Comment by Peacewise on 16 types of useful predictions · 2015-07-04T20:37:45.684Z · LW · GW

re compartmentalization question about 'jinxing'.

I have some experience and knowledge in this subject from a sports science perspective.

It's commonly accepted within sport psychology that first, negativity, is associated with predicting low chances of success, and secondly that those who do display negativity and predict low chance of success decrease their own performance.

For example, a well coached basketball player at the free throw line would be aware that saying "I'm going to miss this free throw" increases their chances of missing the free throw. Note now that "well coached" implies including psychological training as a component of a wider training program.

One source for you compartmentalization, to dig a little deeper is...

"Krane and Williams concluded that a certain psychological profile appears to be correlated with peak performance for most athletes. More specifically, this ideal mind/body state consists of the following: (a) feelings of high self-confidence and expectations of success, (b) being energized yet relaxed, (c) feeling in control,(d) being totally concentrated, (e) having a keen focus on the present task, (f) having positive attitudes and thoughts about performance, and (g) being strongly determined and committed. Conversely, the mental state typically associated with poorer performances in sport seems to be marked by feelings of self-doubt, lacking concentration, being distracted, being overly focused on the competition outcome or score, and feeling overly or under aroused. While acknowledging that this ideal mind/body state is highly idiosyncratic, Krane and Williams concluded that for most athletes, the presence of the right mental and emotional state just described is associated with them performing to their potential." Harmison, R. J. (2006). Peak performance in sport: Identifying ideal performance states and developing athletes' psychological skills. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 37(3), 233-243. doi: 10.1037/0735-7028.37.3.233

Comment by Peacewise on 16 types of useful predictions · 2015-06-27T05:44:14.188Z · LW · GW

Microsoft Outlook Business Contact Manager provides ways forward to utilising prediction. Within its Task scheduling one has opportunity to estimate what percentage of the set task is already completed. Also how long the task will take is estimated by the user.

I find B.C.M highly useful for focusing prediction and task achievement.

Comment by Peacewise on Bragging Thread May 2015 · 2015-05-14T09:50:45.882Z · LW · GW

Hi people, I just wanted to say thank you to the LessWrong community for exposing me to the concept of "bayesian probability". Apparently human motor programs function in a bayesian way, with each movement prior predicted including predicted sensory feedback of said movement, which enables a comparison of prediction with perceived reality. Pretty cool.

Learned of the observational evidence supporting random practice over blocked practiced as they relate to motor learning and retention, 14/5/2015.

Wrote a new lesson plan for my squash juniors, based upon the aforementioned idea of random practice, which I offer freely to LW.

Squash training, psuedorandom

  1. Serve from right
  2. Move to t
  3. Chase own ball
  4. Serve from left
  5. Chase own ball
  6. Throw ball with left hand to front wall right side
  7. Play forehand drop shot
  8. Move to T
  9. Gather ball
  10. Move to t
  11. Throw ball to front wall, left side
  12. Play backhand drop shot
  13. Move to t
  14. 1 push-up
  15. Gather ball
  16. Move to t
  17. Throw ball to left wall softly.
  18. Play a backhand drive deep
  19. 1 squat
  20. Gather ball
  21. Move to t
  22. Throw ball to right wall softly
  23. Play a forehand drive deep
  24. 1 lunge
  25. Gather ball
  26. Rest, drink, provoke THINK.
  27. Move to front left court with ball n racket.
  28. Play a backhand cross court, like a serve.
  29. Move to t
  30. Do a split step jump
  31. Gather ball
  32. Move to front right
  33. Play a backhand cross court, like a serve.
  34. Move to t
  35. 1 situp
  36. Gather ball
  37. Move to front right.
  38. Play a forehand cross court, like a serve.
  39. Move to t
  40. 1 one legged swan pose, 5 seconds
  41. Gather ball
  42. Move to front left
  43. Play a forehand cross court, like a serve
  44. Move to t
  45. Balance racket on one finger, 5 seconds.
  46. Gather ball
  47. Move to t
  48. Throw ball to right wall softly with non racket hand
  49. Play forehand boast
  50. Move to t
  51. Gather ball
  52. Move to t
  53. Throw ball to left wall softly
  54. Play backhand boast
  55. Move to t
  56. Do right side plank, 5 seconds.
  57. Gather ball
  58. Move to t
  59. Do left side plank, 5 seconds.
  60. Rest, drink, provoke THINK.
  61. NOTE TIME TO DO 59 tasks. Repeat

Implemented an approximation of the above program in today's session, after explaining why the changes are occurring. I observed that the young athletes were more enthused.

Comment by Peacewise on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) · 2012-04-13T03:44:55.901Z · LW · GW

tomme, welcome to lesswrong, gday I'm Peacewise.


I used to believe that Santa is real

Fair crack mate, "Santa" is a standard fiction/lie perpetrated by society and parents, hardly something to be used as evidence of a "faulty brain". In fact its more likely to be evidence that your brain was and is functioning in a developmentally normal state.

I suggest you reconsider your position on fiction, since you state

so I would rather make sure it's accurate, truthful, useful knowledge

there is indeed plenty of accurate, truthful and useful knowledge within the realm of fiction. Shakespeare has plenty of accurate and useful knowledge about the human condition, just to give you one counter example. "Out damned spot, out " by lady Macbeth is an example of how murder and the guilt caused by the act of murder affects the human mind. (Macbeth, Act 5, scene 1.) Lady Macbeth cannot get the imagined blood stains off her hands after committing murder.

Humans are subjective creatures, by experimenting with fiction you'll be looking into the human condition, by avoiding fiction you are dismissing a large subset of truth - for truth is subjective as well as objective.

Comment by Peacewise on Schelling fences on slippery slopes · 2012-03-17T03:33:41.462Z · LW · GW

Seems to me that rationalism as a living ideal is a slippery slope with a positive outcome. Once someone takes the initial steps to use rationalism, they then seek to learn more about rationalism, they practice it more and they become more effective and efficient at utilising it. That looks like a slippery slope to me, but obviously one that has a different outcome type than a traditional negative outcome orientated slippery slope.

Comment by Peacewise on My Algorithm for Beating Procrastination · 2012-02-20T07:09:42.655Z · LW · GW

Well done, you've rephrased S.M.A.R.T.E.R goal setting into you're own language... and that's cool, cause that's a part of learning.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-23T13:38:29.937Z · LW · GW

Do you recall this line in the Matrix?

MORPHEUS: I told you that I can only show you the door. You have to step through it.

Thats what i hoped would be understood by the previous, one can lead a horse to water but one cant make it drink.

Comment by Peacewise on How I Ended Up Non-Ambitious · 2012-01-22T16:42:43.675Z · LW · GW

I played Alpha Centauri for a few weeks back when it came out, ended up going back to Civilisation, more out of habit I suppose than anything else. These days I'm playing Civilisation IV Beyond the Sword.

