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News on the effects of bounded rationality in economics and business, relationships and politics
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An Epistemology of Contingency: chance and determinism at the origin of life

An Epistemology of Contingency: chance and determinism at the origin of life | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
 
In this article we provide an epistemological analysis of three uses of the concept of contingency in biology. On the basis of this analysis we propose a heuristic solution to the issue of contingency versus determinism in the domain of studies on the origin of life, which makes itpossible to approach this problem from a scientific point of view rather than by recurring to belief.
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Risk aversion is not irrational - Evolving Economics

Risk aversion is not irrational - Evolving Economics | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
[C]onsider one of the main experiments that behavioralists Kahneman and Amos Tversky use as evidence for the limitations of perfect rationality as a behavioral premise. They offer their subjects two options: Option A is a “sure thing,” carrying a payoff of, say, $800. Option B is a gamble with an expected payoff of $850: The subjects have an 85-percent chance of receiving $1,000 and a 15-percent chance of getting nothing. The behavioralists report that a “large majority” of subjects choose Option A, in spite of its having an expected value $50 lower than Option B. According to behavioralists, this majority choice demonstrates a form of “bounded rationality.” In other words, the subjects’ rational decision making is impaired by mental constraints on information processing and calculating capacity, not the least of which is risk aversion (with risk aversion evident in people heavily favoring Option A).
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Physicist Proposes New Way To Think About Intelligence | Inside Science

Physicist Proposes New Way To Think About Intelligence | Inside Science | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

SFI Research Fellow Simon DeDeo comments on a recent paper in Physical Review Letters that proffers a mathematical explanation for intelligent behavior based on entropy.

The paper "is basically an attempt to describe intelligence as a fundamentally thermodynamic process," connected mathematically to entropy says the paper's lead author, Alexander Wissner-Gross of Harvard and MIT. It suggests that intelligent behavior stems from the impulse to seize control of future events in the environment.

"It's a provocative paper," says DeDeo. "To me [the research] seems like a really authentic and honest attempt to wrestle with really big questions."

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Between holism and reductionism: a philosophical primer on emergence

Ever since Darwin a great deal of the conceptual history of biology may be read as a struggle between two philosophical positions: reductionism and holism. On the one hand, we have the reductionist claim that evolution has to be understood in terms of changes at the fundamental causal level of the gene. As Richard Dawkins famously put it, organisms are just ‘lumbering robots’ in the service of their genetic masters. On the other hand, there is a long holistic tradition that focuses on the complexity of developmental systems, on the non-linearity of gene– environment interactions, and on multi-level selective processes to argue that the full story of biology is a bit more complicated than that. Reductionism can marshal on its behalf the spectacular successes of genetics and molecular biology throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Holism has built on the development of entirely new disciplines and conceptual frameworks over the past few decades, including evo-devo and phenotypic plasticity. Yet, a number of biologists are still actively looking for a way out of the reductionism–holism counterposition, often mentioning the word ‘emergence’ as a way to deal with the conundrum. This paper briefly examines the philosophical history of the concept of emergence, distinguishes between epistemic and ontological accounts of it, and comments on conceptions of emergence that can actually be useful for practising evolutionary biologists.

 

Between holism and reductionism: a philosophical primer on emergence
Massimo Pigliucci
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (2013)

http://philpapers.org/rec/PIGBHA


Via Complexity Digest
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cerebster's curator insight, April 26, 2013 1:07 AM

It is important to understand emergence because it factors into discussions about control, knowledge, and free will, especially in neuroscience. It occupies a middle ground between prescribed rules and unpredictability. Now the task is to apply the concept productively to science.

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Moral Psychology: Empirical Approaches (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Moral Psychology: Empirical Approaches (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

Moral psychology investigates human functioning in moral contexts, and asks how these results may impact debate in ethical theory. This work is necessarily interdisciplinary, drawing on both the empirical resources of the human sciences and the conceptual resources of philosophical ethics. The present article discusses several topics that illustrate this type of inquiry: thought experiments, responsibility, character, egoism v. altruism, and moral disagreement.

