Sonntag, 22. Oktober 2017


"in the huge modern eusocial insect colonies, such as with ants and termites, the interests of the different colony members, whether queen or workers, may be virtually identical. The reason is that all will realise reproductive success only through the rather small group of reproductively mature individuals that will emigrate and found new colonies. Not only are the workers and the queen likely to be similarly related to these reproductives (especially in forms with diplo-diploid sex determination, as with termites), but they are likely to have no other opportunity to reproduce.
A good comparison in familiar terms would be represented by a species in which the male and female tend to be obligately monogamous, bonded for life. If opportunities for differential assistance to non-descendant relatives, and for philandering, are rare or non-existent, then, even though the male and female may be completely unrelated, their reproductive interests are identical. Each will reproduce via the offspring they produce together; and in most cases the two parents will be equally related to offspring. In such cases the male and female are expected to behave as though their evolutionary interests are identical, as with members of clones, and queen and workers in eusocial colonies (Alexander, 1987)."

Richard D. Alexander, Evolution of the Human Psyche, 1989

Samstag, 21. Oktober 2017

Der Kontakt mit dem Möglichen:

Der Mensch kann jederzeit seine Aufmerksamkeit vom "Hier und Jetzt" abwenden und der Sphäre des Möglichen oder der Sphäre des Vergangenen zuwenden. Diese Ungebundenheit an das "Hier und Jetzt" ist vermutlich das Schlüsselcharakteristikum menschlicher Kognition.

Freitag, 20. Oktober 2017

Low-cost scenario testing:

"I agree with Fagen (1981) in regarding the concept of practice (including low-cost testing) as representing the best general theory of play[.]"

Richard D. Alexander

Verbal Overshadowing of Visual Memories: Some Things Are better Left Unsaid

"verbalizing a visual memory may produce a verbally biased memory representation that can interfere with the application of the original visual memory."

[Jonathan Schooler et al.,1990]

[See also: Thoughts Beyond Words, 1993]

Mittwoch, 18. Oktober 2017


Der Reiz bzw. Unterhaltungswert eines Menschen beruht sicherlich primär auf seinen neuronalen Kapazitäten.

Dienstag, 17. Oktober 2017


Intelligenz lässt sich nicht nur allgemein beschreiben, als die Fähigkeit zur Feststellung von Mustern, Zusammenhängen, Regelmäßigkeiten und Gesetzmäßigkeiten, sondern eben auch wahrscheinlichkeitstheoretisch, als die Fähigkeit zur Auffindung oder Gewinnung von Sicherheiten.

A Million Words of Courtship

"Verbal courtship can be quantified. Conception of a baby is the evolutionarily relevant threshold for success in courtship. Without contraception, it takes an average couple about three months of regular sex before a pregnancy occurs. If we assume two hours of talk per day in the early stages of sexual relationship, and three words spoken per second (an average rate), each member of a couple would have uttered about a million words before they conceived any offspring. Each would have talked enough to fill six books the length of this one [The Mating Mind, 433 pages]. In modern societies, the surprising thing is not that couples run out of things to say to each other, but that they do not run out much sooner."

Geoffrey Miller

Interindividuelle Unterschiede im Denken:

Jeder Mensch generiert andere Gedanken.

Filtern & Sprechen:

"What we talk about isn't what we experience - we speak chiefly of interesting things, and those tend to be the things that are uncommon. More or less by definition, events are always experienced at their proper frequencies, but this isn't all true of language. Anyone who has experienced a snake bite or a lightning strike will tend to retell those singular stories for the rest of their lives. And those stories will be so salient that they will be picked up and retold by others."

Don’t Get Too Excited: Assessing Individual Differences in the Down-Regulation of Positive Emotions


A voluminous literature has documented the importance of emotion regulation for health and well-being. The studies in this literature, however, have generally focused on the down-regulation of negative affect. Few studies have examined the down-regulation of positive affect. ... Across [three] studies, we illustrate the potential importance of the down-regulation of positive emotions as a topic of study for the field of emotion regulation.


"Comparatively few studies have focused on the potentially detrimental consequences of positive emotions (e.g., Tugade & Fredrickson, 2007). Even fewer have concentrated on the potential usefulness of its down-regulation."

"Indeed, extreme cases of mass unregulated positive emotion, such as celebratory riots, might be rooted in situational cues that loosen individuals’ ability to down-regulate their positive emotions. At the individual differences level, both mania and impulsivity have been linked with excessive positive affectivity (Fredrickson, 1998; Revelle, Humphreys, Simon, & Gilliland, 1980). Thus although there are numerous studies illustrating the detrimental effects of negative emotions (Fredrickson, 1998), excessive positive emotions can also be socially disruptive."

[Source: Christopher Zou, Jason E. Plaks, and Jordan B. Peterson, 2017]

Sonntag, 15. Oktober 2017

Begabung zum Probehandeln:

Das episodische Denken ließe sich auch als eine "Begabung zum inneren Probehandeln" verstehen. Wir können Situationen vorwegnehmen, indem wir sie uns anschaulich ausmalen. Wir können Handlungen üben, indem wir sie gedanklich vollziehen.

Samstag, 14. Oktober 2017

The GFP Reflecting Social Effectiveness

"Although most scholars would agree that a GFP can be identified in every assessment of personality dimensions, there is less consensus about the interpretation of this factor. Yet, one of its currently leading substantive interpretations is that the GFP largely reflects social effectiveness (Rushton et al., 2008; Loehlin, 2012; van der Linden et al., 2016). That is, high-GFP individuals seem to be characterized by a motivation to behave in socially desirable ways and by the tendency and ability to do so. As such, they would more often get along or get ahead socially which may enhance the probability of reaching their goals, such as, securing a desirable partner and easing access to socio-economic resources. A growing body of research supports this notion. ..."

Freitag, 13. Oktober 2017

Schriftliche Selbstorganisation:

Schriftliche Selbstorganisation scheint der rein sprachlichen Selbstorganisation weit überlegen zu sein.

Donnerstag, 12. Oktober 2017

Suchfunktion des Denkens:

I) die Auffindung strenger Gesetzmäßigkeit
II) die Auffindung stochastischer Gesetzmäßigkeit
III) das schließende Verwerten aufgefundener Gesetzmäßigkeiten

Der menschliche Ordnungssinn:

Letztlich dreht es sich bloß um die Frage bezüglich dem Vorhandensein strenger Gesetzlichkeit versus dem Vorhandensein stochastischer Gesetzlichkeit. Ein Nichtvorhandensein von Gesetzlichkeit ist dem menschlichen Denken restlos unvorstellbar.

Dienstag, 10. Oktober 2017


Bei viel von dem, was gewöhnlicherweise als Impulskontrolle bezeichnet wird, dürfte es sich letztlich um die Fähigkeit handeln, die Sofortantwort auf ein äußeres oder inneres Ereignis unterdrücken zu können, um die Aufmerksamkeit einer planenden und bewertenden Tätigkeit zuzuwenden. Kelly McGonigal bezeichnet solche Reaktionen, die eben keine Sofortreaktionen sind, als "pause and plan responses". Insgesamt könnte man unter der nachdenkenden Tätigkeit einen "pause and plan response" bzw. etwas zutiefst Handlungsbezogenes verstehen. Gegebenenfalls können Gedankengänge mehr und mehr den Handlungsbezug verlieren und in abstrakte Überlegungen einmünden oder ausufern. Die Abwesenheit eines Handlungsbezugs ist für gewisse theoretische Denkleistungen gewiss notwendig. Verliert eine Person dennoch zu sehr den Handlungsbezug im Denken, geht dies vermutlich mit einer unerwünschten Dämpfung und Aktivitätshemmung einher.

