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TIPPING POINTS? MALCOLM GLADWELL COULD USE A FEW | Our Bad Media
"How could The New Yorker’s fact-checking department fail catch all this? How could an editor see the detail in Gladwell’s descriptions and not ask for backup? There are only two plausible answers here. The first is this: Gladwell may have said that he was describing well-documented events and that the quotes and details had “escaped their source.” Indeed, as reported by the Columbia Journalism Review’s Edirin Oputu, the fact-checking director at The New Yorker, Peter Canby, has used this exact defense in the past.

This past April, a New Yorker article by Elizabeth Kolbert quoted the following from chemist F. Sherwood Rowland, without attribution:
“What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?”

The quote, Oputu noted, had originally appeared in a 1986 New Yorker piece by Paul Brodeur. “The New Yorker,” she wrote, “had effectively plagiarized itself.” In response, Canby said that the quote was “so widely used without attribution that it has effectively escaped its authorship.”

But that defense simply doesn’t pass the sniff test here. Almost none of the quotes – not those from Tesler or Jobs, or those from the Troy-Greenfield railroad promoters, or those of the participants in the Greensboro sit-ins – have reached escape velocity and broken free from the need for attribution. It’s almost impossible to find any of them before they appeared in Gladwell’s articles. And it’s not just the quotes that haven’t escaped their original, obscure sources – the vast majority of the details used by Gladwell haven’t, either.

So is this on The New Yorker’s factcheckers? As former New Yorker factchecker Jon Swan wrote in reply to the Rowland incident, “surely the checker is not alone at fault for this breach of journalistic ethics. Editor and author are involved in the process. Did the editor ask for verification? Did the author know where the quote had originated?” In this case, probably not. As we’ve seen demonstrated by Fareed Zakaria, as well as the initial protection of both Lehrer and BuzzFeed’s “deeply original” Benny Johnson, sometimes an outlet’s superstar gets a little more leeway."

[See also: http://www.poynter.org/news/mediawire/307589/zakaria-critics-turn-their-attention-to-malcolm-gladwell/ ]
malcolmgladwell  ethics  journalism  newyorker  2014  plagiarism  jonahlehrer  attribution 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Your brain on pseudoscience: the rise of popular neurobollocks
"The idea that a neurological explanation could exhaust the meaning of experience was already being mocked as “medical materialism” by… William James a century ago…

Indeed, despite their technical paraphernalia of neurotransmitters and anterior temporal gyruses, modern pop brain books are offering a spiritual topography…

None of the foregoing should be taken to imply that fMRI and other brain-investigation techniques are useless: there is beautiful and amazing science in how they work and what well-designed experiments can teach us. [example]…

In this light, one might humbly venture a preliminary diagnosis of the pop brain hacks’ chronic intellectual error. It is that they misleadingly assume we always know how to interpret such “hidden” information, and that it is always more reliably meaningful than what lies in plain view. The hucksters of neuroscientism are the conspiracy theorists of the human animal, the 9/11 Truthers of the life of the mind."
self-improvement  self-help  neuroflâneurship  neuroprocrastination  neurogastronomy  neuromarketing  meurotheology  neuromagic  neuropolitics  christopherchabris  elainefox  samharris  popscience  neurobabble  neurobollocks  neurotrash  neuro  neurofillintheblank  chrismooney  johnarden  paulfletcher  williamjames  artmarkman  jonathanhaidt  robertkurzban  fMRI  descartes  jonahlehrer  malcolmgladwell  2012  stevenpoole  brain  science  neuroscience 
september 2012 by robertogreco
On Bob Dylan And Jonah Lehrer, Two Fabulists : The Record : NPR
"This is the essence of the popular arts in America: Be a magpie, take from everywhere, but assemble the scraps and shiny things you've lifted in ways that not only seem inventive, but really do make new meanings. Fabrication is elemental to this process — not fakery, exactly, but the careful construction of a series of masks through which the artist can not only speak for himself, but channel and transform the vast and complicated past that bears him or her forward. Integrity arises in the process of solidifying your relationship to those sources. For a journalist like Lehrer, there's a code, and he clearly violated it. An artist like Dylan shows us a different way of operating: of using insight not to shore up a myth of originality, but to connect to all the tall tales and ghost stories that establish a culture's character, to walk through a dreamscape whose atmosphere sticks to us and makes us who we are. Dylan himself described this process in a 1963 poem he wrote for his hero, another truth-telling, self-made character. "You need something to open up a new door / 
To show you something you seen before / 
But overlooked a hundred times or more," read the lines from "Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie." In art, originality is never that original. But that doesn't make it less real."
bobdylan  jonahlehrer  creativity  journalism  integrity  deception  2012  via:Preoccupations 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Jonah Lehrer’s missing compass | The Panic Virus
"Since Monday, I’ve spoken with about a dozen people who know Lehrer in one capacity or another. A theory that several have raised is that when the 2008 publication of How We Decide made Lehrer a superstar — with Colbert Report appearances, huge speaking fee paydays, and bylines in the country’s top glossy magazines and newspapers — he became overwhelmed and started to cut corners. But the simultaneously pervasive and picayune journalistic misconduct cited above — and remember, that’s all in a single blog post that’s roughly half as long as the one you’re reading —  doesn’t illustrate sloppiness or corner-cutting. It illustrates a writer with a remarkable arrogance: The arrogance to believe that he has the right to rejigger reality to make things a little punchier, or a little neater, or a little easier for himself. This is not the work of someone who lost his way; it’s the work of someone who didn’t have a compass to begin with."
jonahlehrer  2012  journalism  deception  integrity  via:Preoccupations 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Jonah Lehrer, TED, and the narrative dark arts | Felix Salmon
"TED-think isn’t merely vapid, it’s downright dangerous in the way that it devalues intellectual rigor at the expense of tricksy emotional and narrative devices. TED is a hugely successful franchise; its stars, like Jonah Lehrer, are going to continue to percolate into the world of journalism. And when they get there, they’ll be deeply versed in the dark arts of manipulating facts in order to create something perfectly self-contained and compelling. … TED isn’t going away: indeed, it’s so successful that it is spawning dozens of competitors, even as many publications, including the New Yorker as well as Wired, the NYT Magazine, the Atlantic, and many others, move aggressively into the “ideas” space. The cross-pollination between the conferences and the publications will continue, as will everybody’s desire to draw as big an audience as possible. Which says to me that Jonah Lehrer will not be the last person to trip up in this manner. In fact, he might turn out to be one of the first."
ted  jonahlehrer  2012  science  journalism  ideas  narrative  deception  via:Preoccupations 
august 2012 by robertogreco
The Lehrer Affair - The Rumpus.net
"Lehrer … isn’t an artist or scientist, but a skillful journalist, and while he’s never pretended otherwise, there’s often a secondhand feel to much of his work. Lehrer has always had trouble discussing the process behind specific acts of creativity—as in his rather confused discussion of Bob Dylan in Imagine, which Isaac Chotiner of The New Republic has ruthlessly picked apart—and the fact that he returns so often to the same examples reflects the fact that he doesn’t yet have the deep well of insight that comes only after years of creative endeavor.

