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  #1  
Old 05-03-2008, 09:52 AM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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Default Science Saturday: Stupid Primates

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  #2  
Old 05-03-2008, 12:06 PM
StillmanThomas StillmanThomas is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Stupid Primates

Fascinating. Thanks to you both.
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  #3  
Old 05-03-2008, 01:55 PM
ohcomeon ohcomeon is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Stupid Primates

Enjoyable and thought provoking. Very nice! Thank you.
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  #4  
Old 05-03-2008, 02:13 PM
Eastwest Eastwest is offline
 
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Default Stupidity Not Limited to Primates

Very fine DV.

A bit disturbing in its implications, however.

This DV is rich enough in its content that a second listening with zero distractions may be in order.

Thanks to both for elevating the level of discourse at BHTV. Sure would enjoy having both participants back, both together and separately. All of Josh's DVs so far have been 100% stellar.

Such a nice relief from the seemingly endless stream of elections-obsessed DVs. But of course, having listened to this DV, it now becomes ever more clear why the Obama Homophily Zone (OHZ) bipeds here at BHTV are so deeply attached to their candidate choice, even against all evidence against the ongoing wisdom of such allegiance. (Never thought I'd have to check in with cutting-edge primate-behavior studies to explain this modern riddle.)

Minor Note: It would be helpful if the ever-marvelous Josh would enunciate his questions more carefully. Don't know whether it was an artifact of his mic or what, but the questions were often a bit difficult to hear clearly.

Merci beaucoup,
EW
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  #5  
Old 05-03-2008, 02:35 PM
Bloggin' Noggin Bloggin' Noggin is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Stupid Primates

Great interview! Thank you! I really want to hear about the outcome of the apevertizing experiments. Even more, I want to see the monkey ads for Coca Cola!
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  #6  
Old 05-03-2008, 02:44 PM
Bloggin' Noggin Bloggin' Noggin is offline
 
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Default Re: Stupidity Not Limited to Primates

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eastwest View Post

Such a nice relief from the seemingly endless stream of elections-obsessed DVs. But of course, having listened to this DV, it now becomes ever more clear why the Obama Homophily Zone (OHZ) bipeds here at BHTV are so deeply attached to their candidate choice, even against all evidence against the ongoing wisdom of such allegiance. (Never thought I'd have to check in with cutting-edge primate-behavior studies to explain this modern riddle.)
Hmmm. Elections-obsessed? Who is it that's dragging Obama into an entirely unrelated diavlog? I understand that chimps who look in the mirror can recognize themselves....

(Incidentally, humans are primates.)

Last edited by Bloggin' Noggin; 05-03-2008 at 02:47 PM..
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  #7  
Old 05-03-2008, 04:35 PM
themightypuck themightypuck is offline
 
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Default Re: Stupidity Not Limited to Primates

http://www.bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs...7&out=00:04:24

Mad scientist/supervillain in the making?
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  #8  
Old 05-03-2008, 05:10 PM
Happy Hominid Happy Hominid is offline
 
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Default Evolutionary Psychology

I'm thinking Bob Wright is loving the work Laurie and her people are doing. More evidence that we really have to question our own motives for just about everything, even when we think we have come to conclusions or decisions via rational thought.

This seems to give further insights into why a man who is fairly happily married for a few years, sees his wife aging past reproductive optimality, leaves her and then feels a need to bad mouth her. Or, vis versa for a woman whose husband has been unable to sire any babies for her.
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  #9  
Old 05-03-2008, 06:32 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Stupidity Not Limited to Primates

Actually, the research on "monkeys" (what species, please?) doesn't seem to confirm what we've been hearing so much about Obama: buyer's remorse.

The cognitive dissonance experiemnt seems to suggest that we would "cling to" (sorry about the choice of verb) Obama after we've selected him, even when he starts screwing up.
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  #10  
Old 05-03-2008, 06:52 PM
garbagecowboy garbagecowboy is offline
 
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Default Cognitive dissonance and the stupidest primates: frat boys

_____________

Last edited by garbagecowboy; 05-29-2009 at 06:33 PM..
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  #11  
Old 05-03-2008, 07:15 PM
qwerty qwerty is offline
 
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Default Monty Hall problem?