Risk preference shares the psychometric structure of major psychological traits

Risk preference shares the psychometric structure of major psychological traits
Renato Frey, Andreas Pedroni, Rui Mata, Jörg Rieskamp and Ralph Hertwig (2017)


To what extent is there a general factor of risk preference, R, akin to g, the general factor of intelligence? Can risk preference be regarded as a stable psychological trait? These conceptual issues persist because few attempts have been made to integrate multiple risk-taking measures, particularly measures from different and largely unrelated measurement traditions (self-reported propensity measures assessing stated preferences, incentivized behavioral measures eliciting revealed preferences, and frequency measures assessing actual risky activities). Adopting a comprehensive psychometric approach (1507 healthy adults completing 39 risk-taking measures, with a subsample of 109 participants completing a retest session after 6 months), we provide a substantive empirical foundation to address these issues, finding that correlations between propensity and behavioral measures were weak. Yet, a general factor of risk preference, R, emerged from stated preferences and generalized to specific and actual real-world risky activities (for example, smoking). Moreover, R proved to be highly reliable across time, indicative of a stable psychological trait. Our findings offer a first step toward a general mapping of the construct risk preference, which encompasses both general and domain-specific components, and have implications for the assessment of risk preference in the laboratory and in the wild.

Sonntag, 8. Oktober 2017

Auffassungen über das Denken:

I) der menschliche Denkapparat als ein Instrument zur Spiegelung
II) der menschliche Denkapparat als ein Instrument zur Handlungsplanung
"[According to Berger and Bradac, 1982, there are three] basic types of strategies by which people acquire information about a stranger-target: (1) passive strategies, in which the person unobtrusively observes the target; (2) active strategies, characterized by intervention into the target-stranger’s environment in some way, including asking third parties about the target person or structuring the target’s environment in order to conduct an “experiment” in which to observe the target’s behavior; and (3) interactive strategies, in which the person directly interacts with the target-stranger, including interrogation of the target through use of questions, intentional deviation from social rules of interaction in order to observe the target’s reactions, and self-disclosure intended to evoke reciprocal disclosure from the target."

Baxter & Wilmot, 1984

Samstag, 7. Oktober 2017

Moralische Vorsätze:

Der abstrakt moralische Vorsatz: "Ich möchte mich moralisch, ich möchte mich gut verhalten." hat im Allgemeinen wohl kaum Effekt. Der konkrete Vorsatz: "Ich möchte die gute Handlung A, die gute Handlung B, die gute Handlung C ausführen." schon eher.

Freitag, 6. Oktober 2017


Externe Simulationen (Film, Theater, Erzählungen, Literatur) und interne Simulationen (episodische Vorstellungen und Phantasien) gewähren uns ein mit geringen Kosten verbundenes Austesten des Möglichkeitsraums: Ein gehäuftes Probieren und Erfahrungssammeln, ohne Kosten übernehmen zu müssen, die bei realen Versuchen und Fehlversuchen anfallen würden.

Dienstag, 3. Oktober 2017


Man könnte ein Heft führen, in das man, wie bei Erledigungslisten, täglich bis wöchentlich neue Fragen einträgt, und aus dem man, nach Beantwortung, Fragen wieder streicht.

Samstag, 30. September 2017

"Because hunter-gatherer life did not require as much planning and memory for debts and duties as life in larger-scale societies with more complex divisions of labor, conscientiousness may have evolved to higher average levels only recently, ... . Only with the rise of activities like agriculture and animal herding would our ancestors have needed the sort of anxious obsessiveness and future-mindedness that characterize the highly conscientious."

Geoffrey Miller, Spent, 2009


I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

Rudyard Kipling

Im Bezug auf die Handlungsplanung scheinen primär vier dieser sechs Fragen relevant zu sein:

Was? Welches Ziel wird angestrebt.

Wann? Der Zeitpunkt oder die Zeitspanne für die Erreichung des Ziels bzw. der Zeitrahmen für einzelne zielführende Handlungen.

Wie? Ein detailierter Plan, welche Schritte bzw. welche Wege zum Ziel führen.

Warum? Der Grund dafür, weshalb das Ziel angestrebt wird bzw. die Begründungen, warum jeweilige Zwischenschritte notwendig sind.

Freitag, 29. September 2017

Denken als Informationsverarbeitung:

Denken lässt sich als ein informationsverarbeitender Prozess verstehen, da innere Modelle aufgrund neu eintreffender Information fortlaufend überarbeitet werden. Die Überarbeitung nimmt gegebenenfalls größere Zeiträume in Anspruch und kommt nicht zwingenderweise im unmittelbaren Anschluss an das Eintreffen von neuer Information zum Abschluss. So können gravierende Ereignisse für Tage, für Wochen, oder gar für längere Zeitspannen, 'Denkstoff' liefern.

Dienstag, 26. September 2017


Als man zum ersten Mal Schopenhauers Aphorismen über das Selbstdenken las, wollte man sich gleich hinsetzen und produktiv denken. Dennoch verhält es sich leider so, dass man sich zwar jederzeit zum Denken bemüßigen kann, dies aber noch keineswegs garantiert, dass die erzeugten Gedanken auch relevant sind. Irrelevante Gedanken, so scheint es, lassen sich durchaus am Fließband erzeugen. Solche Gedanken, auf die es ankommt, allerdings nicht.

Kernfunktionen der Sprache:

Neben Spiegelung bzw. Abbildung der Um- und Innenwelt, der Vergangenheit und Zukunft, erlaubt uns Sprache auch, über bewusst sprachlich-fixierte Zielsetzungen, einen vertieften Eingriff in die Welt. Eine gute Portion der menschlichen Tatkraft dürfte eng mit unserem Sprachvermögen assoziiert sein.

[Die menschliche Planungsfähigkeit bzw. Voraussicht weist eine enge Kopplung an das sprachliche Denken auf. Vermutlich erhielt der Mensch erst mit dem Aufkommen und der Entwicklung der Sprache die Befähigung, Jahrzehnte (oder noch weiter) entfernte zeitliche Fernziele anzustreben.]

Montag, 4. September 2017

The Hajnal Line and Gene-Culture Coevolution in Northwest Europe

The Hajnal Line and Gene-Culture Coevolution in Northwest Europe
Peter Frost (August 2017)


North and west of a line running from Trieste to St. Petersburg, social relations have long conformed to the Western European Marriage Pattern, i.e., men and women marry relatively late; many people never marry; children usually leave the nuclear family to form new households, and households often have non-kin members. This pattern goes back at least to the thirteenth century and perhaps to prehistoric times. I argue that this environment of weaker kinship caused northwest Europeans to create communities based on shared moral rules, rather than shared kinship. Community members enforced these rules by monitoring not only the behavior of other members but also their own behavior and even their own thoughts. Initially, this new mindset did not have a genetic basis. Individuals acquired it within the bounds of phenotypic plasticity. Over time, however, a genetic basis would have developed through the survival and reproduction of individuals who were better at being socially independent, at obeying universal rules, at monitoring other community members, and at self-monitoring, self-judging, and self-punishing. These psychological adaptations—independent social orientation, universal rule adherence, affective empathy, guilt proneness—are moderately to highly heritable. Although they are complex, they required only minor evolutionary changes to evolve out of mechanisms that were already present but limited to specific behavioral contexts. Affective empathy, for instance, is a species-wide trait but usually confined to relations with close kin, particularly between a mother and her young children. An evolutionary scenario is proposed, and two questions discussed. Are these mental traits too complex to have evolved over a span of 30 to 300 generations? Are they too altruistic to be sustainable?

Peter Frost: "I'm back to blogging, perhaps a new column every two weeks."

Samstag, 5. August 2017

Studying through Active Recall

The lifestyle-design community

Why Skills Trump Passion
Cal Newport (2012)

"The more I studied examples of control, the more I encountered people who had made ... mistakes. Jane’s story, for example, is just one of many from the growing lifestyle-design community. This movement argues that you don’t have to live life by other people’s rules. It encourages its followers to design their own path through life—preferably one that’s exciting and enjoyable to live. It’s easy to find examples of this philosophy in action, because many of its disciples blog about their exploits.

