Bounded Rationality and Beyond
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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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Be suspicious of stories

Be suspicious of stories | Bounded Rationality and Beyond |

 Like all of us, economist Tyler Cowen loves a good story. But in this intriguing talk, he asks us to step away from thinking of our lives -- and our messy, complicated irrational world -- in terms of a simple narrative.
(Filmed at TEDxMidAtlantic.)

Via Philippe Vallat
Philippe Vallat's curator insight, July 15, 2014 3:47 AM

About stories, mental laziness, cognitive biases, manipulation

Pierre Gauthier's curator insight, July 15, 2014 9:46 AM

Anyone who practices mindfulness is very intimately familiar with "the storyteller". What Tyler Cowan talks about in the excellent TEDx talk could be quite upsetting to some people who haven't been deep in their practice. Very good! 

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A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain

A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain | Bounded Rationality and Beyond |

Embodied cognition, the idea that the mind is not only connected to the body but that the body influences the mind, is one of the more counter-intuitive ideas in cognitive science. In sharp contrast is dualism, a theory of mind famously put forth by Rene Descartes in the 17th century when he claimed that “there is a great difference between mind and body, inasmuch as body is by nature always divisible, and the mind is entirely indivisible… the mind or soul of man is entirely different from the body.” In the proceeding centuries, the notion of the disembodied mind flourished. From it, western thought developed two basic ideas: reason is disembodied because the mind is disembodied and reason is transcendent and universal. However, as George Lakoff and Rafeal Núñez explain:


Cognitive science calls this entire philosophical worldview into serious question on empirical grounds… [the mind] arises from the nature of our brains, bodies, and bodily experiences. This is not just the innocuous and obvious claim that we need a body to reason; rather, it is the striking claim that the very structure of reason itself comes from the details of our embodiment… Thus, to understand reason we must understand the details of our visual system, our motor system, and the general mechanism of neural binding.


What exactly does this mean? It means that our cognition isn’t confined to our cortices. That is, our cognition is influenced, perhaps determined by, our experiences in the physical world. This is why we say that something is “over our heads” to express the idea that we do not understand; we are drawing upon the physical inability to not see something over our heads and the mental feeling of uncertainty. Or why we understand warmth with affection; as infants and children the subjective judgment of affection almost always corresponded with the sensation of warmth, thus giving way to metaphors such as “I’m warming up to her.”

Via ddrrnt
Claudia M. Reder's comment, May 19, 2013 8:28 PM
Alexander Vorobiev-Char's curator insight, February 4, 2014 2:14 AM

Соответствуют ли Ваши мысли возможностям Вашего тела? Что из них первично?

Eli Levine's comment, February 4, 2014 9:35 AM
This sounds like an analogy to a government sitting within a society. For example, while a government does technically control the body society through the production of laws (to a limited extent), the body society also influences and effects the government (brain) to produce different results. This is how government can be working independently of (and sometimes, contrary to) the rest of society, just as the society can also work independently of (and, sometimes, when the government isn't being cooperative with society's needs) contrary to the government.<br><br>Thanks for this! :)
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Why Leaders Should Care About Cognitive Neuroscience

Why Leaders Should Care About Cognitive Neuroscience | Bounded Rationality and Beyond |

Everyone has an opinion on the issue of determinism and free will and most people accept the idea of determinism but nonetheless believe they are in charge of their actions. Busy people are willing to accept these disparate views and just live life. For those who stop a second and wonder, “hey how does that all work?” this is the book for them. It tells the story of my life in brain research and how after 50 years of it, I have come to think about the crucially important idea of personal responsibility in a determined brain.

Via Philippe Vallat
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Illusory Correlations: When The Mind Makes Connections That Don’t Exist

Illusory Correlations: When The Mind Makes Connections That Don’t Exist | Bounded Rationality and Beyond |
Why do CEOs who excel at golf get paid more, despite poorer stock market performance?

Via Philippe Vallat
luiy's curator insight, May 10, 2013 5:10 PM

To see how easily the mind jumps to the wrong conclusions, try virtually taking part in a little experiment...


...imagine that you are presented with information about two groups of people about which you know nothing. Let's call them the Azaleans and the Begonians.


For each group you are given a list of positive and negative behaviours. A good one might be: an Azalean was seen helping an old lady across the road. A bad one might be: a Begonian urinated in the street.

So, you read this list of good and bad behaviours about the Azaleans and Begonians and afterwards you make some judgements about them. How often do they perform good and bad behaviours and what are they?

What you notice is that it's the Begonians that seem dodgy. They are the ones more often to be found shoving burgers into mailboxes and ringing doorbells and running away. The Azaleans, in contrast, are a sounder bunch; certainly not blameless, but overall better people.


While you're happy with the judgement, you're in for a shock. What's revealed to you afterwards is that actually the ratio of good to bad behaviours listed for both the Azaleans and Begonians was exactly the same. For the Azaleans 18 positive behaviours were listed along with 8 negative. For the Begonians it was 9 positive and 4 negative.

In reality you just had less information about the Begonians. What happened was that you built up an illusory connection between more frequent bad behaviours and the Begonians; they weren't more frequent, however, they just seemed that way.

When the experiment is over you find out that most other people had done exactly the same thing, concluding that the Begonians were worse people than the Azaleans.

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Cognitive Biases in Times of Uncertainty

Cognitive Biases in Times of Uncertainty | Bounded Rationality and Beyond |
We live in a world of increasing pressure and uncertainty, driven in large part by digital technology infrastructures. These marvelous infrastructures bring us unprecedented connectivity and opportunities to better ourselves.

Via Philippe Vallat
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