Why was there no discussion of the recent "Monty Hall" criticism of these studies recently described in the New York Times? Basically the criticism is saying that, in probabilistic terms, the first choice should tell you something about future choices, therefore there is no evidence of cognitive dissonance.
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  #12  
Old 05-03-2008, 07:20 PM
garbagecowboy garbagecowboy is offline
 
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Default Re: Cognitive dissonance and the stupidest primates: frat boys

I don't know what kinds of experiments Ms. Santos's lab is set up to do, but with the gain/loss aversion experiments this seems like a very exciting way to understand the neurological basis for loss aversion.

fMRI experiments and then once you have an idea of what part of the brain the monkeys "lights up" when they are either disappointed or pleased by perceived loss or gain, single or multi-unit recordings of neurons in this area would seem like a very interesting avenue for this exploding field of neuro-economics. I really have no clue what part of the brain loss-aversion comes from, but from Santos's description of the monkey behavioral experiments it certainly seems hard-wired, and since you can do it in monkeys you have an experimental vehicle for doing actual brain experiments to figure out where this behavior comes from in the brain and how it evolved.
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  #13  
Old 05-03-2008, 08:59 PM
Eastwest Eastwest is offline
 
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Default Re: Stupidity Not Limited to Primates

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Actually, the research on "monkeys" ... doesn't seem to confirm ... buyer's remorse.

The cognitive dissonance experiment seems to suggest that we would "cling to" ... Obama after we've selected him, even when he starts screwing up.
Well, that was precisely my point. Most are still clinging, largely because they've invested so much psychic energy in the supposedly transformative potential of his vision. To abandon that ego-toil investment would inevitably register in one's mind as a bit of a self-betrayal, especially after all these many months of demonizing and dehumanizing the only remaining alternative (HRC) to which one would then have to extend tacit approval on kissing off Barack.

I think only a very small percentage of the hard-core OHZ denizens will have advanced to "buyer's remorse." Alas, it's at best a 50-50 proposition as to whether enough of them will abandon ship in time to prevent a McCain presidency, the inevitable fall-out from the Dems ratifying an Obama nomination.

EW

Last edited by Eastwest; 05-03-2008 at 09:01 PM..
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  #14  
Old 05-03-2008, 09:04 PM
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Default Re: Cognitive dissonance and the stupidest primates: frat boys

How cool to have a job that you love, and its obvious that Ms. Santos does. Excitement in what one does is contagious.

Also rather fun to watch Josh's face contort in pleasure when the conversation hits points that ARE amazing when you picture the monkeys in action.

I agree that EWs digression to other diavlogs might be almost as misplaced as Ms. Santo's pandering with her original cognitive dissonance example, however.
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  #15  
Old 05-03-2008, 09:13 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Stupidity Not Limited to Primates

Quote:
Most are still clinging, largely because they've invested so much psychic energy in the supposedly transformative potential of his vision.
A fancy way of saying they are loyal to their guy even when somewhat disappointed. Not exactly a major insight into human behavior.

Quote:
Alas, it's at best a 50-50 proposition as to whether enough of them will abandon ship in time to prevent a McCain presidency, the inevitable fall-out from the Dems ratifying an Obama nomination.
Claiming McCain is the "inevitable" winner at this point in the process is ridiculous.
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  #16  
Old 05-03-2008, 11:30 PM
harkin harkin is offline
 
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Default Re: Stupidity Not Limited to Primates

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eastwest View Post
Minor Note: It would be helpful if the ever-marvelous Josh would enunciate his questions more carefully. Don't know whether it was an artifact of his mic or what, but the questions were often a bit difficult to hear clearly.

Hey Josh, here's a tip I learned from David Niven's memoirs for improving the clarity and projection of your speaking voice:

Hold a wine cork between your upper and lower front teeth and say the Lord's Prayer (or something with similar varied words) three times every day.

It worked for me.
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  #17  
Old 05-03-2008, 11:30 PM
dankingbooks dankingbooks is offline
 
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Default Loss Vegas

So if primates (humans) are loss averse, then how does one explain Las Vegas? People love to gamble, which for most bets results in small losses (albeit lots of them). This is surely one of the most economically irrational things people do.

Has Ms. Santos thought about a monkey casino?