What is interesting about being taught optimizer thinking within a computer game is that if that thinking stays within the game, then it's not real world applicable as optimal. If however one stops playing the game and then takes the learned strategies applicable in the real world, into the real world - then gaming is useful, otherwise gaming is just entertainment. I love gaming, don't get me wrong - it's just that (simplistically) x hours of gaming translates into x hours of missed revenue/earnings in the real world, or x hours of real world knowledge unlearned.

Comment by Peacewise on The problem with too many rational memes · 2012-01-19T19:10:26.041Z · LW · GW

What is quite interesting when reconsidering the original hypothesis of ABrook, is the taking into consideration of outsiders.

If outsiders strongly associate rationality with LW and LW is negatively perceived, then the original hypothesis has some weight.

Fortunately we have an outsider... that's me, and,

I do have some negative perceptions of LW, yet more fortunately for rationality a negative perception of LW is that I do not strongly associate LW with rationality. I presume some will appreciate the beautiful irony of this construct and further appreciate and then avoid the infinite spirals it produces.

Comment by Peacewise on The problem with too many rational memes · 2012-01-19T18:18:02.497Z · LW · GW

In my judgement ABrooks was not trolling, and instead raised a point of view that experience on LW encouraged me to consider.

I think it is true that some members of LW, on some occasions do believe they are justified in expressing contempt for the beliefs of outsiders, sometimes this is done without expressing the justification, on other occasions the justification has been expressed and refuted yet the contempt remains and on yet other occasions the justification is reasonable. I leave the other branches of the scenario for the community to express at their convenience.

I don't however consider the LW community on the whole to be toxic to rationality as one cannot and shouldn't judge an entire community based upon isolated actions of a potential unrepresentative sample. I think the statement

Less Wrong is just a community that is on the whole, and despite it's best efforts and intentions, toxic to rationality

Is false, yet as one can see in my 2nd paragraph in this post, a change of the numbers from "on the whole" to "some members, some of the time" supports that the gist of the hypothesis deserves consideration, despite that I believe the original hypothesis is false.

Possibly a more succinct description of the issue under discussion is when an individuals self serving bias meets a groups group serving bias. The individual being an outsider.

When one considers that an aim of LW is the removal of biases, labelling a presentation of a possible group serving bias as a "troll" is not in the spirit - or vibe if you prefer - of LW. I do understand why one would want to not waste time on something as obviously false as the original hypothesis, yet I think that the updated hypothesis deserves consideration from members of the community.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-14T19:50:43.492Z · LW · GW

But why that seed in this conversation?

To assist in debiasing the ageism that was being expressed in the conversation.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-14T03:56:02.090Z · LW · GW

that are a thousand years ahead of western science.

What was the motivation behind this addition? Was it positive?

The motivation was to plant a seed... motivated by the +2 on my comment.

In my experience debiasing others who have strongly held opinions is far more effort than it's worth, a better road seems to be to facilitate them debiasing themselves. Plant the seed and move on, coming back to assess and perhaps water it later on. I don't try to cut down their tree... as it were.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-14T03:42:31.187Z · LW · GW

TimS, I'm glad we agree on several points, extinction and positive reinforcement of children. I wonder why these methods are espoused for children, yet tend to be used less for "competent adults". Thanks for planting the seed that I might be overgeneralizing the point a bit, I'll keep an eye on that.

I am reminded that saying "X is wrong" to an adult with a belief is ineffective in many circumstances, most notably the circumstance were the belief is a preconception, based in emotion or more specifically an irrational belief. Is this not one consequence of bias? That a person, in some cases/topics, won't update their beliefs and indeed strengthen their belief in the counterargument against the updating. Presumably you've read Which alludes to how knowledge of bias can be used dismissively, i.e. an irrational use of a rationale.

"Why logical argument has never been successful at changing prejudices, beliefs, emotions or perceptions. Why these things can be changed only through perception." De Bono, "I am right, you are wrong". De Bono discusses this extensively.

If the belief is rational, and perhaps that's one component of what you consider a "competent adult", the adult could be more open to updating the fact/knowledge - yet even this situation has a wealth of counter examples, such that there is a term for it - belief perseverance.

In my experience unsolicited advice is rarely accepted regardless of its utility and veracity. Perhaps I communicate with many closed minds, or perhaps I am merely experiencing the availability heuristic in context of our discussion.

Comment by Peacewise on Meetup : First Sydney 2012 meetup. · 2012-01-12T03:09:18.603Z · LW · GW

I'd like to attend via skype if someone cares to plonk an ipad or other skype activated device on the desk. my skype name is peace.wise and I live in Mount Barker, south australia.

Please contact me via LW before attempting to have me as a skype contact. I reject all skype contacts from people I don't know as a matter of course.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-12T02:06:55.964Z · LW · GW

Thanks for the post on negativity Vaniver. I wouldn't go bungee jumping if it had a 5% failure rate.

Mostly in discouraging behavior...

That viewpoint can be considered as based upon Skinners model of Behaviourism, it's been shown to be less effective for learning than being positive.

Makes sense - we tend to remember what we are emotionally engaged in and what is reinforced. When the negativity is associated with the 5%, what is reinforced is that a person is "wrong", that's associated with feelings of low self efficacy and tends to discourage (most) people from the topic. When that happens they regress - not progress, they tend to get even more wrong next time as they've not stayed engaged in the topic.

...As well, an important rationality skill is updating on valuable information from sources you dislike; dealing with negativity in safer circumstances may help people learn to better deal with negativity in less safe circumstances.

I agree that an important skill is to update ones information, however the discouragement that is provoked by negativity isn't efficient in evoking updating. Confident people update their information, people who aren't attacked have no need to defend and so they remain open, openess is the key attitude for updating information. Negativity destroys and/or minimizes confidence which contributes to closing a mind.

What negativity does, in context of learning, is to encourage secrecy, resentment, avoidance and close mindedness. Again this stuff is all known as a consequence of punishment, which is what negativity - as discouraging behaviour is associated with.

Apparently a more effective way forward is to model the behaviour that one wants to encourage and ignore the behaviour one wants to discourage - extinction.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-12T01:15:17.657Z · LW · GW

thomblake, consider a high distinction as an A+ grade. Perhaps as along the lines of Newtonian Mechanics. It's mostly right.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-11T18:49:46.474Z · LW · GW

Sure, if you're running in debate mode and thinking in terms of 'sides' or 'us versus them' and trying to 'win', then that might be something to do. Solution: don't do that in the first place.

Indeed, a valuable point. So what's up with the score keeping system of LW then. It encourages thinking in terms of sides and competition. -1, not my side, +1 my side. -1 lost, +1 won.

Don't worry, everything you believe is almost certainly wrong - don't expect to find yourself in the 95% correct state any time soon. We're running on corrupted hardware in the first place, and nowhere near the end of science. We can reduce hardly any of our high-level concepts to their physical working parts.

lol. Fair enough. I would place the 95% not on some unknown scale of what is absolutely true - that science doesn't yet know, but instead on the relative scale of what science currently knows. Does that make a difference to your point?