At a high level, of course, there’s nothing wrong with this philosophy. The author Timothy Ferriss, who coined the term “lifestyle design,” is a fantastic example of the good things this approach to life can generate (Ferriss has more than enough career capital to back up his adventurous existence). But if you spend time browsing the blogs of lesser-known lifestyle designers, you’ll begin to notice the same red flags again and again: A distressingly large fraction of these contrarians, like Jane, skipped over the part where they build a stable means to support their unconventional lifestyle. They assume that generating the courage to pursue control is what matters, while everything else is just a detail that is easily worked out.

One such blogger I found, to give another example from among many, quit his job at the age of twenty-five, explaining, “I was fed up with living a ‘normal’ conventional life, working 9–5 for the man [and] having no time and little money to pursue my true passions… so I’ve embarked on a crusade to show you and the rest of the world how an average Joe… can build a business from scratch to support a life devoted to living ‘The Dream.’ ” The “business” he referenced, as is the case with many lifestyle designers, was his blog about being a lifestyle designer. In other words, his only product was his enthusiasm about not having a “normal” life. It doesn’t take an economist to point out there’s not much real value lurking there. Or, put into our terminology, enthusiasm alone is not rare and valuable and is therefore not worth much in terms of career capital. This lifestyle designer was investing in a valuable trait but didn’t have the means to pay for it.

Not surprisingly, things soon turned bleak on this fellow’s blog. After three months of posting several times a week about how to fund an unconventional life through blogging—even though he wasn’t making any money himself from his own site—some frustration crept into his writing. In one post, he says, with evident exasperation, “What I noticed is that [readers] come and go. I’ve put in the hard yards, writing quality posts and finding awesome people… but alas many of [you] just come and go. This is as annoying as trying to fill up a bucket with water that has a bunch of holes in it.” He then goes on to detail his ten-point plan for building a more stable audience. The plan includes steps such as “#2. Bring the ENERGY” and “#4. Shower Your Readers with Appreciation,” but the list still excludes the most important step of all: giving readers content they’re willing to pay for. A few weeks later, the posts on the blog stopped. By the time I found it, there hadn’t been a single new post in over four months.

This story provides another clear example of the first control trap: If you embrace control without capital, you’re likely to end up like Jane, Lisa, or our poor frustrated lifestyle designer—enjoying all the autonomy you can handle but unable to afford your next meal. This first trap, however, turns out to be only half of the story of why control can be a tricky trait to acquire. ...[E]ven after you have the capital required to acquire real control, things remain difficult, as it’s exactly at this point that people begin to recognize your value and start pushing back to keep you entrenched in a less autonomous path."

[Also see: Scott Adams on Passion]

Dienstag, 11. Juli 2017

Brain volume and intelligence: The moderating role of intelligence measurement quality

Brain volume and intelligence: The moderating role of intelligence measurement quality
Gilles E. Gignac, Timothy C. Bates (2017)


Correlation between brain volume and IQ in healthy adults is r ≈ .40.
The importance of correcting correlations for range restriction is demonstrated.
Intelligence measurement quality was a moderator of the brain volume/IQ effect.
Fair, good, and excellent measures of IQ yielded correlations of .23, .32, and .39.
p-Curve analysis indicated the significant results in the area likely not due to p-hacking.


A substantial amount of empirical research has estimated the association between brain volume and intelligence. The most recent meta-analysis (Pietschnig, Penke, Wicherts, Zeiler, & Voracek, 2015) reported a correlation of .24 between brain volume and intelligence – notably lower than previous meta-analytic estimates. This headline meta-analytic result was based on a mixture of samples (healthy and clinical) and sample correlations not corrected for range restriction. Additionally, the role of IQ assessment quality was not considered. Finally, evidential value of the literature was not formally evaluated. Based on the results of our meta-analysis of the Pietschnig et al.'s sample data, the corrected correlation between brain volume and intelligence in healthy adult samples was r = .31 (k = 32; N = 1758). Furthermore, the quality of intelligence measurement was found to moderate the effect between brain volume and intelligence (b = .08, p = .028). Investigations that used ‘fair’, ‘good’, and ‘excellent’ measures of intelligence yielded corrected brain volume and intelligence correlations of .23 (k = 9; N = 547), .32 (k = 10; N = 646), and .39 (k = 13; N = 565), respectively. The Henmi/Copas adjusted confidence intervals, the p-uniform results, and the p-curve results failed to suggest evidence of publication bias and/or p-hacking. The results were interpreted to suggest that the association between in vivo brain volume and intelligence is arguably best characterised as r ≈ .40. Researchers are encouraged to consider intelligence measurement quality in future meta-analyses, based on the guidelines provided in this investigation.

Sonntag, 9. Juli 2017

>In English, the words "explore" and "exploit" come loaded with completely opposite connotations. But to a computer scientist, these words have much more specific and neutral meanings. Simply put, exploration is gathering information, and exploitation is using the information you have to get a known good result.<

B. Christian & T. Griffiths

[Also see ...]

Creativity and Genius:

"Creativity and genius are unrelated to g except that a person’s level of g acts as a threshold variable below which socially significant forms of creativity are highly improbable. This g threshold is probably at least one standard deviation above the mean level of g in the general population. Besides the traits that Galton thought necessary for “ eminence” (viz., high ability, zeal, and persist­ence), genius implies outstanding creativity as well. Though such exceptional creativity is conspicuously lacking in the vast majority of people who have a high IQ, it is probably impossible to find any creative geniuses with low IQs. In other words, high ability is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the emergence of socially significant creativity. Genius itself should not be confused with merely high IQ, which is what we generally mean by the term “ gifted” (which also applies to special talents, such as music and art). True creativity involves more than just high ability. It is still uncertain what this is ..."

The g factor (1998)
Arthur R. Jensen 

Why are there so many explanations for primate brain evolution?

Why are there so many explanations for primate brain evolution?
R. I. M. Dunbar, Susanne Shultz (2017)


The question as to why primates have evolved unusually large brains has received much attention, with many alternative proposals all supported by evidence. We review the main hypotheses, the assumptions they make and the evidence for and against them. Taking as our starting point the fact that every hypothesis has sound empirical evidence to support it, we argue that the hypotheses are best interpreted in terms of a framework of evolutionary causes (selection factors), consequences (evolutionary windows of opportunity) and constraints (usually physiological limitations requiring resolution if large brains are to evolve). Explanations for brain evolution in birds and mammals generally, and primates in particular, have to be seen against the backdrop of the challenges involved with the evolution of coordinated, cohesive, bonded social groups that require novel social behaviours for their resolution, together with the specialized cognition and neural substrates that underpin this. A crucial, but frequently overlooked, issue is that fact that the evolution of large brains required energetic, physiological and time budget constraints to be overcome. In some cases, this was reflected in the evolution of ‘smart foraging’ and technical intelligence, but in many cases required the evolution of behavioural competences (such as coalition formation) that required novel cognitive skills. These may all have been supported by a domain-general form of cognition that can be used in many different contexts.
"If you memorize a thousand jokes, that doesn't make you a person with a sense of humor. Sense of humor is more subtle. A good sense of humor is about timing, the ability to say the funny thing at the right time and to the right people."

"While most humor research concerns jokes (with distinct “set-up lines” and “punch lines”), only about 10% to 15% of laughter in natural social contexts occurs in response to classically-structured jokes that would seem funny when repeated out of context (Provine, 2000). Rather, most laughter occurs in response to short utterances or nonverbal micro-performances during informal conversation. These might seem funny in the immediate social context, but would often seem fairly mundane or stupid if repeated later."


Samstag, 8. Juli 2017

"Thinking about Death and Pain Makes People Funnier"

"is it possible that the greatest comedians of all time are the ones that have the most painful thoughts [?]"

"Perhaps humor is rooted in tragedy, pain and struggle in ways we cannot imagine or fully understand yet."

