Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

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Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#1  Postby hackenslash » Feb 25, 2014 10:48 pm

Watch out for this. This is based on the work of Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman et al. It deals with all the big hits; confirmation bias, priming, inattention blindness, etc. There's a cracking bit with an experiment with intelligence analysts.

Available now on i-player, and soon on Youtube. A must for anybody who's really interested in critical thinking.
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#2  Postby chairman bill » Feb 25, 2014 11:22 pm

His book, Thinking fast and slow, is worth a read too
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#3  Postby hackenslash » Feb 25, 2014 11:39 pm

Cheers, I'll put that on my list.
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#4  Postby Calilasseia » Feb 25, 2014 11:55 pm

Will this include the Bargh paper I have on priming?
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#5  Postby hackenslash » Feb 26, 2014 1:30 am

No, but there is some stuff that's related. It was Kahneman's work that inspired the entire area of research that led to the work of Bargh and others, because he really got the ball rolling on cognitive biases generally. There's a bit on how a trivial decision, into which you can be led, can affect future decisions, because the early, trivial decision that you were led into draws the process of making similar decisions into the quick area of memory. The idea is that there are two processes to memory, one quick and intuitive, the other slower and more logic-oriented.

Fascinating stuff.
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#6  Postby Calilasseia » Feb 26, 2014 1:36 am

Gotcha. I'll wait for it to appear on the YouTube channel. :)
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#7  Postby Steve » Feb 26, 2014 1:45 am

:popcorn:
As your desire is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#8  Postby Sovereign » Feb 26, 2014 3:03 am

Well I'm bookmarking for when it becomes available on YouTube since the BBC won't let me watch on iplayer
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#9  Postby Mr.Samsa » Feb 26, 2014 4:07 am

Calilasseia wrote:Will this include the Bargh paper I have on priming?


If it's a fairly recent documentary then it likely won't be covered as the Bargh paper has been debunked and it turned out that his study was actually a bit embarrassing to priming research. You can read the debunking here: Behavioral Priming: It's All in the Mind, but Whose Mind?

ABSTRACT: The perspective that behavior is often driven by unconscious determinants has become widespread in social psychology. Bargh, Chen, and Burrows' (1996) famous study, in which participants unwittingly exposed to the stereotype of age walked slower when exiting the laboratory, was instrumental in defining this perspective. Here, we present two experiments aimed at replicating the original study. Despite the use of automated timing methods and a larger sample, our first experiment failed to show priming. Our second experiment was aimed at manipulating the beliefs of the experimenters: Half were led to think that participants would walk slower when primed congruently, and the other half was led to expect the opposite. Strikingly, we obtained a walking speed effect, but only when experimenters believed participants would indeed walk slower. This suggests that both priming and experimenters' expectations are instrumental in explaining the walking speed effect. Further, debriefing was suggestive of awareness of the primes. We conclude that unconscious behavioral priming is real, while real, involves mechanisms different from those typically assumed to cause the effect.
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#10  Postby tuco » Feb 26, 2014 5:05 am

Wow, this should almost go to the Is "Science" an indoctrination? thread.


In no particular order related articles:


THE BRIGHT FUTURE OF POST-PARTISAN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY - http://www.edge.org/conversation/the-br ... psychology

Nonscientific Influences on Social Psychology - http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rab ... psychology

A failed replication draws a scathing personal attack from a psychology professor - http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notro ... w1nN_ldVzo

John Bargh’s “Transient and Ephemeral” Blogs - http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuro ... w1rjfldVzo

---

Still, it does not mean unconscious behavioural priming is illusionary or?
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#11  Postby BlackBart » Feb 26, 2014 8:12 am

I haven't decided whether to watch it yet. :ask:
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#12  Postby Mr.Samsa » Feb 26, 2014 8:13 am

tuco wrote:Still, it does not mean unconscious behavioural priming is illusionary or?


Nah, behavioral priming is undeniably true. At this point it simply can't be wrong without introducing massive hypothetical cognitive blocks between conscious and unconscious learning, as well as rejecting practically all demonstrations of classical conditioning, so it doesn't make too much sense to think we can overturn it.

All this study did was to question one of the big studies in priming and, in the weakest sense, it tells us that priming researchers need to be a little more careful in their methodology due to the sensitive nature of the behavioral cues in question, and in the strongest sense it tells us that we're trying to study priming in the wrong way.

This second sense is the one I've thought for a while in that whilst it makes sense that unconscious cues can affect our behavior, it's absurd to think that using statistical averages will be able to detect an effect from what is (by definition) a pretty individualised response to a highly complex cue. To put it another way, when we can control the genetics of pigeons, and every environmental condition, feed, and experiences for most of their life, and then put them in to an experimental chamber where we present very simple stimuli for them to respond to, we can still be surprised at how differently they understand these stimuli. There was an example of this in early stimulus control research where a researcher found that one of his pigeons was responding differently to the other birds despite it being a fairly easy task. It turned out that it had cracked the light that it pecked at, so the stimulus now appeared to have a line through it - since it hadn't learnt to peck at keylights with lines through it, it didn't respond.