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  #18  
Old 05-04-2008, 02:08 AM
Eastwest Eastwest is offline
 
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Default Re: Stupidity Not Limited to Primates

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
A fancy way of saying they are loyal to their guy even when somewhat disappointed.
That clearly went right over your head. No, it's simply pointing to being "in denial," a delusional dream state of which you appear to be a sterling example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Claiming McCain is the "inevitable" winner at this point in the process is ridiculous.
Your post nicely illustrates being "in denial": inability to read the writing on the wall. Obama was stupid enough to slide into his pompous wag-the-finger-at-whitey apologia-for-Wright sermon, thus making the race about race, so now he'll fall on his face.

Obama's trying desperately finally to distance himself, but it's too late. Too many in the electorate are suspicious he made a pact with the Reverend in the basement of the church, i.e. a "hidden agenda" to foreground race issues such as "reparations" once elected, thus bringing on at least four years of black-victimization rhetoric (which the stellar boot-strapping economic performances of Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans, Japanese, and Mexicans have made a laughably stupid stance).

Voters will run the other way in droves, leaving Obama and a few OHZ drones singing "Kumbaya" while McCain sails on to victory.

EW
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  #19  
Old 05-04-2008, 02:54 AM
Incompetence Dodger Incompetence Dodger is offline
 
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Default Re: Stupidity Not Limited to Primates

Fantastic diavlog.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eastwest View Post
This DV is rich enough in its content that a second listening with zero distractions may be in order.
I just got done listening a second time, and I can confirm that it was worth it.

OK, before I take you to task, EW, I just want to say that I think your comments are always worthwhile and interesting, with the notable exception of your comments about the election (no shame in that, I'm finding the race--actually only notionally a "race" at this point--and the coverage of it alternately tedious and depressing, and nobody's had anything both interesting and substantive to say about it in weeks and weeks).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eastwest View Post
Such a nice relief from the seemingly endless stream of elections-obsessed DVs. But of course, having listened to this DV, it now becomes ever more clear why the Obama Homophily Zone (OHZ) bipeds here at BHTV are so deeply attached to their candidate choice, even against all evidence against the ongoing wisdom of such allegiance. (Never thought I'd have to check in with cutting-edge primate-behavior studies to explain this modern riddle.)
First of all, shame on you for (correctly) decrying the elections obsessions, then in the very next sentence going there. Project much?

Second of all, shame on you for, having opened Pandora's box, getting it precisely wrong. Surely this bit here isn't an explanation of why "deluded" Obama supporters persist in "clinging" to "irreparably damaged goods" despite "overwhelming evidence" that's he is "toast, toast I tell you" against McCain (note: scare quotes, not direct quotes of you), but rather why Clinton supporters have gotten so ferocious in denouncing and rejecting Obama, and vice-versa. False equivalence alert--I never considered Obama and Clinton "a toaster and a clock of equal value", right from the start. In fact I think one would be a disaster, both electorally and in terms of governance. However, I've become increasingly convinced of this, and highly emotional about it, too, and I'm willing to attribute that to the phenomenon Dr. Santos describes.

Hey, now that I think about it, the soul-crushing (wait, I mean fun and exciting) Democratic primary beautifully illustrates not only the Brehm wedding gift phenomenon, but the "boring task" phenomenon as well. Maybe Howard Dean should start handing out $20 bills to lower the level of vitriol.

Last edited by Incompetence Dodger; 05-04-2008 at 04:18 AM..
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  #20  
Old 05-04-2008, 02:59 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Stupidity Not Limited to Primates

EW:

Are people who still support Hillary Clinton "in denial?" What about people who still like George W. Bush?
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  #21  
Old 05-04-2008, 03:11 AM
Incompetence Dodger Incompetence Dodger is offline
 
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Default Re: Monty Hall problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by qwerty View Post
Why was there no discussion of the recent "Monty Hall" criticism of these studies recently described in the New York Times? Basically the criticism is saying that, in probabilistic terms, the first choice should tell you something about future choices, therefore there is no evidence of cognitive dissonance.
Well, she says herself in the article that the "Monty Hall" problem has been accounted for, and doesn't think that the critique applies to current research, so you can't really fault her for not bringing it up herself. I wish Joshua had brought it up, though, since the NYT article doesn't spell out just how the problem has been corrected for. I would like to have heard an explanation of that.

Not to pick nits, but I think the criticism isn't quite as you describe it, but rather that it's wrong to assume that the differently colored M&Ms are completely fungible to the monkeys.