First, fix those too.

Yep, tough to become self less, yet still place enough value upon oneself to not be a door mat. Rudyard Kiplings "If" shows a pathway.

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you. If all men count with you, but none too much.

Eastern philosophy also has approaches - that are a thousand years ahead of western science.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-11T17:38:27.137Z · LW · GW

Vaniver. Mate. I accept that you believe

It seeks to minimize arrogance and maximize doubt.

but I dispute that it achieves those. I believe instead that it maximises arrogance and maximises doubt in the others point of view, and in maximising doubt in the other persons view we minimize our doubt in our own view.

The belief that it's difficult to be completely right, encourages people to look for that gap that is "wrong" and then drive a wedge into it and expand it until it's all that's being talked about.

If 95% is correct and 5% is wrong, criticising the 5% is a means to hurting the person - they have after all gotten 95% correct. It's not rational to discount peoples feelings by focusing upon their error and ignoring their correctness. It's destructive, it breaks people. Sure some few thrive on that kind of struggle - most don't, again this is proven stuff. And I'm not going to post 10 freeking sources on that - all that's doing for me is wasting my time and providing more opportunity for others to confirm their bias by fighting against it. If someone wants to find that information it's out there.

When you (or anyone else) got a high distinction for a unit or assignment or exam, was that a moment to go, fuck - didn't remember that a pre ganglionic fibre doesn't look anything like a post gangleoic nerve (aka ds9), or was it a moment to leap for joy and go, you little ripper I got 95%!

I agree negativity has its uses, often it's about "piss off" and go away, leave me alone; sometimes that's useful, but you'll note that those fall on the arrogant side of emotions - that of self. (this will get a wedge driven in it too, heck I could drive one in, but it remains somewhat true).

Vaniver, I'd consider it a positive discussion to talk about negativity. Would you mind explaining to me where "negativity has its uses".

And to show that I consider the

It seeks to minimize arrogance and maximize doubt.


Yeh, ok I get that, when we apply the concept to ourselves then we are minimizing our arrogance and maximizing our doubt. And that'll work. We'll second guess ourselves, we'll edit our posts, and re edit, and check our dictionaries and quote our sources and these are all useful things. They keep us honest. But what about when we apply those concepts to others - as is our tendency due to the self serving bias and the group serving bias?

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-11T16:45:28.614Z · LW · GW

thanks for the link paper-machine, that's quite a reasonable policy.

If I wasn't downvoted to such a degree that I have no opportunity to downvote, I might consider implementing it. I'll certainly use the concept to more thoroughly mitigate my annoyance about those unable to follow argument.

I'll up vote you in accordance with my policy. Which is that if a person says a single useful thing, regardless of the rest of their post, I'll give it a +1.

My reasoning for this policy is twofold. I reject the negativity that is encouraged by criticism and it's aim of proving or showing that some one is wrong, rather than proving oneself right. I accept that when one focuses upon the positive, or worthwhile components of someone's beliefs/actions/arguments one creates a valuable synergy that encourages a pathway towards truth and understanding.

Sometimes I don't implement my own policy, but hey, it's all a work in progress.

On reflection the sites name "lesswrong" really should have set off an alarm bell. I'm not interested particularly in being lesswrong. I am interested in being moreright.

Positive psychology and educational psychology have shown that positivity contributes more readily to learning than negativity.

Comment by Peacewise on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) · 2012-01-11T16:22:05.242Z · LW · GW

Being rational is a component of religion, though the hard core atheist rejects that fact.

I once lightly unpacked the story of genesis and related it to more modern theories of cosmology and biology. Considering the resources available to the author of Genesis, it turns out to be quite effective. Sure it's way off, don't get me wrong, but how many thousand years ago was it written, how'd they work it out? Thousands of years ago, and some of it is still congruent with modern science.

I'll provide a link in a pm if you request.

Comment by Peacewise on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) · 2012-01-11T15:45:58.734Z · LW · GW

I was forced to conclude that debating was not about reaching the truth, but about proving the other person wrong. G'day -Stablizer,

Welcome to lesswrong, I'm quite new here too. I read your intro and think you would probably thoroughly devour Edward De Bono's "I am right, you are wrong". I agree with you regarding debating (and criticism) and so does De Bono, he writes about it quite elegantly.

Cheers, peacewise.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-11T15:32:33.589Z · LW · GW

drink/driNGk/ Verb:
Take (a liquid) into the mouth and swallow.

I know you're having a bit of a laugh, however force feeding is not drinking.

As the wiki you link quite clearly shows, force feeding is having the tube passed through the nose or mouth into the stomach. Whilst drinking, in context of a horse, doesn't include a tube, and does include the liquid going into the mouth and being swallowed.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-11T15:20:03.773Z · LW · GW

I think we're looking at different dictionaries, so I'll abandon the word impulsive and try with a more object-level phrase.

Hilarious, the point you have abandoned has +2, whilst my point that forced the abandoning still has -1. anyways...

They can drive less carefully while maintaining the same beliefs about risk.

and if those same beliefs are already an underestimation of risk? strike 1, just clipped the outside of the plate.

Let's unpack that last quote in context of driving... a-yawn-gain. they can drive less carefully. Less carefully, is about less care - what is "care", that's about

Care = Feel concern or interest; attach importance to something: "they don't care about human life". (

So they feel less concern, they attach less importance to driving. What's the key word there, hmmm? "Less" well that's a term, in context that goes with "under"-estimate. Do you think? I do. Strike 2 - straight up the middle of the plate. Batter says, I didn't see that. Too bad says the ref.

Let's examine the opposite side, to include a process for minimising disconfirmation bias. They drive less carefully. Ok, I'm flipping my brain. The less carefully has nothing to do with underestimating risk, actually in this flip it's about overestimating risk... why do I say overestimate - well apparently that's part of the argument opposing my viewpoint, check above.

Well what's the dictionary say about what "Over estimate" means

o·ver·es·ti·mate/ˌōvərˈestəˌmāt/ Verb:
Estimate (something) to be better, larger, or more important than it really is. (

hang on, hang on - overestimate = estimate something to be more important than it really is. Does overestimate sound at all like "less care"? No it doesn't, contradiction found, conclusion is Driving less carefully is about underestimating risk. Strike 3. Yer outta here!

Now, here's a thing. When the teenagers judge the reward highly, sufficiently highly to outweigh the risk of death - they have underestimated the risk. Perception of reward and risk are not in opposition, they go hand in hand.

Now let's look at the rest of the sentence.

They can drive less carefully while maintaining the same beliefs about risk.

The implication in context, is that it's reward driving the behaviour, supposedly being the entire reason for the behaviour, one significant context of the reward perception was peer involvement (see article). Let's try that one.

They can drive less carefully with more people in the car, while maintaining the same beliefs about risk, because they perceive the rewards are higher.