The real irony is that the sort of career that Lehrer is building for himself makes it especially hard to achieve this kind of knowledge. Creative work tends to be solitary, pursued without an audience or any clear reward, and rarely happens on schedule. It has little to do, in short, with the life of a pundit, blogger, and public intellectual…"

[Via: http://ayjay.tumblr.com/post/27009303981/lehrer-isnt-an-artist-or-scientist-but-a ]
audience  rewards  intellectualism  blogging  solitude  knowledge  isaacchotiner  bobdylan  journalism  time  alecnevala-lee  2012  creativity  jonahlehrer 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Brainstorming Doesn’t Really Work : The New Yorker
The first set of teams got the standard brainstorming spiel, including the no-criticism ground rules. Other teams—assigned what Nemeth called the “debate” condition—were told, “Most research and advice suggest that the best way to come up with good solutions is to come up with many solutions. Freewheeling is welcome; don’t be afraid to say anything that comes to mind. However, in addition, most studies suggest that you should debate and even criticize each other’s ideas.” The rest received no further instructions, leaving them free to collaborate however they wanted. All the teams had twenty minutes to come up with as many good solutions as possible.
The results were telling. The brainstorming groups slightly outperformed the groups given no instructions, but teams given the debate condition were the most creative by far. On average, they generated nearly twenty per cent more ideas. And, after the teams disbanded, another interesting result became apparent. Researchers asked each subject individually if she had any more ideas about traffic. The brainstormers and the people given no guidelines produced an average of three additional ideas; the debaters produced seven.
According to Nemeth, dissent stimulates new ideas because it encourages us to engage more fully with the work of others and to reassess our viewpoints. “There’s this Pollyannaish notion that the most important thing to do when working together is stay positive and get along, to not hurt anyone’s feelings,” she says. “Well, that’s just wrong. Maybe debate is going to be less pleasant, but it will always be more productive. True creativity requires some trade-offs.”
“The best Broadway teams, by far, were those with a mix of relationships,” Uzzi says. “These teams had some old friends, but they also had newbies. This mixture meant that the artists could interact efficiently—they had a familiar structure to fall back on—but they also managed to incorporate some new ideas. They were comfortable with each other, but they weren’t too comfortable.”
psychology  brainstorming  ideas  creativity  via:tealtan  2012  jonahlehrer 
june 2012 by robertogreco
The Persistence Of Memory | Wired Science | Wired.com
"The great mystery of memory is how it endures. The typical neural protein only lasts for a few weeks, the cortex in a constant state of reincarnation. How, then, do our memories persist? It’s as if our remembered past can outlast the brain itself.

But wait: the mystery gets even more mysterious. A neuronal memory cannot simply be strong: it must also be specific. While each neuron has only a single nucleus, it has a teeming mass of dendritic branches. These twigs wander off in every direction, connecting to other neurons at dendritic synapses (imagine two trees whose branches touch in a dense forest). It is at these tiny crossings that our memories are made: not in the trunk of the neuronal tree, but in its sprawling canopy.

This means that every memory – represented as an altered connection between cells – cannot simply endure. It must endure in an incredibly precise way, so that the wiring diagram remains intact even as the mind gets remade, those proteins continually recycled."
brainscience  biology  science  kausiksi  2012  jonahlehrer  neuroscience  brain  mind  memory 
february 2012 by robertogreco
How Do We Identifiy Good Ideas? | Wired Science | Wired.com
"Nietzsche stressed this point. As he observed in his 1878 book Human, All Too Human:

"Artists have a vested interest in our believing in the flash of revelation, the so-called inspiration…shining down from heavens as a ray of grace. In reality, the imagination of the good artist or thinker produces continuously good, mediocre or bad things, but his judgment, trained and sharpened to a fine point, rejects, selects, connects…All great artists and thinkers are great workers, indefatigable not only in inventing, but also in rejecting, sifting, transforming, ordering.""
2012  imagination  editing  rejection  ideas  nietzsche  sifting  sorting  creativity  thinking  artists  jonahlehrer 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Developing Your Creative Practice: Tips from Brian Eno :: Tips :: The 99 Percent
"1. Freeform capture. Grab from a range of sources without editorializing…

2. Blank state. Start with new tools, from nothing, and toy around…

3. Deliberate limitations. Before a project begins, develop specific limitations…

4. Opposing forces. Sometimes it’s best to generate a forced collision of ideas…

5. Creative prompts. In the ‘70s Eno developed his Oblique Strategies cards, a series of prompts modeled after the I Ching to disrupt the process and encourage a new way of encountering a creative problem. On the cards are statements and questions like: “Would anybody want it?” “Try faking it!” “Only a part, not the whole.” “Work at a different speed.” “Disconnect from desire.” “Turn it upside down.” “Use an old idea."…

