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34

There are two great TED talks that together help shed some light on your question: David Deutsch (2005) "A new way to explain explanation", and Richard Dawkins (2009) "Why the universe seems so strange" At a fundamental level, science is about explanation (and sometimes using that explanation to make predictions). Thus, to most people, science is useless ...


15

I know 2 explanations to such seemingly irrational behaviour in cognitive science. Both of them don't really justify the usage of the simple reward-maximizing model in economics. Rule Rationality versus Act Rationality Act Rationality is the notion that every decision an agent makes is made in order to maximize his utility. Rule Rationality is the notion ...


10

Ben Brocka makes many fine points. Insanity is a legal definition and what constitutes insanity will vary state to state, even jurisdiction to jurisdiction. What makes sanity so hard to quantify is the fact that so often, in a forensic setting, it comes down to the discretion of a jury of one's peers or the Court to accept or deny insanity as an explanation ...


10

Sanity is an explicit legal definition. It is generally not a psychological term. This is Wikipedia's definition of Sanity which aligns perfectly to my understanding of abnormal psychology. (emphasis mine): In criminal and mental health law, sanity is a legal term denoting that an individual is of sound mind and therefore can bear legal responsibility ...


9

There is currently a lot of debate surrounding what questions Bayesian modeling is appropriate for answering within cognitive science, as well what makes a "poor model." Unfortunately these become extremely thorny issues very quickly, partly because what is called "bayesian modeling" actually refers to a rather heterogeneous set of approaches and ...


9

Our subjective estimation of probability is affected by many irrational factors, one of which is the accessibility of exemplars (Availability Heuristic). Since we usually hear about lottery winners, and not so much about those who didn't win, we over-estimate the probability of winning. It may be similar with your estimation of the probability of the project ...


8

@OfriRaviv provided a great answer, but I thought I'd add a third alternative I am aware of for completeness. The Tversky & Shafir result is only a violation of classical probability. This approach to probability usually goes unquestioned (since people often assume classical logic is the only reasonable logic), but could be put under scientific ...


6

@CHCH has provided a good broad overview, but I thought I would also append some specific experiments that are considered to be a weakness of Bayesian models. The whole theme of this answer is an extension of Tversky and Kahneman's program of rationality-violation. All of these experiments can be fitted by some Bayesian-ish just-so model of the sort Bowers ...


6

Perhaps people are attracted to these theories in part because of the inability for mainstream science to answer anomalies. The occasion of governmental lying, hiding of technology, and corruption, helps reinforce the idea that there exists real Science that is not known to the mainstream. In the absence of trust, people contemplate the ...


6

I believe these questions are dealt with by "support theory," the seminal publications being: Tversky, A., & Koehler, D. J. (1994). Support theory: A nonextensional representation of subjective probability. Psychological Review, 101(4), 547-566. Rottenstreich, Y., & Tversky, A. (1997). Unpacking, repacking, and anchoring: advances in support ...


5

The probability of conjunctive events (all six tosses are heads) are overestimated, relative to a single event of similar overall probability. This result has been shown by Paul Slovic, in an experiment that is described in its abstract as follows: This study examined the effects on the attractiveness of a gamble, of manipulating the number and ...


5

Decision-making or decision theory is its own subdiscipline under cognitive science (also often studied by statisticians, philosophers, economists, and faculty in business schools). Within this discipline, understanding how stress affects your behavior is very important and not understudied area. For a recent survey with a neurobiological focus, see: ...


5

The prospect theory works/describes two stages in decision making under risk*. Stage 1: Clustering/grouping of the outcomes based on some heuristic. i.e the group the possible outcomes into groups and then choose a reference point out of these. Stage 2: Now they switch to the expected utility theory,and act as a rational agent that makes a decision ...


5

Your question is predicated on the assumption that Bayesian modeling has been successful in all domains. I think this is a stance that many (except hardened Bayesians) would disagree with. For instance, consider the classic Tversky & Shafir experiments on the violation of the sure thing principle: What are popular rationalist responses to Tversky & ...


4

Relationship between study time and performance Plant et al (2004) review the literature of studies that have correlated average time spent studying and variables such as GPA. They report a couple of correlational studies in the literature that found small positive correlations (e.g., $r=.18, r=.23$). They make two main points: (a) academic performance is ...


3

The growing body of research in cognitive psychology is pointing to the fact that we may have overemphasized the processes of the brain as the center for determination of action. We tend to look at the brain in terms of top-down processes but this is far from the case. If you really want a rich and entertaining view of motivation read Damasio's book ...


3

One reason for different outcomes in the 2 cases you highlight may be due to the different regulatory focus (higgins). Not letting project go scrap is a preventive focus and as such comes with all the baggage that preventive regulatory focus has. One basically wants to avoid an undesired outcome and sees things as loss-nonloss (see the relation with ...


3

There are now many full-length books that focus on this deep, complex question about human nature/psychology and note newer/ongoing/active research in the area, some of it cited in them. Why people believe weird things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time Shermer and Gould Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud Park ...


2

In a paper published recently (actually, today) by myself and my 2 advisers, we analyze results of an auditory perceptual discrimination task, and show that the Bayesian model can be used to explain some aspects of behaviour, but not others. We provide a simple heuristic model that accounts for a wider range of phenomena in that task, such as the imperfect ...


2

Yes! Of course fear can be rational, especially when there is in fact a big scary monster and you are in danger. There is an unfortunate meme in society that emotions and rationality are incompatible, but that's not the case. Emotions can only be irrational if you are mistaken to feel those emotions in that context. Cases where fear is irrational ...


2

Not a real explanation of why writing or cities appeared where they appeared but by that time humans had already spread to many parts of the world so I am not sure there is any particular need to explain why they did not appear in southern Africa, specifically. Also, the “cradle of humankind” in Gauteng is a large source of hominin fossils (possibly for ...


1

In my opinion the question is not of-topic, because of two reasons: 1) Scientifically, it is hard to approve or not, but Sigmund Freud wrote about it in book: Totem and Taboo wrote that civilization start when human offsprings decided not to kill father and that strongest among them become new "leadeor of herd/doggery" It could explain debate cradle of ...


1

Why are you running away? 1) Are you running because of fear? 2) Are you running because the monster might harm you? 3) Are you running because you've had an encounter with a monster before and even though this one doesn't look like that one and that one had claws and this one doesn't but this one is still coming towards you, kinda fast? Fear is a ...



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