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It's the effect size - Decision Science News

Enter the concept of effect size. Effect size gives one a way to think about how large an effect (e.g. a height difference) is, not just the probability of the data given the null hypothesis.

Social science research puts the p-value on a pedestal. The p value, or probability of the data given the null hypothesis is true, is seen as the gateway to publication, giving authors an incentive to “p hack“, or use various tricks to get p-values down below .05. And they do this despite the lord loving the .06 as much as the .05. We have cartooned on this before: One gripe with the p-value is that statistical significance is cheap. Most plausible hypotheses become statistically significant when the sample size is large enough. Among other things, statistical significance is a function of sample size. In the age of mTurk-scale data, attaining statistical significance is easier than ever. We have heard it said that that if you draw a line anywhere through the belly of the United States, you’ll find a significant different in height on opposite sides of the line because of the massive sample size. But it may be a puny difference.

Enter the concept of effect size. Effect size gives one a way to think about the magnitude of effects, not just the probability of the data given the null hypothesis (aka, the p-value). One popular measure of effect size, Cohen’s D, is discussed along with in the beautiful visualization pictured above. Learn more from the article It’s The Effect Size, Stupid, from which this post gets its name. And learn why you need lots of data to estimate effect sizesfrom our friends at Data Colada.

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Bounded Rationality and Beyond

News on the effects of bounded rationality in economics and business, relationships and politics
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Behavioural economics: How to 'nudge' customers and influence people

Behavioural economics posits that all behaviour, including in business, is shaped by irrational and unconscious influences such as bias, social pressure and cognitive inertia. The notion of psychology as a driver of economic action is not new: As an academic discipline behavioural economics dates back to the 1970s, and the foundational principle back at least to Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments.Behavioural economics has, however, only in recent years found widespread currency within the business world, spurred by a plethora of bestsellers, includingThinking Fast and Slow (2011) by Daniel Kahneman and Predictably Irrational (2oo8) by Dan Ariely. Increased interest from the business community is due to the insights gleaned from the discipline, which have been used to successfully “nudge” customer behaviour in a variety of sectors, such as wealth management, insurance, customer products and retail. Specifically, behavioural economics has been used by product managers to guide consumers toward certain product choices (i.e., “choice design”), by marketers to develop brochures and Web sites that more persuasively communicate marketing messages and by service managers to design better support experiences.

The field can provide hundreds of potential “triggers” to augment behaviour, depending on the business objective, situation and context. Psychologists Robert Cialdini, Noah Goldstein and Steve Martin identify 50 different possible applications in The Small Big: Small Changes That Spark Big Influence (2014).

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Psychology and Experimental Economics A Gap in Abstraction Dan Ariely1 and Michael I. Norton

ABSTRACT—Experimental economics and social psychology share an interest in a widening subset of topics, relying on similar lab-based methods to address similar questions about human behavior, yet dialogue between the two fields remains in its infancy. We propose a framework for understanding this disconnect: The different approaches the disciplines take to translating real-world behavior into the laboratory create a ‘‘gap in abstraction,’’ which contributes to crucial differences in philosophy about the roles of deception and incentives in experiments and limits cross-pollination. We review two areas of common interest—altruism and groupbased discrimination—which demonstrate this gap yet also reveal ways in which the two approaches might be seen as complementary rather than contradictory. KEYWORDS—experimental economics; experimentation; deception; incentives

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Cognitive Computing Isn't Just a Buzzword, It's the Next Big Thing in Technology

Every so often tech reaches a place where it seems as though just making things faster won't really make any difference. This is especially true of more unglamorous components such as processors. Manufacturers can go on making them faster and cheaper, but it becomes harder and harder to sell customers new PCs or phones on the basis of speed alone.

Already, we see that the high-end market has moved away from advertising clock speeds. It's the big screens, software, cameras and high-speed data pipes that are selling upgrades now. Brand image and the intangible "experience" of owning a particular device are promoted far more than its raw capabilities - the fact that every top-tier phone now has to have a metal body is the perfect example of this.