In the end, don’t underestimate your personal feelings about a project. Eno states: “Nearly all the things I do that are of any merit at all start off as just being good fun.” Amen to that."
art  creativity  music  productivity  brain  neuroscience  via:preoccupations  brianeno  2011  jonahlehrer  ideation  classideas  innovation  noticing  limitations  constraints  making  doing  glvo  howwework  process  idleness  boredom  thinking  ideas 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Does Money Make You Unhappy? | Wired Science | Wired.com
"I’m genuinely puzzled by our failure to spend money properly. In general, human intuition improves with experience – it gets better as we put in those 10,000 hours of practice, so to speak. And yet, this doesn’t appear to be true when it comes to our intuitions about the pursuit of happiness. After all, we’ve all got extensive experience with pleasure. We know exactly what we enjoy. Nevertheless, this abundance of experience doesn’t lead to better purchases over time. Either psychologists can’t measure happiness or human beings with disposable income are very confused."
economics  psychology  money  happiness  wealth  2011  jonahlehrer  spending  decisionmaking  well-being  paradox 
september 2011 by robertogreco
The Rhetoric Of Neuroscience | Wired Science | Wired.com
"The language of neuroscience definitely fuels an “anxious parenting” mentality–everything you do molds the child’s brain, permanently influencing your child’s future life (job, mental health, intelligence, and so forth). This is scary stuff–some of the language I look at uses neuroscience to suggest that a single mistake at the wrong time (an aggressive tone, yelling at the child) can have permanent effects on the child’s emotional stability. Of course, we have always had various ways of promoting – as well as contesting – the anxious parenting mentality, so the neuroscientific version isn’t totally new, it’s just the latest reinvention. But the neuroscientific language and images give it a particularly persuasive quality that I think is especially nerve-wracking–popular magazine features tell us that we can see, on a second-by-second basis, how our every word and behavior are permanently influencing our child’s brain."
jonahlehrer  davijohnsonthornton  parenting  anxiety  anxiousparenting  permanence  fear  neuroscience  language  rhetoric  2011  brain  science 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Spoilers Don’t Spoil Anything | Wired Science | Wired.com
"I’ve got a weak spot for pulp fiction, especially when it involves a mysterious twist…unironic thrillers & mediocre Agatha Christie imitations…any kind of fiction that lets me forget for vast stretches of time that I’m sitting in an airport terminal.

I read these books in an unusual way: I begin with the last five pages, seeking out the final twist first. The twist won’t make sense at this point, but that doesn’t matter—I enjoy reading the story with the grand finale in mind…

I’ve always assumed that this reading style is a perverse personal habit, a symptom of a flawed literary intelligence. It turns out…I was just ahead of the curve, because spoilers don’t spoil anything. In fact, a new study suggests that spoilers can actually increase our enjoyment of literature. Although we’ve long assumed that the suspense makes the story—we keep on reading because we don’t know what happens next—this new research suggests that the tension actually detracts from our enjoyment."

[See also: http://www.salon.com/entertainment/movies/feature/2011/08/11/we_like_spoilers ]
jonahlehrer  psychology  literature  spoilers  endings  film  reading  classideas  writing  research  2011 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Are Smart People Getting Smarter? | Wired Science | Wired.com
"That said, environmental stimulation remains an incomplete explanation. Even for those on the right side of the curve, intelligence gains probably have many distinct causes, from the complexity of The Wire to the social multiplier effect, which is the tendency of smart people to hang out with other smart people. (In this sense, gifted programs in schools might help drive IQ gains among the top five percent. The Internet probably helps, too.) The question, of course, is whether such factors have really changed over time. Has it gotten easier for smart people to interact with each other? Are those on the right side of the IQ distribution now more likely to have children together? Would the Flynn effect be even larger if we did more of [fill in the blank]? These questions have no easy answers, but at least we now know that they need to be answered."
flynneffect  intelligence  iq  psychology  brain  jonahlehrer  education  society  history  everythingbadisgoodforyou  stevenjohnson  jamesflynn  multiplicity  multiplicityhypothesis  gifted  giftedprograms  grouping  peergroups  peers  2011 
august 2011 by robertogreco
The Auteur Myth | Wired Science | Wired.com
"…it’s also important to remember that nobody creates Vertigo or the iPad by themselves; even auteurs need the support of a vast system. When you look closely at auteurs, what you often find is that their real genius is for the the assembly of creative teams, trusting the right people with the right tasks at the right time. Sure, they make the final decisions, but they are choosing between alternatives created by others. When we frame auteurs as engaging in the opposite of collaboration, when we obsess over Hitchcock’s narrative flair but neglect Lehman’s script, or think about Jobs’ aesthetic but not Ive’s design (or the design of those working for Ives), we are indulging in a romantic vision of creativity that rarely exists. Even geniuses need a little help."
jonahlehrer  creativity  collaboration  alfredhitchcock  stevejobs  johngruber  design  film  decisionmaking  auteurs  howwework  constraints  support  making  business  teamwork  leadership  2011 
july 2011 by robertogreco
In Praise Of Vagueness | Wired Science | Wired.com
"Vagueness is hard to defend. To be vague is to be imprecise, unclear, ambiguous. In an age that worships precise information, vagueness feels like willfull laziness.

And yet, as William James pointed out, vagueness is not without virtues. Sometimes, precision is dangerous, a closed door keeping us from imagining new possibilities. Vagueness is that door flung wide open, a reminder that we don’t yet know the answer, that we might still get better, that we have yet to fail."
jonahlehrer  2011  uncertainty  vagueness  problemsolving  precision  goals  goal-setting  performance  motivation  divergentthinking 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Ads Implant False Memories | Wired Science | Wired.com
"The answer returns us to a troubling recent theory known as memory reconsolidation. In essence, reconsolidation is rooted in the fact that every time we recall a memory we also remake it, subtly tweaking the neuronal details. Although we like to think of our memories as being immutable impressions, somehow separate from the act of remembering them, they aren’t. A memory is only as real as the last time you remembered it. What’s disturbing, of course, is that we can’t help but borrow many of our memories from elsewhere, so that the ad we watched on television becomes our own, part of that personal narrative we repeat and retell.

This idea, simple as it seems, requires us to completely re-imagine our assumptions about memory."
biology  brain  memory  psychology  science  jonahlehrer  advertising  2011 
may 2011 by robertogreco
On The Media: Transcript of "The 'Decline Effect' and Scientific Truth" (May 13, 2011)
[Great story told with Jad Abumrad, Robert Krulwich, and Jonah Lehrer]

"Surprising and exciting scientific findings capture our attention and captivate the press. But what if, at some point after a finding has been soundly established, it starts to disappear? In a special collaboration with Radiolab we look at the 'decline effect' when more data tells us less about scientific truth."

[From the "Data Show": http://www.onthemedia.org/episodes/2011/05/13 See also "The Personal Data Revolution" http://www.onthemedia.org/transcripts/2011/05/13/01 AND "Data Journalism" http://www.onthemedia.org/transcripts/2011/05/13/02 AND "Two Cautionary Data Tales" http://www.onthemedia.org/transcripts/2011/05/13/03 ]

[See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_effect ]
declineeffect  2011  radiolab  jonahlehrer  jadabumrad  robertkrulwich  psychology  observation  science  research  statistics  data  reality  truth  perception  placebos  observereffect 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Does Depression Help Us Think Better? | Wired Science | Wired.com
"In other words, Thomson and Andrews imagined depression as a way of forcing the mind to focus on its problems. Although rumination feels terrible, it might make it easier for us to pay continuous attention to our dilemmas. According to Andrews and Thomson, the mood disorder is part of a “coordinated system” that exists “for the specific purpose of effectively analyzing the complex life problem that triggered the depression.” If depression didn’t exist — if we didn’t react to stress and trauma with endless ruminations — then we would be less likely to solve our predicaments."

