Remember me

Register  |   Lost password?


 

Recent members

 

 

Show:
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled What is cognitive economics?
What's happening inside your head right now? What thoughts, feelings, ideas are spinning around in there? Are they important to you? If you were not able to think those thoughts, would you care? How much does your internal mental experience matter to you? To an economist: not at all. Traditional economics explicitly rules out any consideration of how people think, and what is going on in their minds or hearts. Economists only trust what they can observe: specifically, the things you buy and...
50 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled Why endings matter [spoiler-free Game of Thrones references]
It probably has not escaped your notice that the Game of Thrones TV series finished this week. If you use social media at all, I suspect you also saw some anguished squawks about how awful the ending was. How the incompetent writers screwed it all up. Maybe you even signed the petition, along with 1.5 million others, to have the last series remade with a different conclusion. Personally I thought it wasn't a bad outcome, but I seem to be in the minority. Either way, why does this have such...
55 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled Reporting back: the Cognitive Economics session at the AEA conference
[Tara posting today] We had a great response to our Cognitive Economics session at the American Economic Association’s conference a few weeks ago. For those who weren’t there, here’s a quick summary of the four papers presented, and the discussion at the end. Dan Benjamin, Kristen Cooper, Ori Heffetz, and Miles Kimball presented What Do People Want? The key question of this paper is: how can we measure happiness? And how do we account for the biases and differences across different groups...
80 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled What makes a useful theory?
If conventional economic theory is so wrong (as we are repeatedly told) why does it survive so well? This post by UnlearningEcon prompted me to think again about why economics, despite widely accepted empirical data from behavioural econ, is broadly taught in the same way as before, and why its basic assumptions still underpin much modern research. Some have a sociological explanation for this. In this view, economists are invested in the old approaches, have spent decades honing...
80 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled Three systems: a mechanism for mental and social narrative
Alex Rosenberg says here that we are instinctively driven by stories, narrative and theory of mind - a very useful instinct on the small scale - although that instinct can be misleading on the larger scale of history and politics. His book on this claim is also out, though I haven't read it yet. It seems uncontroversial that the idea of narrative has a powerful hold on how we think. There are thousands of discussions of storytelling as a way for us to bond with other people, and the biases...
148 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled What people want, cognitive goods, models of persuasion and why we avoid important information: the cognitive economics session at the AEA conference
For the first time, there will be a session on Cognitive Economics at the American Economic Association’s conference. The conference, in association with the ASSA, is taking place from Friday 4 January to Sunday 6 January and will be a hugely interesting programme over the long weekend. The Cognitive Economics session will take place on Sunday 6 January 2019 at 8-10am in Atlanta Marriott Marquis, International 10. I hope that any readers who are attending the conference are able to come...
148 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled “Mysterious psycho-logic”, the “Nudge Unit” and irrational humans: tune in to Leigh Caldwell and Rory Sutherland on BBC Radio 4's show Thought Cages
“Mysterious psycho-logic”, the “Nudge Unit” and irrational humans - Leigh explores cognitive and behavioural economics and science with Rory Sutherland on BBC Radio 4’s show Thought Cages today and on Friday. Tune in at 13:45 today to hear Leigh discussing behavioural and cognitive economics on Thought Cage’s next episode: Instinct Before Logic: The Postbox at the O2. During this episode, Rory and Leigh will be exploring why reason is no longer used to persuade us to change our behaviour,...
234 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled A new team member and new plans
Hello, today it’s not Leigh posting, but me, Tara, his new colleague! I’ve recently started working for Inon and with Leigh on his cognitive economics work. I’ll be writing content on cognitive economics, spreading the word about cognitive economics to both academic and general audiences and also organising events around cognitive economics. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and also fill you in on some exciting events on cognitive economics coming up. All cards on the table...
252 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled Rebuilding macroeconomics
Spending today and tomorrow attending the Rebuilding Macroeconomics conference at the Treasury. The programme looks very interesting - highlights include: Ekaterina Svetlova's opening talk on "Imagining the Future", which I think will be quite relevant to System 3 and an idea I have been working on, prospective expectations: the concept that actors based their decisions not on a Nash equilibrium (rational expectations) or on a simple extrapolation of the past (adaptive expectations), but on...
291 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled Neuroscience, psychology and economics: the evidence for System 3 (long)
In my last post I outlined the concept of System 3, what it is and why it matters. In short, System 3 is the mental ability to imagine the future and evaluate how happy you will be in it – based on how pleasurable the process of imagining itself is. A lot of different research strands have come together to result in the identification of System 3 as a distinct mental process. I summarise the key steps here: The fundamental building block of System 3 is the stimulus-response relationship. It...