Most often when this happens, a new "killer app" is required to create fresh demand. Sometimes the hardware, software and infrastructure required to turn vision into reality aren't all ready when they're needed. It's another matter that some ideas aren't accepted for socio-cultural reasons (such as Google Glass), some just don't catch on (wireless charging should have been a huge deal years ago) and some are solutions to problems that don't exist (does anyone remember digital photo frames?).

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Why This Beautiful Human Behaviour is Highly Infectious - PsyBlog

The wonderful human behaviour that elevates all our morals.

Acts of kindness can spread surprisingly easily between people — just by observing someone else being generous.

They activate parts of the brain involved in motivating action and of social engagement, a new study finds.

In turn we are also more likely to ‘pay it forward’.

Scientists call this the ‘moral elevation’ effect.

The first evidence from the lab of this effect was found in 2010.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego and Harvard demonstrated moral elevation by having people playing a simple ‘giving’ game in the lab.

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Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Diabetes

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is usually short-term, goal-directed, and skills-based. Therapists help patients identify and solve problems and learn specific skills to change their thinking and behavior so they can make lasting changes in their behavior and general functioning. At each session, patients record responses to their unhelpful and inaccurate thinking, along with steps they have committed to take in the coming week.

A growing body of literature has demonstrated the effectiveness of CBT for people with diabetes. For example, a randomized controlled trial published last year inDiabetes Care showed that CBT enhanced treatment adherence and decreased depression in Type 2 diabetes patients. In this study, participants received either enhanced usual care or enhanced usual care plus a CBT intervention. Four months after treatment, the group receiving CBT intervention showed greater improvements in medication adherence, depressive symptoms, and diabetes control compared to the usual care group. At the eight-month follow up, the CBT intervention group maintained their gains in adherence and diabetes control.

Sandeep Gautam's curator insight,

new uses for CBT!

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Why is Behavioral Economics so Revolutionary?

Imagine that a patient suffering from unusually profound amnesia has two toasters in his kitchen. The toaster on the right functions normally. The toaster on the left delivers an electric shock when the toast is removed. The patient’s gasp and quick retraction of his hand indicate that the shock is painful. Because the patient does not remember the experience, however, he does not anticipate the shock the next morning, and is consequently indifferent between the toasters. Although the decision utility he obtains is the same for both toasters, otherwise he wouldn’t be indifferent between them; the experienced utilities are quite different for each of the toasters; something he only realizes when he uses one of them.

Systematic discrepancies between decision utility and experienced utility, as research in the field of behavioral decision theory has been shown, are not restricted to pathological cases. They can also be observed in decision makers whose cognitive functions are normal. These observations question on the idea that observed choices provide a direct measure of utility, and is revolutionizing the way we look at society and policy.

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Religion, Redistribution and Political Participation

Abstract: Since Marx and Weber, social scientists have attempted to understand the impact or lack thereof of religion on two core domains of political life: whether religion influences attitudes about wealth accumulation, inequality and redistribution; and whether religion dampens or inspires political participation. However, the effect of religious ideas on these domains is difficult to identify, at the very least because citizens often select into religious associations whose messages they find appealing. We shed light on this issue through an experiment in Nairobi, Kenya. Focusing on the effects of two important contemporary Christian messages, we find evidence that exposure to religious messages can reduce egalitarianism in complex distribution decisions, compared to exposure to secular messages. We also find that exposure to self-affirmation messages—both religious and secular—can be politically empowering and motivate activism. We discuss implications of these findings for political mobilization and policy preferences in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as for the study of religion and politics more generally.

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Autopoiesis with or without cognition: defining life at its edge

This paper examines two questions related to autopoiesis as a theory for minimal life: (i) the relation between autopoiesis and cognition; and (ii) the question as to whether autopoiesis is the necessary and suﬃcient condition for life. First, we consider the concept of cognition in the spirit of Maturana and Varela: in contradistinction to the epresentationalistic point of view, cognition is construed as interaction between and mutual deﬁnition of a living unit and its environment. The most direct form of cognition for a cell is thus metabolism itself, which necessarily implies exchange with the environment and therefore a simultaneous coming to being for the organism and for the environment. A second level of cognition is recognized in the adaptation of the living unit to new foreign molecules, by way of a change in its metabolic pattern. We draw here an analogy with the ideas developed by Piaget, who recognizes in cognition the two distinct steps of assimilation and accommodation. While  assimilation is the equivalent of uptake and exchange of usual metabolites, accommodation  corresponds to biological adaptation, which in turn is the basis for evolution. By comparing a micro-organism with a vesicle that uptakes a precursor for its own self-reproduction, we arrive at the conclusion that (a) the very lowest level of cognition is the condition for life, and (b) the lowest level of cognition does not reduce to the lowest level of autopoiesis. As a consequence, autopoiesis alone is only a necessary, but not suﬃcient, condition for life. The broader consequences of this analysis of cognition for minimal living systems are considered