"Perhaps Aristotle was a little bit right when he declared: “All men who have attained excellence in philosophy, in poetry, in art and in politics, even Socrates and Plato, had a melancholic habitus; indeed some suffered even from melancholic disease.”"
science  psychology  depression  health  jonahlehrer  research  brain  neuroscience  melancholy  socrates  plato  criticalthinking  thinking  decisionmaking  2011 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Why America Needs More Immigrants | Wired Science | Wired.com
"Immigrants bring a much-needed set of skills & interests. Last year, foreign students studying on temporary visas received more than 60% of all U.S. engineering doctorates. (American students, by contrast, dominate doctorate programs in the humanities and social sciences.)

These engineering students drive economic growth. According to the Department of Labor, only 5% of U.S. workers are employed in fields related to science and engineering, but they’re responsible for more than 50% of sustained economic expansion (growth that isn’t due to temporary or cyclical factors). These people invent products that change our lives, and in the process, they create jobs.

But the advantages of immigration aren’t limited to those with particular academic backgrounds. In recent years, psychologists have discovered that exposing people to different cultures, either through travel abroad or diversity in their hometown, can also make them more creative."
economics  immigration  jonahlehrer  trends  us  creativity  entrepreneurship  2011  diversity  empathy  perspective  problemsolving 
may 2011 by robertogreco
The Reason We Reason | Wired Science | Wired.com
"Our hypothesis is that the function of reasoning is argumentative. It is to devise and evaluate arguments intended to persuade… The idea here is that the confirmation bias is not a flaw of reasoning, it’s actually a feature…"

"Needless to say, this new theory paints a rather bleak portrait of human nature. We like to think of ourselves as rational creatures, blessed with this Promethean gift of being able to decipher the world and uncover all sorts of hidden truths. But Mercier and Sperber argue that reason has little to do with reality, which is why I’m still convinced that those NBA players are streaky when they’re really just lucky. Instead, the function of reasoning is rooted in communication, in the act of trying to persuade other people that what we believe is true. We are social animals all the way down."
jonahlehrer  2011  science  brain  reasoning  bias  human  humans  social  socialanimals  confirmationbias  argument  reason  communication  truth  rationality 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Jonah Lehrer on Buildings, Health and Creativity | Head Case - WSJ.com
"Although we're only starting to grasp how the insides of buildings influence the insides of the mind, it's possible to begin prescribing different kinds of spaces for different tasks. If we're performing a job that requires accuracy and focus (say, copy editing a manuscript), we should seek out confined spaces with a red color scheme. But for tasks that require a little bit of creativity, we seem to benefit from high ceilings, lots of windows and bright blue walls that match the sky."
learning  design  architecture  science  psychology  jonahlehrer  2011  ceilings  schooldesign  creativity  focus  thinking  neuroscience 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Jonah Lehrer on Problems With SATs, GREs, the NFL Combine and Other Performance Tests | Head Case - WSJ.com
"Though the SAT does a decent job of predicting the grades of college freshmen—the test accounts for about 12% of the individual variation in grade point average—it is much less effective at predicting levels of achievement after graduation. Professional academic tests suffer from the same flaw. A study by the University of Michigan Law School, for instance, found that LSAT scores bore virtually no relationship to career success as measured by levels of income, life satisfaction or public service."

"The reason maximal measures are such bad predictors is rooted in what these tests don't measure. It turns out that many of the most important factors for life success are character traits, such as grit and self-control, and these can't be measured quickly."

"The larger lesson is that we've built our society around tests of performance that fail to predict what really matters: what happens once the test is over."
education  teaching  testing  gre  sat  standardizedtesting  2011  jonahlehrer  tcsnmy  whatmatters  predictions  measurement  well-being  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  assessment  recommendations  learning  perseverance  self-control  nfl 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Jonah Lehrer: A Herd Makes Money on Wall Street | Head Case - WSJ.com
"For too long, we've subscribed to an overly individualistic model of success. If a trader is particularly effective, we tend to assume that he or she must have some special talent, some uncanny ability to decipher the market. But that's probably not the case. This research reminds us that the best traders can only be understood as part of a network. Fish make sense of the world by coming together. So do we."
networks  investing  technology  psychology  jonahlehrer  finance  markets  individualism  interdependence  collaboration  information  sensemaking  patternrecognition  2011  via:robinsloan 
march 2011 by robertogreco
The Virtues Of Play | Wired Science | Wired.com
"Nietzsche said it best: “The struggle of maturity is to recover the seriousness of the child at play.” While parents might be tempted to enroll their kids in preschools that seem the most “academic,” that’s probably a mistake. There is nothing frivolous about play."
education  play  children  psychology  games  reggioemilia  montessori  kindergarten  preschool  unschooling  deschooling  jonahlehrer  nietzsche  learning  academics  reading  math  tcsnmy  schools  damagedbyschools  cognition  parenting 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Against Attention | Wired Science | Wired.com
"In 1995, psychologists …surveyed several dozen elementary school teachers. While every teacher said they wanted creative kids in their classroom, they were mistaken. In fact, when the teachers were asked to rate their students on a variety of personality measures the traits mostly closely aligned with creative thinking were also closely associated with their “least favorite” students…

This shouldn’t be too surprising: Would you really want a little Picasso in your class? The point is that the classroom isn’t designed for impulsive expression – that’s called talking out of turn. Instead, it’s all about obeying group dynamics and paying strict attention. Those are important life skills, of course, but decades of psychological research suggest that such skills have little to do with creativity. Although we pay a lot of lip service to the cultivation of the imagination, we’re clearly failing to give our kids the tools they need to innovate in the real world."
creativity  attention  psychology  science  teaching  jonahlehrer  tcsnmy  learning  unschooling  deschooling  control  authority  lcproject  pedagogy 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Lost & Found - Radiolab
"In this episode, Radiolab steers its way through a series of stories about getting lost, and asks how our brains, and our hearts, help us find our way back home.