Gil Greengross

Arthur Jensen on Mental Productivity:


A startling corollary of the multiplicative model of exceptional achievement is best stated in the form of a general law. This is Price’s Law, which says that if K persons have made a total of N countable contributions in a particular field, then N/2 of the contributions will be attributable to sqrt(K) (Price, 1963). Hence, as the total number of workers (K) in a discipline increases, the ratio sqrt(K) / K shrinks, increasing the elitism of the major contributors. This law, like any other, only holds true within certain limits. But within fairly homogeneous disciplines, Price’s Law seems to hold up quite well for indices of productivity — for example, in math, the empirical sciences, musical composition, and the frequency of performance of musical works. Moreover, there is a high rankorder relationship between sheer productivity and various indices of the importance of a contributor’s work, such as the frequency and half-life of scientific citations, and the frequency of performance and staying power of musical compositions in the concert repertoire. (Consider such contrasting famous contemporaries as Mozart and Salieri; Beethoven and Hummel; and Wagner and Meyerbeer.) 

If productivity and importance could be suitably scaled, however, I would imagine that the correlation between them would show a scatter-diagram of the “twisted pear” variety (Fisher, 1959). That is, high productivity and triviality are more frequently associated than low productivity and high importance. As a rule, the greatest creative geniuses in every field are astoundingly prolific, although, without exception, they have also produced their share of trivia. (Consider Beethoven’s King Stephen Overture and Wagner’s “United States Centennial March,” to say nothing of his ten published volumes of largely trivial prose writings — all incredible contrasts to these composers’ greatest works.) But such seemingly unnecessary trivia from such geniuses is probably the inevitable effluvia of the mental energy without which their greatest works would not have come into being. On the other hand, high productivity is probably much more common than great importance, and high productivity per se is no guarantee of the importance of what is produced. The “twisted pear” relationship suggests that high productivity is a necessary but not sufficient condition for making contributions of importance in any field. The importance factor, however, depends on creativity—certainly an elusive attribute. 

What might be the basis of individual differences in productivity? The word motivation immediately comes to mind, but it explains little and also seems too intentional and self-willed to fill the bill. When one reads about famous creative geniuses one finds that, although they may occasionally have to force themselves to work, they cannot will themselves to be obsessed by the subject of their work. Their obsessive-compulsive mental activity in a particular sphere is virtually beyond conscious control. I can recall three amusing examples of this, and they all involve dinner parties. Isaac Newton went down to the cellar to fetch some wine for his guests and, while filling a flagon, wrote a mathematical equation with his finger on the dust of the wine keg. After quite a long time had passed, his guests began to worry that he might have had an accident, and they went down to the cellar. There was Newton, engrossed in his mathematical formulas, having completely forgotten that he was hosting a dinner party. 

My second example involves Richard Wagner. Wagner, while his guests assembled for dinner, suddenly took leave of them and dashed upstairs. Alarmed that something was wrong, his wife rushed to his room. Wagner exclaimed, “I’m doing it!”—their agreed signal that she was not to disturb him under any circumstances because some new musical idea was flooding his brain and would have to work itself out before he could be sociable again. He had a phenomenal memory for musical ideas that spontaneously surfaced, and could postpone writing them down until it was convenient, a tedious task he referred to not as composing but as merely “copying” the music in his mind’s ear. 

Then there is the story of Arturo Toscanini hosting a dinner party at which he was inexplicably morose and taciturn, just as he had been all that day and the day before. Suddenly he got up from the dinner table and hurried to his study; he returned after several minutes beaming joyfully and holding up the score of Brahms’s First Symphony (which he was rehearsing that week for the NBC Symphony broadcast the following Sunday). Pointing to a passage in the first movement that had never pleased him in past performances, he exclaimed that it had suddenly dawned on him precisely what Brahms had intended at this troublesome point. In this passage, which never sounds “clean” when played exactly as written, Toscanini slightly altered the score to clarify the orchestral texture. He always insisted that his alterations were only the composer’s true intention. But few would complain about his “delusions”; as Puccini once remarked, “Toscanini doesn’t play my music as I wrote it, but as I dreamed it.”

Mental Energy

Productivity implies actual production or objective achievement. For the psychological basis of intellectual productivity in the broadest sense, we need a construct that could be labeled mental energy. This term should not be confused with Spearman’s g (for general intelligence). Spearman’s theory of psychometric g as “mental energy” is a failed hypothesis and has been supplanted by better explanations of g based on the concept of neural efficiency (Jensen, 1993). The energy construct I have in mind refers to something quite different from cognitive ability. It is more akin to cortical arousal or activation, as if by a stimulant drug, but in this case an endogenous stimulant. Precisely what it consists of is unknown, but it might well involve brain and body chemistry. 

One clue was suggested by Havelock Ellis (1904) in A Study of British Genius. Ellis noted a much higher than average rate of gout in the eminent subjects of his study; gout is associated with high levels of uric acid in the blood. So later investigators began looking for behavioral correlates of serum urate level (SUL), and there are now dozens of studies on this topic (reviewed in Jensen & Sinha, 1993). They show that SUL is only slightly correlated with IQ, but is more highly correlated with achievement and productivity. For instance, among high school students there is a relation between scholastic achievement and SUL, even controlling for IQ (Kasl, Brooks, & Rodgers, 1970). The “overachievers” had higher SUL ratings, on average. Another study found a correlation o f +.37 between SUL ratings and the publication rates of university professors (Mueller & French, 1974). Why should there be such a relationship? The most plausible explanation seems to be that the molecular structure of uric acid is nearly the same as that of caffeine, and therefore it acts as a brain stimulant. Its more or less constant presence in the brain, although affecting measured ability only slightly, considerably heightens cortical arousal and increases mental activity. There are probably a number of other endogenous stimulants and reinforcers of productive behavior (such as the endorphins) whose synergistic effects are the basis of what is here called mental energy. I suggest that this energy, combined with very high g or an exceptional talent, results in high intellectual or artistic productivity. Include trait psychoticism with its creative component in this synergistic mixture and you have the essential makings o f genius. To summarize: Genius = High Ability X High Productivity X High Creativity.

Humor: Differences Between Interest Indicator and Sexual Selection Models

1. Function: According to the sexual selection perspective, humor primarily serves a showing-off function; according to the interest indicator model, humor is used to communicate relationship interest. Thus, whereas sexual selection suggests that humor causes attraction to occur, interest indication predicts that humor initiation and perceptions of humor are driven by attraction. Consistent with the interest indicator model, the same exact joke can be perceived as highly funny or unamusing depending on who tells the joke. 

2. Differentiation from general conversation: Because a good-genes model emphasizes the conveying of intelligence, it does not necessarily differentiate between humor and general, intelligent conversation (i.e., both should be able to highlight cognitive skills). In contrast, the interest indicator model points to the specific function of humor to communicate interest. That is, although saying something creative or intelligent might be a way of showing off to a potential mate, saying something humorous should specifically convey relationship interest.

3. Direction of discourse: Research adopting a sexual selection perspective has emphasized the importance of men initiating humor and women responding (e.g., Bressler et al., 2006). In contrast, an interest indicator model emphasizes that any individual who is interested in a relationship should be more likely to initiate and respond positively to humor. 

4. Scope: Whereas sexual selection theory states that humor evolved in the courtship domain and thus emphasizes humor’s function in mate choice, the interest indicator model applies equally to humor’s function across all social domains. That is, just as people use and desire humor not only in courtship, but across all types of social relationships and across the different stages of those relationships, the interest indicator account provides an underlying framework for how humor functions across diverse social relationships.

Sexual Selection & Humor:


Freitag, 7. Juli 2017

Imperfect Information and Divorce

A Treatise on the Family
Gary S. Becker (1981)

"If participants in marriage markets have complete information about all prospects, divorce would be a fully anticipated response to a demand for variety in mates or to life-cycle changes in traits. Most divorces would then occur after many years of marriage, because traits change gradually. The facts, however, suggest the opposite: about 40 percent of all divorces (and annulments) occur prior to the fifth year of marriage, and separation usually precedes divorce by a year or more (U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1979).