Incidentally, I find it fascinating that non-Van Halen primates also have an aversion to brown M&Ms.
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  #22  
Old 05-04-2008, 03:14 AM
Incompetence Dodger Incompetence Dodger is offline
 
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Default Re: Stupidity Not Limited to Primates

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Actually, the research on "monkeys" (what species, please?)
Capuchins, apparently.
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  #23  
Old 05-04-2008, 04:30 AM
Incompetence Dodger Incompetence Dodger is offline
 
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Default Re: Evolutionary Psychology

Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Hominid View Post
I'm thinking Bob Wright is loving the work Laurie and her people are doing. More evidence that we really have to question our own motives for just about everything, even when we think we have come to conclusions or decisions via rational thought.
It's interesting how much of this diavlog dovetails with the Will Wilkerson-Dan Ariely one a few weeks ago. I haven't read Predictably Irrational yet (bhTV investors take note: that diavlog led to at least one sale), but I'd be surprised if it didn't also make reference to the Brehm experiment or the boring task experiment (or to Dr. Santos's work, for that matter).

I'd really be interested in finding out whether these kinds of irrationalities arose in the ancestor to the monkey, ape, and hominid lines, or whether they arose independently as a result of the lines existing in more-or-less the same environment for virtually all of the time since splitting. Like many ev-psych questions, I suspect the answer awaits development of more advanced time travel technology.

Finally, as a primate I must say (somebody will say it eventually; might as well be me) that Dr. Santos is really, really attractive.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm craving a Coke or a Pepsi.
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  #24  
Old 05-04-2008, 04:44 AM
otto otto is offline
 
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Default Licence to blogginghead?

The substance here was interesting but the conversation was mostly juniorprofessorheads.tv rather than the bloggingheads we crave. Too patronising, too didactic, mini-lectures. If you want guests like Santos, you need Will Wilkinson or Bob himself on the other side of the screen.
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  #25  
Old 05-04-2008, 05:50 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Licence to blogginghead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by otto View Post
The substance here was interesting but the conversation was mostly juniorprofessorheads.tv rather than the bloggingheads we crave. Too patronising, too didactic, mini-lectures. If you want guests like Santos, you need Will Wilkinson or Bob himself on the other side of the screen.
Strongly disagree. I like the change of pace that "Science Saturday" brings. I thought this diavlog was fascinating, and I don't at all mind that it felt more like attending a lecture than listening to a debate. I agree that Bob and Will are superb interviewers, but I thought that Josh did a fine job in moving the conversation along.
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  #26  
Old 05-04-2008, 07:23 AM
Eastwest Eastwest is offline
 
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Default Re: Licence to blogginghead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by otto View Post
The substance here was interesting but the conversation was mostly juniorprofessorheads.tv rather than the bloggingheads we crave. Too patronising, too didactic, mini-lectures. If you want guests like Santos, you need Will Wilkinson or Bob himself on the other side of the screen.
I also strongly disagree. If the material's a little too challenging for you, it won't hurt you to take a break on Saturdays. (Maybe try a basketball game or take a walk or something.)

Josh has a wonderfully bright and humorous mind and persona and is a fine host for this category of content. Bob would dilute it too much and Will Wilkinson would inadvertently politicize it too much. Josh is politics-neutral.

Santos was every bit as fine. Funny and stimulating in her own right.

The more of this the better.

Discussions such as these cast light on why people behave as they do. That being the case, they're useful in understanding media, politicians, voters, government manipulations, lobbyists, interpersonal dynamics, etc, etc.

This being the case, it might well be argued that DVs such as this are in fact the most valuable offerings on BHTV.

EW
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  #27  
Old 05-04-2008, 10:25 AM
look look is offline
 
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Default I wonder who is underwriting these studies?

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/107...6:46&out=37:02
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  #28  
Old 05-04-2008, 11:36 AM
rcocean rcocean is offline
 
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Default Re: I wonder who is underwriting these studies?

Excellent Diavlog. BHTV needs more of these kind of conversations. Give us real experts - and real scientists - talking about interesting subjects.