448 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled Introducing System 3: How we use our imagination to make choices
In recent years we’ve become used to thinking about decisions as “system 1” or “system 2”. System 1 choices are automatic decisions, made without thinking, based on an immediate emotional or sensory reaction. System 2 is used to stop and rationally calculate the consequences of our choices, and determine the best cost-benefit tradeoff. But these two processes don’t capture every decision. Indeed they might only encompass a minority of our daily choices. Recent work in neuroscience and...
448 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled Book review: The Choice Factory by Richard Shotton
There are few truly universal books on behavioural science: like most of the others, this one has a particular reader in mind. Richard's reader works in advertising, and it must be a rare advertising executive who still hasn't heard of behavioural economics. Richard therefore heads straight into the meat of the book with little beating around the rational-agent bush. A couple of connected anecdotes start us off and we quickly get to the first of 25 chapters, each on a single bias, that make up...
496 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled A program for cognitive economics
I’m visiting the American Economics Association conference in Philadelphia this weekend and looking forward to catching up with the latest in theoretical and empirical research. Behavioural economics has received another endorsement this year with Richard Thaler’s receipt of the Nobel Prize. The behavioural field still has only a small minority of the conference’s papers, but many more than a few years ago. It finally feels like an accepted part of the broader field. Echoes of a new discipline...
560 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled The amoeba and the squirrel
[An essay written for the Internet Review, a one-off maybe-to-become-annual publication documenting (and celebrating?) Internet trends] Every human has two minds: one like an amoeba and one like a squirrel. The amoeba mind is reactive, emotional, intuitive. It decides immediately, without planning or consideration. It is Freud’s “id”, or the System One of behavioral economics: the amoeba is your unconscious. Your squirrel mind plans, trades off immediate pleasures for future gain, is capable...
791 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled The gender pay gap on Euristica: an imaginary island
I recently gave a talk at TEDxCoventGardenWomen about an economic agent-based modelling system I have built (readers of Thomas Schelling may see some influence). In the talk I use this system to analyse ideas around privilege, prejudice and systemic inequality - and to test some policies that might help to solve the persistent gender and racial pay gaps that we still see in most societies. The video is below - your thoughts would be very welcome.
872 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled Discussion 3 of 3: Lassie died one night
The much-delayed final episode in a short series of posts - part 1 and part 2 here. Lassie died one night. As Thomas Schelling* pointed out in a thought-provoking 1982 essay, millions of people watched it happen on television one Sunday evening, and cried. Yet they all knew Lassie was not real – and that the dog who played her was probably in perfect health. Why did they experience the same emotions, the same sense of loss that they would expect to feel if their own dog had died, or even...
890 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled How does it feel to be part of Europe?
I had this piece drafted before the murder of Jo Cox last week. But I don’t think it changes anything I was going to say. It simply makes it more urgent to say it. May I introduce you to my two lovely young nieces? Natasha is four months old and Rosalind four years. They live in rural Devon, and they’re just starting to discover the world and decide how to feel about it. I want to think a little about what it might feel like to be in their world. The campaign for Britain to remain in the EU has...
1122 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled Discussion 2 of 3: No spooky action at a distance - a theory of reward
One of the most powerful ideas in physics is the principle of locality. This principle insists that objects can only be influenced by other objects that touch them. Two items separated by a distance cannot directly exert any force or influence on each other, but must communicate via some medium which physically transmits the force from one to the other. Albert Einstein described this principle as "no spooky action at a distance" and it applies to his theory of gravity as well as all the other...
1208 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled Discussion 1 of 3: Where do goals come from?
Discussion number 1 in a series of 3: on goal-setting Much of decision-making psychology (and by extension behavioural economics) explores the processes by which people solve a problem or achieve a goal. Usually the papers in this field contrast the rational, expected-utility way to solve these problems with the approaches people actually use in practice. An important question they rarely address is "Why that goal?" How is it that people choose the particular problem they want to solve, the...
1273 days ago
Knowing and Making wrote a new blog post titled My writing elsewhere
I haven't been very active here recently, but here are some links to my writing on other sites: An article for RW Connect about the UK election polls and how behavioural methods could make polling more accurate.A journal article in the International Journal of Market Research (subscribers only, sorry) about behavioural conjoint analysis methods.An article in the proceedings of the DCAI conference, "When can cognitive agents be modeled analytically versus computationally?"If you don't...
1487 days ago