La psicosi della minaccia sciita La crisi yemenita entra oggi in una nuova fase, probabilmente ancora più cruenta. L’impegno militare saudita e della coalizione regionale araba viene allo scoperto, dimostrando la natura della posta in gioco nel paese. Probabilmente Riyad è consapevole che l'Iran ha in Yemen un ruolo minore e una capacità d’influenza che gran parte della comunità internazionale ha esagerato; ma non intende abbassare i toni della bellicosa retorica contro la Repubblica Islamica, temendo una reale saldatura tra le forze sciite della regione. L’apparentemente inarrestabile avanzata degli Huthi viene considerata adesso dall’Arabia Saudita come un'ulteriore, temibile minaccia, su cui non concedere spazi all’avversario e in funzione della quale chiamare alla mobilitazione tutto l’arco delle alleanze regionali in campo sunnita. Le monarchie del Golfo senza mezzi termini denunciano l’Iran e l’Onu quali artefici del collasso istituzionale dello Yemen,
Intermolecular interactions within living organisms have been found to occur not as individual independent events but as a part of a collective array of interconnected events. The problem of the emergence of this collective dynamics and of the correlated biocommunication therefore arises. In the present paper we review the proposals given within the paradigm of modern molecular biology and those given by some holistic approaches to biology. In recent times, the collective behavior of ensembles of microscopic units (atoms/molecules) has been addressed in the conceptual framework of Quantum Field Theory. The possibility of producing physical states where all the components of the ensemble move in unison has been recognized. In such cases, electromagnetic fields trapped within the ensemble appear. In the present paper we present a scheme based on Quantum Field Theory where molecules are able to move in phase-correlated unison among them and with a self-produced electromagnetic field. Experimental corroboration of this scheme is presented. Some consequences for future biological developments are discussed.
Katherine Ellison, una giornalista affermata che, prima di sposarsi e avere due figli, faceva la corrispondente dal Sudamerica per il “Miami Herald”quando è rimasta incinta ha pensato con terrore alle cose che si sentono sul cervello delle mamme, che è più lento, che “perde colpi”. E al fatto che le madri, durante e dopo la gravidanza, sarebbero meno presenti a se stesse, nelle attività domestiche così come in quelle lavorative.
Personalmente, io questa non l’avevo mai sentita, eppure sulle donne ne ho sentite tante, ma se l’ha sentita, qualcuno l’avrà detta. Però lei questo “calo di intelletto” non lo avvertiva. Ha cominciato a fare ricerche e ha raccolto le prove scientifiche che il cervello delle mamme è più efficiente. Perché i bambini rappresentano uno straordinario “catalizzatore dell’intelligenza”.
The character Mary Poppins famously sang "A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down" (and I apologise that you'll now have that song in your head all day).
And now there’s some behavioural research which suggests that Mary might not only have convinced the kids to swallow their medicine, but been on the money when it comes to getting people to do tough stuff.
Abstract: We provide experimental evidence on behavior in a public goods game featuring a so-called point of no return, meaning that if the group’s total contribution falls below this point all payoffs are reduced. Participants receive either common or private signals about the point of no return, and experience either high or low reductions in payoffs if insufficient contributions are made. Our data reveal that, as expected, contributions are higher if the cost of not reaching the threshold is high than if it is low. High signal values discourage contributions and endanger the likelihood of success when signals are common, but not when signals are private. In addition, successful coordination of contributions is less frequent in a control treatment featuring a standard provision point mechanism than in the experimental treatment where the payoff reduction factor is high, although the theoretical predictions of the two games are similar.
At Geary Behavioural Economics Blog @LiamDelaneyUCD is looking for books on behavioral economics. Given my interest in the field,I would like to add a few books. I add a few on experimental economics, too, as both fields are close relatives.