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Neurofenomenologia: una scienza che trae vantaggio dal proprio punto cieco

La neurofenomenologia • l'ultimo grande progetto al contempo scientifico, filosofico ed esistenziale al quale Francisco Varela ha lavorato. Ma, prima di parlarne, vorrei evocare brevemente quella che credo sia la fonte vissuta e unica della sua opera, ed in particolar modo della neurofenomenologia. Questa fonte, cos“ come l'ho percepita, •una volontà molto forte, quasi tirannica, di tenere insieme l'integralità dei fili del tessuto umano, a partire dall'indagine scientifica spinta ad un optimum di rigore fino alla condotta etica costretta ad incarnarsi, passando per questa tacita condizione di possibilità del resto: l'apertura a ci˜ che accade.

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Mind, Society and Behaviour - RSA

Development economics and policy are due for a redesign. A more realistic understanding of how human beings think and behave can make development policies more effective, and can help development professionals become more aware of their own biases.

A great deal of development policy aims to supply the resources and information people require in their voyage through life. While such an approach is often appropriate, it is also incomplete. People are not perfect calculators of costs and benefits. They rely on heuristics and mental shortcuts. They are influenced by social norms and culture. Poverty is not simply a state of material deprivation, but also a “tax” on cognitive resources that affects the quality of decision making. Fortunately, policies can often be made more effective by simple changes in design, framing and delivery. Recent research from psychology and sociology together with new experimental methods in economics shows how. The 2015 World Development Report interprets this research to formulate many simple lessons for policy making and implementation.

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[1505.04722] On the tail risk of violent conflict and its underestimation

We examine all possible statistical pictures of violent conflicts over common era history with a focus on dealing with incompleteness and unreliability of data. We apply methods from extreme value theory on log-transformed data to remove compact support, then, owing to the boundedness of maximum casualties, retransform the data and derive expected means. We find the estimated mean likely to be at least three times larger than the sample mean, meaning severe underestimation of the severity of conflicts from naive observation. We check for robustness by sampling between high and low estimates and jackknifing the data. We study inter-arrival times between tail events and find (first-order) memorylessless of events. The statistical pictures obtained are at variance with the claims about "long peace".

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Research shows brain differences in children with dyslexia and dysgraphia

University of Washington research shows that using a single category of learning disability to qualify students with written language challenges for special education services is not scientifically supported. Some students only have writing disabilities, but some have both reading and writing disabilities.

The study, published online in NeuroImage: Clinical, is among the first to identify structural white matter and functional gray matter differences in the brain between children with dyslexia and dysgraphia, and between those children and typical language learners.

The researchers say the findings underscore the need to provide instruction tailored to each of these specific learning disabilities, though that is currently not mandated under federal or state law.

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Collaboration is not "soft"

I am occasionally left a little baffled by some of the stuff I read about digital social tools. In a lot of what I read and hear, there is no lack of intelligent analysis about social tools and their potential usefulness, however I do think that there is a huge dimension that is just absent.  That is the “social” bit.  I know, I know…. I only bring my understanding of what it means for human beings to be social from my own trajectory in life.  Sadly (or maybe not) in an increasingly technological world, that trajectory has not had a huge technological dimension to it.  I happily use digital social tools regularly and have learnt how they can assist me to connect and collaborate with others.  I also sometimes struggle with having to learn how to interface with the machine, often frustrated at why it doesn’t interface with me, but that’s another conversation.  When I ponder on the usefulness or otherwise of digital social tools, with relation to collaboration, my brain whirs and comes to the conclusion that it’s much less about the technical features or ubiquity or ease of use of digital social tools, and more about the users of the tools.
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How Economists Work and Think: Review of The World in the Model by Mary S. Morgan, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012

