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

Rudolf Flesch on Writing Fluency:

>Some time ago I talked to a friend of mine who, like myself, had for years been teaching an evening class in writing. Being competitors, we decided to compare notes on our experiences.
"What's your problem?" I asked him.
"My main problem," he said, "is always the same. I get swamped. During the whole period of the course, I spend every weekend buried under a mountain of papers. It's a terrific chore."
Nothing could have surprised me more. Not only were my weekends happily free of papers to correct, but on the contrary I always had just the opposite trouble: I could never manage to get my students to write enough. They just didn't produce. I tried this and that, I begged, I coaxed, I implored them - it was no use. I had long ago come to the conclusion that the average student would do anything rather than writing.
What was the explanation for this enormous difference between our two writing courses? Obviously this: My friend taught creative writing and I taught the other, practical kind. People who take creative-writing courses have an urge to write, people who take practical-writing courses have a writing-phobia.
Naturally, there are exceptions to this basic rule. About once every year, there appeared among my students a specimen of the "creative" type and I was handed long, wordy slices of autobiography, fictionalized experiences, and essays on philosophical themes. Thinking back over the years, I arrived at the conclusion that about one out of fifty adult Americans suffers from graphomania - which is defined in Webster' Unabridged Dictionary as a "morbid desire or mania for writing". The remaining forty-nine are victims of the much more common ailment of "graphophobia"- which is not listed in Webster's but certainly ought to be.
There is some statistical evidence for what I just said. In 1949 someone took a public-opinion poll in the city of Louisville, Kentucky, and found that 2.1 per cent of the voting population "wanted to write". I don't doubt that this figure is roughly true for the country as a whole. There are about 2 per cent graphomaniacs among us - people who have desk drawers full of stories and essays and unfinished novels, people who fill evening classes in creative writing, people who have the diary habit - in short, people whose nervous systems crave the activity for putting words on paper, just as those of alcoholics crave liquor.
Of course, among those 2 per cent there are a few that are successful and have made a name for themselves as authors. ...<

How to write, speak and thing more effectively
Rudolf Flesch (1960)

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."