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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.

 

Living With 12 Personalities (Dissociative Identity Disorder)

(Image by: Roxanne Pasibe)

 

I frequently find myself watching videos by Special Books by Special Kids– a non-profit run by special needs advocate Chris Ulmer who uses primarily his YouTube channel as a platform to raise awareness of disability diversity and to promote equality. One of his interviews particularly caught my interest because of how rare yet complicated this disorder is. As a society we frequently romanticize (and demonize) this disorder as seen in the 2016 film Split. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) formerly known as Multiple Identity Disorder (MID), is a chronic condition in which two or more personality states develop and coexist in an individual. These personalities can take over the individual’s ‘main’ state of being and for some people like Lauren in the interview, these voices can have an active conversation with her inside her mind.

DID is commonly referred to as a posttraumatic disorder due to its development as a defense mechanism against severe abuse and other traumatic events. Not only does the disorder affect the individual’s identity, but there is also the experience of amnesia and other forms of memory loss. In class we learned primarily about two types of amnesia: retrograde and anterogradewhich prevent the retrieval of specific kinds of information due to brain damage. It is fascinating to consider that a psychological trauma like DID can create as much of an impact on the brain as a physical disruption like a lesion.

To understand this, it’s important to delve a little into the neuroscience aspect of the disorder. Usually occurring during childhood, DID develops when the brain is at its most plastic. The central nervous system and cognitive functions especially, have not fully matured yet. This exposes the malleability of the brain to long-term impairments such as the development of a mental illness. Additionally, the ability to process emotion and retain memory of the traumatic event are disrupted so as not to cause further damage to the brain by the extreme stress of the event. For some individuals the inability to recall the traumatic situation and abnormal coping methods result in the development of new personalities to handle high levels of stress that the brain sometimes recognizes from the initial trauma. Lauren explains in the interview that her twelve personalities developed as defensive shields. In first or second grade she experienced a traumatic event that she can no longer remember, and the blockage of the memory was replaced with a “fragment” or new personality.

The loss of Lauren’s memory is an example of dissociative amnesia which is a result of psychological trauma rather than physical damage as explained above. What separates Lauren from those who simply experience repressed thoughts is the unique disruption in memory she’s experienced concerning the traumatic event from her childhood. Her other thoughts appear to be intact from childhood and while her brain reacts similarly to stressful situations and creates new “fragments” to deal with them, her memory as a whole appears to remain complete. Compared to repressed memories where the growth retention interval leads to memory decay, the psychological amnesia completely extinguishes that specific memory. The distinctiveness of this disorder is apparent even when compared to other psychological traumas. Psychological trauma is often associated with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in which the memories of a distressing event are commonly recalled and a source of severe anxiety. Swinging into the opposite side of the spectrum is DID which loses memories as an alternative method to avoid anxious feelings.

There is a section in our textbook that discusses ‘undoing’ memory loss with methods such as hypnosis. For some people recognizing repressed memories and coming to terms with upsetting events is an important process of healing and developing positive coping strategies. I personally don’t believe that something like this is appropriate nor possible for individuals with DID. The disorder is recognized to have amnesia as a side effect- the memory cannot be recalled due to psychological damage to the brain- and even if there was the possibility of remembering the trauma, unraveling the development of multiple personalities would take years upon years of intense therapy to basically reestablish a personal identity.

I would like to see more research conducted on not only the specific neurological causes of DID but also the exploration on all the cognitive processes beyond just memory which are impacted. For example, how exactly is attention impaired when there are conversations constantly buzzing in the mind or what is the degree that judgement and the ability to make rational decisions are distorted? As with many disorders, especially those as rare as DID, more research is needed to understand the full extent of the disorder. However, it is people like Chris and Lauren who aid in the advocacy and ‘normalization’ of disability education so that further research opportunities can be explored in the near future.

 

(And in case you were wondering, yes Freud knew about this disorder and yes, he had a field day with it).