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Embodied Cognition (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Cognition is embodied when it is deeply dependent upon features of the physical body of an agent, that is, when aspects of the agent's body beyond the brain play a significant causal or physically constitutive role in cognitive processing.

In general, dominant views in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science have considered the body as peripheral to understanding the nature of mind and cognition. Proponents of embodied cognitive science view this as a serious mistake. Sometimes the nature of the dependence of cognition on the body is quite unexpected, and suggests new ways of conceptualizing and exploring the mechanics of cognitive processing.

Embodied cognitive science encompasses a loose-knit family of research programs in the cognitive sciences that often share a commitment to critiquing and even replacing traditional approaches to cognition and cognitive processing. Empirical research on embodied cognition has exploded in the past 10 years. As the bibliography for this article attests, the various bodies of work that will be discussed represent a serious alternative to the investigation of cognitive phenomena.

Relatively recent work on the embodiment of cognition provides much food for thought for empirically-informed philosophers of mind. This is in part because of the rich range of phenomena that embodied cognitive science has studied. But it is also in part because those phenomena are often thought to challenge dominant views of the mind, such as the computational and representational theories of mind, at the heart of traditional cognitive science. And they have sometimes been taken to undermine standard positions in the philosophy of mind, such as the idea that the mind is identical to, or even realized in, the brain.

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The Top 11 Reasons You Ignore Your Intuition | Powered by Intuition

The Top 11 Reasons You Ignore Your Intuition | Powered by Intuition | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
The 11 reasons your ignore your intuition cause you problems. If you ignore your intuition often you make mistakes. Listen to intuition and find success in life.
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Cooperation, psychological gam theory, and limitations of rationalit in social interaction

Abstract:Rational choice theory enjoys unprecedented popularity and influence in the behavioral and social sciences, but it generates intractable problems when applied to socially interactive decisions. In individual decisions, instrumental rationality is defined in terms of expected utility maximization. This becomes problematic in interactive decisions, when individuals have only partial control over the outcomes, because expected utility maximization is undefined in the absence of assumptions about how the other participants will behave. Game theory therefore incorporates not only rationality but also common knowledge assumptions, enabling players to anticipate their co-players’ strategies. Under these assumptions, disparate anomalies emerge. Instrumental rationality, conventionally interpreted, fails to explain intuitively obvious features of human interaction, yields predictions starkly at variance with experimental findings, and breaks down completely in certain cases. In particular, focal point selection in pure coordination games is enexplicable, though it is easily achieved in practice; the intuitively compelling payoff-dominance principle lacks rational justification; rationality in social dilemmas is self-defeating; a key solution concept for cooperative coalition games is frequently inapplicable; and rational choice in certain sequential games generates contradictions. In experiments, human players behave more cooperatively and receive higher payoffs than strict rationality would permit. Orthodox conceptions of rationality are evidently internally deficient and inadequate for explaining human interaction. Psychological game theory, based on nonstandard assumptions, is required to solve these problems, and some suggestions along these lines have already been put forward.

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Probabilistic models of cognition: Conceptual foundations

Remarkable progress in the mathematics and computer science of probability has led to a revolution in the scope of probabilistic models. In particular, ‘sophisticated’ probabilistic methods apply to structured relational systems such as graphs and grammars, of immediate relevance to the cognitive sciences. This Special Issue outlines progress in this rapidly developing field, which provides a potentially unifying perspective across a wide range of domains and levels of explanation. Here, we introduce the historical and conceptual foundations of the approach, explore how the approach relates to studies of explicit probabilistic reasoning, and give a brief overview of the field as it stands today.