How Economists Work and Think: Review of The World in the Model by Mary S. Morgan, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012
The World in the Model: How Economists Work and Think  is a timely and important book. Fordecades now, but especially in the years following the financial crisis, economistsÕ modelingpractices have been the target of a sustained critique. Under slogans such as Òeconomics isabout people, not curves,Ó critics have attacked the use of formal and abstract models ineconomics in favor of the careful historical study of observable social phenomena. If the battlelines look familiar, it may be because they largely mirror those drawn during theMethod enstreit  a century ago. The critique has succeeded in inspiring a series of movements among economics students in Spain, the UK, and elsewhere, but in spite of its venerable history appears to have been largely ineffective in changing the minds of practicing economists. To them, it does not reflect more than a superficial understanding of what they aretrying to accomplish by means of their modeling practices; nor does it propose what seems tothem a workable alternative approach.Meanwhile, philosophical literature on models and modeling in economics often fallsshort. For one thing, many contributions to this literature fail at the outset to adequatelydelineate the extension of the word model, thereby leaving it open to what sort of thing, precisely, the analysis is supposed to apply. Moreover, much of this literature depends to agreat extent on metaphors that are immediately appealing, but whose exact implicationsremain unspecified. For both these reasons, philosophical accounts of models and modelingare often hard to assess. And, more importantly in the present context, they don't shed as much light as they should on contemporary economic modeling practices, their strengths and weaknesses.
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Experimental Methods in Economics and Psychology: A Comparison

Abstract

This article compares the use of experiments as a research method in economics and psychology. We outline the most important differences between the two fields in terms of their use of experimental methods. The purpose of the article is two-fold. First, to provide an overview of areas where economic experiments differ from traditional psychological experiments. Second, to debate experimental economics in relation to experiments in other social sciences.

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The Type of Smile That Helps Start New Relationships - PsyBlog

People feel emotionally close to others displaying this type of smile.

A ‘Duchenne smile’ is a powerful way of striking up a new relationship, a new study finds. People are highly tuned to the Duchenne smile, which involves upturned lips and crinkly eyes.

And they can easily spot a fake smile, which tends to involve only the mouth and not the eyes.

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Gelman had a sense about the dubious Science article - Decision Science News

Statistician Andrew Gelman had a sense that something was up with dubious Science article soon after it was published.

As you probably know, the well-known Science article on attitudes toward gay marriage by LaCour and Green has been called into question (even by its second author) and will likely be retracted by the journal.

We were amazed and impressed to learn today that statistician Andrew Gelman had a sense that something was up with the article soon after it was published. In a December comment in the Washington Post, Gelman was flabbergasted by the size of the claimed result:

What stunned me about these results was not just the effect itself—although I agree that it’s interesting in any case—but the size of the observed differences. They’re huge: an immediate effect of 0.4 on a five-point scale and, after nine months, an effect of 0.8.

A difference of 0.8 on a five-point scale . . . wow! You rarely see this sort of thing. Just do the math. On a 1-5 scale, the maximum theoretically possible change would be 4. But, considering that lots of people are already at “4” or “5” on the scale, it’s hard to imagine an average change of more than 2. And that would be massive. So we’re talking about a causal effect that’s a full 40% of what is pretty much the maximum change imaginable. Wow, indeed.

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People habitually posting to Facebook about exercise, diets and accomplishments are more likely to be narcissists, a new study finds.

And bragging about accomplishments does tend to attract more attention from friends.

The study’s first author, Dr Tara Marshall, said:

“Although our results suggest that narcissists’ bragging pays off because they receive more likes and comments to their status updates, it could be that their Facebook friends politely offer support while secretly disliking such egotistical displays.

Greater awareness of how one’s status updates might be perceived by friends could help people to avoid topics that annoy more than they entertain.”

The study also found that people who post updates about their current romantic partner are more likely to have low self-esteem.