 

Sources:

Kluft Richard P. (1996) Dissociative Identity Disorder. In: Michelson L.K., Ray W.J. (eds) Handbook of Dissociation. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-0310-5_16

Myers, Lynn B. (2010). The importance of the repressive coping style: findings from 30 years of research. Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 23(1), 3-17.

Thomas-Antérion, C. (2017). Dissociative amnesia: Disproportionate retrograde amnesia, stressful experiences and neurological circumstances. Revue Neurologique, 173(7-8), 516-520. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neurol.2017.07.007

Ulmer, Chris. (2018, January 23). Living With 12 Personalities (Dissociative Identity Disorder). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAtK2s_SDnA

Van der Kolk, Bessel A. (1987). Psychological Trauma. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.

Akinetopsia: Possible Treatment?

How does our brain see the world? Most people would say through our eyes. Then, they would possibly describe how the eye works. How light enters the eye through the cornea, and the cornea and lens refract the light rays to produce a sharply focused image on the retina. How the iris can open or close to control the amount of light that reaches the retina. How the retina is made up of three main layers: the rods and cones, the bipolar cells, and the ganglion cells, whose axons make up the optic nerve. But this is only a probability if they researched or studied the eye.

Our brain’s visual system consists of a dorsal pathway and a ventral pathway also known as the where and what pathway. A normally functioning brain can indicate motion from still pictures, such as the speed line in cartoons meant to show motion streaks of a still object. On the contrary, patients with lesions to the dorsal pathway know where objects are but have difficulty recognizing them, while patients with lesions to the ventral pathway have trouble recognizing objects but no problem locating them. The responsiveness of the human visual system for detecting motion cues is a critical evolutionary advantage, in this modern day and age where there is constant change, activity and progress.

Akinetopsia is a rare condition where a person has the inability to perceive motion. L.M. who developed this disorder, because of a blood clot in her brain, was diagnosed at the age of 43. She was unable to perceive motion, even though other aspects of her vision such as: her ability to recognize objects, to see color, or to discern detail in a visual pattern, seemed to function normally. Due to her Akinetopsia, she can detect an object now is in a different position from the position it was in a moment ago, but she reported not seeing anything in between these positions. For people diagnosed with Akinetopsia like L.M., it is difficult to do day to day things such as crossing the street because they can’t tell if a car is moving or how fast it is changing positions. They perceive objects as a series of stills.

Zhengang Lu, a doctoral student in Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth College, have revealed how the brain understands motion and still objects to help navigate our complex visual world. The findings have a number of potential practical applications, ranging from treatment for motion blindness to improved motion recognition algorithms used in airport and other public security systems. Lu and his colleagues studied neural activity to understand how the brain processes motion in still pictures of objects. They found that the brain may process motion differently based on whether the motion is inanimate or animate. This suggests that the brain not only categorizes objects into these two categories but that the brain knows it location as well. Lu says “Our results might not be able to provide treatment directly, but they suggest that treatment for people with motion blindness should consider the functional interaction between these two pathways.”

Zhengang Lu, Xueting Li, Ming Meng. Encodings of implied motion for animate and inanimate object categories in the two visual pathwaysNeuroImage, 2016; 125: 668 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.10.059

Who’s Smarter: You or the Computer?

In class we often talk about how the way humans process information is very similar to that of a computer. This is because as we’ve discussed the way a computers networking is formed is similar to how our brain networking works as it takes in new information. But does a computer process information better than we do? Is a computer smarter?

It definitely feels like in some areas there is just no way we are as smart as a computer. Just thinking about all the databases and information that is held on a computer feels nothing close to the amount of information in my brain. I also feel like a computer is able to process some things faster than I can. I mean math would take me a quite a while if I couldn’t just pull up a calculator on my laptop when I forget my handheld calculator!

As we have talked about in class the area where we as humans surpass computers is our ability to think abstractly. Humans don’t always need a formula or procedure for all the things that our brain thinks of or is able to do throughout the day.