After hearing about a little girl who gets lost in front of her own house, Jad and Robert wonder how we find our way in the world. We meet a woman who has spent her entire life getting lost, and find out how our brains make maps of the world around us. We go to a military base in New Jersey to learn about some amazing feats of navigational wizardry, and are introduced to a group of people in Australia with impeccable orientation. Finally, we turn to a very different kind of lost and found: a love story about running into a terrifying, and unexpected, fork in the road."
radiolab  wayfinding  navigation  human  brain  jonahlehrer  beinglost  classideas  animals  love 
january 2011 by robertogreco
The Educational Benefit of Ugly Fonts | Wired Science | Wired.com
"direct test yet of the benefits of disfluency…researchers began by getting supplementary classroom material…from a variety of teachers. (Subjects included English, Physics, U.S. History & Chemistry.) Then, researchers changed fonts on all materials, transforming the fluent text into a variety of disfluent formats, such Monotype Corsiva, Comic Sans Italicized & Haettenshweiler. Because all of the teachers included in the study taught at least 2 sections of the same class, the psychologists were able to conduct a neatly controlled experiment. One group of students was given the classroom materials with the disfluent fonts, while the other group was taught with the usual mixture of Helvetica & Arial. The font size remained the same.

After several weeks of instruction, the students were then tested on their retention of the material. In every class except chemistry, the students in the disfluent condition performed significantly better than those in the control-fluent condition."
jonahlehrer  education  fonts  psychology  learning  research  reading  understanding  memory  difficulty  disfluency  tcsnmy  classideas  teaching  schools  texts  text  comicsans 
january 2011 by robertogreco
A Physicist Turns the City Into an Equation - NYTimes.com ["According to data, when a city doubles in size, every measure of economic activity increases by approximately 15% per capita.]
One quote:

“A human being at rest runs on 90 watts,” he says. “That’s how much power you need just to lie down. And if you’re a hunter-gatherer and you live in the Amazon, you’ll need about 250 watts. That’s how much energy it takes to run about and find food. So how much energy does our lifestyle [in America] require? Well, when you add up all our calories and then you add up the energy needed to run the computer and the air-conditioner, you get an incredibly large number, somewhere around 11,000 watts. Now you can ask yourself: What kind of animal requires 11,000 watts to live? And what you find is that we have created a lifestyle where we need more watts than a blue whale. We require more energy than the biggest animal that has ever existed. That is why our lifestyle is unsustainable. We can’t have seven billion blue whales on this planet. It’s not even clear that we can afford to have 300 million blue whales.” 
urban  urbanism  geoffreywest  cities  corporations  growth  physics  modeling  models  energy  density  efficience  freedom  remkoolhaas  planning  policy  economics  self-control  short-termmemory  memory  architecture  design  urbantheory  urbanscience  theory  science  data  census  walking  transportation  patternrecognition  patterns  math  mathematics  infrastructure  jonahlehrer  organic  organisms  consumption  metabolism  sustainability  interaction  janejacobs  collaboration  crosspollination  robertmoses  efficiency 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Jonah Lehrer's Head Case Column on Thanksgiving Overeating - WSJ.com
"In recent years, neuroscience has begun to solve the mystery of overeating. It turns out to have little to do with our taste buds, or even with our conscious desire for certain foods. Instead, the impulse to overeat depends on the pleasures of the stomach and intestines, which have an uncanny ability to detect the presence of calories. When we reach for that third helping of turkey, we are obeying the wishes of the gut, following a bodily desire that's difficult to resist."
food  eating  jonahlehrer  neuroscience  obesity  health  taste  overeating 
november 2010 by robertogreco
The Cognitive Cost Of Expertise | Wired Science | Wired.com
"Now for the bad news: Expertise might also come with a dark side, as all those learned patterns make it harder for us to integrate wholly new knowledge. Consider a recent paper that investigated the mnemonic performance of London taxi drivers. In the world of neuroscience, London cabbies are best known for their demonstration of structural plasticity in the hippocampus, a brain area devoted (in part) to spatial memory. Because the cabbies are required to memorize the entire urban map of London – it’s the most rigorous driving test in the world – their posterior hippocampi swell and expand, leading to permanent changes in the brain. Knowledge shapes matter."
neuroscience  psychology  constraints  jonahlehrer  perception  brain  chess  thinking  science  expertise  memory  plasticity  generalists  specialization  mindchanges  permanence  specialists  mindchanging 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Why Making Dinner Is a Good Idea | Wired Science | Wired.com
"But maybe we’re not just consuming more calories because they’re available at such a low cost. Maybe we’re also consuming more calories because each calorie gives us less pleasure. The lesson of those lever-pressing mice, after all, is that when we don’t work for our food — when it only requires a single press, or a few whirls of the microwave — it tastes much less delicious."
cooking  diet  food  health  science  psychology  jonahlehrer  ikea  ikeaeffect  foodproduction  glvo  obesity 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Cities - Radiolab
"In this hour of Radiolab, we take to the street to ask what makes cities tick.

There's no scientific metric for measuring a city's personality. But step out on the sidewalk, and you can see and feel it. Two physicists explain one tidy mathematical formula that they believe holds the key to what drives a city. Yet math can't explain most of the human-scale details that make urban life unique. So we head out in search of what the numbers miss, and meet a reluctant city dweller, a man who's walked 700 feet below Manhattan, and a once-thriving community that's slipping away."
cities  radiolab  2010  math  physics  nyc  collapse  urban  urbanism  jonahlehrer  size  footfall  comparison  statistics  data  measurement  tolisten 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Jonah Lehrer's Head Case Column on Punditry - WSJ.com
"The dismal performance of experts inspired Mr. Tetlock to turn his case study into an epic experimental project. He picked 284 people who made their living "commenting or offering advice on political & economic trends," including journalists, foreign policy specialists, economists & intelligence analysts, & began asking them to make predictions. Over the next 2 decades, he peppered them w/ questions: Would George Bush be re-elected? Would apartheid in South Africa end peacefully? Would Quebec secede from Canada? Would the dot-com bubble burst? In each case, the pundits rated the probability of several possible outcomes. By the end of the study, Mr. Tetlock had quantified 82,361 predictions.

