The PLoS One study, conducted by Duarte Viana and colleagues at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Oeiras, Portugal, showed that rats were able to cooperate and adjust tactics depending on the strategy of their opponent, when put in a Prisoner’s Dilemma scenario. The results shattered the idea that only humans can solve the Prisoner’s Dilemma – and may bode a whole new approach to how we think about intelligence in other species.
Like it or not, the golden arches of McDonalds are one of the most easily recognised icons of the modern world. The culture they represent is one of instant gratification and saved time, of ready-made food that can be bought cheaply and eaten immediately. Many studies have looked at the effects of these foods on our waistlines, but their symbols and brands are such a pervasive part of our lives that you’d expect them to influence the way we think too.
And so they do – Chen-Bo Zhong and Sanford DeVoe have found that fast food can actually induce haste and impatience, in ways that have nothing to do with eating. They showed that subliminal exposure to fast food symbols, such as McDonalds’ golden arches, can actually increase people’s reading speed. Just thinking about these foods can boost our preferences for time-saving goods and even nudge us towards financial decisions that value immediate gains over future returns. Fast food, it seems, is very appropriately named.
No Comment. hehehe.
The community they look at is a public online forum with free registration, financed by advertisements, in which men grade and categorise their sexual encounters with female escorts. The community appears large with over 10,000 buyers and more than 6000 sellers all of whom use anonymous nicknames. The study covers a period of 6 years from when the community was set up in 2002 until 2008.
The study throws up both expected and unexpected results. Among the expected results is the discovery that the geographical connections between buyers and sellers vary as an inverse square law rather than a power law as in many other internet mediated networks. That’s not so hard to explain given that buyers or sellers have to travel to each other.
Another discovery is that a high rating for a particular sex worker is a good predictor of high ratings in the future. That’s the kind of rich get richer effect that is seen in many internet phenomena (also known as the Matthew effect). However, average or poor ratings don’t seem to affect future ratings either way.
Would they rather spend $10 million to save 10,000 lives from a disease that caused 15,000 deaths a year, or save 20,000 lives from a disease that killed 290,000 people a year? Overwhelmingly, volunteers preferred to spend money saving the 10,000 lives rather than the 20,000 lives. …
Slovic once told volunteers about a 7-year-old girl in Mali who was starving and in need of help. They were given a certain amount of money and asked how much they were willing to spend to help her. On average, people gave half their money to help the girl. … One group of volunteers was asked whether they would give money to the little girl; another was asked whether they would donate money to the little boy. A third group of volunteers was told about both the boy and the girl and asked how much they were willing to give. People gave the same amount of money when told about either the boy or the girl. But when the children were presented together, the volunteers gave less.
More here. If you want to care more about distant victims, set aside your mental image of a large tragedy, focus your mind on one particular victim, and open your heart. If you want to care less, instead of thinking about any one victim, try to visualize a much larger group of similar victims. Now here’s the key question: do you want to care more or less? Not sure? See which image you put in your mind, long enough to act on it.
This puzzles me a bit re near-far analysis. It suggests we help distant victims more in near mode, even though far mode is where we more express abstract ideals we want others to see. Do we not actually want others to think we help distant victims?
If we are really concerned with the supposed population problem I believe giving TV’s to the poor would be a great bargain. First they’d have something more to do rather than sex and it increases the risk of death!!!! Of course I’m joking.
The graph plots mortality rate (per 1000 person-years) against TV viewing-time. The population averaged about 50 years of age, so over 6 or 7 years, you would certainly expect some of them to die, and that’s what you see. The error bars here are 95 percent confidence intervals, which means that plot points are significantly different when they overlap by up to about half the length of the error bars. That means it’s quite clear that people who said they watched four or more hours of TV per day were significantly more likely to die than people who watched no TV. Even when the numbers were adjusted for exercise, age, and waist circumference, TV-watchers were significantly more likely to die during this period than non-TV-watchers (though the relationship was now not quite as strong). Indeed, after these adjustments, there were significant differences in risk of death between the groups who watched 0 to under 2 hours, 2 to under 4 hours, and 4 or more hours of TV per day.
If people are not doing the right things; If people are less kind than what we know they can be; If people are more selfish or self-centered that what we believe they should be; Maybe what’s wrong is that we are not letting them have the opportunity , the situations to show the good they can do. Whenever I fall in the trap of thinking myself as good and decent I step back and tell myself; How lucky I am that I have the opportunity to be good, to be decent. This is because I haven’t faced something that was big enough to push me to the limit. This keeps me huble.
In a hurry, can’t stop
Here’s what happened. On average just 40% of the seminary students offered help (with a few stepping over the apparently injured man) but crucially the amount of hurry they were in had a large influence on behaviour. Here is the percentage of participants who offered help by condition:
* Low hurry: 63%
* Medium hurry: 45%
* High hurry: 10%
The type of talk they were giving also had an effect on whether they offered help. Of those asked to talk about careers for seminarians, just 29% offered help, while of those asked to talk about the parable of the Good Samaritan, fully 53% gave assistance.
What these figures show is the large effect that subtle aspects of the situation have on the way people behave. Recall that the experimenters also measured personality variables, specifically the 'religiosity' of the seminarians. When the effect of personality was compared with situation, i.e. how much of a hurry they happened to be in or whether they were thinking about a relevant parable, the effect of religiosity was almost insignificant. In this context, then, situation is easily trumping personality.
When independent observers listened to the tapes of the conversation they found that when women were talking to men who thought they were very attractive, the women exhibited more of the behaviours stereotypically associated with attractive people: they talked more animatedly and seemed to be enjoying the chat more. What was happening was that the women conformed to the stereotype the men projected on them. So people really do sense how they are viewed by others and change their behaviour to match this expectation.
Now this experiment just happened to be carried out by manipulating the stereotype of attractiveness but the same rule applies to many different areas of life. Think of any of the standard stereotypes about class, race and nationality. Each of these create expectations in other people's minds, expectations that are difficult for us to avoid playing up to.
This is powerful because it shows another mechanism in which people who think negatively or suspiciously of somebody/something affects how that someone acta/reacts towards them. Does this mean I need to expect people would be kind and giving towards me? I don’t know , maybe. Read the whole thing to see how they setup the experiment.