Archivio per marzo 2015

31
Mar
15

Intertemporal Consumption and Debt Aversion: An Experimental Study

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond
Abstract: This paper tests how subjects behave in an intertemporal consumption/saving experiment when borrowing is allowed and whether subjects treat debt differently than savings. Two treatments create environments where either saving or borrowing is required for optimal consumption. Since both treatments share the same optimal consumption levels, actual consumption choices can be directly compared across treatments. The experimental findings imply that deviations from optimal behavior are higher when subjects have to borrow than when they have to save in order to consume optimally, suggesting debt-aversion. Signifiant underconsumption is observed when subjects have to borrow in order to reach optimal consumption. Only weak evidence is found suggesting that subjects over-consume when saving is necessary for optimal consumption.
See on econstor.eu

31
Mar
15

Poverty may affect the growth of children’s brains

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

Children of poorer, less educated parents have smaller cerebral cortices, study findsStark and rising inequality plagues many countries, including the United States, and politicians, economists, and—fortunately—scientists, aredebating its causes and solutions. But inequality’s effects may go beyond simple access to opportunity: a new study finds that family differences in income and education are directly correlated with brain size in developing children and adolescents. The findings could have important policy implications and provide new arguments for early antipoverty interventions, researchers say.

Researchers have long known that children from families with higher socioeconomic status do better on a number of cognitive measures, including IQ scores, reading and language batteries, and tests of so-called executive function—the ability to focus attention on a task. More recently, some studies have found that key brain areas in children of higher socioeconomic status—such as those involved in memory or language—tend to be either larger in volume, more developed, or both. However, these studies have suffered from some important limitations: For one thing, they don’t adequately distinguish socioeconomic status from racial background, which in the United States are difficult to tease apart because nonwhite groups tend to have higher poverty levels. And few studies treat family income and education levels as independent factors, even though they can act differently on the child’s developing brain. For example, income may be a better indicator of the material resources (such as healthy food and medical care) available to a child, whereas more highly educated parents may be better able to stimulate their child’s intellectual development.

See on news.sciencemag.org

31
Mar
15

Is Astrology a Branch of Neuroscience?

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

What if our brain could sense gravitational waves via quantum effects? In that case it would pick up different conjunctions of heavenly bodies. Could that be the basis of the much-maligned area of astrology? 

I just read an article on astrology (Does Astrology Work? I’m Gonna Go With “No.” in Bad Astronomy). I’ve never believed in horoscopes and all the other astrological claptrap. How could the positions of planets possibly influence your personality and behavior?

But hold on here. I pride myself on being open-minded to different ideas and thoughts, even to ones that possibly sound ridiculous. And, hmmm, in the part I have been known to be wrong on certain other matters I then thought to be equally, if not even more ridiculous. So let’s give astrology the benefit of the doubt for the moment and consider what mechanism could possibly exist that would make it a real and, gasp, useful phenomenon.

I’m going to talk gravitational waves for the moment. Bear with me, there’s a reason.

Einstein’s general theory of relativity posits that there must be gravitational waves. Problem is, we’ve never found them although there have been numerous false sightings.

But researchers haven’t given up. There have been several approaches ranging from hanging large weights and looking for tiny displacements to the recent apparently failed experiment to look for the tell-tale ripples that gravitational waves would leave on dark matter. Yep, it’s all beyond me too.

But the general idea is that you have to make a detector that has extraordinary sensitivity which could sense waves that are unfathomably weak. Then you use some of the amazing instruments that are constantly emerging from high tech labs to measure the changes in the detector. Piece of cake right?

See on perthleadership.org

31
Mar
15

Responding to Complexity in Socio-­Economic Systems: How to Build a Smart and Resilient Society?

See on Scoop.itPapers

The world is changing at an ever-increasing pace. And it has changed in a much more fundamental way than one would think, primarily because it has become more connected and interdependent than in our entire history. Every new product, every new invention can be combined with those that existed before, thereby creating an explosion of complexity: structural complexity, dynamic complexity, functional complexity, and algorithmic complexity. How to respond to this challenge?

Responding to Complexity in Socio-­Economic Systems: How to Build a Smart and Resilient Society?