How did the experts do? When it came to predicting the likelihood of an outcome, the vast majority performed worse than random chance. In other words, they would have done better picking their answers blindly out of a hat. Liberals, moderates & conservatives were all equally ineffective."
jonahlehrer  experts  forecasting  politics  psychology  predictions 
october 2010 by robertogreco
7 Essential Skills You Didn't Learn in College | Magazine
"1. Statistical Literacy: Making sense of today’s data-driven world.
2. Post-State Diplomacy: Power and politics, sans government.
3. Remix Culture: Samples, mashups, and mixes.
4. Applied Cognition: The neuroscience you need.
5. Writing for New Forms: Self-expression in 140 characters.
6. Waste Studies: Understanding end-to-end economics.
7. Domestic Tech: How to use the world as your lab."
arts  culture  education  wired  learning  lifehacks  skills  unschooling  deschooling  statistics  literacy  post-statediplomacy  diplomacy  remix  remixculture  appliedcognition  cognition  neuroscience  writing  twitter  microblogging  waste  saulgriffith  fabbing  science  diy  make  making  rogerebert  nassimtaleb  davidkilcullen  robertrauschenberg  jillboltetaylor  brain  barryschwartz  jonahlehrer  robinsloan  alexismadrigal  newliberalarts  remixing 
october 2010 by robertogreco
What Is It Like To Be A Baby? | Wired Science | Wired.com
"Gopnik speculates that, while we often assume the inability to pay attention is a failing, a limitation imposed on infants by their mushy frontal lobes, it also confers certain advantages. For starters, it allows young children to figure out the world at an incredibly fast pace. Although babies are born utterly helpless, within a few years they’ve mastered everything from language to complex motor skills such as walking. According to this new view of the baby brain, many of the mental traits that used to seem like developmental shortcomings, such as infants’ inability to focus their attention, are actually crucial assets in the learning process. Because babies notice everything, they’re better able to figure out how it all hangs together. So the next time you look at a baby, remember: They can see more than you.

Note: Sometimes, of course, it’s helpful for adults to engage in lantern-like attention. See, for instance, this recent post on latent inhibition and creativity."
babies  psychology  brain  children  biology  jonahlehrer  classideas 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Are Distractible People More Creative? | Wired Science | Wired.com
"not enough to simply pay attention to everything—such a deluge of sensation can quickly get confusing. (Kierkegaard referred to this mental state as “drowning in possibility”. Some scientists believe that schizophrenia is characterized by extremely low latent inhibition coupled w/ severe working memory deficits…leads to a mind constantly hijacked by minor distractions.)…We need to let more info in, but we also need to be ruthless about throwing out useless stuff.

People bemoan infinite distractions of web, way we’re constantly being seduced by hyperlinks, unexpected search results, arcane Wikipedia entries. & yes, that’s all true—I just wasted 30 minutes searching for that Kierkegaard quote. (I ended up on a Danish culture website, which led me to a photography collection of Danish modern furniture…) But the problem isn’t distractibility per se—it's distractibility coupled w/ failure to curate our thoughts, to monitor relevancy of whatever is loitering in working memory."
jonahlehrer  neuroscience  attention  distraction  psychology  creativity  research  brain  behavior  intelligence  imaginzation  schizophrenia  memory  internet  online  cv  curation  curating  filtering  forgetting  focus 
september 2010 by robertogreco
The Future Of Reading | Wired Science | Wired.com
"So here’s my wish for e-readers. I’d love them to include a feature that allows us to undo their ease, to make the act of reading just a little bit more difficult. Perhaps we need to alter the fonts, or reduce the contrast, or invert the monochrome color scheme. Our eyes will need to struggle, and we’ll certainly read slower, but that’s the point: Only then will we process the text a little less unconsciously, with less reliance on the ventral pathway. We won’t just scan the words – we will contemplate their meaning."
reading  books  future  technology  neuroscience  jonahlehrer  stanislasdehaene  difficulty  ease  literacy  meaning  slow  contemplation  slowreading 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Why Alcohol Is Good for You | Wired Science | Wired.com
"Alcohol is a delightful social lubricant, a liquid drug that is particularly good at erasing our interpersonal anxieties. & this might help explain why, according to the new study, moderate drinkers have more friends and higher quality “friend support” than abstainers. They’re also more likely to be married.<br />
<br />
What does this have to do with longevity? In recent years, sociologists and epidemiologists have begun studying the long-term effects of loneliness. It turns out to be really dangerous. We are social primates, and when we’re cut off from the social network, we are more likely to die from just about everything (but especially heart disease). At this point, the link between abstinence and social isolation is merely hypothetical. But given the extensive history of group drinking – it’s what we do when we come together – it seems likely that drinking in moderation makes it easier for us develop and nurture relationships. And it’s these relationships that help keep us alive."
alcohol  beer  culture  health  psychology  science  research  jonahlehrer 
september 2010 by robertogreco
How To Raise A Superstar [If true, this is huge endorsement of small, progressive schools where the emphasis is not on competition, but on exposure, experience, and unstructured time, where all students are given the chance to participate.]
"smaller cities offer more opportunities for unstructured play…to hone general coordination, power, & athletic skills. These longer hours of play also allow kids to experience successes (& failures) in different settings…likely toughens their attitudes in general…important advantage of small towns…actually less competitive…allowing kids to sample & explore many different sports. (I grew up in big city,…sports career basically ended at 13. I could no longer compete w/ other kids my age.) While conventional wisdom assumes it’s best to focus on single sport ASAP, & compete in most rigorous arena…probably a mistake, both for psychological & physical reasons…While deliberate practice remains absolutely crucial, it’s important to remember that most important skills we develop at early age are not domain specific…real importance of early childhood has to do w/ development of general cognitive & non-cognitive traits, such as self-control, patience, grit, & willingness to practice"
jonahlehrer  children  childhood  biology  learning  cognition  education  sports  psychology  practice  tigerwoods  performance  competition  urban  rural  tcsnmy  confidence  persistence  self-control  patience  grit  self-confidence  athletics  athletes  variety  toshare  topost  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  sampling  malcolmgladwell  burnout  specialization  generalists  coordination  success  failure  play  unstructuredtime  specialists 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Weekend Essay by Jonah Lehrer: How Power Affects Us - WSJ.com
"Contrary to the Machiavellian cliché, nice people are more likely to rise to power. Then something strange happens: Authority atrophies the very talents that got them there."
jonahlehrer  machiavelli  authority  corruption  ethics  politics  business  leadership  power  psychology  behavior  brain  management  military  human  markhurd  2010  empathy  transparency  hierarchy  administration  tcsnmy  accessibility  isolation 
august 2010 by robertogreco
We Are All Talk Radio Hosts | Wired Science | Wired.com
"These studies represent important reevaluation of human reasoning process. Instead of celebrating our analytical powers, these experiments document our foibles & flaws…explore why human reason can so often lead us to believe blatantly irrational things, or why it’s reliably associated w/ mistakes like cognitive dissonance or confirmation bias. And this leads me to a wonderful new paper by Hugo Mercier & Dan Sperber that summons a wide range of evidence to argue that human reason has nothing to do with finding the truth, or locating the best alternative. Instead, it’s all about argumentation.<br />
<br />
…my new metaphor for human reason: our rational faculty isn’t a scientist – it’s a talk radio host. That voice in your head spewing out eloquent reasons to do this or that doesn’t actually know what’s going on, & it’s not particularly adept at getting you nearer to reality. Instead, it only cares about finding reasons that sound good, even if the reasons are actually irrelevant or false."
psychology  ambiguity  arguments  behavior  decisionmaking  rationality  reasoning  neuroscience  brain  choice  science  philosophy  arguing  jonahlehrer 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Under Pressure: The Search for a Stress Vaccine | Magazine
"The emergence of stress as a major risk factor is largely a testament to scientific progress: The deadliest diseases of the 21st century are those in which damage accumulates steadily over time. (Sapolsky refers to this as the “luxury of slowly falling apart.”) Unfortunately, this is precisely the sort of damage that’s exacerbated by emotional stress. While modern medicine has made astonishing progress in treating the fleshy machine of the body, it is only beginning to grapple with those misfortunes of the mind that undo our treatments."

