I’m no social psychologist, but I keep this notebook page around because I want to note somewhere convenient which have proven to be reproducible of all the dinner-table conversation starter factoids that people keep telling me.
The perils and necessities of reasoning about people reasoning about people. See also Dunbar’s numbers, Pop psychology or causality on social graphs.
I assert the inaccessibility of good models of society to you and me, and the increasing availability of such models to large data-mining organisations in the form of weaponised psephology, will increasingly squeeze out democratic agency, whatever that was supposed to be, and make society into the passive object of entrenched power, with everyone except the elites sealed in protective filter bubbles. Although vast global conspiracies have not existed in history, we have become the midwives of the world which will enable them.
Anyway, let’s look at how we look at the world without that.
Everything is Obvious (once you know the answer) is Duncan Watts’ laundry list of examples of how all our intuitions about how society works are self-justifying guesses divorced from evidence, except for his, because Yahoo let him build his own experimental online social networks. Bastard. Don’t let my jealousy stop you from reading the book, which will indeed reassure you of what the title says in some surprising ways.
A class divided is the documentary about the blue eyes/brown eyes experiment.
Add some links about ethnic bias in perception etc.
Does making someone hold a warm drink make them feel warmly toward you? How about does mentioning money make them greedy?
Lots of these results have imploded in the so called “replication crisis,” which is of interest to me because of
The useful hypothesis I am interested in, in social media weaponisation
All of them, the good factoids and the bad, turn out to be tedious topics of conversation, (“I heard on This American Life that…”) and I would like to have the excuse to shut down at least the erroneous ones expeditiously so I can get at the canapés, without having to fight though explainerist pop psychology.
See an interesting timeline and recap in Andrew Gelman’s short essay, The winds have changed.
Neuroskeptic dissects money priming
Fan crush moment: Daniel Kahnemann chimes in on priming via the blogosphere:
Clearly, the experimental evidence for the ideas I presented in that chapter was significantly weaker than I believed when I wrote it. This was simply an error: I knew all I needed to know to moderate my enthusiasm for the surprising and elegant findings that I cited, but I did not think it through. When questions were later raised about the robustness of priming results I hoped that the authors of this research would rally to bolster their case by stronger evidence, but this did not happen.
I still believe that actions can be primed, sometimes even by stimuli of which the person is unaware. There is adequate evidence for all the building blocks: semantic priming, significant processing of stimuli that are not consciously perceived, and ideo-motor activation. I see no reason to draw a sharp line between the priming of thoughts and the priming of actions. A case can therefore be made for priming on this indirect evidence. But I have changed my views about the size of behavioral priming effects – they cannot be as large and as robust as my chapter suggested.
Scott Alexander’s admittedly hand-wavey but interesting Devoodooifying Psychology about the kind of results that haven’t replicated:
A single thread seems to run through all of these examples: a shift away from the power of the unconscious. The unconscious doesn’t make you succeed or fail proportionately to your belief in yourself. The unconscious doesn’t change your behavior because of insignificant environmental cues. The unconscious doesn’t make you racially discriminate despite your own better nature. The conscious mind is strong enough to hold onto its preferred beliefs despite brainwashing techniques intended to force it otherwise.
So maybe we should update in general towards less of a role for the unconscious mind?
What is the unconscious mind anyway?
Cozzarelli, Catherine, and Brenda Major. 1990. “Exploring the Validity of the Impostor Phenomenon.” Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 9 (4): 401–17. https://doi.org/10.1521/jscp.19220.127.116.111.
Fletcher, Garth JO, and Patrick SG Kerr. 2010. “Through the Eyes of Love: Reality and Illusion in Intimate Relationships.” Psychological Bulletin 136 (4): 627–58. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0019792.
Goel, Sharad, Ashton Anderson, Jake Hofman, and Duncan J. Watts. 2015. “The Structural Virality of Online Diffusion.” Management Science, July, 150722112809007. https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2015.2158.
Goel, Sharad, Winter Mason, and Duncan J. Watts. 2010. “Real and Perceived Attitude Agreement in Social Networks.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 99 (4): 611–21. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0020697.
Kahneman, Daniel. 2003a. “A Psychological Perspective on Economics.” The American Economic Review 93 (2): 162–68. https://doi.org/10.1257/000282803321946985.
———. 2003b. “Maps of Bounded Rationality: Psychology for Behavioral Economics.” The American Economic Review 93 (5): 1449–75.
Kahneman, Daniel, Paul Slovic, and Amos Tversky. 1982. “Judgement Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases.”
Kahneman, Daniel, and Amos Tversky. 1979. “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk.” Econometrica 47 (2): 263–92. http://www.nolle.se/wp-content/2011/11/Kahneman-Tversky-Prospect-theory79.pdf.
———. 1984. “Choices, Values, and Frames.” American Psychologist 39 (4): 341–50. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.39.4.341.
Kamenica, Emir. 2012. “Behavioral Economics and Psychology of Incentives.” Annual Review of Economics 4 (1): 427–52. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-economics-080511-110909.
Klofstad, Casey A., Rose McDermott, and Peter K. Hatemi. 2013. “The Dating Preferences of Liberals and Conservatives.” Political Behavior 35 (3): 519–38. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11109-012-9207-z.
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Piff, Paul K., Michael W. Kraus, Stéphane Côté, Bonnie Hayden Cheng, and Dacher Keltner. 2010. “Having Less, Giving More: The Influence of Social Class on Prosocial Behavior.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 99 (5): 771–84. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0020092.
Salganik, Matthew J., and Duncan J. Watts. 2008. “Leading the Herd Astray: An Experimental Study of Self-Fulfilling Prophecies in an Artificial Cultural Market.” Social Psychology Quarterly 74 (4): 338. https://doi.org/10.1177/019027250807100404.
Sloman, Steven A., and Philip Fernbach. 2017. The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone. New York: Riverhead Books.
Tversky, A., and D. Kahneman. 1981. “The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice.” Science 211 (4481): 453–58. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.7455683.
Tversky, Amos, and Itamar Gati. 1982. “Similarity, Separability, and the Triangle Inequality.” Psychological Review 89 (2): 123–54. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.89.2.123.
Tversky, Amos, and Daniel Kahneman. 1973. “Availability: A Heuristic for Judging Frequency and Probability.” Cognitive Psychology 5 (2): 207–32. https://doi.org/10.1016/0010-0285(73)90033-9.
———. 1974. “Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases.” Science 185 (4157): 1124–31. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.185.4157.1124.
Watts, Duncan J. 2014. “Common Sense and Sociological Explanations.” American Journal of Sociology 120 (2): 313–51. https://doi.org/10.1086/678271.