In terms of priming, what this means is that the word "old" can have very different associations to lots of different people and there's no reason to think we can get anything meaningful from looking at average data. Some people might walk slower because it makes them think of sedentary lifestyles but some people might walk faster because it makes them think that life is precious and they need to get home to make the most of it. Put the two data points together and you find no effect. This ties into the myth of the "learning curve" where most people think that learning curves take the form of a fairly smooth gradual increase in performance as you learn a new skill. In reality when you learn something new you learn in very jagged steps mixed with long periods of no improvement. We only get the pretty looking curve when we average all the jagged steps of a group and erase all the individual differences.

Reminds me of the joke about the biologist, physicist, and statistician who go out hunting together one day. Deep into the woods they finally come across a deer and they all take aim. The biologist takes a shot but fires off 5m to the left, then the physicist takes a shot and fires off 5m to the right. The statistician jumps up in the air and yells: "Yes! We got him!".
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#13  Postby tuco » Feb 26, 2014 8:25 am

I got it I think, thanks.

This debunked, failed replication respectively, study seems to open can of worms. Does not seem just like storm in glass of water. As it is not only isolated incident but weakness of the system.
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#14  Postby Mr.Samsa » Feb 26, 2014 8:30 am

tuco wrote:I got it I think, thanks.

This debunked, failed replication respectively, study seems to open can of worms. Does not seem just like storm in glass of water. As it is not only isolated incident but weakness of the system.


Yeah, it's indicative of a need to change things but the problem is that many people are taking it either as proof that priming is fake, or worse, that there is a problem with psychology itself. Hyperbolic claims like that just miss the real issue and so psychologists spend more time correcting these misconceptions when they should be dedicating that time to improving priming research.

And to be clear, it's not like all priming research is flawed in the way that Bargh's study was - there's a lot of good research there, with replicated results and aren't controversial at all. So the strong problem is really just that some priming research needs to be done differently - which is a claim that could pretty much be true of any field or theory.
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#15  Postby Blackadder » Feb 26, 2014 9:21 am

Mr.Samsa wrote:
tuco wrote:I got it I think, thanks.

This debunked, failed replication respectively, study seems to open can of worms. Does not seem just like storm in glass of water. As it is not only isolated incident but weakness of the system.


Yeah, it's indicative of a need to change things but the problem is that many people are taking it either as proof that priming is fake, or worse, that there is a problem with psychology itself. Hyperbolic claims like that just miss the real issue and so psychologists spend more time correcting these misconceptions when they should be dedicating that time to improving priming research.

And to be clear, it's not like all priming research is flawed in the way that Bargh's study was - there's a lot of good research there, with replicated results and aren't controversial at all. So the strong problem is really just that some priming research needs to be done differently - which is a claim that could pretty much be true of any field or theory.


I agree with the above. My current work/ business is centred around brands and while I am not a trained psychologist, I have tried to educate myself by reading research about consumer behaviour, in particular as it relates to brands, marketing and advertising. There seems to be a consensus that brands have a priming effect and numerous studies have been done in this field. My main difficulty is that it is not my field of expertise so I cannot always judge the quality of the studies and their conclusions.. I am basing my views on an informal meta-analysis of the various research that I have read.

Bargh's name comes up quite often in the stuff I have read and I am now wondering how dependable his other studies might be and whether I should treat his work with a higher degree of scepticism. Any views on this, Mr Samsa?
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#16  Postby Mr.Samsa » Feb 26, 2014 9:34 am

Blackadder wrote:Bargh's name comes up quite often in the stuff I have read and I am now wondering how dependable his other studies might be and whether I should treat his work with a higher degree of scepticism. Any views on this, Mr Samsa?


As far as I know, he's a solid researcher and a respected psychologist, so the above shouldn't be taken as an indication that he's a charlatan or pseudoscientist. His specific study here was flawed, and I think another of his priming studies has been called into question, so it's definitely worth looking at his methodology in a particular study and checking whether it's been replicated but there's no need to reject him out of hand.
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#17  Postby Blackadder » Feb 26, 2014 10:23 am

Mr.Samsa wrote:
Blackadder wrote:Bargh's name comes up quite often in the stuff I have read and I am now wondering how dependable his other studies might be and whether I should treat his work with a higher degree of scepticism. Any views on this, Mr Samsa?


As far as I know, he's a solid researcher and a respected psychologist, so the above shouldn't be taken as an indication that he's a charlatan or pseudoscientist. His specific study here was flawed, and I think another of his priming studies has been called into question, so it's definitely worth looking at his methodology in a particular study and checking whether it's been replicated but there's no need to reject him out of hand.


That"s helpful. Thanks.
That credulity should be gross in proportion to the ignorance of the mind that it enslaves, is in strict consistency with the principle of human nature. - Percy Bysshe Shelley
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#18  Postby chairman bill » Feb 26, 2014 10:36 am

The programme covered a fair bit of stuff from the book, Thinking fast & slow, so nothing new there.
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#19  Postby quisquose » Feb 26, 2014 10:47 am

chairman bill wrote:The programme covered a fair bit of stuff from the book, Thinking fast & slow, so nothing new there.


It'll be new for me, so looking forward to watching this evening.
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Re: Horizon: How You Really Make Decisions

#20  Postby chairman bill » Feb 26, 2014 12:23 pm

It was pretty good at conveying the main points, so yes, worth watching
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