[later on some conspiracy about the stress vaccine article: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/08/the-brain-eating-vaccine-conspiracy/ ]

[previously: http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2010/07/stress.php ]
anxiety  fear  loneliness  stress  jonahlehrer  cognition  drinking  science  sleep  psychology  meditation  happiness  health  inequality  brain  2010  vaccines 
august 2010 by robertogreco
The Itch of Curiosity | Wired Science | Wired.com
"The fact that curiosity increases with uncertainty (up to a point), suggests that a small amount of knowledge can pique curiosity and prime the hunger for knowledge, much as an olfactory or visual stimulus can prime a hunger for food, which might suggest ways for educators to ignite the wick in the candle of learning."
jonahlehrer  uncertainty  certainty  education  learning  humans  curiosity  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  howwelearn  belesshelpful  teaching  knowledge  humannature  instinct  brain  neuroscience  creativity  imagination  psychology  evolution  science  behavior  academia 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Jonah Lehrer and The Fourth Culture « Snarkmarket
Lehrer: "[4th cul­ture] seeks to dis­cover rela­tion­ships btwn human­i­ties & sci­ences…will ignore arbi­trary intel­lec­tual bound­aries, seek­ing instead to blur lines that sep­a­rate…freely trans­plant knowl­edge btwn sci­ences & human­i­ties, & focus on con­nect­ing reduc­tion­ist fact to our actual expe­ri­ence…take prag­matic view of truth &…judge truth not by its ori­gins but by its use­ful­ness…While sci­ence will always be our pri­mary method of inves­ti­gat­ing the uni­verse, it is naïve to think that sci­ence alone can solve every­thing itself, or that every­thing can even be solved…When we ven­ture beyond edge of our knowl­edge, all we have is art…No knowl­edge has a monop­oly on knowledge."
knowledge  timcarmody  snarkmarket  media  interdisciplinary  humanities  science  art  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  jonahleherer  stevenpinker  proustwasaneuroscientist  books  jeffreyjcohen  truth  learning  relativism  absolutism  brain  language  languages  culture  history  society  messiness  fourthculture  jonahlehrer 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Reading and the Panda’s Thumb « Snarkmarket [Don't miss the comments thread.]
"“Writ­ing evolved to fit the cor­tex.” On the one hand, it makes per­fect sense that a human inven­tion would be lim­ited by human biol­ogy — that the visual forms of writ­ing would be lim­ited by our abil­i­ties to rec­og­nize pat­terns in the same way that the sounds of let­ters are lim­ited by the shape and struc­ture of the human mouth.
snarkmarket  timcarmody  neuroscience  brain  reading  stanislasdehaene  research  evolution  human  stephenjaygould  claudelevi-strauss  jonahlehrer 
august 2010 by robertogreco
The Secret of Successful Entrepreneurs | Wired Science | Wired.com
"Business people with entropic networks were three times more innovative than people with predictable networks. Because they interacted with lots of different folks, they were exposed to a much wider range of ideas and “non-redundant information”. Instead of getting stuck in the rut of conformity—thinking the same tired thoughts as everyone else—they were able to invent startling new concepts... And this returns us to meritocracy. It’s not enough to simply take the smartest kids and make them smarter. What’s just as important is teaching these young people to seek out strangers, to resist the tug of self-similarity and homogenization. Diversity can seem like a such a vague and wishy-washy aspiration, but it comes with measurable benefits. To the extent our meritocratic institutions diminish our social diversity—are your college buddies just like you?—they might actually make us less likely to succeed. Perhaps Bill Gates knew what he was doing when he dropped out of Harvard."
diversity  entrepreneurship  management  success  sociology  startups  psychology  networking  business  creativity  jonahlehrer  interdisciplinary  looseties  homogeneity  crosspollination  networks  scoialnetworks  tcsnmy  toshare  strangers  topost  harvard  meritocracy  martinruef  michaelmorris  paulingram  bias  culture 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Twitter Strangers : The Frontal Cortex
"We naturally lead manicured lives, so that our favorite blogs & writers & friends all look, think & sound a lot like us. (While waiting in line for my cappuccino...I was ready to punch myself...as I realized everyone in line was wearing exact same uniform: artfully frayed jeans...etc. & we were all staring at same gadget & probably reading same damn website...our pose of idiosyncratic uniqueness was a big charade.) While this strategy might make life a bit more comfortable - strangers can say such strange things - it also means that our cliches of free-association get reinforced. We start thinking in ever more constricted ways.

