Who’s Blaming The Victim? One phrase – or some variant of it – that seems to crop up in discussions of sexual assault more frequently than almost all others is “blaming the victim” (though I imagine “rape culture” and “patriarchy” are probably in the running for most commonly-used term as well). Coined in the early 1970s, the phrase has been nothing but gaining in popularity if Google’s N-gram viewer is any indication. The way I’ve seen the term used, “blaming the victim” appeared to amount to any suggestion that sexual assault might be reduced through any behavioral modifications on the … Continue reading What precautions should I take for not being responsible?
The War on Reason Aristotle’s definition of man as a rational animal has recently taken quite a beating. Part of the attack comes from neuroscience. Pretty, multicolored fMRI maps make clear that our mental lives can be observed in the activity of our neurons, and we’ve made considerable progress in reading someone’s thoughts by looking at those maps. It’s clear, too, that damage to the brain can impair the most-intimate aspects of ourselves, such as the capacity to make moral judgments or to inhibit bad actions. To some scholars, the neural basis of mental life suggests that rational deliberation and … Continue reading Are we just a soft machine?
“Love at first sight is a myth,” say Chicago researchers On Feb 14, Scientific American ran a piece about When Scientists Are Mad about Each Other. The cutesy narrative on the Cacciopos described a wonderful story of love at first sight:” He was studying loneliness and isolation. She was studying love and desire. When they found themselves together, they gravitated toward her end of the continuum of social connection. John Cacioppo was living in Chicago and Stephanie Ortigue in Geneva when they met—in Shanghai. … On the last night of the conference, they happened to be seated next to one … Continue reading Love and lust activate the same brain areas
Noise Makes People Unhappy, Cancer May Not For many assistant professors, the “tenure decision” is one of the most stressful of their lives. For years, they work to obtain a permanent position at a college or university to which they have become attached. If they don’t get tenure, they will have to leave. A question: When assistant professors are denied tenure, what happens to their happiness? As we will see, the answer has important implications for how we think about both individual lives and public policy. Assistant professors predict that their happiness would be greatly reduced by a negative tenure … Continue reading Happiness is adapting to adversity
You better, you bettor, you bet About ten years ago, following some work I had done for a very well known online gambling company, I was quoted in a number of newspapers and on the BBC News commenting on how skills learned in poker can be applied in the workplace. I claimed that playing poker could offer lessons for success, even in non-mathematical lines of work. For instance, being given an assignment or a particular team to manage might be akin to playing with the cards that you have been dealt with. Playing with the cards you have is a … Continue reading Gamblers may provide useful skills for firms
Game-winning momentum is just an illusion When a team goes on a multi-game winning streak, it has nothing to do with momentum, according to a new study in the journal Economics Letters. By examining varsity college hockey teams winning and losing record, Cornell University researchers discovered that that momentum advantages don’t exist. “Whether it’s sports commentators or stock analysts who are talking, momentum is routinely assumed to be important on a day-to-day basis,” said Kevin M. Kniffin, a postdoctoral research associate at Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. “In our evidence, we see that momentum is really just … Continue reading Is winning a cumulative process?
Scientists may have found key to long-term memory Prions, the protein family notorious for causing “mad cow” and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, can play an important role in healthy cells. “Do you think God created prions just to kill?” mused Nobel laureate Eric Kandel. “These things must have evolved initially to have a physiological function.” His work on memory helped reveal that animals make and use prions in their nervous systems as part of an essential function: stabilizing the synapses that constitute long-term memories. These natural prions aren’t infectious but on a molecular level they chain up exactly the same … Continue reading How our brain stores memories