If, however, participants had highly imperfect information, most divorces would occur early in marriage by virtue of the fact that information about traits increases rapidly after marriage. Several years of marriage is usually a far more effective source of information on love and many other traits than all the proxies available prior to marriage. I suggest that marriages fail early primarily because of imperfect information in marriage markets and the accumulation of better information during marriage. This suggestion is supported by the fact that unexpected changes in earnings and health do raise the probability of divorce (BLM,5 1977).

Women who divorced early in their marriage report that "difficult" spouses and value conflicts were major sources of their discontent, presumably because these traits are much better assessed after a few years of marriage. Personality conflict, sexual incompatibility, and similar traits should be less important sources of later than of earlier divorces; little additional information about these traits is acquired after a few years of marriage. On the other hand, some information, including information about other women and about earnings potential, is acquired more slowly and should be more important in later divorces. Indeed, another woman and/or financial conflict are frequently cited by women divorcing after ten years of marriage (Goode, 1956, pp. 128-129).

The major sources of discontent and divorce are not necessarily the major determinants of marital well-being. Education, age, physical appearance, and other easily assessed traits are not major sources of discontent because not much more is learned about them after marriage. Just as the emphasis on easily assessed traits in marriage markets does not imply that these traits contribute more to marital well-being than other traits, neither does the opposite emphasis on difficult-to-assess traits in "divorce markets" imply that those contribute more.

The more rapid accumulation of information during the first few years of marriage implies that divorce is more likely early in marriage than later. Divorce rates are highest during the first few years of marriage and decline steeply after four or five years, although the explanation is partly that those most prone to divorce tend to drop out early from the cohort of married persons (see Heckman, 1981, on the effects of heterogeneity).

Divorce is less likely later in the marriage for the additional reason that capital accumulates and becomes more valuable if a marriage stays intact ("marital-specific" capital). Children are the prime example, especially young children, although learning about the idiosyncrasies of one's spouse is also important (Heimer and Stinchcombe, 1979). Divorce is much less likely when there are children, especially young children-not only in the United States and other rich countries (Goode, 1963, pp. 85, 364; BLM, 1977), but also in primitive societies (Saunders and Thomson, 1979).

The accumulation of marital-specific capital is, in turn, discouraged by the prospect of divorce because, by definition, such capital is less valuable after a divorce. Presumably, trial or consensual marriages produce fewer children than legal marriages at least partly because the former are less durable (see the evidence in Kogut, 1972, on consensual and legal marriages in Brazil). Persons who marry outside their race or religion are far more likely to divorce than are others with similar measurable characteristics. Therefore, we can readily understand why marriages between persons of different races or religions have significantly fewer children even when intact marriages are compared (see the evidence for the United States in BLM, 1977), and why marriages between Indians of different castes have fewer children than marriages within a caste (Das, 1978).

Expectations about divorce are partly self-fulfilling because a higher expected probability of divorce reduces investments in specific capital and thereby raises the actual probability. For example, consensual and trial marriages are less stable than legal marriages, and marriages between persons of different religions or races are less stable than those within a religion or race, partly because mixed marriages have fewer children. At the same time, as indicated, mixed marriages have fewer children partly because they are expected to be less stable.

Specific investment and imperfect information can explain why homosexual unions are much less stable than heterosexual marriages (Saghir and Robins, 1973, pp. 56-58,226-227). Homosexual unions do not result in children, and generally they have a less extensive division of'labor and less marital-specific capital than heterosexual marriages. Moreover, the opprobrium attached to homosexuality has raised the cost of search to homosexuals and thereby has reduced the information available to them. Furthermore, homosexual unions, like trial marriages, can dissolve without legal adversary proceedings, alimony, or child support payments.

Women have usually married earlier than men partly because the maturation and independence of men has been delayed by greater investments in their human capital. Since investments in men and women have become more equal over time as the demand for children has decreased (see Chapter 3), men and women now marry for the first time at rather similar ages. For example, the difference in the United States between the median age at first marriage of men and women declined from four years in 1900 to about two and a half years in 1970 (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1971c).

Yet divorced women have remarried more slowly than divorced men even when divorced at young ages. They almost always receive custody of children, a factor that discourages remarriage. For the same reason, women with illegitimate children marry for the first time more slowly than women without children (Berkov and Sklar, 1976).

Young children raise the cost of searching for another mate and significantly reduce the net resources of divorced women (Weitzman and Dixon, 1979). Possibly for these reasons they raise the probability that remarriage will fail, even though children born during the remarriage lower this probability (BLM, 1977). It is noteworthy that illegitimate children and other pregnancies prior to first marriage also raise the probability of marital failure (Christensen and Meissner, 1953; Berkov and Sklar, 1976) Divorced women might well remarry earlier than divorced men, just as single women without children marry earlier than single men, if divorced women did not receive custody of children. Indeed, perhaps 45 percent of divorced women would have remarried within the first two years of their divorce if they did not have custody, which is double their actual percentage (22) and considerably higher than the percentage for men (31). This estimate assumes that women without custody marry as rapidly as women without children. It is based on a regression equation that relates whether a woman remarries within a specified period of time to several variables, including number of children (BLM, 1977)."
"It turns out to be a lot easier to build a perfect chess player than a poker whiz. Chess is a perfect information game: if you look at a chessboard, you know the exact state of the game from both players’ perspectives. And the rules of the game are not affected by chance, like the drawing of a card.

But in poker, an imperfect information game, there are many unknown variables ..."

R for Data Science

Garrett Grolemund & Hadley Wickham

Samstag, 1. Juli 2017

The exploration/exploitation trade-off:

"It is fairly intuitive that never exploring is no way of live. But it's also worth mentioning that never exploiting can be every bit as bad."

The exploration-exploitation trade-off:

"The exploration-exploitation trade-off is a fundamental dilemma whenever you learn about the world by trying things out. The dilemma is between choosing what you know and getting something close to what you expect (‘exploitation’) and choosing something you aren’t sure about and possibly learning more (‘exploration’). ..."

Mittwoch, 28. Juni 2017

Selbstkontrolle und Ablenkung:

Selbstkontrolle dürfte in erheblichem Ausmaß auf der Fähigkeit basieren, von einem akuten Handlungsimpuls "wegdenken" zu können:


"four-year-olds can be brilliantly imaginative about distracting themselves, turning their toes into piano keyboards, singing little songs, exploring their nasal orifices."

Ed. note:

"Mischel’s book draws on the marshmallow studies to explore how adults can master the same cognitive skills that kids use to distract themselves from the treat, when they encounter challenges in everyday life, from quitting smoking to overcoming a difficult breakup."

Donnerstag, 22. Juni 2017


"impulsivity, broadly defined as action without foresight"

"... behavior characterized by little or no forethought, reflection, or consideration of the consequences"

"the construct of impulsivity includes at least two independent components: first, acting without an appropriate amount of deliberation, which may or may not be functional; and second, choosing short-term gains over long-term ones."

"To the extent that language has universal properties, it probably owes them more to the common nature of experience than to language itself. We all live in similar spatiotemporal worlds, inhabited by things, people, and various artifacts of our own making ..."

Michael C. Corballis
"Literal talk, loose talk and metaphorical talk are often seen as different in kind. We want to argue that they differ not in kind but only in degree of looseness, and that they are understood in essentially the same way."

D. Sperber & D. Wilson
"Language is in many respects an extension of theory of mind, a way of reading and influencing the minds of others. One of its critical features is that it is underdetermined, and we can make sense of what others say only if we are on the same mental wavelength ..."

Michael C. Corballis

Amotz Zahavi verstorben

Ein Beitrag von Ingo Bading zu Zahavis "Handicap-Theorie".