According the an article from Time, computers are indeed better at processing certain information at a faster pace than humans are. Computers are able to spit out calculations, answers, and provide multiple outcomes at “superhuman speeds.” The article also mentions how computers have a better memory than humans do. As computers are able to retain large amounts of information and recall the information almost instantly with no changes. We as humans do not always remember events perfectly like a computer. with each time we recall an event rom our memory it becomes less and less reliable as the memory of recalling the event gets added to the original memory. Our memories can also change by framing. This means that the way we are triggered to remember a certain event could cause us to unconsciously change the details of the event to fit how we were prompted.

Although computers are indeed very smart, the article reminds us that the human brain still surpasses that of a computer in several ways. Humans are able to perform tasks, make decisions and solve problems by thinking more abstractly. One way we do this is just when doing different things throughout our day! Throughout the day humans are able to use past life experiences to help influence how they should act in different situations. Although computers are programmed with a vast amount of information they cannot create life experiences to influence their actions. Humans are also able to think creatively (part of that abstract thinking we do!). As humans we can create art, new music or imagine a whole new world. Computers however, are only able to duplicate information that they a;ready have. If the computer has not been programmed with that specific information, they will not be able to come up with it.

Ok but what about artificial intelligence?

Well if we define “intelligence” as Senior Research Fellow for the S. Neaman Institute at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology has done as two different aspects; “one is the ability to learn, the other is the ability to solve problems. And in those areas, computers can be smarter than humans.” Then in this sense yes, computers are more “intelligent” than humans. According to the article, today computers learn faster than humans and are able to solve various complex problems. The tasks that computers are able to perform these skills well on however all have one or two things in common. First, there is a vast amount of data can be gathered to solve these tasks and second, they are repetitive tasks. Any repetitive task that creates a lot of data will eventually be learned by computers.

However, others say that speed does not qualify as intelligences Murray Shanahan, Professor of Cognitive Robotics for the Department of Computing at Imperial College in London says that computers will never match humans general intelligence. Shanahan points out how human are able to adapt in a multitude of different environments, where computers are unable to adapt. Finally, humans are also are able to develop meaning to concepts where a computer can only tell you what the concept is.

Overall, I don’t think computers are nearly as smart as humans. There are areas in speed, processing, and in memory that a computers database may surpass ours. A human brain however can think about things with meaning and in a more complex and abstract manor than a computer will ever be able to.

So to conclude..man will always beat machine.

MEME

Studying the brain is a difficult task. The brain’s sensitive, dense, and complex nature means that researchers are constantly uncovering new structures within the brain, and new functions for each brain lobe. The occipital lobe is no exception to this rule. The occipital lobe is the rearmost lobe of the brain, located in the forebrain. This includes a right and left lobe that interact with one another, each controlling a range of visual functions.

Although we know that the occipital lobe is dedicated to vision, this process is highly complex, and includes a number of separate functions. Those include mapping the visual world, which helps with both spatial reasoning and visual memory. Most vision involves some type of memory, since scanning the visual field requires you to recall that which you saw just a second ago, determining color properties of the items in the visual field, assessing distance, size, and depth, identifying visual stimuli, particularly familiar faces and objects, transmitting visual information to other brain regions so that those brain lobes can encode memories, assign meaning, craft appropriate motor and linguistic responses, and continually respond to information from the surrounding world, receiving raw visual data from perceptual sensors in the eyes’ retina.

Damage to the occipital lobe can include a variety of effects to a person’s mental and physical  way of life. The most obvious effect of damage to the occipital lobe is blindness. Such as epilepsy which is where seizures occur in the occipital lobe which increases vulnerability due to the occipital lobe damage, difficulties with movement and even if you are still able to move, changes in depth perception and vision can lead to inappropriate movements and difficulty navigating the visual field, difficulties perceiving colors, shape, dimension, and size, difficulty recognizing familiar objects or faces, hallucinations, inability to recognize or read written words, inability to detect that an object is moving, difficulty reading or writing; for example, the words may appear to move on the page, difficulty locating objects within the environment, even when you are able to see those objects, difficulties with fine and gross motor skills, as well as balance.