& this is why following someone unexpected on Twitter can be a small step towards a more open mind. Because not everybody reacts to same thing in same way. Sometimes, it takes a confederate in an experiment to remind us of that. & sometimes, all it takes is a stranger...exposing us to a new way of thinking about God, Detroit & Kardashians."
jonahlehrer  twitter  dissent  creativity  strangers  innovation  psychology  socialmedia  socialnetworking  social  homgeneity  serendipity  diversity  indiosyncracy  difference  perspective  insularity 
july 2010 by robertogreco
WNYC - Radiolab: Memory and Forgetting (June 08, 2007)
"According to the latest research, remembering is an unstable and profoundly unreliable process. It’s easy come, easy go as we learn how true memories can be obliterated and false ones added. And Oliver Sacks joins us to tell the story of an amnesiac whose love for his wife and music transcend his 7 second memory."
memory  radiolab  forgetting  neuroscience  music  brain  culture  psychology  science  oliversacks  stevenjohnson  jonahlehrer  joeledoux  karimnader  andrecodrescu  elizabethloftus  joeandoe  deborahwearing  clivewearing 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Alcoholism : The Frontal Cortex
"Now here's some blatant speculation. I think one reason AA is successful, at least for many of those who commit to the program, is that it's designed to force people to confront their prediction errors. Just look at the twelve steps, many of which are all about the admission of mistakes, from step number 1 ("We admitted we were powerless over alcohol--that our lives had become unmanageable") to step number 8 ("Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all") to step number 10 ("Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it"). I'd suggest that the presence of these steps helps people break through the neuromodulatory problem of addiction, as the prefrontal cortex is forced to grapple with its massive failings and flaws. Because unless we accept our mistakes we will keep on making them."
2010  addiction  alcoholism  brain  neuroscience  psychology  jonahlehrer  prediction  decisions  mind  research 
july 2010 by robertogreco
The Advantages of Tourette's : The Frontal Cortex
"For me, the lesson of stuttering is that obstacles can also be advantages, that who we become is deeply influenced by what we cannot do. (Or, to quote the sage words of Kanye, "Everything I'm not/made me everything I am.") The secret is to struggle through, because the very act of raging against a disadvantage generates its own set of skills.

That, at least, is message of new paper on Tourette's Syndrome & cognitive control. Tourette's is a developmental disorder defined by a set of involuntary motor & verbal tics. The most common tics are eye blinking and throat clearing, although some people w/ Tourette's can also suffer from the "spontaneous utterance of taboo words or phrases". The constant attempt to suppress these tics relies on the activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a brain area closely associated with self-control, working memory & motor regulation. Interestingly, this chronic struggle leads to enhanced cognitive control, at least on certain tasks."
tourettes  control  struggle  obstacles  compensation  advantages  disadvantages  stuttering  jonahlehrer  self-control  memory  workingmemory  motorregulation 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Memory is Fiction : The Frontal Cortex
"Although our memories always feel true, they’re extremely vulnerable to errant suggestions, clever manipulations and the old fashioned needs of storytelling. (The mind, it turns out, cares more about crafting a good narrative than staying close to the truth.)
brain  neuroscience  jonahlehrer  storytelling  psychology  remembering  fiction  memory  mind  science 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Classroom Creativity : The Frontal Cortex
"Eric Barker recently referred me to this interesting study, which looked at how elementary school teachers perceived creativity in their students. While the teachers said they wanted creative kids in their classroom, they actually didn't. In fact, when they were asked to rate their students on a variety of personality measures - the list included everything from "individualistic" to "risk-seeking" to "accepting of authority" - the traits mostly closely aligned with creative thinking were also closely associated with their "least favorite" students. As the researchers note, "Judgments for the favorite student were negatively correlated with creativity; judgments for the least favorite student were positively correlated with creativity."
tcsnmy  learning  children  creativity  education  generations  psychology  cognition  classroom  personality  imagination  unschooling  deschooling  schooliness  teaching  jonahlehrer  classrooms 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Commuting : The Frontal Cortex
"David Brooks, summarizing the current state of happiness research: "The daily activity most injurious to happiness is commuting. According to one study, being married produces a psychic gain equivalent to more than $100,000 a year." In other words, the best way to make yourself happy is to have a short commute and get married. I'm afraid science can't tell us very much about marriage so let's talk about commuting. A few years ago, the Swiss economists Bruno Frey and Alois Stutzer announced the discovery of a new human foible, which they called "the commuters paradox". They found that, when people are choosing where to live, they consistently underestimate the pain of a long commute. This leads people to mistakenly believe that the big house in the exurbs will make them happier, even though it might force them to drive an additional hour to work."
commuting  happiness  davidbrooks  housing  urbanplanning  suburbia  marriage  neuroscience  jonahlehrer  behavior  cars  driving  psychology  estimation  planning  urban  urbanism  transportation  traffic  suburbs  lifestyle  living  satisfaction 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Costco : The Frontal Cortex
"Consumers aren't always driven by careful considerations of price and expected utility. We don't look at the electric grill or box of chocolates and perform an explicit cost-benefit analysis. Instead, we outsource much of this calculation to our emotional brain, and rely on relative amounts of pleasure versus pain to tell us what to purchase. (During many of the decisions, the rational prefrontal cortex was largely a spectator, standing silently by while the NAcc and insula argued with each other.) Whichever feeling we feel most intensely tends to dictate our shopping decisions. It's like an emotional tug-of-war."
behavior  jonahlehrer  shopping  science  neuroscience  costco  culture  decisions  economics  psychology  pricing  business  branding  marketing 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Depression’s Upside - NYTimes.com
"doesn’t matter if we’re working on mathematical equation or through broken heart: anatomy of focus is inseparable from anatomy of melancholy...suggests depressive disorder is extreme form of ordinary thought process, part of dismal machinery that draws us toward our problems, like magnet to metal. is that closeness effective? Does despondency help us solve anything?...significant correlation btwn depressed affect & individual performance on intelligence test...once subjects were distracted from pain: lower moods were associated w/ higher scores. “results were clear. Depressed affect made people think better.” challenge is persuading people to accept misery, embrace tonic of despair. To say that depression has purpose or sadness makes us smarter says nothing about its awfulness. A fever, after all, might have benefits, but we still take pills to make it go away. This is paradox of evolution: even if our pain is useful, urge to escape from pain remains most powerful instinct"
jonahlehrer  psychology  creativity  writing  health  brain  depression  evolution  mind  thinking  thought  happiness  mood  darwin  relationships  evolutionarypsychology  neuroscience  culture  hope  charlesdarwin 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Jonah Lehrer: Creative Insights on Vimeo
"Author Jonah Lehrer explores the power of outsider intelligence. At PopTech 2009, the best-selling author of How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist, notes that, paradoxically, lacking expertise on a subject can be an asset. “It’s what allows us to see the connections, to see the problems that no one else can see.”"
jonahlehrer  crossdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  outsiders  expertise  experts  innovation  breakthroughs  poptech  2009  decisionmaking  creativity  intelligence  gamechanging  outsider 
february 2010 by robertogreco

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