Posted by The Situationist Staff on August 25, 2010
Dr. Laurie Santos is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Yale University. Her research provides an interface between evolutionary biology, developmental psychology, and cognitive neuroscience, exploring the evolutionary origins of the human mind by comparing the cognitive abilities of human and non-human primates. Her experiments focus on non-human primates (in captivity and in the field), incorporating methodologies from cognitive development, animal learning psychology, and cognitive neuroscience.
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Laurie Santos looks for the roots of human irrationality by watching the way our primate relatives make decisions. A clever series of experiments in “monkeynomics” shows that some of the silly choices we make, monkeys make too.
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For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “Michael McCullough on the Situation of Revenge and Forgiveness,” “New Study Looks at the Roots of Empathy,” “The Endowment Effect in Chimpanzees – Abstract,” “The Situation of Political Animals,” and “Monkey Fairness.”
Posted in Behavioral Economics, Evolutionary Psychology, Video | Tagged: cognitive biases, evolution, financial crisis, Laurie Santos | 1 Comment »
Posted by The Situationist Staff on August 19, 2009
Jonathan Baron recently posted his interesting paper, titled “Parochialism as a Result of Cognitive Biases” on SSRN. Here’s the abstract.
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I discuss several forms of bias, or fallacious thinking, that lead to parochialism, that is, a willingness to sacrifice self-interest for in-group members while neglecting or underweighing negative effects on outsiders, so that an out-group could lose more than the in-group gains from the sacrifice. In the self-interest illusion, people fallaciously think that their contribution to their group comes back to benefit them and make their sacrifice worthwhile. This illusion is larger when an outgroup is affected, and it is specific to group benefits; it is unrelated to the desire to hurt another group out of sheer competition. A second bias is the tendency to de-personalize the individuals involved and think about the groups. This is reduced when people make analogous decisions about individuals. I suggest that approval voting — at least when both groups vote — can lead people to take the out-group into account. Omission bias, the preference for harming others through omissions rather than actions, is greater for out-group members. Parochialism can be moralized: people think of it as absolute and objectively moral, they are willing to impose it moralistically on others, and they consider the support of the in-group to be their duty as citizens. I conclude with suggestions for reducing the harmful effects of parochialism.
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To download the paper for free, click here. To review a sample of related Situationist posts, see “The Situation of Ideology – Part I,” “The Situation of Ideology – Part II,” “The Situation of Biased Perceptions,” “Attributing Blame — from the Baseball Diamond to the War on Terror,” “Situationist Theories of Hate – Part IV,” and “Some (Interior) Situational Sources War – Part I.”
Posted in Behavioral Economics, Ideology, Life | Tagged: cognitive biases, duty, in-group bias, omission bias, parochialism | Leave a Comment »