Gifts in Skinner Boxes

Dienstag, 20. Juni 2017

Rekursion, Sprachfähigkeit und episodisches Vorstellen

Eine kurze Notiz:

Michael C. Corballis führt als Schlüsselmerkmal des menschlichen Denkens die Fähigkeit zur Rekursion an: ... Diverse Sprachen ermöglichen es uns, Aussagen beliebiger Länge zu formen. (Indem in Grundaussagen zusätzliche Aussagen eingefügt werden.) ... Im Rahmen des episodischen Vorstellens sind Episoden mit einer beliebig großen Anzahl von Unterepisoden denkbar. ...

[Sofern man bei Tieren Sprachfähigkeit feststellte - beispielsweise bei Schimpansen, denen man die Zeichensprache beibrachte - war doch die Anzahl der Elemente, die eine Aussage beinhalten konnte, sehr beschränkt. Die Fähigkeit, sich Episoden mit Unterepisoden ausmalen zu können, ist für die menschliche Planungsfähigkeit von immenser Bedeutung.]

Montag, 19. Juni 2017

Mitdenken bei Vorträgen:

Als Mitdenken bei Vorträgen dürfte gewöhnlich kaum mehr (aber auch kaum weniger) als ein stilles Mitsprechen und Kommentieren des Vorgetragenen bezeichnet werden.

Samstag, 17. Juni 2017

Schreiben als ein rekursiver Prozess:

Sofern man den Schreibvorgang als einen rekursiven Prozess auffasst, liegt folgende Behauptung nahe: ein Absatz, ein Artikel, ein Buch, sind jeweils einzelne Aussagen, in die, per Rekursion, weitere Aussagen eingeschoben wurden.

"Blurt it out!"

"Many of the students who arrive at very competitive universities pride themselves in not making mistakes—after all, that’s how they’ve come so much farther than their classmates, or so they have been led to believe. I often find that I have to encourage them to cultivate the habit of making mistakes, the best learning opportunities of all. They get “writer’s block” and waste hours forlornly wandering back and forth on the starting line. “Blurt it out!” I urge them. Then they have something on the page to work with."

Daniel C. Dennett
"Regret is basically a sorrow over a past alternative that was available to us, but that we missed."

"I have never met a woman who regretted having children. She surely exists, but not in my experience. I have met, however, older people who lament never having kids..."

Donnerstag, 15. Juni 2017

Mögliche Ursachen niedriger Geburtenraten:

Als ein Konzept zur Erklärung niedriger Geburtenraten werden "Opportunitätskosten" angeführt:

"Indem Betreuung und Erziehung von Kindern mit einem Verzicht auf materielle Güter, persönliche Aktivitäten, Einkommen und Karrierechancen 'erkauft' werden, erweisen sich 'Opportunitätskosten' offensichtlich als Schlüsselbegriff für das Verständnis gegenwärtiger Fertilitätsabnahme."

Die Alterung der Gesellschaft (2004)
Schimany Peter

"Von der Größe und Art des biographischen Universums werden die biographischen Handlungsalternativen und -optionen des Individuums entscheidend beeinflusst. Dabei hat die empirische Lebenslaufforschung gezeigt, dass die Wahrscheinlichkeit einer langfristigen Festlegung im Lebenslauf durch eine Kindergeburt umso geringer ist, je größer die Zahl der Lebenslaufoptionen ist, die aufgrund dieser Festlegung aus dem biographischen Universum ausscheiden würden. Die ausgeschiedenen Lebenslaufoptionen werden als biographische Opportunitätskosten von Kindern bezeichnet."

Strategische Optionen der Familien- und Migrationspolitik in Deutschland und Europa
Herwig Birg (2003)

Mittwoch, 14. Juni 2017

David M. Buss on Mating Opportunity Costs

Edge - 2017

Mating Opportunity Costs (by David M. Buss)

The concept of opportunity costs—the loss of potential gains from alternatives not chosen when a mutually exclusive choice must be made—is one of the most important concepts in the field of economics. But the concept is not well appreciated in the field of psychology. 

One reason for its absence is the sheer difficulty of calculating opportunity costs that occur in metrics other than money. Consider mate choice. Choosing one long-term mate means forgoing the benefits of choosing an available and interested alternative. But how are non-monetary benefits calculated psychologically? 

The complexities are multiple. The benefit-bestowing qualities of passed-over mates are many in number and disparate in nature. And there are inevitable tradeoffs among competing and incommensurate alternatives. Sometimes the choice is between a humorless mate with excellent future job prospects and a fun-loving mate destined for a low-status occupation; or between an attractive mate who carries the costs of incessant attention from others versus a mate who garners little external attention but with whom you have less sexual chemistry. Another intangible quality also factors into the equation—the degree to which competing alternatives appreciate your unique assets, which renders you more irreplaceably valuable to one than the other. 

Uncertainty of assessment surrounds each benefit-conferring quality. It is difficult to determine how emotionally stable someone is without sustained observation through times bad and good—events experienced with a chosen mate but unknown with a foregone alternative. Another complication centers on infidelity and breakups. There is no guarantee that you will receive the benefits of a chosen mate over the long run. Mates higher in desirability are more likely to defect. Whereas less desirable mates are sure bets, more desirable partners represent tempting gambles. How do these mating opportunity costs enter into the complex calculus of mating decisions? 

Despite the difficulties involved in computing non-monetary opportunity costs, probabilistic cues to their recurrent reality over evolutionary time must have forged a psychology designed to assess them, however approximate these computations may be. Although mating decisions provide clear illustrations, the psychology of opportunity costs is more pervasive. Humans surely have evolved a complex multifaceted psychology of opportunity costs, since every behavioral decision at every moment precludes potential benefits from alternative courses of action.

Many of these are trivial—sipping a cappuccino precludes downing a latte. But some are profound and produce post-decision regret, such as missed sexual opportunities or lamenting a true love that got away. The penalties of incorrectly calculating mating opportunity costs can last a lifetime.

Folk Psychology:

"Folk psychology is 'what everyone knows' about their minds and the minds of others: people can feel pain or be hungry or thirsty and know the difference, they can remember events from their past, anticipate lots of things, see what is in front of their open eyes, hear what is said within earshot, deceive and be deceived, know where they are, recognize others, and so forth. The confidence with which we make these assumptions is breathtaking, given how little we know about what is actually going on inside the heads of these people (to say nothing of other animals). So sure are we about all this that it takes some strenuous distancing even to notice that we’re doing it."

Daniel C. Dennett

Sonntag, 11. Juni 2017

The Disgust Response in Human Mating:

"Sexual attraction and arousal fulfill important functions in mating decisions: They motivate courtship, copulation, and pair bonding with individuals of high sexual value. The absence of attraction and arousal could thus potentially perform the function of steering individuals away from mates of low sexual value. However, the absence of sexual arousal would not prevent that individual from being sexually pursued by other people who possess their own reproductive agendas. To reject and avoid unwanted sexual advances and behaviors another response is required. Emotions such as fear and anger are not well suited to avoiding potentially costly mates. Fear can lead to immobilization or rapid flight (Öhman & Mineka, 2001) the former of which likely does not impede sexual pursuit, and the latter of which is metabolically costly and often unnecessary (e.g., if social allies and kin can prevent another’s sexual interest from progressing to sexual aggression). Similarly, anger often acts as an “approach” emotion (Carver & HarmonJones, 2009), and associated aggression can lead to costly counteraggression (Sell et al., 2009). 
We suggest that the phylogenetically ancient (Curtis, 2007; Zhang et al., 2005) pathogen disgust was a felicitous system to co-opt to perform the function of avoiding biologically costly mates."


"The lack of a constant state of sexual disgust toward poor mates reflects the costs associated with avoiding individuals who are otherwise valuable social partners. Although constant motivations to avoid poor mates would certainly decrease the probability of reproducing with them, it would also cripple some beneficial social relationships."
"sex entails significant opportunity costs."