This meme is from the perspective of a naive cognitive psychology student, who takes everything seriously and literally even when people are actually joking around. I wanted it to be from a naive cognitive psychology student’s perspective because in my mind at times I can personally be this student. In my mind of course, not out loud. What i mean is that at certain times I can be listening to a conversation or someone mentioning something they found intriguing and I will pick it apart psychologically. If I was in this situation, happening to be overhearing “Friend 2” and “Friend 1″‘s conversation, I would think about the fact that the occipital lobe is what controls a range of visual functions and then I would think about if you wanna poke your eyes out then just poke your occipital lobe and be done with it. Then I would laugh to myself about how I know that and she probably doesn’t. While to me this meme is very funny to me, it is also a connection to talk about the seriousness of occipital lobe damage and how that in it self is not funny.

Weighing the Evidence – Can We Overcome Confirmation Bias?

Implicit bias and how our attention, memories, and decisions are so strongly affected by processes beyond our control has intrigued me the most of all the topics we’ve discussed this semester. While discussing problem solving, we learned about confirmation bias. Confirmation bias concerns how we handle evidence related to our beliefs. When we evaluate our beliefs, we’re likely to encounter both confirming and disconfirming evidence. A logical approach would be to consider both types of evidence equally valuable, with some researchers suggesting that we should give disconfirming evidence more thought because it is likely to provide more information. Confirmation bias, instead, compels us to be more sensitive to confirming evidence supporting our existing beliefs and to neglect disconfirming evidence that may oppose them.

When discussing confirmation bias in class, Dr. Rettinger mentioned that the best way to overcome confirmation bias and belief perseverance (the tendency to ignore even undeniable disconfirming evidence) was by appealing to people’s emotions and engaging “System 1” (automatic, emotional) resources. This intrigued me, so I set out to find some more information about how to combat confirmation bias. Additionally, I was interested in how to make myself more aware of and resistant to my own biases.

The first article I read from BBC.com, “How to Get People to Overcome Their Bias” discussed an experiment conducted at Princeton that explored two theories of confirmation bias and the effectiveness of different strategies to overcome confirmation bias arising from each. Experimenters believed there are two accounts for why confirmation bias happens. The motivational theory of confirmation bias suggests that people are biased because of their motivations: their job, friends, desires, or how they see themselves. To defeat motivation-based biases, we would need to change people’s motivations. The second theory, the cognition theory, suggests that people are biased because they lack effective strategies for evaluating new evidence. To defeat cognition-based biases, we need to give people better methods for considering evidence.

To test these theories, researchers presented study participants with information supporting the death penalty (i.e. the death penalty lowers murder rates). Participants either strongly supported or strongly opposed the death penalty. In the first part of the experiment, they simply presented the evidence and measured how participants’ beliefs changed. Not surprisingly, those who already supported the death penalty felt stronger about their beliefs after seeing the evidence. However, those who opposed the death penalty also felt stronger in their opposition even after seeing evidence supporting the death penalty …belief perseverance in action. The researchers referred to this as biased assimilation.

In a follow-up study by the same researchers, they tested two methods for assimilating new evidence. One group was instructed to be “objective and unbiased” and imagine themselves “as a judge or juror asked to weigh all of the evidence in a fair and impartial manner.” This approach was testing how changing an individual’s motivations would impact the assimilation of new evidence. The second group was told to consider the methodology of the study producing the evidence that the death penalty lowered murder rates and then imagine the results had instead supported the opposite finding (death penalty = higher murder rates) This strategy was referred to as “consider the opposite” and was testing whether changing participants’ cognitive processes for evaluating evidence could affect beliefs.

They found that the strategy to change people’s motivations did not work and results were the same as in the initial study. However, asking people to “consider the opposite” did result in participants overcoming biased assimilation: evaluating new evidence fairly even if it didn’t support their existing beliefs and not becoming more extreme in their existing views. The article concluded that the study demonstrated that wanting to be objective isn’t enough to overcome confirmation bias and instead we must learn better cognitive strategies for scrutinizing new information.

