Archivio per 1 dicembre 2015

01
Dic
15

Anthropology of the Brain

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

In this unique exploration of the mysteries of the human brain, Roger Bartra shows that consciousness is a phenomenon that occurs not only in the mind but also in an external network, a symbolic system. He argues that the symbolic systems created by humans in art, language, in cooking or in dress, are the key to understanding human consciousness. Placing culture at the centre of his analysis, Bartra brings together findings from anthropology and cognitive science and offers an original vision of the continuity between the brain and its symbolic environment. The book is essential reading for neurologists, cognitive scientists and anthropologists alike.

See on books.google.cl

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01
Dic
15

It Pays to Be Overconfident, Even When You Have No Idea What You’re Doing

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

There’s very little downside to acting like you run the place. 

In his New York Times column earlier this week, David Brooks, responding to an essay in The Atlantic about how women have less confidence than men, wrote that “recent psychological research … suggests that overconfidence is our main cognitive problem, not the reverse.”

It’s certainly easy to come up with examples of overconfidence getting us into trouble — the Iraq War, the financial meltdown, that guy who challenged a heavyweight boxing champion to a fight last week — but overconfidence may actually be beneficial, at least for the person with the big head.

Consider Kanye West, one of the greatest bloviators of all time. Here is a partial list of people Kanye has compared himself to: Michael Jackson, Picasso, Beethoven, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, and of course Jesus, who presumably died so that Yeezus could live. Even in an industry built on braggadocio, his crowing seems excessive. But it may also be the key to the spell he casts, even over the haters: According to new research, overconfidence increases one’s status even when it’s been exposed as overconfidence.

See on nymag.com

01
Dic
15

Automatically Green: Behavioral Economics and Environmental Protection by Cass R. Sunstein, Lucia A. Reisch :: SSRN

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

Abstract:      

Careful attention to choice architecture promises to open up new possibilities for environmental protection – possibilities that go well beyond, and that may be more effective than, the standard tools of economic incentives, mandates, and bans. How, for example, do consumers choose between environmentally-friendly products or services and alternatives that are potentially damaging to the environment but less expensive? The answer may well depend on the default rule. Indeed, green default rules may well be a more effective tool for altering outcomes than large economic incentives. The underlying reasons include the power of suggestion; inertia and procrastination; and loss aversion. If well-chosen, green defaults are likely to have large effects in reducing the economic and environmental harms associated with various products and activities. Such defaults may or may not be more expensive to consumers. In deciding whether to establish green defaults, choice architects should consider both consumer welfare and a wide range of other costs and benefits. Sometimes that assessment will argue strongly in favor of green defaults, particularly when both economic and environmental considerations point in their direction. But when choice architects lack relevant information, when interest-group maneuvering is a potential problem, and when externalities are not likely to be significant, active choosing, perhaps accompanied by various influences (including provision of relevant information), will usually be preferable to a green default.
 

See on papers.ssrn.com

01
Dic
15

The Three Big Questions Cass Sunstein Should Investigate in His  Star Wars Book

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

This article originally appeared on Science of Us.  

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that Cass Sunstein, the legal scholar and former White House regulatory czar, is writing a book about Star Wars. Details are scarce: The article notes only that the book will be an “exploration” of Star Wars and that “Sunstein will touch upon everything from history to politics to fatherhood.“ But looking at Sunstein’s interests, as well as some of the most Sunstein-esque mysteries from the original trilogy—since everyone knows the second trilogy never happened—offers some hints at what could be in there, or what should be in there, at least.

Sunstein, a law professor at Harvard, has written articles and books on just about everything during his prolific academic career. During his time in the White House and in published work from the last few years, though, he’s taken a keen interest in the insights of behavioral economics, a field concerned with better understanding human decision-making and the biases that can lead it to unfortunate results. Sunstein is a big proponent of “nudges”—unobtrusive, behavioral-econ-informed interventions that can help encourage people to make better decisions without forcing the issue (putting the desserts in a slightly harder-to-reach place in a cafeteria, for example, and laying the fruit out in front of them), and he brought this enthusiasm with him to the White House. In books like Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Human Happiness, which he co-authored with the pioneering behavioral economist Richard Thaler, he’s dug deep into the science behind these issues. Sunstein is also very interested in the related question of how governments and other large organizations can function better, more efficiently, and with a smarter approach to cost-benefit analyses, subjects he’s tackled in Simpler: The Future of Government and Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter.

To me, all of this points in a clear direction. What’s the one big government entity in the original Star Wars trilogy? The Empire. And does the Empire seem to fall into some potentially preventable traps of poor decision-making? Yes, indeed! I’d argue, then, that Sunstein should look at the following three questions from the original trilogy.

See on slate.com

01
Dic
15

Behavioral Economist Richard Thaler on the Key to Retirement Savings

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

Getting people to build a nest egg is simple, Prof. Thaler says: Make it easier.

RT @nanettebyrnes: Insights from behavioral econ have helped w/ saving, but spending in retirement needs attention – Richard Thaler https:/…

 

See on wsj.com




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