That fits the counter argument to my viewpoint... but hang on, now with more people in the car the risk of death is multiplied. So factually the risk has increased - yet the behaviour is supposedly all due to the reward, now if the behaviour is truly all to do with the reward, then yep the teen has discounted the risk - for the risk increased and it's not changing the behaviour.

So in that situation we've got another example where a teen has underestimated the risk due to a perception of a higher reward.

Am I being too anecdotal for you guys? Of course, discount outgroup behaviour whilst permitting the same ingroup. The article is itself filled with anecdotes... maybe we should just dismiss the entire article... stop press no no, don't do that there's no counter to my op then, lets just pick and choose the parts of it that support the counter, dismiss those that don't - both in the research and the anecdotes.

Please by all means, chuck up the -1, I'm considering them badges of honour now.

Comment by Peacewise on Doublethink (Choosing to be Biased) · 2012-01-11T14:05:58.437Z · LW · GW

Thanks Zetetic for giving your time for an in depth reply, much appreciated.

With regards to your request for a peer reviewed meta analysis of the existing evidence. Well I reckon you'll find that in Dr David Lewis book, "The Man Who Invented Hitler". A synopsis of which is provided as the first link posted.

At that link you will find in the "about" section that the author Dr Lewis is a reputable author, with suitable qualifications to discuss the issue of Hitler and hysterical blindness.

"French born Dr David Lewis, a neuropsychologist, best selling author and historical researcher, obtained his doctorate in experimental psychology at the University of Sussex. He later lectured there before quitting to become a full time research and author. He has written widely on the psychology of totalitarianism especially in relation to the rise of Adolf Hitler and National Socialism with articles appearing in such publications as International History and The Criminologist." - the first paragraph at the "about"

This is supported on wikipedia.

Now fair enough, I personally haven't done the meta analysis and haven't presented one done by another - however I have provided the conclusions of research done on the subject by a respectable source.

Since you've requested more information, of a better quality, please have a look through this.

"It is known that Forster treated Hitler with auto-suggestion which allowed Hitler, on November 19th, 1918, a week after the end of the War, to be fully recovered, discharged, and returned to his regiment in Munich2,4."

which has a bibliography that uses the aforementioned Dr Lewis as a reference. I include references 2, 3, 4 fyi, from the last link above.

"2. Gramary A. The internment of Adolf Hitler at the Hospital of Pasewalk, a case of hysterical blindness? Mental Health 2008;11:47-50. [ Links ]

  1. Dr. Edmund Forster the man who invented Hitler: the making of the Führer. Available at (accessed 12/19/2009). [ Links ]
  2. Köpf G. The hysterical blindness of Adolf Hitler: history of a medical. Rev Psiq Clín 2006;33:218-224. [ Links ]"

Now this journal article is particularly interesting for it provides evidence that supports my belief that Dr Lewis does consider the veracity of Hitlers hysterical blindness as Dr Lewis is used as a source for both Hitler being Hysterically blind and arguments against Hitlers hysterical blindness. I would presume that since Dr Lewis considers both sides, yet is holding that Hitler was hysterically blind that Dr Lewis does indeed provide some form of meta analysis of the situation in his Book “The man who invented Hitler” – a review of which was linked.

Now onto the second link...

Quite right that is a book review. It's a review of a book authored by Dr Thomas Weber MSt., DPhil (Oxon), FRHistS. Lecturer in Modern European, International, and Global Political History & Director, Centre for Global Security and Governance, also Reader in History and Director of the Centre for Global Security and Governance at the University of Aberdeen. Dr Weber also seems to me like another respectable source on the subject in question.

The book in question I presume will also provide you with a bibliography and likely more information than either you or I care to examine for ourselves. I put it to you that Dr Weber is a respectable source, that his account supports Dr Lewis on the issue of Hitlers hysterical blindess and the use of autosuggestion as a treatment.

Further you have quoted the following as evidence for the 2nd link in question being inadequate ;

“Hitler himself claimed that the war ended for him when he had to spend weeks in an army hospital after having been blinded by mustard gas. Circumstantial evidence and hearsay, however, have led to the suggestion that Hitler was, in fact, suffering from and treated for psychosomatic blindness. This hypothesis could never be conclusively tested, as Hitler had his medical file destroyed and had his henchmen kill those people with knowledge of the file,” said Dr Weber

However perhaps in your scanning of the 2nd link you did not read the paragraph that follows the above quote. I include it fyi.

The letters made available to him (Dr Weber) were exchanged between two prominent American physicians and confirm that Hitler was treated for hysterical amblyiopia, the psychiatric or conversion disorder commonly known as hysterical blindness. This previously unseen evidence is included in the paperback version of Hitler’s First War, due out on October 13.

I put it to you that the link is indeed "very good supporting evidence"!

Now onto what Hitler himself said about the occasion...

In Mein Kampf (which most scholars agree cannot be taken as completely factual), Hitler (1925/1999) reports that on the evening of October 13, 1918, gas shells rained on them “all night more or less violently. As early as midnight, a number of us passed out, a few of our comrades forever. Toward morning I, too, was seized with pain which grew worse with every quarter hour, and at seven in the morning I stumbled and tottered back with burning eyes; taking with me my last report of the war. A few hours later, my eyes had turned into glowing coals; it had grown dark around me” (p. 202). During the next month, Hitler stated that the piercing pain in his eyes had diminished and that he could now perceive broad outlines of objects around him. He wrote that he began to believe that he would recover his eyesight well enough to work again but not well enough to be able to draw again. On November 10, Hitler reported that a pastor came to the hospital to announce that Germany would capitulate and that the German fatherland would thus be exposed to “dire oppression.” Hitler reported, “Again everything went black before my eyes; I tottered and groped my way back to the dormitory, threw myself on my bunk, and dug my burning head into my blanket and pillow” (p. 204). copy pasted from,%20Vol.%205,%20No.%201%20pp.%2030-43.pdf

Mein Kampf, aka Hitler himself, supports that Hitler certainly did suffer blindness during the time period in question. Secondly of note Hitler wrote that "again everything went black before my eyes" upon receiving news of Germany's surrender, revealing that he was indeed not blinded by mustard gas, but instead suffered mentally to such an extent it affect his vision. Also that Hitler was in hospital at the time the Pastor gave the news revealed that he indeed was in hospital and for blindness.

Are we there yet? Have I provided enough evidence for LW to remove those -1's and start placing them instead upon the "loopy" comment that obviously did far less research on the matter than myself? Probably not, newbies, especially outspoken newbs, are always treated more harshly than long timers, that's just the way of things. Observationally it seems quite a few members of LW for all their support of rationality are prone to the bias that is known as :

group-serving bias - explaining away outgroup member’ positive behaviours; also attributing negative behaviours to their dispositions (while excusing such behaviour by one’s own group). (Myers, D. Social Psychology 10th ed. 2010)

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-11T02:44:15.722Z · LW · GW

Thus, they can be more impulsive while maintaining the same beliefs about risk.