While I feel the information gained from this study could be useful for helping me to overcome my own confirmation bias, I’m skeptical whether this could work with others. When I have encountered confirmation bias, it appears to be strongest during debates on highly controversial topics that people feel personally invested in (topics such as evolution vs. creationism, climate change, gun control, etc.). I believe both motivational and cognitive strategies as mentioned above would fail because people simply do not want to see things any other way. Outside of a lab, I believe the lack of motivation to consider evidence fairly would negate any ability of the “consider the opposite” approach to overcome biased assimilation. While the research findings shouldn’t be discarded as irrelevant, I also feel it highlights how appealing to emotion and motivations is necessary in more real-life situations.

With that in mind, I read a second article from Pacific Standard online titled “Changing Anti-Vaxxers’ Minds.” This article discussed studies done to investigate the effect of disconfirming evidence in different forms on people opposed to vaccination. In one study, participants were either asked to read evidence debunking links between vaccines and autism, read about bird feeders, or read about a child with measles and look at pictures of children with vaccine-preventable diseases. This first study found that reading about vaccines and autism had the same effect as reading about bird feeders (none) while reading a story about a child with measles and see other photos of sick children made anti-vaxxers slightly less skeptical and more in favor of vaccinating. However, a second similar study found that both test conditions (refuting vaccine-autism connections and stories/images of sick children) resulted in stronger anti-vaccination beliefs.

I believe the second study does indicate that appealing to emotions shows some promise if we wish to overcome confirmation bias, but I believe it also emphasizes just how strongly we cling to our beliefs. From my own, non-scientific experience, it seems like the personal attachment people feel to their beliefs results in defensiveness whenever disconfirming evidence is encountered. I’ve felt this in myself and have to work hard to remind myself that my identity and personal values aren’t attached to the evidence I choose to believe in. However, I realize confirmation bias is strongest when people feel they’ve invested more effort into believing something and defending that belief. I think some people feel as though considering disconfirming evidence or changing their opinions is like abandoning a figurative ship and not being strong enough to maintain conviction. I wonder if the key to overcoming confirmation bias is not to continue seeking ways to make people better at evaluating evidence, but instead making people more aware that confirmation bias exists and how it’s keeping them from having a truly educated opinion. If people feel they’re being misled by their own unconscious tendencies, would they then feel more compelled to seek out new evidence on their own? I know I do.

If you’re interested in reading the articles I mentioned, you can click on the titles of the articles above or follow the links below:

How to Get People to Overcome Their Bias: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170131-why-wont-some-people-listen-to-reason

Changing Anti-Vaxxers’ Minds: https://psmag.com/social-justice/changing-anti-vaccine-minds

Can Memories be Genetic?

For this month’s blog post I found a video on Facebook about something called “genetic memory.” This caught my eye because we have talked a lot about memory this semester. This video described genetic memory as memories, particularly from traumatic or stressful events, that are passed down through our DNA. This seemed very intriguing to me because, based on what we learned about how memories are formed and encoded, I’m not sure when or how this would occur.

Despite that, assuming that genetic memory is real, this video claims that it could explain some phenomena that previously have had no explanation. Because these genetic memories are typically linked to traumatic and stressful events, this video claims that they could explain phobias and help treat anxiety. The video also claims that instincts are a form of genetic memory, which would make sense if they are actually real.

The video bases the information it presents off of previous research done on rats that found that, when one generation of rats was placed in a confusing maze, the next generation of rats did better. These findings have been replicated with other rodents as well. If this can be found in rodents, why couldn’t it be found in humans, too?

The video also suggests that these findings could also explain why some people seem to have a “natural gift” for some things, such as artists or musicians. However, this doesn’t seem to fit with the fact that earlier the video proposed that these memories were due to a traumatic or stressful memory. It would be interesting if things like musical or artistic memories could be passed down through the generations, though.