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Matteo Motterlini - I segreti della neuroeconomia - YouTube

I segreti della neuroeconomia: conoscere il cervello può aiutarci a uscire dalla crisi economica?. Festa di Scienza e Filosofia, terza edizione. Foligno, Pal...
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The Neuroscience Of Why Organizational Change Fails

Did you know that 75% of organizational change initiatives fail? Our brains are hard-wired to resist change. Learn how you to help employees overcome this.

Neuroscience is one of my favorite topics, and recently it’s one of the things I spend most of my free time learning about.

More and more, leaders will need to understand the neuroscience and psychology of motivation if they want to have high performing teams. Employee engagement, while mostly common sense, is something that employers still seem to get wrong.

The reason for why they get it wrong is because of how delicate humans are. Everyone is different, and there is no standard way of dealing with everyone. Some people are introverts, some are extroverts, some are ambiverts. There are people that work best in the morning, some work best at night, some like to work from home, some can’t work from home.

These are all small examples of why we need to understand human behavior as much as possible if we want to be great leaders.

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Ritual performance and religion in early Neolithic societies, in Defining the Sacred: Approaches to the Archaeology of Religion in the Near East, ed. Nicola Laneri (2015)

South-west Asia in the last 10 millennia of the Palaeolithic (known regionally as the Epi-palaeolithic) and the early (aceramic) Neolithic saw the emergence of a completely new kind of human social organisation in the form of large, permanently
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Improvvisare. Nell'arte contemporanea, nella scienza e nella vita quotidiana

L'improvvisazione è l'arte più scientifica che esista. Perchè in verità l'improvvisazione è soltanto metà della storia: l'altra metà è che bisogna avere la macchina dentro. Devi acquisire moduli infiniti di svolgimento, devi impararli,come un suonatore di jazz che sa di dover rientrare alla sedicesima battuta, e ne ha sedici a disposizione per fare le varianti. Tutte le consonanti del canto lui le ha dentro, e va insieme al battere e al levare. E naturalmente si lega ai ritmi, ai tempi, al contrappunto. La matematica del contrappunto è la stessa nella commedia, nel monologo, nella musica

1.
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Nick Naumof: The (only) Question that Could Have Accurately Predicted the Winner in Recent Elections in Romania

I guess (some of) you know that, last Sunday, Romanians elected a new president. This is not news. The news is that the under-dog challenger won against all odds and predictions. All pre-election polls predicted that the favourite – the incumbent Prime Minister – will win and at a comfortable difference. But, things didn’t happen as expected. The opposition’s candidate won at a very comfortable difference – 54.5% to 45.5% (roughly 9% of expressed votes) which in absolute numbers represents more than 1.100.000 votes. Now, that the results are known, there are a lot of people explaining how it happened. Yeah… Hindsight Bias! There is, however, a question – methodology – that could have predicted the winner with accuracy.
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Evolutionary Dynamics for Persistent Cooperation in Structured Populations

The emergence and maintenance of cooperative behavior is a fascinating topic in evolutionary biology and social science. The public goods game (PGG) is a paradigm for exploring cooperative behavior. In PGG, the total resulting payoff is divided equally among all participants. This feature still leads to the dominance of defection without substantially magnifying the public good by a multiplying factor. Much effort has been made to explain the evolution of cooperative strategies, including a recent model in which only a portion of the total benefit is shared by all the players through introducing a new strategy named persistent cooperation. A persistent cooperator is a contributor who is willing to pay a second cost to retrieve the remaining portion of the payoff contributed by themselves. In a previous study, this model was analyzed in the framework of well-mixed populations. This paper focuses on discussing the persistent cooperation in lattice-structured populations. The evolutionary dynamics of the structured populations consisting of three types of competing players (pure cooperators, defectors and persistent cooperators) are revealed by theoretical analysis and numerical simulations. In particular, the approximate expressions of fixation probabilities for strategies are derived on one-dimensional lattices. The phase diagrams of stationary states, the evolution of frequencies and spatial patterns for strategies are illustrated on both one-dimensional and square lattices by simulations. Our results are consistent with the general observation that, at least in most situations, a structured population facilitates the evolution of cooperation. Specifically, here we find that the existence of persistent cooperators greatly suppresses the spreading of defectors under more relaxed conditions in structured populations compared to that obtained in well-mixed population.

Via Ashish Umre
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