I'll unpack that... Thus, they can be overconfident while maintaining the same beliefs about risk. Being impulsive is being overconfident, impulsive is a lack of estimating risk, which is underestimating risk.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-11T02:10:37.868Z · LW · GW

gwern, looks like you haven't been understanding a particular point.

The article reveals that reward is why the teenagers underestimate risk. The article reveals that teens perception of reward motivates their impulsiveness.

Incentives matter, which is what I've been saying all along.

Indeed, that's a point I agree with and have right from my very first rebut in this discussion. The incentives provide motivation for underestimating risk.

Wow. So your explanation for a clear-cut reward link is... they get distracted and can't estimate risk as accurately.

That's one way of summarising what the article is proposing.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-10T16:14:47.713Z · LW · GW

That's exactly what I'd expect a respectable sober adult to say.

Then you have the fortunate ability to accurately predict accurate statements.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-10T16:01:33.741Z · LW · GW

To quote, use a greater-than sign at the beginning of the line. For more formatting help, click "show help" below the comment box.

Thanks thomblake, I'll test that just now.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-10T09:29:18.422Z · LW · GW

You are indeed correct shokwave, thanks.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-10T08:53:28.218Z · LW · GW

Thanks gwern for returning to the discussion, cheers.

This is just missing the point. The mind is what the brain does. If a teenager chooses the higher reward and glances away, then by definition the areas involved in inhibition etc aren't going to be as busy! If they were equally busy in both the glancers and non-glancers, no one would be discussing them in the first place!

Perhaps I am missing the point. I reason that one point is that if the areas involved in inhibition aren't busy, then the person isn't estimating risk, in context, they are instead being overconfident in their decision making, they've not judged the situation, instead acting in impulse.

Unfortunately, we pay with death for both action and inaction. Destroying my own argument indeed. If you seriously mean that, then you must mean that no risk should ever be taken, which is not a position many will sympathize with.

Well no actually, I do seriously believe that you've destroyed your own argument and I don't mean that no risk should be ever taken, instead I mean that when the risk is death of oneself or others then the risk is so high as to outweigh most, if not all rewards.

Nothing inescapable about it. What we have is a worthless anecdote you insist on supporting your position, extremely strong evidence against underestimation of risk, brain-imaging results you do not understand, none of which forces the conclusion of overconfidence as opposed to teens intrinsically having higher rewards just as they intrinsically oversleep and all the over changes that go with puberty and being young adults.

The evidence isn't extremely strong against underestimation of risk, Dobbs wrote about growing from teenager to adult... "When this development proceeds normally, we get better at balancing impulse, desire, goals, self-interest, rules, ethics, and even altruism, generating behavior that is more complex and, sometimes at least, more sensible. But at times, and especially at first, the brain does this work clumsily. It's hard to get all those new cogs to mesh."

If one gets better at balancing those things during development, ie. growing up, that reveals one has a lack in balancing those things, which are to do with judgement - and poor judgement is one form of overconfidence.

Dobbs goes on to write, "This let the adults use a variety of brain resources and better resist temptation, while the teens used those areas less often and more readily gave in to the impulse to look at the flickering light..." this reveals that teens give in to impulse, which is about lacking judgement which goes to them being overconfident.

Dobbs continues "If offered an extra reward, however, teens showed they could push those executive regions to work harder, improving their scores."

This draws out a reason why they underestimate risk - because if the reward isn't "extra" or perceived as higher to the teen, then they likely won't push those executive regions to work harder, as is revealed in the articles previous paragraph, which I haven't quoted.

Dobbs continues "Add stakes that the teen cares about, however, and the situation changes. In this case Steinberg added friends: When he brought a teen's friends into the room to watch, the teen would take twice as many risks, trying to gun it through lights he'd stopped for before. The adults, meanwhile, drove no differently with a friend watching."

This can actually be interpreted either way, Steinberg chooses a higher reward, whilst one can just as reasonably choose an underestimation of risk – a rationale for which is alluded to in article is that social feelings/thoughts are more sensitive for the teenagers, hence the brain is more focussed on social cognition than risk estimation (as the risk estimation processes require more effort), hence less brain cycles on risk estimation – hence risk underestimation.

If I may use a real world scenario based upon the research and one that does happen, i.e. not fictional. When a teenagers friends are brought into their car, the teen would take twice (or some other >1 multiplier) as many risks, trying to gun it through lights he'd stopped at before. (rephrasing dobbs, reasonably I believe) It's known that some teenage passengers and drivers encourage or engage in risky driving for the thrill, that includes the social aspect of a shared thrill - in this situation the risk has also multiplied for now the death of passengers should be taken into account, whilst the reward has also increased. Might be zero sum, don't know, more research needed, but it’s clear that both reward and risk have increased due to the presence of others.

Now I hope that all you guys can see, this isn't a case of me being some tired old man who doesn't understand the joys of risk taking and thrill seeking. One should not forget that whilst I may be a somewhat respectable sober adult, I have already been through the teenage years under discussion and hence am able to recall those feelings that have been presented as if I am incapable of relating to. On the other hand a thrill seeking teenager is likely to be less aware of what it is to be a respectable sober adult, having never been one. In short I've been both a thrill seeking teenager, a thrill seeking adult and also a respectable sober adult. I do see both sides of this discussion.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-10T07:51:25.671Z · LW · GW

Hey thanks Grognor, I'll take your ad hominems about both Gwern and myself with the lack of respect they deserve.

With regards to the article, neither the research in it, nor the anecdotal evidence in it support the counter claim that teenagers are not overconfident.

The article does provide a rationale for why teenagers are overconfident, all I've done is unpack that information, first using the articles anecdote, then using the articles described research. meh. One can lead a horse to water but one can't make it drink.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-07T03:06:46.708Z · LW · GW

Gwern wrote "You wish to defer to the cop's expertise on whether it breaks the law? Excellent! I wish to defer to teens' expertise on what they enjoy. I'm glad we could come to agreement that teens overestimate risk but enjoy risky behavior much more than older people."

I've been comfortable all along with accepting what teens find enjoyable, I do not agree that teens overestimate risk and frankly I'm surprised you could glean that from what I've written. Let me be clear, the article reveals that teenagers underestimate risk.

Dobbs wrote - "It was the brain scans she took while people took the test. Compared with adults, teens tended to make less use of brain regions that monitor performance, spot errors, plan, and stay focused—areas the adults seemed to bring online automatically. This let the adults use a variety of brain resources and better resist temptation, while the teens used those areas less often and more readily gave in to the impulse to look at the flickering light—just as they're more likely to look away from the road to read a text message."

Estimating risk is about planning, monitoring performance, spotting errors and staying focused, whilst the final comment quoted above provides a suitable anecdote highlighting another situation where teens are more likely to underestimate risk. Further teens more readily give in to impulse - that reveals that teens readily don't estimate risk (at all), do you see that? Estimating risk is in opposition to giving into impulse, an impulse is a sudden urge - estimation isn't something that's done suddenly, estimation is calculated by examining the context.