"males and females have different opportunity costs on average"


Samstag, 10. Juni 2017

The Recursive Mind:

"[I] argue that [recursion] is the primary characteristic that distinguishes the human mind from that of other animals. It underlies our ability not only to reflect upon our own minds, but also to simulate the minds of others. It allows us to travel mentally in time, inserting consciousness of the past or future into present consciousness."

The Recursive Mind
Michael C. Corballis


"recursive constructions need not involve the embedding of the same constituents, but may contain constituents of the same kind—a process sometimes known as 'self-similar embedding.' "

"recursion does give rise to the concept of infinity, itself perhaps limited to the human imagination."

"After all, only humans have acquired the ability to count indefinitely, and to understand the nature of infinite series, whereas other species can at best merely estimate quantity, and are accurate only up to some small finite number."

"The appealing aspect of recursion is precisely that it can in principle extend indefinitely to create thoughts (and sentences) of whatever complexity is required."

"The slow development of a complex mathematical proof, for example, may require subtheorems within subtheorems."

"interpretation of a sentence may require the understanding of phrases embedded in phrases"

"an internal understanding of a stream of thought may require the segmentation of episodes within episodes."

Donnerstag, 8. Juni 2017


Einen möglichen Bewusstseinszustand von morgen; einen Bewusstseinszustand von gestern; einen Bewusstseinszustand des Mitmenschen; - in das gegenwärtige Bewusstsein einfügen ...

[... eine Art Bewusstsein im Bewusstsein]

[Die Kunst, einen Gedanken mit anderen Gedanken zu füttern; in einen Gedanken andere Gedanken einzuspeisen.]

Mittwoch, 7. Juni 2017

Wäre der Mensch nicht fähig, nach Misserfolgen ein gewisses Maß an Niedergeschlagenheit zu empfinden, wäre er kaum in der Lage, aus Misserfolgen zu lernen.
Jordan Peterson vergleicht die Lüge mit einer Art innerem Gewächs, das, wenn es einmal im menschlichen Bewusstsein etabliert ist, nur schwer aus diesem wieder entfernt werden kann.

[Beim Lügen verhält es sich ähnlich wie beim Rauchen: Am besten man beginnt nicht damit. Einem habituierten Lügner kostet es ähnlich viel Willenskraft, nicht zu lügen, wie es einem habituierten Raucher Willenskraft kostet, nicht zu rauchen.]

Freitag, 2. Juni 2017

Jordan Peterson on Shame:

"if you do something stupid and destructive, to yourself or to yourself and the broader social community, you should feel shame and you should pay attention to it and you should learn from it ..."

"For most of Western history, ... to call someone shameless was a tremendous insult. It meant that they didn't have enough sense to be appalled by their own pathology."

Mittwoch, 31. Mai 2017

Neil C. Warren on intellectual similarity as a matchmaker and intellectual dissimilarity as a deal breaker:

"Interestingly, there is no clinical or empirical evidence proving that two people will fare better in marriage if they are extremely smart. Nor is there evidence that a couple will do poorly in marriage if they are "not so bright." What does matter immensely is that the partners possess intellectual levels that are near the same. If one partner has a high intelligence quotient and the other partner's IQ is substantially lower, the couple are likely to be miserable together, regardless of how many other good traits they may have.
My own mom and dad fell victim to the disparity in intelligence levels. ... Amazingly, they remained married for seventy years! But for seventy years, they experienced the consequences of being mismatched intellectually. They seldom talked to each other beyond the obligatory "How was your day?" type of questions. They had difficulty discussing the important events of the day, or even the deeper tenets of the religious faith they shared. Although they loved each other and were irrevocably committed to each other, their conversations were limited to mundane, everyday things. This is fine if it's the level on which you and your partner want to communicate. But when you run much more deeply, and your partner is not able to go there with you, it can be a frustrating experience for both of you."

Neil C. Warren
founder of eHarmony

Montag, 29. Mai 2017

Es ist ein faszinierender Umstand, dass man, sobald man einen Menschen besser kennt, scheinbar automatisch von ihm abgefasste Texte mit dem für ihn eigentümlichen Stimmklang lesen kann.

Sonntag, 28. Mai 2017

Sonderstellung des Menschen:

Der Mensch zeigt als einziges Lebewesen Bedürfnis und Fähigkeit, ein umfangreiches sprachliches Wissen über diese Welt zu generieren.

William James on Genius:

"Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way."


Mit Rekursion assoziiert Michael C. Corballis nicht bloß die Fähigkeit, sich vorübergehend gedanklich vom "Hier und Jetzt" wegzubewegen, um sich frei durch Raum und Zeit zu bewegen, sondern ebenso das Vermögen, das vom Mitmenschen erlebte am eigenen Leib zu erleben: d.h. vorübergehend so die Welt zu erleben, wie sie der Mitmensch erlebt oder erlebte.


Recursive Mind
M. C. Corballis (2014)

Samstag, 27. Mai 2017

William James on Attention:

“Everyone knows what attention is. It is the taking possession by the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one out of what seem several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought. Focalization, concentration, of consciousness are of its essence. It implies withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others, and is a condition which has a real opposite in the confused, dazed, scatter-brained state which in French is called distraction, and Zerstreutheit in German.”

The Principles of Psychology
William James (1890)


Wikipedia: Informationsüberflutung

[Siehe auch: Signal-Rausch-Verhältnis]

[Eine "Überflutung" mit Reizen hat voraussichtlich zur Folge, dass die Reize im Schnitt sehr ineffektiv verwertet werden. D.h. in einer Überfülle an bewusst registrierten Informationen ist es dem Menschen kaum mehr möglich, wirkungsvoll Unsicherheit bezüglich den Phänomenen der Um- und Innenwelt abzubauen // wirkungsvoll sich ein solides Wissen um Phänomene seiner Um- und Innenwelt zu erwerben.]

Freitag, 26. Mai 2017

Episodic Memories:

On the whole, my most vivid and colorful episodic memories are memories about personal conversations.
"That your experience largely depends on the material objects and mental subjects that you choose to pay attention to or ignore is not an imaginative notion ..."

Winifred Gallagher

William James on Alcohol and the Physical Sciences:

"The sway of alcohol over mankind is unquestionably due to its power to stimulate the mystical faculties of human nature, usually crushed to earth by the cold facts and dry criticisms of the sober hour. Sobriety diminishes, discriminates, and says no; drunkenness expands, unites, and says yes. It is in fact the great exciter of the Yes function in man."

"No fact in human nature is more characteristic than its willingness to live on a chance. ... The talk of believing by our volition seems, then, from one point of view, simply silly. From another point of view it is worse than silly, it is vile. When one turns to the magnificent edifice of the physical sciences, and sees how it was reared; what thousands of disinterested moral lives of men lie buried in its mere foundations; what patience and postponement, what choking down of preference, what submission to the icy laws of outer fact are wrought into its very stones and mortar; how absolutely impersonal it stands in its vast augustness, - then how besotted and contemptible seems every little sentimentalist who comes blowing his voluntary smoke-wreaths, and pretending to decide things from out of his private dream!"

"The evidence shows, in fact, that people spend more time thinking about the future than about the past."

Michael C. Corballis

Donnerstag, 25. Mai 2017

"We have a remarkable capacity to mentally relive past events, imagine future ones, and even invent fictitious ones. This mental escape from the present allows us to plan our futures, deliberate on the past, and find inspiration in imagined scenarios. ..."

A new book by Michael C. Corballis:

The Truth about Language: What It Is and Where It Came From
Michael C. Corballis (May, 2017)

Montag, 22. Mai 2017

Samstag, 20. Mai 2017

"Uncertainty-related anxiety appears to be maximized in situations where there are no clear frameworks for constraining action or perception."

Psychological Entropy
J. B. Hirsh et al. (2012)

Freitag, 19. Mai 2017

"there are two primary domains of uncertainty that must be contended with from a psychological perspective: uncertainty about perception and uncertainty about action."

