joi Ito, 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, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, MITM: man-in-the-middle, 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, Ross Ulbricht, 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.


pages: 798 words: 240,182

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, pattern recognition, Pepto Bismol, phenotype, positional goods, prediction markets, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, RFID, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, silicon-based life, Singularitarianism, social intelligence, 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.


pages: 778 words: 239,744

Gnomon by Nick Harkaway

Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Burning Man, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive dissonance, fault tolerance, fear of failure, gravity well, high net worth, impulse control, Isaac Newton, Khartoum Gordon, lifelogging, neurotypical, pattern recognition, place-making, post-industrial society, Potemkin village, Richard Feynman, Scramble for Africa, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, the market place, trade route, urban planning, urban sprawl

Imagine if you could just turn off a brawl or a riot from your phone.’ She mimes zapping me with a touchscreen. ‘There are dozens of these ideas floating around. And the thing about them is that none of them is actually evil, they’re only sinister if you see them in one particular direction. Imagine that instead of prison you could resocialise someone, put them in a human environment and yet protect that environment from their lapses. Occupational therapy, impulse control, an awareness of place and connectedness. By many readings it’s the optimal reform environment – the only thing it needs is a positive context to grow in, a place where people can respect you, which is much easier if they know you can’t hurt them. Recidivism rates could be slashed. Except that, I mean: hey. It’s putting control chips in people. Why not go the whole way and run a wire into a given bit of the brain, stimulate a given response directly when you need to?


pages: 956 words: 267,746

Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion ofSafety by Eric Schlosser

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.


pages: 918 words: 257,605

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff

Amazon Web Services, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, book scanning, Broken windows theory, California gold rush, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, corporate personhood, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, dogs of the Dow, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, Ford paid five dollars a day, future of work, game design, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, impulse control, income inequality, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, linked data, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, means of production, multi-sided market, Naomi Klein, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Occupy movement, off grid, PageRank, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, Paul Buchheit, performance metric, Philip Mirowski, precision agriculture, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, RFID, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Robert Mercer, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, smart cities, Snapchat, social graph, social web, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, structural adjustment programs, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, two-sided market, union organizing, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, Wolfgang Streeck

A rich and flourishing research literature illuminates the antecedents, conditions, consequences, and challenges of human self-regulation as a universal need. The capacity for self-determination is understood as an essential foundation for many of the behaviors that we associate with critical capabilities such as empathy, volition, reflection, personal development, authenticity, integrity, learning, goal accomplishment, impulse control, creativity, and the sustenance of intimate enduring relationships. “Implicit in this process is a self that sets goals and standards, is aware of its own thoughts and behaviors, and has the capacity to change them,” write Ohio State University professor Dylan Wagner and Dartmouth professor Todd Heatherton in an essay about the centrality of self-awareness to self-determination: “Indeed, some theorists have suggested that the primary purpose of self awareness is to enable self-regulation.”


pages: 1,104 words: 302,176

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World) by Robert J. Gordon

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, Apple II, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Charles Lindbergh, 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 sewing machine, 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, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, undersea cable, 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.


pages: 623 words: 448,848

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, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, statistical model, stem cell, twin studies

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 [31]. 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 [31]. 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 [31]. Specific monoamines Tyramine Many fermented foods contain tyramine derived from the bacterial decarboxylation of tyrosine.