Gwern continues with "'fairness' does not enter into it. As a transhumanist, I do not think death is a fair price for much of anything."

I used the term "fair" in the context of the gain outweighs the cost, it's a colloquialism you obviously understand since you use it yourself, hence your comment "fairness' does not enter into it" is false. However, you're quite right that death isn't a fair price for much of anything, providing support for the risk of death not being much of a fair price for anything either... again you just keep destroying your own argument.

So on one hand we've got teens who are shown in your quoted article to anecdotally underestimate risk and also shown in research to utilise less brain processes that estimate risk and on the other hand its been shown in other research presented in the same article that teens place a higher value on rewards - all of that leads to the inescapable conclusion that some teens are overconfident in their decision making ability.

It's become apparent to me that this discussion is an example of the disconfirmation bias. Perhaps you'd care to follow the procedure for minimizing/removing disconfirmation bias before you make another post, I have already done so several times.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-06T15:03:50.104Z · LW · GW

Gwern wrote "(This sounds like the usual generalizing problem: "I don't think that sounds insanely fun and awesome, so obviously no teenager can find it that rewarding and by the previous logic, these teenagers must be making extremely biased assessments of risk; they should stop that. Also, these teens should just stop laying in bed all morning and staying up all night." You are a respectable sober adult, I should not be surprised to learn.)"

Gwern, you stated the above ad hominem, which I find insulting, regardless of whether you meant it as such. You implied that I was thinking such things - both the words AND the method aren't conducive to civil discussion, hence I responded with less civility than I would have preferred. You attacked my character as a means of dismissing my discussion, it's a low tactic and one I didn't expect from LW, it is indeed the typical internet trash talk I mentioned.

My interpretation of the anecdote reveals that the anecdote doesn't necessarily support your argument, whilst the anecdote also doesn't necessarily support the remainder of the article. It's quite clear that the driver didn't overestimate the risks for he was busted for reckless driving. The charges of reckless driving were made by an expert, on the scene - not by either you, me or anyone else "viewing" the incident in text some time later. I maintain that the police officer is a better judge of the event than either the driver or you or I, hence it is more likely that it was in fact reckless driving than it wasn't reckless driving. Further since there is no mention of a passenger in the car, and the tone of the article leads me to believe that the author would have mentioned a passenger since the driver would have been risking someone else's life - something of note - we can minimize the notion of peer induced reward as no one was watching. I say minimize, not discount, for no doubt the driver will tell his peers and perhaps gain some status in the storytelling.

With regards to my "failure to deal at all seriously...", I feel I deal with the issue of teenage overconfidence quite seriously, for I acknowledge that teenagers do undertake risky behaviour, and that (studies mentioned in the article) show that they perceive the rewards outweigh the risk. It is quite clear that in perceiving their rewards with such a high (subjective/personal) value, many of them have indeed made an error for one third teenager deaths are in car accidents. One should consider if death, both the risk of it and the actual occurrence of it is truly a fair price to pay for driving fast (or under the influence of alcohol).

With regards to the intention to be immature, I have no knowledge of your intentions - only the observation that attacking my character without addressing the substance of my argument is an immature act.

Gwern wrote "Your precautions do not eliminate the risk (do police officers not move?), and further, they are non sequiturs: listing possible precautions do not prove or disprove anything about teenegers' risk perceptions and receiver rewards, neither their elevation or reduction." The precautions aren't necessarily designed to eliminate the risk, though they may do so, they will however mitigate various risks, including chance of getting caught. I assume the teenager wanted to both drive the speed run and not receive a fine for doing so. That the precaution of a pre-drive of the route didn't occur supports my contention that the teenager did not overestimate the risks, in fact underestimated that risk for he was caught. With regards to rebuttal that a police officer could move, I think it's reasonable to conclude that if during a pre-drive the police officer is observed in the location it's too risky a time for the speed run, whilst if the police officer isn't observed then one has done some work in minimizing the risk of being caught.

We might consider a pre-drive of the route as an expense which made the reward vs investment unfavourable, this would reveal that the perceived reward is not so high as to overcome some (amount) of minutes of the teenagers time. Something to consider, I'd appreciate your input on that line of reasoning.

David Dobbs presents an argument that teenagers perception of reward enables their risky behaviour. I believe that argument is congruent with my original statement "In my experience teenagers [are] indeed overconfident about their own decision making ability." Perhaps I should have said, In my experience some teenagers are... to be more appropriately pedantic.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-04T19:36:00.127Z · LW · GW

I'm disappointed that gwern, a presumably respected poster, going by his karma and post count, jumps so quickly to typical internet trash talk.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-04T18:33:44.377Z · LW · GW

"So you say." Nope, so the author of the article reveals by relaying what the driver said (and implied) about risks. Further it's obvious the teenage driver didn't drive the route before his speed run, or he'd have likely seen the police officer who busted him and not have done the speed run at that time, that probable lack of a pre-drive increased his risk of accident and made certain he got busted that particular time.

"You exaggerate. That's only if you are caught and worst-case scenarios if you are caught to boot. Is it worth it? Ask any skydiver; I've gone skydiving, and it is amazing. And I'm not even a teenager any more. (This sounds like the usual generalizing problem; "I don't think that sounds insanely fun and awesome, so obviously no teenager can find it that rewarding. Also, these teens should just stop laying in bed all morning and staying up all night." You are a respectable sober adult, I should not be surprised to learn.)"

First it wasn't an exaggeration it was the facts as revealed by the article you posted! Second, the worst case scenario I can think of isn't killing himself, it's driving at 113 mph into a school bus and killing and maiming 40 children, then surviving and being paralysed from the neck down for the remainder of his life which is spent in a prison hospital. Third, one third of american teenage deaths are in motor vehicles.

With regards to your skydiving example, how about you be a good chap and link the appropriate lesswrong description for ludicrously weak analogy.

As for your inclination to dismiss me due to your (somewhat inaccurate) stereotyping, like seriously mate, please put a sock in it I came to lesswrong hoping to get away from that kind of immature nonsense.

Comment by Peacewise on Doublethink (Choosing to be Biased) · 2012-01-04T16:47:31.332Z · LW · GW

Thanks Zetetic for the link to generalization from fictional evidence.

I'm aware that after spending my hard earned free time providing more evidence than I cared to in support of showing Hitler was hysterically blind and did receive treatment of an autosuggestion (i.e instilled delusion), that the "theory" remained basically "loopy" to someone(s) who didn't care to provide any refutation what so ever.

Since the evidence was treated without respect and I couldn't be arsed arguing with someone obviously lacking inclination to discuss the facts accuracy, I moved onto the more interesting conversational point of instilled delusion by propaganda.

If you would care to look more closely at the situation, you'll find that my post doesn't endorse "generalization from fictional evidence" because the evidence presented isn't fictional.

However if you still want to consider that my words you've quoted in bold as "basically endorses generalization from fictional evidence", that's your call.