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Subtracting “Ought” From “Is”: Descriptivism Versus Normativism in the Study of the Human Thinking

Abstract: We propose a critique of normativism, defined as the idea that human thinking reflects a normative system against which it should be measured and judged. We analyze the methodological problems associated with normativism, proposing that it invites the controversial is-ought inference, much contested in the philosophical literature. This problem is triggered when there are competing normative accounts (the arbitration problem), as empirical evidence can help arbitrate between
descriptive theories, but not between normative systems. Drawing on linguistics as a model, we propose that clear distinction between normative systems and competence theories is essential, arguing
that equating them invites an ‘is-ought’ inference; to wit, supporting normative ‘ought’ theories with empirical ‘is’ evidence. We analyze in detail two research programs with normativist features, Oaksford and Chater’s rational analysis, and Stanovich and West’s individual differences approach, demonstrating how in each case equating norm and competence leads to an is-ought inference.
Normativism triggers a host of research biases in psychology of reasoning and decision making: focusing on untrained participants and novel problems, analyzing psychological processes in terms of their normative correlates, and neglecting philosophically significant paradigms when they do not supply clear standards for normative judgment. For example, in a dual-process framework, normativism can lead to a fallacious ‘ought-is’ inference, in which normative responses are taken as diagnostic of analytic reasoning. We propose that little can be gained from normativism that cannot be achieved by descriptivist computational-level analysis, illustrating our position with Hypothetical Thinking Theory and the theory of the suppositional conditional. We conclude that descriptivism is a viable option, and that theories of higher mental processing would be better off freed from normative considerations.

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Bootstrap Methods for the Empirical Study of Decision-Making and Information Flows in Social Systems

We characterize the statistical bootstrap for the estimation of information-theoretic quantities from data, with particular reference to its use in the study of large-scale social phenomena. Our methods allow one to preserve, approximately, the underlying axiomatic relationships of information theory---in particular, consistency under arbitrary coarse-graining---that motivate use of these quantities in the first place, while providing reliability comparable to the state of the art for Bayesian estimators. We show how information-theoretic quantities allow for rigorous empirical study of the decision-making capacities of rational agents, and the time-asymmetric flows of information in distributed systems. We provide illustrative examples by reference to ongoing collaborative work on the semantic structure of the British Criminal Court system and the conflict dynamics of the contemporary Afghanistan insurgency.
 
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How Can Decision Making Be Improved?

The optimal moment to address the question of how to improve human
decision making has arrived. Thanks to fifty years of research by judgment
and decision making scholars, psychologists have developed a detailed picture of the ways in which human judgment is bounded. This paper argues that the time has come to focus attention on the search for strategies that will improve bounded judgment because decision making errors are costly and are growing more costly, decision makers are receptive, and academic insights are sure to follow from research on improvement. In addition to calling for research on improvement strategies, this paper organizes the existing literature pertaining to improvement strategies, highlighting promising directions for future research.

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Riscoprire la teoria dell’autopoiesi nella caratterizzazione dei sistemi sociali

Leonardo Bich - Luisa Damiano

Cosa possono dirci le teorie biologiche sulle organizzazioni sociali?
Sono molti i tentativi di rispondere a questa domanda dal punto di vista evolutivo o ecologico, partendo per esempio dallo studio dei comportamenti degli animali sociali e dei fenomeni collettivi (swarm, etc.). A questi approcci, di estremo interesse, ne vorremmo affiancare uno differente, basato sulla seguente pecisazione della domanda iniziale: "un modello teorico di organismo vivente può dirci qualcosa sull’organizzazione e sul funzionamento dei sistemi sociali?". In linea di principio la risposta è affermativa, perché tali sistemi sono costituiti e realizzati da individui biologici. Ma l’irriducibilità dei fenomeni sociali a quelli biologici impone il problema di stabilire in quale modo e in che misura la caratterizzazione del dominio sociale può appoggiarsi su quella del dominio biologico.

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Interdisciplinitis: Do entropic forces cause adaptive behavior?