I'd rather hear a prof talk about Monkeys then a monkey like Greenwald (or a scum like Frum) talk about politics.
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  #29  
Old 05-04-2008, 12:19 PM
ogieogie ogieogie is offline
 
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Default Re: Stupidity Not Limited to Primates

Quote:
Originally Posted by harkin View Post
Hey Josh, here's a tip I learned from David Niven's memoirs for improving the clarity and projection of your speaking voice:

Hold a wine cork between your upper and lower front teeth and say the Lord's Prayer (or something with similar varied words) three times every day.

It worked for me.
Keeping in mind the caveat: don't drink the wine first.
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  #30  
Old 05-05-2008, 02:58 PM
Happy Hominid Happy Hominid is offline
 
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Default You are exactly right...

...about Dr. Santos. I didn't want to be the first either and looked through all the comments to see who said it. Was very surprised to see everyone being so high-minded. Or, appearing to be. So I decided to appear that way also. Anyway, this diavlog made me wish I were 25 years younger, better looking, with a PhD and working in biology at Yale.

Thanks for your tip about the Wilkerson diavlog. I think I brushed by it at the time, but I'll definitely go back and look at it.
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  #31  
Old 05-05-2008, 03:30 PM
Whatfur
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Default Re: You are exactly right...

Come on HH, she works with monkeys all day long, you may actually still have a chance.
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  #32  
Old 05-05-2008, 05:00 PM
334 334 is offline
 
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Default Re: You are exactly right...

It seems the experiment on loss aversion is incomplete. Wouldn't you also have to do an experiment where in one case the monkey's offered two pieces of food and gets three, and another where it's offered three and gets three? If the choice is due to loss aversion and not to something else, then they'd have to not show a preference of one over the other. Otherwise, it could be an aversion to being deceived or maybe that they like gain just as much as they don't like loss or whatever, depending on the results.
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  #33  
Old 05-06-2008, 01:34 AM
Happy Hominid Happy Hominid is offline
 
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Default Re: You are exactly right...

Good point 334 and I bet they're running those experiments from a number of angles.

And THANKS, Whatfur! You have REALLY brightened up my evening. I'm going to go shave now.
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  #34  
Old 05-06-2008, 03:35 AM
amdurbin111 amdurbin111 is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Stupid Primates

I find Joshua Knobe's manner of speaking very annoying. He sounds like he is talking to a lover, to put it bluntly: very fey and coy. Distracting, because the psychological undertones of his voice produce "cognitive dissonance" because they differ from the meaning of his words and the thrust of the conversation.
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  #35  
Old 05-07-2008, 11:05 PM
Jack McCullough Jack McCullough is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Stupid Primates

I'm listening to this in the car and I'm not done, but I do have a couple of thoughts about what this tells us about the Democratic voters who are saying they will vote for McCain if the opposite D candidate wins.

First, even if you started out thinking that Clinton and Obama are roughly equivalent, once you choose one you're likely to overvalue the differences between them. Second, once you've been told you don't get your choice, but you had to take the opposite of the one you wanted, you wind up disliking the choice you were forced to take.

I don't know if this will make a difference in November, but I really doubt that these survey respondents, since by that time we can expect that these committed Democrats will prefer any Democrat to that POS McCain.

At least, I hope that's the case.
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  #36  
Old 05-16-2008, 06:14 PM
Jerome Norris Jerome Norris is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Stupid Primates

Ms. Santos is extraordinarily well-spoken and convincing in her descriptions of the research, but I remain skeptical about the conclusions intended to be drawn by researchers based upon (1) experiments with "monkeys" undergoing tests intended to mimic research focused earlier on human subjects; and
(2) "preparing" those monkeys for second-stage experiments intended to determine whether results are altered after the primate-subjects have their egos massaged by the researchers.

One has to leap to so many assumptions about the nature of the experiments, the non-randomness of the statistical results, and the efficacy (if any) of the pre-testing "primate-prep" process (We want happy monkeys who feel good about themselves) that it's difficult to believe any meaningful conclusions can possibly emerge at the other end of the muddle.

William James termed psychology a "nasty little subject" well over a century ago, and it doesn't seem to have changed much. It doesn't lend itself easily to scientific experimentation, and animal experimentation, especially, seems the very height of speculative application of scientific method. It reminds me of the "scientists" who advocate for "intelligent design" as a substitute for evolutionary theory.

But I'm sure Ms. Santos will get a nice publishable paper out of it in the end.
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