I'm still struggling to understand when strict argument and/or more conversational discussion are appropriate on this website. Kind of amusing, in a frustrating way. To present historical evidence in support of a reasonable point about psychology, have it trolled (imo), yet decide to give the benefit of the doubt and present more detail, then move on and 2 months later be hit with counterargument for moving past the troll bait and staying on the original topic.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-04T08:35:10.245Z · LW · GW

The teenager in the article didn't exaggerate the risks when driving at 113 mph, he didn't even consider the risk of getting caught. Is a trip to court, lawyers fee, several fines and risking death worth the thrill of driving 113 mph? You tell me.

One might also consider the reality of self serving bias. The teenager paints himself in the best kind of light with regards to safety. He gets caught doing 113 mph and is peeved he's been charged with "reckless driving", NO he says, I wasn't reckless I wasn't just gunning it, I was driving, the road is dry and straight, it was daytime - all these comments of his are designed to make him sound as if he isn't reckless. Yet the expert, the police officer charges him with reckless driving. Does the police officer have it wrong? Is driving 113mph on a public road reckless? The article does support my observation about teenagers. That particular teenager is overconfident in his ability to decide what is reckless.

Comment by Peacewise on We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think · 2012-01-04T02:44:30.913Z · LW · GW

An interesting article gwern thanks.

It provides a rationale in support of my statement that teenagers are often overconfident in their decision making ability. The article argues that teenagers reward perception is higher and hence the risk seems reasonable compared to the "high" reward; that is one form of overconfidence.

Certainly is interesting to see that adults aren't affected by having a peer present during the experiment, whereas teenagers are more likely to engage in risk taking, perhaps better called - reward seeking - when their peer is watching during the experiment.

Comment by Peacewise on Spend Money on Ergonomics · 2011-12-27T09:53:03.030Z · LW · GW

A useful article, thanks. I particularly appreciate the context of spending money on ergonomics as we'll use it for 80000 hours, or so! Very interesting way to rationalize spending money on ergonomics.

I find using a Fitball as a chair facilitates the fidgeting mentioned and it's quite real that using an appropriately sized fitball will provide many of the ergonomic standards, like horizontal thighs and forearms. A fitball doesn't facilitate a straight back, instead it encourages one to strengthen one's core muscles and hence decreases lower back pain induced by overworked back muscles and under-strength core muscles. I tend to cycle my use of a fitball for a week or two, then put it away for a few months.

+1 for latex mattress, my wife and I bought one recently and we can confidently say that our sleeping is better, and have distinctly noticed that when I get into bed late at night and she's already in bed, that my movement doesn't wake her - that's a huge +1 for us late nighters! Another bonus for latex mattress is apparently they are resistant to dust mites and other forms of bed bugs.

With regards to pillows - has anyone considered the optimum height for a pillow per person? Seems to me that if one sleeps on one's back a pillow is unnecessary and may be detrimental in that it could contribute to forward head. Whilst if one sleeps on one's side then the appropriate pillow height is the thickness of one's shoulder, to facilitate the spinal column being in the same horizontal plane. If you're a sore neck (or headache) person spend some time thinking about the pillow!

Also barefoot walking is known to strengthen the small muscles in ones feet and ankles, this has useful benefits for posture and injury prevention. For those of us who work at home, going barefoot is quite easy, others who must be more physically social will also get peeved off answering the 20 questions a day "why are you barefoot?"

Happy festive season friends.

Comment by Peacewise on Doublethink (Choosing to be Biased) · 2011-11-27T04:06:54.669Z · LW · GW

Which theory is "basically loopy"?

That Hitler was hysterically blind? See - Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci (2007) 257:245 DOI 10.1007/s00406-006-0648-4 supported by... supported by... "The letters made available to him were exchanged between two prominent American physicians and confirm that Hitler was treated for hysterical amblyiopia, the psychiatric or conversion disorder commonly known as hysterical blindness" -

or that he was treated for the hysterical blindness with hypnosis? (2004, October 13). Fuhrer doctor not a shrinking violet. MX (Melbourne, Australia) (1 - Melbourne ed.), 010. Retrieved November 26, 2011, from NewsBank on-line database (Australia's Newspapers) supported by...'found+blind+faith'&source=bl&ots=zsTz8pOFWH&sig=IqpXzj6KjXsP0J7ytQEfaoQ3n6o&hl=en&ei=drLRTqTYK-aoiAeOibXcDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=Hitler%20'found%20blind%20faith'&f=false or Have a look at the literature yourself, and when you struggle to find primary sources, please do keep in mind that Hitler actively sought to destroy those sources and actively sought the death of the eye witnesses also.

Anyways, regardless of the truth of Hitler's hysterical blindness and his treatment by his Psychiatrist of instilling a delusion, the concept is supportive of ata's point that... "I'd estimate that it would be pretty dangerous to grant yourself permission to decide what delusions to instill in other people for their own good."

Sorry to bring up such an extreme example in support of ata's point, but I honestly believe that instilling a delusion in another is indeed a very dangerous thing to do, and hence granting oneself permission to do so is also dangerous.

One should also consider Hitler's instilling of a mass delusion upon the German people, the propaganda-delusion that the Jews were "sub human" also made it possible for the Holocaust to occur, in this consideration it is revealed that an instilled delusion facilitated the death of 6 million Jews.

One might also consider other examples of instilled delusion by propaganda as also being dangerous, for example fundamentalist Muslim propaganda that "all Americans are evil doers", or Christian propaganda that "all Muslims are fundamentalists", and how these delusions create a world of distrust, hatred and war between two cultures that for the main part laud peace.

Comment by Peacewise on Practical debiasing · 2011-11-20T13:31:13.257Z · LW · GW

In my experience debiasing others who have strongly held opinions is far more effort than it's worth, a better road seems to be to facilitate them debiasing themselves. Plant the seed and move on, coming back to assess and perhaps water it later on. I don't try to cut down their tree... as it were.

Comment by Peacewise on Existential Risk · 2011-11-20T02:05:16.110Z · LW · GW

The "discussion" of existential risk does occur in the mainstream media, sort of, it's mainly block buster movie's like Independence Day, War of the Worlds, 2012, The Day After Tomorrow and so on. I am confident that people understand the concept, probably however not the phrase. I respectfully suggest that the author amend the original post to include revelation that discussion of existential risk does occur, perhaps mentioning that the discussion is often trivial or often for entertainment purposes.

Whilst there have been a wide abundance of existential risk discussions over millennia within the huge variety of Armageddon stories that abound in various religions. I also recall the M.A.D principle was taught in high school, revealing that existential risk was a component of educational policy in the 70's, 80's and 90's.