First, let’s see what he already has on his list:
“Judgement Under Uncertainty: Heurisics and Biases” edited by Kahnemann, Slovic, and Tverky“Choices, Values, and Frames” edited by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky“Heuristics and Biases: The Psychology of Intuitive Judgement.” edited by Thomas Gilovich, Dale Griffin, and Daniel Kahneman
What is neuroeconomics doing? This issue of Games and Economic Behavior collects a set of papers that apply the concepts, methods, and technical tools of neuroscience to economic analysis. This is what has by now come to be called neuroeconomics (NE). If one wants to understand what NE is, then the most useful way is probably to look at what NE does in concrete research, so we invite the curious reader to choose one of the articles and begin to read. But if one is questioning the method or even the usefulness of this line of research, then an introduction may be the right place for a discussion. In particular this is true if one is trying to understand what this developing field of research is trying to accomplish in the future. The main content of this introduction will be an attempt to provide a possible answer to this question. In a different paper (Glimcher and Rustichini, 2004) Paul Glimcher and I have tried to provide our view on what neuroeconomics is technically, what methods it uses, and how researchers in the area are in general planning to deal with the classical themes of economics, decision theory and game theory in the first place. A different view is presented in Camerer et al. (2005). In summary, I think the following is the main point. At the very least, neuroeconomics provides new data in addition to those we have available from theoretical, empirical, and experimental research on human behavior.
Recent years have seen advances in neuroimaging to such an extent that neuroscientists are able to directly study the frequency, location, and timing of neuronal activity to an unprecedented degree. However, marketing science has remained largely unaware of such advances and their huge potential. In fact, the application of neuroimaging to market research – what has come to be called ‘neuromarketing’ – has caused considerable controversy within neuroscience circles in recent times. This paper is an attempt to widen the scope of neuromarketing beyond commercial brand and consumer behaviour applications, to include a wider conceptualisation of marketing science. Drawing from general neuroscience and neuroeconomics, neuromarketing as a field of study is defined, and some future research directions are suggested.
Although behavioral economics was already ﬁrmly established as a subdisciplineof economics by the ﬁrst decade of the twenty-ﬁrst century, the enterprise ap-pears to have received a boost from the economic crisis that struck around then.As David Brooks put it in the New York Times: “My sense is that this ﬁnancialcrisis is going to amount to a coming-out party for behavioral economists andothers who are bringing sophisticated psychology to the realm of public pol-icy.” Brooks is frequently described as a conservative, but commentators acrossthe political spectrum have blamed the crisis in part on inadequate economicmodels. The former chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan is knownas a follower of Ayn Rand’s objectivism, which celebrates the value of rationalself-interest. Yet, in 2008 Congressional testimony, Greenspan said: “I made amistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, speciﬁcally banksand others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their ownshareholders and their equity in the ﬁrms.” Similarly, the Nobel laureate andliberal economic commentator Paul Krugman argues:[Economists] need to abandon the neat but wrong solution of assum-ing that everyone is rational and markets work perfectly. The visionthat emerges as the profession rethinks its foundations may not beall that clear; it certainly won’t be neat; but we can hope that itwill have the virtue of being at least partly right.
Why do people persist in believing things that have been proved to be untrue? Social psychologist Carol Tavris, author of Anger and The Mismeasure of Woman, joins fellow social psychologist Elliot Aronson to answer this question inMistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): How We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts (Harcourt, 2007). The authors use cognitive dissonance theory to analyze issues and disputes in the worlds of politics, medical science, psychiatry, the criminal justice system and personal relationships. The theory can't explain everything, Tavris says, but it can shed light on a surprising number of issues. American Scientist assistant book review editor Anna Lena Phillips interviewed Tavris by telephone and e-mail in August and September 2007.
How did you become interested in the subject of cognitive dissonance, and how did you and Elliot Aronson determine the course you would take in writing the book?
Well, we have been friends and colleagues for many years. We were sitting around one afternoon talking about George W. Bush and the fact that commentators from right, left and center were all shouting at him to admit that he was wrong about weapons of mass destruction and wrong about everybody dancing in the streets to greet us, and how come he didn't just say so. Andy Rooney, in a commentary for 60 Minutes, actually wrote him a mock-speech and begged him to deliver it to the country: "I told you Saddam Hussein tried to buy the makings of nuclear bombs from Africa. That was a mistake and I wish I hadn't said that. I get bad information sometimes just like you do."
