Author Archives: aj22

Two Implications of Bayes’ Theorem

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/one-among-many/201803/two-implications-bayes-theorem 

In the spirit of finals week, I will use studying versus not studying for an exam as an example. We can infer that if you study (an “adequate” amount) there is a good chance that you will do well on the exam (P(A)). We know that if you don’t study, you may still do well on your final, but the chances of you doing well have decreased because of such (P (B)). Therefore, the probability of you doing well on your exam, given that you studied, is the chance of you studying and you not studying divided by the total chance of you not studying. If that approach of explanation was confusing, do not worry. There are a couple other approach styles, including images and a formula. This  theorem is called “Bayes’ theorem”, named after its creator Thomas Bayes.

In this article, Krueger writes about two main conclusions that can be made from this theorem. The articles describes the theorem as a description of  “how pre-existing belief (conjecture, hypothesis, or hunch) should be updated in light of new evidence (observations, data) in such a way that there are no contradictions”. Basically, this means that there would be no room for disputing results in a scenario, regardless of the various possibilities, resulting in the most accurate results possible (Krueger, Psychology Today). The two implications discussed in the article are more rooted in that of religious discovery, than math. The first implication of the theory is this, a revered (religious leader) could prove that a god does exist, but the condition necessary to do so would have to be very extreme. This means that the proof necessary would have to be undeniable, which is difficult and rare for the field of religion. The second is whether or not the hypothesis can be tested or not and not just that the data can pass tests of credibility. Because merely depending on credibility (excluding testing) can leave room for error and doubt, factors that Bayes’ theorem does not allow for.   

A possible limitation of this article is implicit bias. A prior attitude or understanding of religion in general and specifically whether or not there is a god, may have unknowingly affected the way in which certain phrasing was done. Though if so, this would have been conducted in an unconscious manner, nonetheless it would have still been evident to readers.

In my opinion, such as theory as Bayes’ is advantageous because it aims to take out as much doubt as possible. But I do not believe that 100% of doubt is ever (or rarely) able to be removed. Also, in very specific scenarios such as the testing of this hypothesis (Is there a god?) need to be handled extremely carefully, for opinions and attitudes can so easily get in the way of solely relying on testing.

A possible limitation of this article is implicit bias. A prior attitude or understanding of religion in general and specifically whether or not there is a god, may have unknowingly affected the way in which certain phrasing was done. Though if so, this would have been conducted in an unconscious manner, nonetheless it would have still been evident to readers.

In my opinion, such as theory as Bayes’ is advantageous because it aims to take out as much doubt as possible. But I do not believe that 100% of doubt is ever (or rarely) able to be removed. Also, in very specific scenarios such as the testing of this hypothesis (Is there a god?) need to be handled extremely carefully, for opinions and attitudes can so easily get in the way of solely relying on testing.

 

Should You Trust Your Intuition?

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/path-optimal-living/201803/should-you-trust-your-intuition

This article, “Should You Trust Your Intuition?” by Stephen Sidroff both discusses and analyzes the potential effects of trusting your intuition, also known as your “gut” feeling. The article defines intuition as a “direct perception of truth, fact, independent of any reasoning process.” Sidroff claims that people use intuition to take one of two stances during decision making. One instance is when it [intuition]  is used to reassure that the correct choice is being made. Another instance is when it is used as a signal of caution from their gut, to not make a certain choice. This article provides some possible “caveats” to relying on intuition as well as the significance of neuroception in this research.

The cognitive aspect of this article comes from occurrence of neuroception. The article defines it as the “continuous subconscious assessment by the autonomic nervous system of the safety or danger of any given moment.” This means that whether our perceptions of danger or threat are accurate, our intuition can tell us to respond with caution “where there isn’t a real danger”. One instance of this perhaps “false intuition” that I have come across while working with small children is vaguely mentioned in the article as well (Sidroff). Children are drawn to what is familiar to them; they cling to that which is consistent in their lives such as certain family members, favorite toys or snacks, etc. Likewise, they are also “uncomfortable” with trying/experiencing new things and consciously try to avoid and get away from those things, such as daycare for the first time, new foods, and unfamiliar people.

I agree with the claims and cautions that the article is giving. If you primarily rely on the occurrence of intuitional danger signals, one might always prevent themselves from trying new things and advancing themselves, or as the article puts it “new learning and development”. As we have discussed in class, correlation does not equal causation. It is possible, that in hindsight the few accurate warnings from your gut in comparison to the unsuccessful occurrences simply seem as though they occur more often. If one tends to ignore or avoid situations that are awkward in nature Some situations may be negatively affected or cause fixation of some sort if not addressed thoroughly. For example, one might choose to stay in a toxic relationship due to them trusting their gut and ignoring the obvious signs of discord. Instead, one might recognize such signals and address them for what they are.

Some limitations of this article are the lack of sources used in order to get a wide range of perspectives on whether or not intuition should be used as a primary factor in decision making. Another limitation is the framing of the research used to come to the conclusion of intuition not being trustworthy or consistent enough. The research’s framing seemed to be using correlation to decide causation. They relied on the concept of neuroception solely. Some suggestions may be that they add a few more sources to compare and contrast and that they magnify more aspects of their cognitive research, in addition to neuroception.  