Despite how interesting this video was, I’m still stuck on the question of when in the encoding process this would take place. At some point, the encoded memory would have to leave a lasting impression on the DNA and physically change it, which at the moment I’m not really buying. I think more research should be done on this to determine how it may happen and to rule out the possibility that maybe the rats are just getting smarter. If you are interested in watching the video, it was called “Memories Can Pass Between Generations” from Today I Read- Season 6.

Do we share memories with the cavemen?

The Effect of Priming on Gambling in Focus (2015) and Research

As I’m sure many of you are aware, this semester we spent time learning about priming and gambling in our larger discussion on how individuals make decisions. These discussions led me to remember a clip from a movie I saw a couple of years ago. The following clip is from the movie Focus (2015). The movie follows an unlikely duo and con artists played by Will Smith and Margot Robie. For context of this scene Will Smith’s character is trying to pull of his biggest con in years. If he succeeds he is expected to make millions. He and his team have picked out this wealthy man to profit from and set themselves up to try and con the man at the Super bowl. Prior to this scene, he has had the man participate in multiple bets, each one having more value than the first. With each bet the other man won, getting more excited about the gambling. The man begs to play one more bet, walking into the trap Will Smith’s character had set for him.

This clip illustrates what we’ve studied this semester, that priming can directly though subconsciously influence our decision making. Though dramatized and exaggerated for a film, the principle that we can be manipulated by unattended auditory and visual stimuli is completely true. Will’s character trusted this effect so confidently he used it to pull off a giant con.

Like the themes explored and inflated in the scene in the film, Focus. A study completed by the University of Warwick also examined the effect of priming on gambling behavior. During the study, participants were presented with four colored doors. The first group of three doors was paired with an image of cartoon fruit similar those that appear on slot machines. These doors had a guaranteed outcome of 0 points, 40, or 80. The fourth and final door had a 50% chance of a 20 point or 60-point gain. Occasionally, the fourth door was primed with cartoon fruit representing and reminding the participant of a past win or loss in the experiment. Being primed and reminded of the past win or loss then affected their choice.

The study concluded that when individuals were “reminded” or primed of previous wins they were 15% more likely to gamble and select the risky option. Additionally, being reminded of a loss did not change their gambling behavior. Dr. Elliot Ludwig states that this result is due to our memories being extremely influential in our decision-making process, even subconsciously. For example, he asserts that people do not take risks when the experience is completely new but will take risks if we have had previous memories of a similar experience. His research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General noted that in casinos there are constantly stimuli priming an individual to be more likely to gamble. Stimuli like the whirring of a slot machine suggest that another person has recently won and thus this persuades the individual that they too could win. The unattended stimuli, the priming, convinces the individual to make the risky decision to gamble. This research and the clip from Focus demonstrate that the effects of priming on our decision making and behavior are often subtle but can have large effects.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150203103911.htm

Emotional Intelligence as a Problem Solving tool Life Hack #3

Ever felt like you couldn’t make good decisions because your emotions would get in the way? There are ways to get around that by using your emotions intelligently to your benefit as a way to solve problems that arise– without getting too upset. It can be developed as a powerful problem solving tool. The usual problems that come about individuals who feel like they want to be right and win the argument all the time there is a way to harness that and make a win-win situation. Through the use of emotional intelligent skills it creates social skills, problem solving skills, adaptability, empathy, assertiveness and concern for others as well as yourself (Jeanne Morrison PhD). With these methods you could be able to explore the issues and coming up with creative solutions.

Four steps to using emotional intelligence as a problem solving tool:

Identifying your emotions: The best way to solve something is to identify. Identifying what youre feeling and determine whether it is something real and practical or something fornicated. For example, when you go back to your high school reunion and your high school enemy is doing better than you in life and you’re feeling jealousy. Think about whether or not what you’re feeling is because you haven’t achieved what you wanted to in life yet or you’re really just jealous.

Facilitate your Emotions: Take those emotions and guide them into a different direction. Look at things in a different point of view. For example, if you’re jealous of a neighbor in your classes grades, figuring out the obstacle instead of letting it get you off track and consume you.

