Below, we’ve posted titles and a brief quotation from some of our favorite non-Situationist situationist blogging during October 2008. (They are listed in alphabetical order by source.)
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From Cognitive Daily: “Being excluded from a social group makes you feel cold — literally”
“Chen-Bo Zhong and Geoffrey Leonardelli told a college student volunteers that they would be participating in a set of unrelated experiments. First they were asked to recall a time when they felt either socially excluded or included. Then a research assistant told them that the lab maintenance staff was working on the heating system for the room, and asked them to estimate the room’s temperature. You guessed it: the participants’ temperature estimates corresponded to whether they had been prompted to think about social exclusion or inclusion.” Read more . . .
From Research Digest blog: “How a psychological bias leads many people to pay more credit card interest”
“New financial rules in the U.K. and elsewhere mean that credit card companies have to take a monthly minimum payment from card-holders who have an outstanding balance. It’s a protective measure that’s intended to stop card-holders’ debt from spiralling out of control. However, new research by Neil Stewart shows that, thanks to a decision-making bias known as “anchoring”, printed information about compulsory minimum payments leads many card-holders to actually pay off less of their balance than they would have done, thus costing them significantly in the long-run.” Read more . . .
From Research Digest blog: “Self-belief boosts problem solving success“
“Success at mental arithmetic isn’t purely a question of mathematical skill and knowledge – people’s belief in their own ability, known as “self-efficacy”, plays a key part too. Bobby Hoffman and Alexandru Spatariu who made the new finding say their research is the “first study that we know of to demonstrate the effect of self-efficacy on problem-solving efficiency when controlling for background knowledge.” Read more . . .
From Research Digest blog: “Why do we want to punish repeat offenders so harshly?”
“Do you think repeat offenders should be punished more harshly than first-time offenders for the same crime? Does it make any difference if I make it clear that the specific hypothetical crime in question has caused the same harm in each case? If you still think the repeat offender should be punished more harshly, you’re not alone. In fact this approach to justice is written into law in many countries. First time offenders can expect leniency whereas repeat offenders can expect severe punishment.” Read more . . .
From 3 Quarks Daily: “The Certainty Bias: A Potentially Dangerous Mental Flaw”
“It is quite likely that the same reward system provides the positive feedback necessary for us to learn and to continue wanting to learn. The pleasure of a thought is what propels us forward; imagine trying to write a novel or engage in a long-term scientific experiment without getting such rewards. Fortunately, the brain has provided us with a wide variety of subjective feelings of reward ranging from hunches, gut feelings, intuitions, suspicions that we are on the right track to a profound sense of certainty and utter conviction. And yes, these feelings are qualitatively as powerful as those involved in sex and gambling. One need only look at the self-satisfied smugness of a “know it all” to suspect that the feeling of certainty can approach the power of addiction.” Read more . . .
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For previous installments of “Situationism on the Blogosphere,” click on the “Blogroll” category in the right margin.