Psychological Entropy
J. B. Hirsh et al. (2012)

On the size of sex differences in personality:

"When sex differences across multiple traits are combined using multivariate statistical methods, the global difference between the average profiles of men and women ranges between two and three standard deviations. This means that the personality distributions of males and females overlap by about 10%, which is close to the anatomical overlap between male and female faces (Del Giudice, 2013; Del Giudice et al., 2012). The comparison between faces and personality profiles is illuminating: while the sexes look fairly similar if one considers one anatomical feature at a time (e.g., the size of the eyes, the length of the nose), the difference becomes obvious as soon as one starts looking at whole faces of men and women."


Momente, Stunden und Tage, wo dem menschlichen Denken und Erleben vorübergehend nicht mehr die Erdenschwere anzuhaften scheint. Wo sich die Aufmerksamkeit entschieden auf pos. Möglichkeiten anstatt auf Gefahren, Notwendigkeiten und Problematiken richtet.
"The evolution of language—another defining adaptation of our species—permits the exchange and transmission of information on an unprecedented scale."

Marco Del Giudice

Donnerstag, 18. Mai 2017

"an improper or outdated or otherwise invalid attachment—such as the attachment to an inappropriate pattern of behavior or belief—turns the world into waste"

Jordan B. Peterson

Mittwoch, 17. Mai 2017

Romantic Love and Sexual Desire as Separate Relational Processes

Romantic Love and Sexual Desire in Close Relationships
Gian C. Gonzaga et al. (2006)

"Two schools of thought converge on the notion that romantic love and sexual desire are independent relational processes. Relationship researchers have long grappled with the question of how romantic love and sexual desire emerge and evolve over the course of intimate relationships (Aron & Aron, 1998; Hatfield, 1988; Hatfield & Rapson, 1993; Hatfield & Walster, 1978; S. S. Hendrick & Hendrick, 1992; R. J. Sternberg, 1986). Within this tradition, researchers differentiate between companionate love (or romantic love, in our terminology), which involves deep feelings of commitment, intimacy, and connection, and passionate love (or sexual desire, in our terminology), which involves powerful feelings of attraction, desire, passion, and infatuation (Diamond, 2003; Hatfield, 1988; Hatfield & Rapson, 1993; Reis & Shaver, 1988). Within this framework, romantic love fulfills a commitment role, sustaining long-term bonds by promoting intimacy, connection, and the formation of mutual long-term plans (e.g., Aron & Aron, 1998; Diamond, 2003; Dion & Dion, 1973; Ellis & Malamuth, 2000; Hatfield & Rapson, 1993; S. S. Hendrick & Hendrick, 1992; R. J. Sternberg, 1986). In line with this thesis, romantic love relates to an interest in being close to a partner (Aron & Aron, 1998; Hatfield, 1988; Hatfield & Walster, 1978) and encourages self-disclosure (Aron, Norman, Aron, McKenna, & Heyman, 2000; S. S. Hendrick, Hendrick, & Adler, 1988; Wieselquist, Rusbult, Foster, & Agnew, 1999). Moreover, the feeling of falling in love involves a rapid expansion of the self to include the partner (Aron & Aron, 1997), and perceptions of increasing love across the duration of a relationship predict later relationship continuation (Sprecher, 1999).
In contrast, sexual desire—and related feelings of passion and infatuation—fulfill an initiation role, motivating sexual interest, proximity seeking, and initial contact. By motivating proximity seeking, sexual desire promotes contact and allows commitment to grow (e.g., Hazan & Zeifman, 1994, 1999; Zeifman & Hazan, 1997). In line with this thesis, passion— or sexual desire—tends to peak early in a relationship (Aron & Aron, 1991; Berscheid, 1985; Regan, 1998; R. J. Sternberg, 1986), and behaviors motivated by sexual desire, such as sexual contact or certain kinds of touch, are less frequent in more established relationships (Sprecher & Regan, 1998).
Evolutionary and attachment-related accounts of relationships have similar claims about romantic love and sexual desire (e.g., Diamond, 2003; Fisher, 1998; Hazan & Shaver, 1987). Romantic love is thought to be part of a pair-bonding system, which keeps partners together in long-term relationships that are oriented toward raising vulnerable, dependent offspring to the age of viability (Buss, 1988, 1994; Buss & Schmitt, 1993; Fisher, 1998; Kenrick & Trost, 1997; Simpson, 1994). As a part of the mating system and with the primary goal of reproduction, sexual desire responds to cues of reproductive readiness, such as physical markers of fertility or status (Buss, 1994).
This evolutionary, attachment-related approach is best encapsulated in Diamond’s (2003, 2004) biobehavioral model of romantic love and sexual desire. Diamond argued that romantic love and sexual desire serve different functions, namely to promote pair bonding and sexual behavior, respectively. In support of these claims, Diamond reviewed evidence showing that the subjective experiences of romantic love and sexual desire are functionally independent: Individuals can feel romantic love but not sexual desire, or sexual desire but not romantic love, toward another person. Romantic love and sexual desire, Diamond claimed, also appear to be mediated by different physiological processes: oxytocin (OT) and endogenous opioids in the case of romantic love, and gonadal estrogens and androgens in the case of sexual desire. ..."

Montag, 15. Mai 2017

Ordnung und Information:

Eine geordnete Umwelt ist weniger informationshaltig als eine chaotische Umwelt:
Wenn jemand in einer ordentlichen Wohnung sagt, dass sich die Butter im Kühlschrank befindet, so hat diese Aussage einen geringen Informationsgehalt. Wir nehmen ja bereits im vorhinein an, dass sie sich im Kühlschrank oder gegebenfalls auf dem Esstisch findet.
Wenn wir in eine restlos ungeordnete Wohnung gehen, d.h. in eine Wohnung, auf deren Fläche sämtliche Gegenstände restlos chaotisch verteilt sind, so ist die Nachricht, dass sich die Butter unter dem Sofa, der Kopfpolster in der Küche, und der Heftklammerapparat im Badezimmer finden, hochgradig informativ.
Im zweiten Fall können wir nicht effektiv im vorhinein urteilen, an welchen Stellen der Wohnung wir Gegenstände mit hoher Wahrscheinlichkeit antreffen.

Sonntag, 14. Mai 2017

"Das Prinzip, das wir weiterhin kurz Redundanzprinzip nennen wollen, besagt folgendes: Der Mensch (und wohl auch jeder andere wahrnehmungs- und lernfähige Organismus) ist bestrebt, die objektive Information der Außenwelt auf verschiedene Weise subjektiv zu verringern. ... Redundanzprozesse haben dabei den Sinn, dem Menschen (bzw. dem Organismus) die Außenwelt so informationsarm zu machen, dass eine Orientierung und ein geordnetes Verhalten darin möglich wird."

Felix von Cube
"Als übergeordnetes Lebenskriterium erscheint bei allen Organismen ihre Fortpflanzungsfähigkeit. Alle übrigen Charakteristika sind entweder Voraussetzung oder Folge dieser einen zentralen Eigenschaft."

P. Sitte et al.

Samstag, 13. Mai 2017

Zweierlei Unsicherheiten:

Vereinfachend lassen sich die Unsicherheiten, mit denen der Mensch konfrontiert wird, in zwei Kategorien einteilen:

(A) in eine Unsicherheit bezüglich dem, was sich in der Vergangenheit erreignete; bezüglich dem, was sich künftig erreignen wird; darüber, welche Beziehungen zwischen diversen Ereignissen, Phänomenen oder Gegenständen bestehen; etc.

(B) in eine Unsicherheit darüber, wie wir uns in der Situation, in der wir uns befinden, zu verhalten haben

Die zweite Unsicherheit lässt sich nicht mehr als eine rein kognitive Unsicherheit bezeichnen, und bezieht sich bereits auf den Menschen als ein wollendes und handelndes Lebewesen.