Understanding your emotions: Once you start to understand that emotions aren’t easy as pie and start taking control of your own you can learn to help others control theirs and it will make you feel more in control. You will be able to use this with your other students, coworkers, customers at work and even your boss.

Manage you Emotions: Managing your emotions doesn’t mean you have to hide your feeling but rather separate the typical and the no nuseful. Next time you may feel jealous, you’ll be able to harness those emotions more quickly and better manage your feelings and your behavior thereafter. Once you understand and get the foundations of control over the things that stress you out, then you can handle those life problems being thrown at you. (Dr. Michael Roizen, MD)

Emotion can be one of the strongest influences in a peron’s problem solving skills and intelligence. Learning to control those emotions can lead to better decisions in logicical situations. Understanding yourslelf is key, Getting rid of those confirmation biases and norms of thinking you can start to think further into youself but helping other as well.

As discussed in class, we’ve learned about many of the norms of thinking in people and society, and intelligence through logic and that takes a form of lots of reaction through emotion which can be controlled with discipline.

See the source image

 

Cognitive Psychology in Marketing

During the second portion of this semester, we have talked a great deal about cognitive biases. In a very simplistic way, cognitive biases are just errors in the way we think and in the decisions we make. A great deal of these errors are brought upon by our use of mental shortcuts, also known as heuristics. Much of what we know about heuristics comes from the work of Kahneman and Tversky. They have introduced concepts like availability heuristics, which states we tend to judge the probability of an event based on how easy we are able to recall past examples of that event. The work that Kahneman and Tversky have done has completely changed how we view consumer behavior. The way cognitive psychology, more specifically cognitive biases, has influenced the way we think about marketing is precisely what this article talks about.

In this article, Jayson DeMers aims to talks about a variety of cognitive biases and how companies can use each one of these biases to gain more money from consumers. He starts off by discussing how human beings are geared toward loss aversion. We are more prone to focus on a possible loss than on a possible gain of the same amount. Marketers know this and will, therefore, create advertisements that emphasize the avoidance of a loss. Marketers also use this knowledge when they tend to be very precise and careful with how they word the possibility of a loss.

This voucher example shows how marketers will purposely emphasize the fact that you are saving $5 rather than gaining $5. Vouchers like this work because they reiterate that you will lose $5 if you do not use the coupon by the expiration date.

DeMers then moved on to talk about one of my least favorite cognitive bias, anchoring. Anytime we have made a decision by selecting a starting point and adjusted our estimates from there it is likely we have fallen prey to anchoring. One of the reasons I hate this bias is because of the number of times I have let it get the best of me. Just last semester I was scrolling through the BestBuy website looking at flash drives with absolutely no intentions of buying anything. The website was set up so that the more expensive flash drives were shown first and so when I got to the bottom of the list they were much cheaper and seemed like a much more reasonable purchase.

To make matters even worse, when I clicked on one of the decent looking flash drives it showed the “was $59.99” right next to the $20 price tag and I began thinking about how much money I’d be saving if I bought it (which I foolishly did). DeMers discusses how marketers will purposely expose us to overpriced products and services so that we will be more willing to purchase the cheaper product that they were actually hoping to sell.

Although Jayson DeMers also talked about some of the other cognitive biases we have discussed in class, like framing and priming, he did not do a very good job of relating them back to the main topic. DeMers did a great job of explaining what cognitive biases were and what each of them meant but he hardly discussed how these biases have/will influence marketing. When he did discuss their influence, it was often with a sentence or two without much context. His lack of real-world examples made it extremely hard to think about the concepts past their surface level definitions. All of the real world examples in this blog post were things that I thought of and found pictures for. While this did cause me to think about cognitive biases on a much more personal and practical level, it also showed that DeMers really did not do a great job of conveying the real world applications of cognitive biases in marketing. Which is honestly a shame because this topic highly interests me and I would have loved to read more in depth about it. Crazy enough, reading this article and writing this blog post has made me realize how great, challenging and interesting a career in marketing would be.

 

Reference:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2016/12/16/8-cognitive-biases-that-will-drive-the-future-of-marketing/2/#5e6cd9642700