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Posts Tagged "decision-making"

Not bad science

How is Past Experience Biasing Our Decision-Making? Insights from Rock Ants

The rock ant Temnothorax rugatulus

Think about all the decisions you’ve made today. Even if you’re reading this in the morning, you’ve probably already made hundreds or even thousands of decisions, without even thinking consciously about most of them. We like to think of ourselves as being in control of our own decisions, and making rational, well-informed choices. However, more [...]

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Not bad science

Think you’re sometimes irrational? You’re not the only one – slime moulds are irrational too

People are irrational. Example: You wouldn’t buy a new dress, or suit, that costs £100 (‘that’s far too much to spend!’) but you would buy one that was £300, but is now ‘reduced’ to £150 (‘but just look at how far down it’s come!’) Sound familiar? You’re not alone, it’s fairly well-known that humans are [...]

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Observations

Davos: Decisions and Data

The World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, is certainly better known for the business and policy leaders it gathers. But I enjoyed some sessions by luminaries from the worlds of science and technology today as well. Now that I’m back, I thought I’d write up a couple, starting with the first session I [...]

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Observations

Out, damn’d decision: Hand washing helps us live with our choices

hand washing choice decision

Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth could never wash away the guilt of murder from her hands, but research has shown that the simple act of hand washing—or even using a wipe—can in fact help people clean their conscience of dirty deeds. A new study, published online May 6 in Science, reveals the power of hand washing to [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

A Surefire Way to Sharpen Your Focus

peaceful scene, village by the water

How many times have you arrived someplace but had no memory of the trip there? Have you ever been sitting in an auditorium daydreaming, not registering what the people on stage are saying or playing? We often spin through our days lost in mental time travel, thinking about something from the past, or future, leaving [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes: The Value of Creativity and Imagination [Excerpt]

Mastermind book jacket

By Maria Konnikova Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes. Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., Copyright © 2013 by Maria Konnikova. “It is surprising that people do not believe that there is imagination in science,” Nobel-winning physicist Richard Feynman once [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

The Education of Character: Your Brain in a Coke Bottle [Video]

Emotion is a powerful driver of behavior, sometimes too powerful. Virtually everyone has had the experience of reacting in the heat of the moment only to later regret his or her words or deed. An almond-shaped structure in the center of the brain called the amygdala is a hub for emotional responses. When it’s in [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Surprising Truths about How We Think and Act

woman looking expectant

As an editor at Scientific American Mind, I get a sneak peak at a menu of surprises about us—people, that is—that each issue has to offer. As the March/April Mind makes its debut, I wanted to share my favorite brain food from its cognitive kitchen. Here are three not-to-miss messages from its pages. Later this [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

How Elections Are Decided: Who Would You Choose as Captain of Your Boat?

The 1960 Presidential election, in which Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts squared off against Vice President Richard Nixon, would usher in a new era in Presidential politics, thanks to the growing prevalence of television ownership. The so-called “Great Debates” – four of them – would be the first ever televised Presidential debates, and some [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Cricket Fight Club: How is a Cricket Like a Rat?

When my brother and I were young, we were very careful to share the last bit of dessert equally. It’s not that we were particularly magnanimous. In their wisdom, my parents instituted a rule in our house: one of us would divide the snack in half, and the other would select his half. “You cut, [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

How Anteaters Decide What To Eat

giant anteater

The Giant Anteater, Myrmecophaga tridactyla, only eats ants and termites, as its name suggests. Since the giant anteater and its evolutionary ancestors have been feasting on ants and termites for nearly 60 million years, a researcher named Kent Redford hypothesized that, over time, ants and termites may have evolved various defenses to avoid predation. In [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Your Brain on Fast Food

fast-food-logos.bmp

Some kids more readily recognize Ronald McDonald than the President of the United States of America. Sad, right? Check out this exchange, from the 2004 movie Super Size Me: Morgan Spurlock: [to kids] I’m gonna show you some pictures and I want you to tell me who they are. Children: OK. Morgan Spurlock: [Showing a [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Drive-Through or Eat Out? How An Octopus Decides

ResearchBlogging.org

It’s amazing how much you can learn about an animal’s mind by a simply watching it. Video 1: Gratuitous video of octopuses never hurt anyone. Maybe this will sate the Pharyngulites.

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