Interdisciplinitis: Do entropic forces cause adaptive behavior? | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
Physicists are notorious for infecting other disciplines. Sometimes this can be extremely rewarding, but most of the time it is silly. I've already featured an example where one of the founders of ...
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Andreas Hüttemann, Explanation, Emergence and Quantum-Entanglement - PhilPapers

Andreas Hüttemann, Explanation, Emergence and Quantum-Entanglement - PhilPapers | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
This paper tries to get a grip on two seemingly conflicting intuitions about reductionism in quantum mechanics. On the one hand it is received wisdom that quantum mechanics puts an end to ‘reductionism’. Quantum-entanglement is responsible for such features of quantum mechanics as holism, the failure of supervenience and emergence. While I agree with these claims I will argue that it is only part of the story. Quantum mechanics provides us with thorough-going reductionist explanations. I will distinguish two kinds of micro-explanation (or micro-‘reduction’). I will argue that even though quantum-entanglement provides an example for the failure of one kind of micro-explanation it does not affect the other. Contrary to a recent paper by Kronz and Tiehen I claim that the explanation of the dynamics of quantum mechanical systems is just as reductionist as it used to be in classical mechanics.
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Rethinking Economics Using Complexity Theory

In this paper we argue that if we want to find a more satisfactory
approach to tackling the major socio-economic problems we are facing,
we need to thoroughly rethink the basic assumptions of
macroeconomics and financial theory. Making minor modifications to
the standard models to remove “imperfections” is not enough, the
whole framework needs to be revisited.
Let us here enumerate some of the standard assumptions and postulates of economic theory.
1. An economy is an equilibrium system. In other words, it is a
system in which all markets systematically clear at each point of
time, but where the equilibrium may be perturbed, from time to
time by exogenous shocks.
2. Selfish or greedy behaviour of individuals yields a result that is
beneficial to society – a modern, widespread, but inaccurate
reformulation of the principle of the “invisible hand”.
3. Individuals and companies decide rationally. By this it is meant
that individuals optimize under the constraints they are facing
and that their choices satisfy some standard consistency axioms.
4. The behaviour of all the agents together can be treated as

corresponding to that of an average or representative individual.
5. When the financial sector is analysed, it is assumed that financial
markets are efficient. Efficiency here means that all the relevant
information concerning an asset is reflected by the price of that
asset.
6. Forfinancial markets it is assumed that they function better if
their liquidity is greater.
7. In financial markets, the more connected the network of
individuals and institutions the more it reduces risks and the
more stable and robust is the system.
Below, we discuss the fundamental problems with these assumptions
and outline some of the policy implications of improved assumptions.


Via Complexity Digest
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ComplexInsight's curator insight, April 26, 2013 2:16 AM

One for some travel-time reading.

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Review of Natural-Born Cyborgs

Review of Natural-Born Cyborgs | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

A cyborg, or "cybernetic organism", was initially defined as follows: "The Cyborg deliberately incorporates exogenous components extending the self-regulating control function of the organism in order to adapt it to new environments." This verbose sentence can be simplified to, the cyborg represents "a notion of human-machine merging".  

This concept, dear to science fiction writers, is all about humans becoming stronger, faster, and more powerful through the use of integrated technology. One example of this is the cochlear implants used to help deaf people hear again; these implants are more than hearing aids, since they interface directly with nerve endings. Another example is prosthetics, which allow people who have lost limbs in accidents to function almost as before. 

Andy Clark, a cognitive scientist, sets out to recount why, in his eyes, "we shall be cyborgs not in the merely superficial sense of combining flesh and wires but in the more profound sense of being human-technology symbionts: thinking and reasoning systems whose minds and selves are spread across biological brain and nonbiological circuitry." This is quite a statement, if you look at it closely: he is suggesting that the systems we will incorporate into our bodies will be thinking systems, that they will merge with our minds, and that they will be come self-aware. 


Via Marie-Anne Paveau
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luiy's curator insight, June 26, 2013 12:20 PM


A cyborg, or "cybernetic organism", was initially defined as follows: "The Cyborg deliberately incorporates exogenous components extending the self-regulating control function of the organism in order to adapt it to new environments." This verbose sentence can be simplified to, the cyborg represents "a notion of human-machine merging".  