The authors would like to thank Mervyn King for instigating this research collaboration. We are grateful to Ryan Banerjee, Bob Chirinko, Renzo Corrias, Jas Ellis, Andy Haldane, Simon Hall, Ramesh Kapadia, Vasileios Madouros, Hitoshi Mio, Marco Raberto, Tarik Roukny, Vicky Saporta, Jean Whitmore and seminar participants at the Bank of England, the London School of Economics, the Deutsche Bundesbank/SAFE conference on ‘Supervising banks in complex financial systems’ (Frankfurt, 21–22 October 2013) and the ESRC conference on ‘Diversity in macroeconomics’ (Colchester, 24–25 February 2014) for helpful conversations and comments. We would also like to thank George Avil, Timothy Richards, Gowsikan Shugumaran, George Slade and Charlie Woolnough for excellent research assistance.
Treat your gut well and this is why your brain will thank you.
Changes in bacteria in the gut are linked to critical psychological changes, a new mouse study finds.
A high-fat diet could increase the risk of repetitive behaviours, depression and anxiety, researchers have concluded.
Dr. John Krystal, editor of journal Biological Psychiatry, where the article was published, said:
“This paper suggests that high-fat diets impair brain health, in part, by disrupting the symbiotic relationship between humans and the microorganisms that occupy our gastrointestinal tracts.”
As the authors write, this is the…
“…first definitive evidence that high-fat diet-induced changes to the gut microbiome [the community of organisms in the human gut] are sufficient to disrupt brain physiology and function in the absence of obesity.” (Annadora et al., 2015)
The Google Define:Hypocrisy command returns the following definition: “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense”. Hypocrisy can be conscious or unconscious. People can be aware that their beliefs are contradicted by their daily behavior or not. In this latter case, hypocrisy is often obvious to observers.
Have you ever wondered how people can live comfortably with hypocrisy? For example, have you ever wondered how good people who believe strongly in the American creed and constitution that holds that all men are created equal with inalienable rights can engage in extreme racism, as was once openly practiced by well-respected southern white gentlemen and is practiced to a lesser extent by many people today? Or, have you ever wondered how good German citizens could support Hitler’s persecution of the Jews?
Have you ever heard about the piano stairs made famous by Fun Theory? Sure, you have.
At least, when I give talks on the Nudge doctrine everybody seems to know the piano stairs. The YouTube video has apparently spread like a wildfire throughout the world. Watched by millions of tired office workers in search of 15 seconds of fun while tied to their desks; spread by collegial nudges penetrating the walls of the cubicles – “Hey take a look at this!”
But does it really work? And what about the claim that seems to be almost as widespread as the video: the belief amongst many public decision-makers and practitioners that Nudge and FunTheory are basically the same – is that claim true?
Abstract: We use a series of field experiments in the Palestinian Territories to explore the impact of exposure to shocks on risk, time and ambiguity preferences. We exploit the historical episode of the construction of the separation wall between the State of Israel and the West Bank as an exogenous shock to test changes in fundamental preferences. We find that the wall affects preferences: people in isolated communities are significantly more risk-tolerant and ambiguity-averse than people who never experienced the wall. While we find insignificant differences in discount rates and loss-aversion, our results show patterns of time-varying discount rates and heterogeneity across socio-economic groups. We test alternative mechanisms linking shocks to changes in behaviour. Our evidence suggests that observed differences in risk and ambiguity are not the result of changes in subjective beliefs, learning or emotional reactions, but they are consistent with the hypothesis of a preference shift. This study suggests that large adverse shocks may have long-lasting consequences on individual decision-making with potential effects on savings, investments and consumption patterns.
Highly anxious people have more trouble deciding how best to handle life’s uncertainties. They may even catastrophize, interpreting, say, a lovers’ tiff as a doomed relationship or a workplace change as a career threat.
In gauging people’s response to unpredictability, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Oxford found that people prone to high anxiety have a tougher time reading the environmental cues that could help them avoid a bad outcome.
Their findings, reported today (March 2) in the journalNature Neuroscience, hint at a glitch in the brain’s higher-order decision-making circuitry that could eventually be targeted in the treatment of anxiety disorders, which affect some 40 million American adults.
“Our results show that anxiety may be linked to difficulty in using information about whether the situations we face daily, including relationship dynamics, are stable or not, and deciding how to react,” said study senior author Sonia Bishop, an assistant professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and principal investigator of the study.
