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The Misconception: Willpower is just a metaphor. The Truth: Willpower is a finite resource. Forever Alone by Lysgaard (Source: Lysgaard ) In 2005, a team of psychologists made a group of college students feel like scum. The researchers invited the undergraduates into their lab and asked the students to just hang out for a while and get to know each other. The setting was designed to simulate a casual meet-and-greet atmosphere, you know, like a reception or an office Christmas party – the sort of thing that never really feels all that casual?
Behavioural Economics / Finance
Here is the Mind and Matter column in the Wall Street Journal, published on 24th December. Which American city has more inhabitants: San Antonio or San Diego? More Germans than Americans get the answer right (San Diego).
Michael Mauboussin asserts, "Smart people make poor decisions because they have the same factory settings on their mental software as the rest of us, and that software isn't designed to cope with many of today's problems...Beyond the problem of mental software, smart people make bad decisions because they harbor false beliefs." What to do? I agree with Mauboussin that the most valuable lessons in life tend to be revealed by failure that results from errors of judgment. For example, consider this familiar observation about betrayal of confidence: "First time, shame on you; second time, shame on me."
Donald Green and Ian Shapiro This is the first comprehensive critical evaluation of the use of rational choice theory in political science. Writing in an accessible and nontechnical style, Donald P. Green and Ian Shapiro assess rational choice theory where it is reputed to be most successful: the study of collective action, the behavior of political parties and politicians, and such phenomena as voting cycles and Prisoner's Dilemmas.
Preface Acknowledgments Chapter 1. Staring into the Darwinian Abyss Why Jerry Falwell Is Right The Replicators and the Vehicles What Kind of Robot Is a Person? Whose Goals Are Served by Our Behavior? All Vehicles Overboard!
<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-91833" title="lego-workout-weight-lifting-lucidtech-flickr" src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/wiredscience/2012/01/lego-workout-weight-lifting-lucidtech-flickr.jpg" alt="" width="660" height="325" /> January is the month of broken resolutions. The gyms are packed for a week, Jenny Craig is full of new recruits and houses are cleaned for the first time in ages. We pledge to finally become the person we want to be: svelte, neat and punctual.
Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images Daniel Kahneman, New York City, September 2011 In 1955, when Daniel Kahneman was twenty-one years old, he was a lieutenant in the Israeli Defense Forces. He was given the job of setting up a new interview system for the entire army.
Memory is our past and future. To know who you are as a person, you need to have some idea of who you have been. And, for better or worse, your remembered life story is a pretty good guide to what you will do tomorrow. "Our memory is our coherence," wrote the surrealist Spanish-born film-maker, Luis Buñuel, "our reason, our feeling, even our action."