 

This concept, dear to science fiction writers, is all about humans becoming stronger, faster, and more powerful through the use of integrated technology. One example of this is the cochlear implants used to help deaf people hear again; these implants are more than hearing aids, since they interface directly with nerve endings. Another example is prosthetics, which allow people who have lost limbs in accidents to function almost as before. 

 

Andy Clark, a cognitive scientist, sets out to recount why, in his eyes, "we shall be cyborgs not in the merely superficial sense of combining flesh and wires but in the more profound sense of being human-technology symbionts: thinking and reasoning systems whose minds and selves are spread across biological brain and nonbiological circuitry." This is quite a statement, if you look at it closely: he is suggesting that the systems we will incorporate into our bodies will be thinking systems, that they will merge with our minds, and that they will be come self-aware. 

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Groupthink: Collective Delusions in Organizations and Markets

This paper investigates collective denial and willful blindness in groups, organizations and markets. Agents with anticipatory preferences, linked through an interaction structure, choose how to interpret and recall public signals about future prospects. Wishful thinking (denial of bad news) is shown to be contagious when it is harmful to others, and self-limiting when it is beneficial. Similarly, with Kreps-Porteus preferences, willful blindness (information avoidance) spreads when it increases the risks borne by others. This general mechanism can generate multiple social cognitions of reality, and in hierarchies it implies that realism and delusion will trickle down from the leaders. The welfare analysis differentiates group morale from groupthink and identifies a fundamental tension in organizations' attitudes toward dissent. Contagious exuberance can also seize asset markets, generating investment frenzies and crashes.

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Wie trifft man gute Entscheidungen? Ratio versus Intuition … | Initiative Wirtschaftsdemokratie

Wie trifft man gute Entscheidungen? Ratio versus Intuition … | Initiative Wirtschaftsdemokratie | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

Che cosa è l'intuizione? Secondo G. Gigerenzer è la conoscenza percepita, che è un sistema molto veloce che emerge a livello cosciente, ma le ragioni del perchè  non sono al livello di consapevolezza, non si è in grado di esprimere a parole quanto percepito e elaborato dal nostro cervello Questo tipo di conoscenza e di fatto la più vasta e ricca del nostro cervello. Quindi, se non si ascolta la propria intuizione, non si utilizza la maggior parte del nostro cervello. L'intuizione non è un sesto senso, e nessuna ispirazione divina. L'intuizione funziona su un bagaglio di esperienza, di processi di ragionamento rapir e immediati, semplici, basati su euristiche, e consente di concentrarsi sull'essenziale e ignorare il resto.

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Recovery of cortical effective connectivity and recovery of consciousness in vegetative patients

Patients surviving severe brain injury may regain consciousness without recovering their ability to understand, move and communicate. Recently, electrophysiological and neuroimaging approaches, employing simple sensory stimulations or verbal commands, have proven useful in detecting higher order processing and, in some cases, in establishing some degree of communication in brain-injured subjects with severe impairment of motor function. To complement these approaches, it would be useful to develop methods to detect recovery of consciousness in ways that do not depend on the integrity of sensory pathways or on the subject's ability to comprehend or carry out instructions. As suggested by theoretical and experimental work, a key requirement for consciousness is that multiple, specialized cortical areas can engage in rapid causal interactions (effective connectivity). Here, we employ transcranial magnetic stimulation together with high-density electroencephalography to evaluate effective connectivity at the bedside of severely brain injured, non-communicating subjects. In patients in a vegetative state, who were open-eyed, behaviourally awake but unresponsive, transcranial magnetic stimulation triggered a simple, local response indicating a breakdown of effective connectivity, similar to the one previously observed in unconscious sleeping or anaesthetized subjects. In contrast, in minimally conscious patients, who showed fluctuating signs of non-reflexive behaviour, transcranial magnetic stimulation invariably triggered complex activations that sequentially involved distant cortical areas ipsi- and contralateral to the site of stimulation, similar to activations we recorded in locked-in, conscious patients. Longitudinal measurements performed in patients who gradually recovered consciousness revealed that this clear-cut change in effective connectivity could occur at an early stage, before reliable communication was established with the subject and before the spontaneous electroencephalogram showed significant modifications. Measurements of effective connectivity by means of transcranial magnetic stimulation combined with electroencephalography can be performed at the bedside while by-passing subcortical afferent and efferent pathways, and without requiring active participation of subjects or language comprehension; hence, they offer an effective way to detect and track recovery of consciousness in brain-injured patients who are unable to exchange information with the external environment.