Abstract: We study whether cognitive ability explains choices in a wide variety of behavioral tasks, including riskand social preferences, by collecting evidence from almost 1,200 subjects across eight experimentalprojects. Since Frederick (2005)'s Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) has been administered to allsubjects, our dataset is one of the largest in the literature. We divide the subjects pool into three groupsdepending on their CRT performance. Reflective subjects are those answering at least two of the threeCRT questions correctly. Impulsive ones are those who are unable to suppress the instinctive impulseto follow the intuitive although incorrect answer in at least two 2 questions, and the remaining subjectsform a residual group. We find that females score significantly worse than males in the CRT, and intheir wrong answers impulsive ones are observed more frequently. The 2D-4D ratio, which is higherfor females, is correlated negatively with subject's CRT score. In addition, we find that differencesbetween CRT groups in risk aversion depend on the elicitation method used. Finally, impulsive subjectshave higher social preferences, while reflective subjects are more likely to satisfy basic consistencyconditions in lottery choices.
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to give a principled answer to the question of under what conditions measures of happiness or life satisfaction, understood as subjectively experienced mental states, can serve as proxies for well-being. According to a widely held view, measures of happiness and life satisfaction represent well-being because happiness andlife satisfaction are constitutive of well-being. This position, however, is untenable. Efforts to address this question interms of Amartya Sen’s capability approach have been similarly unsuccessful. Instead, I argue, happiness and lifesatisfaction matter because, and insofar as, people want to be happy and/or satisfied; consequently, measures ofhappiness and life satisfaction can serve as measures of well-being whenever happiness is sufficiently correlated with orcausally efficacious in bringing about greater preference satisfaction. While this position entails a less expansive view ofthe uses of happiness and life satisfaction measures, I maintain that if their proponents were to take this line, many ofthe objections to their enterprise can be met
Neuroeconomics is a new and highly interdisciplinary field. Drawing from theories and methodologies employed in both economics and neuroscience, it aims at understanding the neural systems supporting and affecting economically relevant behaviour in real-life situations. Although incomplete, the evidence is beginning to clarify with the possibility that neuroeconomic methodology might eventually trace whole processes of economically relevant behaviour. This paper accompanies the author's ConNEcs 2004 keynote speech on applications of neuroeconomic research.
Multiple transformative forces target marketing, many of which derive from new technologies that allow us to sample thinking in real time (i.e., brain imaging), or to look at large aggregations of decisions (i.e., big data). There has been an inclination to refer to the intersection of these technologies with the general topic of marketing as “neuromarketing”. There has not been a serious effort to frame neuromarketing, which is the goal of this paper. Neuromarketing can be compared to neuroeconomics, wherein neuroeconomics is generally focused on how individuals make “choices”, and represent distributions of choices. Neuromarketing, in contrast, focuses on how a distribution of choices can be shifted or “influenced”, which can occur at multiple “scales” of behavior (e.g., individual, group, or market/society). Given influence can affect choice through many cognitive modalities, and not just that of valuation of choice options, a science of influence also implies a need to develop a model of cognitive function integrating attention, memory, and reward/aversion function. The paper concludes with a brief description of three domains of neuromarketing application for studying influence, and their caveats.
Since its early days as a science, economics has aimed not only to better understand the world, but also to improve it. The urge to change the world is perhaps most famously seen in the workof Karl Marx, who remarked: “The philosophers have only
interpreted the world in variousways; the point is tochange it” (Marx  1998: 571). But economists from the left to theright have shared the sentiment. In the words of Paul Samuelson: “Beginning as it did in thewritings of philosophers, theologians, pamphleteers, special pleaders, and reformers, economicshas always been concerned with problems of public policy and welfare” (Samuelson 1947: 203).Friedrich A. Hayek agreed:It is probably true that economic analysis has never been the product of detached intellectual curiosity about thewhy of social phenomena, but of an intense urge to reconstruct a world which gives rise to profound
Hollywood rationality: Gerd Gigerenzer and Mr. Spock.
Star Trek’s Mr. Spock is not the exemplar of logic and rationality you might think him to be. Instead, he is a “straw man” of rationality used to show (incorrectly) that human emotion and irrationality are better than logic.
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