Dirk Helbing

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2583391

See on papers.ssrn.com

31
Mar
15

Our Brain Sees Known Words As Pictures

See on Scoop.itSocial Neuroscience Advances

Given the fact that writing is a relatively recent invention, scientists are keen to understand how we read and recognize words as our brains cannot have evolved a dedicated mechanism for reading.

See on iflscience.com

31
Mar
15

Steps to Take After the NSA Shootings, 3/30/2015

See on Scoop.itIt Comes Undone-Think About It

The American governments at all levels and in all places are going to have to come to terms with a few things.  The first set of things are their own anti-social, repressive, oppressive, and anti-democratic tactics and methods and policies that they have enacted towards the general public.  The American people cannot and will not voluntarily be marched into a neo-feudal serfdom without some form of resistance springing forth.  Worse still, the people who will be behind such a resistance will also be the least qualified, least able, and least willing to establish a functional and effective new order from the ashes of the old.  The second set are the anti-social, anti-progress, moronic, baboon-like group of radical right wing personalities and people whose anti-social, anti-progress, and anti-democratic tactics are what have brought us to the point where one is dead at NSA headquarters.  These are the fat cat millionaires and radical right wingers who are sitting in our Congressional delegations, posing as bankers and businesspeople, making a mockery of the American spirit and the nature of Americans throughout all levels of society.  We can either be cleansed of these people by ignoring them, voting against them, and by defending ourselves with lethal force if necessary.  Or we can continue to sit around and do nothing while they dismantle our entire society and environment in the name of profit, control, and some abstract notion of liberty that they’ve never questioned or seriously examined.

I’ve always suggested that we turn our attention towards ridding our human societies of these conservative elements and the more pragmatic economic elite who fund them.  The shooting at the NSA should be taken as a wake-up call for all Americans to unite against the growing right wing despotism that is threatening to erode our nation’s core integrity and to disband the dysfunctional and ineffective establishment “left” in favor of a new progressive state in America that relies on science, evidence, and the well-being of all people, not just the rich, as the benchmarks for good policy and good policy-making.  Financial wealth for wealth’s sake should not be the end all of a society’s goal, nor should we condone or accept those who can’t get that through their heads. 

A government and its members are never self-sustaining entities.  A government and their members rely on the legitimacy, acceptance, and authority that is granted to them.  These are things which can be revoked with disastrous consequences to follow for all people, including for the governments’ members, when and if they are revoked.  Governments can fail; their existence is not guaranteed.  Best to continue working with the general public in a dialogue for the sake of improving the quality of life for people rather than act as if there are no consequences for your actions.  The sooner our governments in the United States and throughout human society get this through their heads, the sooner we’ll all be better off.  We need to eliminate the right wing by allowing them to eliminate themselves, and the world will be that much closer to being reasonably settled, even though it will never truly be settled in the long term or short term.  This will never be a utopian world; some problems will continue, old ones fade away, and new ones will rise.  What we can change is how we live, interact with, and respond to the changes and common reality, first, by acknowledging that there is a common reality where all opinions, hypotheses, and perceptions are not equal and should not be given an equal light if they prove to be unfounded and without evidence to support them.  The second thing we need to do is learn about this universe as thouroughly, deliberately, and accurately, specifically with regards to ourselves and to our own place within it relative to all other things on the individual and collective level.  The third thing is to apply the lessons in our daily lives, policies, laws, programs, and actions, such that we can live healthier, happier, and more sustainable lives as individuals within the context of our environment and our societies.  We can follow these three steps and all the subsequent steps and implications, or we can all collapse as a civilization and ruin ourselves and the world around us in the name of senseless greed and baseless ideology.  These are the options.  What side will you be on?

Think about it.

31
Mar
15

Best Free Android Neuroscience Apps – NeuroRelay

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

These apps offer an unique approach to the field of neuroscience. Using smartphones to learn is a growing trend thanks to the efforts of cross-platform learning services. For now, learning on mobile isn’t nearly as efficient as learning on a computer but a minute here and a minute there really adds up over time. If you’re interested in learning neuroscience or about the brain in general, check out the best free Android neuroscience apps.

See on neurorelay.com




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