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A Well Grounded Education: The role of perception in science and mathematics

One of the most important applications of grounded cognition theories is to science and mathematics education where the primary goal is to foster knowledge and skills that are widely transportable to new situations. This presents a challenge to those grounded cognition theories that tightly tie knowledge to the specifics of a single situation. In this chapter, we develop a theory learning that is grounded in perception and interaction, yet also supports transferable knowledge. A first series of studies explores the transfer of complex systems principles across two superficially dissimilar scenarios. The results indicate that students most effectively show transfer by applying previously learned perceptual and interpretational processes to new situations. A second series shows that even when students are solving formal algebra problems, they are greatly influenced by non-symbolic, perceptual grouping factors. We interpret both results as showing that high-level cognition that might seem to involve purely symbolic reasoning is actually driven by perceptual processes. The educational implication is that instruction in science and mathematics should involve not only teaching abstract rules and equations but also training students to perceive and interact with their world.

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Homo Heuristicus: Why Biased Minds Make Better Inferences - Gerd Gigerenzer, Henry Brighton

Gerd Gigerenzer, Henry Brighton

Abstract
Heuristics are efficient cognitive processes that ignore information. In contrast to the widely held view that less processing reduces accuracy, the study of heuristics shows that less information, computation, and time can in fact improve accuracy. We review the major progress made so far: (a) the discovery of less-is-more effects; (b) the study of the ecological rationality of heuristics, which examines in which environments a given strategy succeeds or fails, and why; (c) an advancement from vague labels to computational models of heuristics; (d) the development of a systematic theory of heuristics that identifies their building blocks and the evolved capacities they exploit, and views the cognitive system as relying on an ‘‘adaptive toolbox;’’ and (e) the development of an empirical methodology that accounts for individual differences, conducts competitive tests, and has provided evidence for people’s adaptive use of heuristics. Homo heuristicus has a biased mind and ignores part of the available information, yet a biased mind can handle uncertainty more efficiently and robustly than an unbiased mind relying on more resource-intensive and general-purpose processing strategies.

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Agent-based and macroscopic modeling of the complex socio-economic systems

The current economic crisis has provoked an active response from the interdisciplinary scientific community. As a result many papers suggesting what can be improved in understanding of the complex socio-economics systems were published. Some of the most prominent papers on the topic include (Bouchaud, 2009; Farmer and Foley, 2009; Farmer et al, 2012; Helbing, 2010; Pietronero, 2008). These papers share the idea that agent-based modeling is essential for the better understanding of the complex socio-economic systems and consequently better policy making. Yet in order for an agent-based model to be useful it should also be analytically tractable, possess a macroscopic treatment (Cristelli et al, 2012). In this work we shed a new light on our research group's contributions towards understanding of the correspondence between the inter-individual interactions and collective behavior. We also provide some new insights into the implications of the global and local interactions, the leadership and the predator-prey interactions in the complex socio-economic systems.
  
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INTUITIVE PREDICTION BIASES AND CORRECTIVE PROCEDURES

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency - 

Decisions vital to the accomplishment of military objectives are determined in large part by the intuitive judgments and educated guesses of decision makers or experts acting in their behalf. The critical role of intuitive judgments makes it important to study the factors that limit the accuracy of these judgments and to seek ways of improving them. Previous work in ARPA's Advanced Decision Technology Program has led to the discovery of major deficiencies in the unaided, intuitive judgments of probabilities for uncertain events. Of the many significant conclusions of this research,
the following merit special mention:

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