“The Mandela Effect and how your mind is playing tricks on you”

“The Mandela Effect and how your mind is playing tricks on you”

http://theconversation.com/the-mandela-effect-and-how-your-mind-is-playing-tricks-on-you-89544

Often times people recall something that they later find out is incorrect. The “Mandela Effect” is used to explain the phenomenon coined soon after Nelson Mandela died. It is described in the article as being “convinced that something is a particular way only to discover you’ve remembered it all wrong”. The article offers both psychological and pseudoscientific explanations for this effect, but those with cognitive influence will be the focus of this post.

The article (TheConversation.com) states that many psychologists explain this effect using “memory and social effects-particularly false memories”. These kind of memories occur when you remember details that are inaccurate or made up completely. There is even a model for another way in which false memories can form. This model is called the Deese-Roediger and McDermott paradigm. They say that when learning related words some false recognition of related, but not present words occur. For instance, if the words cat, dog, and bird were learned, false remembrance of the word turtle may occur. The recency (remembering last few items) or the primacy (remembering first few items) may play a part in this as well. Other causes of the “Mandela Effect” according to the article could be incorrect recall and a unique process called “effort after meaning”. Both of these processes are schema (knowledge) based and have heavy influence on memory.

This article discusses many cognitive processes related to how one remembers and how much one remembers. Factors mentioned such as word correlation, timing, and consistency all can play a part in the accuracy of one’s recall and determine if it is correct or incorrect. The conclusion of the article discusses what happens if one continues to remember memories under false pretense, a distorted collective reality. As long as the inaccuracies remain limited and “trivial” no major damage will occur.

One limitation vaguely cited in this article was there consideration of pseudoscientific attribution to the “Mandela Effect”. Though paired with some quantum physics, “the notion of parallel universes” is thought provoking, but audacious. Theories solely based on pseudoscience are often encouraged to pair with other theories of a psychological basis.

In my experience with one example used in the text specifically, the “Mandela Effect” has occured to me. My entire childhood growing up until the very moment I read the article actually, I believe that the Queen in Snow White said, “Mirror, mirror on the wall”, when according to this article she actually said “magic mirror on the wall”. Talk about the shock of my life. I also have had moments when I believed I knew/remembered a detail from a past occurrence of some sort, just to later find out from someone who recalled the instance more accurately than I that what I remembered was either completely or partially incorrect. Both of these experiences have occurred numerous times throughout the span of my life and I strongly believe that they both will continue to occur. Although, I could practice to decrease the probability.

The Effects of Sleep Loss

The Effects of Sleep Loss

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320815.php

blog.intelex.com 

Related image

Many people have or have had trouble falling asleep when it’s time. This is often due to factors such as stress or simply not “feeling” tired. Ever wonder how your quality of sleep affects your performance the next day? Personally, starting a day off without having gotten a good night’s rest has a direct negative relationship with my mood/energy level for majority of the morning.  Others will only experience some fatigue upon initially waking up, an impact of lesser severity when compared.

In this article, Whiteman writes about how staying up all night affects a person’s “working memory”. As defined by the article, working memory is described as our ability to briefly hold information, while simultaneously making a decision. A common example of working memory from the article for anyone with a cell phone is adding a contact to your phone. As you are actively remembering the number, you are also typing the number and/or name into your phone. After being able to recall several times where I as well as others did not get a good night’s rest and felt we suffered for it the next day.

Yet, a study done by Frida Rångtell, a student at the University of Uppsala in Sweden made an interesting discovered that for men there simply is no impact. “Women who lost a night’s sleep, however, showed a reduction in working memory in the tests, though they did not appear to notice this reduction” (Whiteman, Medical News Today). There are two aspects to this distinction between reactions, one of them being the reduction in working memory itself as well as the impact going unnoticed by the female participants in the study. Of the participants included in the study, 6 out of the 12 participants were said to be female (Whiteman, Medical News Today).  Understandably so, this result did come as a concern to Rångtell, as “ “working memory is central in cognitive functioning and key to perform[ing] efficiently and effectively in academic, professional, and social settings,” they [Rångtell and colleagues] write in their paper. Thus, we often multitask (a byproduct of working memory) in our daily lives and this function is essential to being able to complete  multiple tasks during our day. Rångtell cautions women to be extra careful when running off low sleep and performing their daily activities.

A limitation cited in the article notes that the researchers are not sure whether or not the effect of working memory lasts soley during the morning hours or throughout the entire duration of the day, since they only tested the 6 women during the morning hours. In addition to this limitation, she also writes that sleep deprivation may affect others areas that vary by sex, but since the focus of this study was sleep deprivation on cognitive functioning they are again  unsure.

In my experience, not getting enough sleep definitely affects my energy, willingness/desire to complete both simple and complex tasks, as well as performance. Prior to the knowledge gained from this article I had no idea of the correlation between my experience and my gender. Though, without the knowledge of the strength of the correlation I will remain unsure if this is a prime example of why I can recall most girls in my elementary class being very calm and quiet in the morning as compared to the boys high energy levels and inability to contain themselves. Regardless, the articles results were both interesting and informative.