Comment by Peacewise on "Inductive Bias" · 2011-11-13T01:26:19.122Z · LW · GW

Seems to me that the educational psychology term "overextension" has some relevance to the white swan scenario mentioned above. "overextension - inappropriate use of a word for a class of things rather than for one particular thing." Definition provided by Krause, K., Bochner, S., Duchesne, S., & McMaugh, A. (2010). Educational psychology for learning & teaching (3rd ed.). South Melbourne: Cengage Learning Australia. Strictly going from seeing one white swan to labelling therefore, all swans are white is inappropriate, hence why I think overextension is relevant, it mainly occurs within very young children. I imagine that if AI are overextending then they may be displaying characteristics of 2/3 year old children, this may or may not be useful. Some parts of the below discussion mention prior's in the same way that a psychologist would use the term heuristic. "heuristic - a thinking strategy that enables quick, efficient judgements." Social Psychology 10th Edition by David Myers. It may well be useful to go from seeing one white swan to all swans are white, in that it may be a thinking strategy that enables quick efficient recognition of a swan. Perhaps this may be a first look scenario, a person (or ai) glimpses the whiteness and rough shape of a swan and provides a quick working label of "swan", then if necessary firms up that label with a refresh to gather more specific information, or simply holds the swan label if it's not necessarily needed.

Comment by Peacewise on Knowing About Biases Can Hurt People · 2011-11-02T23:23:29.000Z · LW · GW

I think I've got a pretty good feeling on those 6 predictions and have seen them in action numerous times. Most especially in discussions on religion. Does the following seem about right LWers?

The prior attitude effect, both atheists and theists have prior strong feelings of their respective positions and many of them tend to evaluate their supportive arguments more favourably, whilst also aggressively attacking counters to their arguments as predicted by the disconfirmation bias.

The internet being what it is, provides a ready source of material to confirm ones bias.

Polarization of attitude will occur, as a direct result of the disconfirmation bias. One classic example of this is the tendency in internet forum for one person to state their position and expect another to refute it, thereby polarizing the argument - that the people then "naturally" fall into a disconfirmation bias situation is quite ironic in my opinion. Is the classic debating style of "your for and I'm against" or vice versa an example of structured disconfirmation bias?

Whilst the sophistication effect as described precludes, or perhaps ignores that one measure of sophistication is to know the topic being discussed from multiple angles. I would hold that a person who uses their knowledge to only counter someone else's argument is utilizing sophism, whilst a person who is intellectually honest will argue for both cases.

Comment by Peacewise on The Best Textbooks on Every Subject · 2011-11-02T02:09:51.188Z · LW · GW

World War II.

"A World at Arms" by Gerhard L. Weinberg is my preferred single book textbook (as a reference) on World War II.

It is a suitably weighty volume on WW2, and does well in looking at the war from a global perspective, it's extensive bibliography and notes are outstanding. In comparison with Churchill's "The Second World War" - in it's single volume edition, Weinburg's writing isn't as readable but does tend to be less personal. Churchill on the other hand is quite personal, when reading his tome, it's almost as if he is sitting there having a chat with you. Churchill is quite frank in revealing his thought processes for making decisions, in fact LWer's might particularly enjoy reading Churchills' account for that reason. Weinberg's A World at Arms is better at looking at multiple view points of the war, whereas Churchill tends to present everything from his point of view. "The Politics of War" by David Day is an Australian centric view point of WW2, it stands as an excellent reference from that perspective, but isn't able to provide an overall picture equal to either Weinburg or Churchill.

Comment by Peacewise on Let Your Workers Gather Food · 2011-11-01T05:25:03.875Z · LW · GW

Boi YAR, that's peacewise for uber cool!

Thanks for the information on SRS, that lead to the android app anki. I was looking for another way to go through the sequences rather than just at the pc screen. Cheers.

Seems to me that the continuous improvement cycle is essentially what is being discussed in this section. Plan, prepare, implement, review, refine. One can see that in the RTS metaphor the planning and preparing to win the game is the building of the workers to get heaps of resources and scouting to decide which type of army to build, then implementing the spending of all those resources, then the initial assault, then the battle damage assessment to decide whether to continue with the same army or refine to a slightly different army, and back to the beginning again for the next round, as required.

A RTS gamer knows however one doesn't in fact spend all one's time on building resources without also building some kind of army along the way, to avoid the enemy doing a rush. Scouting is important for the timing of when to build the army. If one ascertains that the enemy isn't going to rush, sure thing go for an economic boom to build a later and hence more powerful army.

So too scouting is important in self improvement - one needs to put the "awesomeness" one has learned into practice to take that awesomeness outside of one's head and see if the awesomeness is really or pragmatically awesome or merely the perception of awesomeness (i.e. not awesome). Interaction with others will work towards compounding awesomeness - hence it's scouting within the RTS metaphor.

If I may be permitted to interact with you, I suggest you have a look at DeBono's 6 thinking hats as one model that is useful for some people and groups.

Comment by Peacewise on Rhetoric for the Good · 2011-10-31T15:18:55.864Z · LW · GW

You might also consider adding Isaac Asimov to your list of great science writers. Asimov's New Guide To Science, though a touch dated now is still an excellent read across many fields.

If you're willing to step outside academia then check out Edward DeBono also, he will fit in beautifully with the SUCCESS formula you present.

Comment by Peacewise on Rhetoric for the Good · 2011-10-31T07:51:16.693Z · LW · GW

"Favor surprise, as long as it doesn't engender too much disbelief. Avoid anything that lets the reader think, "I could have written that sentence." That'll depend on your audience, there are people who enjoy having their own thoughts affirmed. Sometimes its a surprise that someone else thinks like we do.

Comment by Peacewise on The Virtue of Narrowness · 2011-10-30T22:50:30.397Z · LW · GW

Seems to me the ideal way for understanding systems is to analyse and then synthesise.

Comment by Peacewise on How to understand people better · 2011-10-30T22:07:12.125Z · LW · GW

Seems to me you are facing a person who lacks both logic and imagination, be wary that you don't commit the fundamental attribution error yourself about her! I too have a relationship with a female who displays the same characteristics you describe.

Ask yourself what's her buy in for understanding things the way you are presenting them - its plausible that she doesn't have a buy in, that she believes that accepting what you've got to say will in fact lessen/harm her in some way. It's quite possible that in her life thinking that way has been very useful - are you willing to take that away?

How much patience have you got? It's a long tough road.

Some things that have worked for me. Occasionally encourage her frustration, even to point of tears, because at that point she is more willing to open her mind to a different way of thinking. It's truth that in a sense we are manipulating her, from her perspective, who are we to do so, what's our reason for doing this, you'll have to have very sure answers for those questions.

Be positive, be consistent, keep showing that there is a difference between how she thinks and who she is, she needs some distance between the mistakes she makes and her self esteem and self efficacy. If she can create that distance for herself, she'll be more inclined to create that distance for others.

Model the thinking and behaviour you believe is useful, show the benefits - and costs.

Keep in mind that her situation is part of the issue, changing her situation will give her more ability to experience how if situations change people's responses change, she gets to experience for herself how the fundamental attribution error functions... that's been the most effective way I've helped.