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Psychology


Peanuts and Cracker Jack
NPR Planet Money #700: Beer. Water. Pretzels. It takes effort, strategy, and some serious lungs to sell expensive junk food at a baseball game. Meet the hot dog vending legend of Fenway Park.

The CIA’s Style Manual & Writer’s Guide: 185 Pages of Tips for Writing Like a Spook
Along with toppling democratically elected governments, funneling money illegally to dubious political groups and producing pornographic movies about heads of state, the Central Intelligence Agency has also been fiendishly good at manipulating language. After all, this is the organization that made “waterboarding” seem much more acceptable, at least to the Washington elite, by rebranding it as “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Another CIA turn of phrase, “extraordinary rendition,” sounds so much better to the ear than “illegal kidnapping and torture.” Not too long ago, the CIA’s style guide, called the Style Manual and Writers Guide for Intelligence Publications, was posted online. “Good intelligence depends in large measure on clear, concise writing,” writes Fran Moore, Director of Intelligence in the foreword. And considering the agency’s deftness with the written word, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s remarkably good.

Can you teach a parrot to count?
Professor Irene Pepperberg reveals the impressive numerical abilities of Alex, the African grey parrot.
First broadcast on Numbers by Nature, 23 November 2015.

If Santa’s workshop was run by behavioral economists
A pebble that reminds your daughter to take a shorter shower. A device to remind your dad to get up off the couch. Economics correspondent Paul Solman revisits ideas42, a behavioral economics consultancy, to get more gift ideas that could help your loved ones adopt better habits in the new year.

Given Internet access, can kids really learn anything by themselves?
It started with a hole in the wall. Sugata Mitra, working for a software company in Delhi, cut a gap between his firm and the slum next door, putting out an Internet-connected computer for kids in the community to use. That simple experiment has turned into a radical idea that children can teach themselves in self-organized learning environments. Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports.

Social cycling and conditional responses in the Rock-Paper-Scissors game
How humans make decisions in non-cooperative strategic interactions is a challenging question. For the fundamental model system of Rock-Paper-Scissors (RPS) game, classic game theory of infinite rationality predicts the Nash equilibrium (NE) state with every player randomizing her choices to avoid being exploited, while evolutionary game theory of bounded rationality in general predicts persistent cyclic motions, especially for finite populations. However, as empirical studies on human subjects have been relatively sparse, it is still a controversial issue as to which theoretical framework is more appropriate to describe decision making of human subjects. Here we observe population-level cyclic motions in a laboratory experiment of the discrete-time iterated RPS game under the traditional random pairwise-matching protocol. The cycling direction and frequency are not sensitive to the payoff parameter a. This collective behavior contradicts with the NE theory but it is quantitatively explained by a microscopic model of win-lose-tie conditional response without any adjustable parameter. Our theoretical calculations reveal that this new strategy may offer higher payoffs to individual players in comparison with the NE mixed strategy, suggesting that high social efficiency is achievable through optimized conditional response.

Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud Appears in Rare, Surviving Video & Audio Recorded During the 1930s

Paradox of Choice
Paul Solman looks at a phenomenon called "The Paradox of Choice," a problem even more common during the holiday shopping season.

It Hurts (Stock Prices) When Your Team Is About to Lose a Soccer Match
In this fascinating working paper from the Bank of Canada, authors Michael Ehrmann and David-Jan Jansen note that the end result of major sporting events has been shown to affect next-day stock returns through shifts in investor mood. By studying the soccer matches that led to the elimination of France and Italy from the 2010 FIFA World Cup, they show that mood-related pricing effects can materialize as sporting events unfold. They do this by using intraday stock prices for a firm cross-listed on the Paris and Milan stock exchanges. This strategy allows for a straightforward identification of pricing effects. During the soccer matches, stock prices in the country that eventually loses are lower by up to seven basis points. The probability of under pricing increases as elimination from the tournament becomes more likely.

“David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.”
Charlie Rose talks to Malcom Gladwell about his new book, “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.” …some 11 minutes.

Charlie Rose Brain Series: Public Policy Implications of the New Science of Mind
Charlie Rose Brain Series 2 Episode 13: Public Policy Implications of the New Science of Mind with Eric Kandel of Columbia University; Walter Mischel of Columbia University, Michael Shadlen of Columbia University; Daniel Kahneman of Princeton University; and Alan Alda, host of the upcoming PBS program, “Brains on Trial”

Shots - Health News NPR: Why Even Radiologists Can Miss A Gorilla Hiding In Plain Sight
This "shots" feature on npr's Health News segment from February 2013 examines the curious effect known as "inattentional blindness". This effect was studied by Trafton Drew, an attention researcher at Harvard Medical School. He conducted research on how it can even affect profesisionals trained in picking up the slightest variations in images as pointers for possible diseases - the radiologists. What made a startling discovery: what we're thinking about — what we're focused on — filters the world around us so aggressively that it literally shapes what we see. So, Drew says, we need to think carefully about the instructions we give to professional searchers like radiologists or people looking for terrorist activity, because what we tell them to look for will in part determine what they see and don't see. Drew and his co-author Jeremy Wolfe are doing more studies, looking at how to help radiologists see both visually and cognitively the things that hide, sometimes in plain sight.

The dog and the frisbee
This speech by Bank of England Executive Director Andrew G Haldane, was presented to “The Changing Policy Landscape” economic policy symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, 31 August 2012. Haldane highlights via back-tested data the inadequacy of complex regulation in the aftermath of the GFC. This actually leads to worse outcomes than more simple "common sense" regulatory rules. This realisation led to the push-back on Basel 2 regulations, which through use of internal risk models in the regulatory framework led to out of control regulatory complexity without actually reducing systemic risk in the global finance system. Through numerous historic anecdotes, Haldane also highlights the important role of market discipline in complementing regulatory rules and supervision.

A few can catch a liar
In this research report from the Psychological Science Journal of the American Psychological Society from 3 May ,1999. authors Paul Ekman, Maureen O'Sullivan, and Mark G. Frank look at how different professions excel or fail at picking liars, where this is an improtant characteristic of their professions, such as for psychologists, police detectives, and federal judges.

The truth about lying
This "The Guardian" article from 12 May 2009, asks whether or not fleeting changes of facial expression show whether someone is telling lies? Psychologist Paul Ekman believes he has the answer, he tells Jon Henley.

If Miles Davis Taught Your Office To Improvise
In this Fast Company article by Frank J Barrett from 12 August 2012 he considers how the controlled chaos of the social web sounds a lot like jazz. The article explores how this insight can be applied to management practices.

Exploiting the Neuroscience of Internet Addiction
In this "The Atlantic" article from 18 July 2012, Bill Davidow examines how unscrupulous firms exploit a more sophisticated understanding of neurological processes to sell their products and how this and the ubiquitous presence of the Internet are employed to make people fall prey to addictions.

Why We Make Bad Decisions About Money (And What We Can Do About It)
In this "big think" feature, Megan Erickson looks at the insights offered by Nobel-prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahenman on how investor's mind sets influence their investment decisions. Being sensitised to your own mind's functioning and biases might assist in making more obective and hence more profitable investment decisions.

Creativity - Conversations about Science
At 40:53min into this program Charlie Rose talks with neuroscientist, author and journalist Jonah Lehrer about "Creativity". Lehrer provides some fascinating insights into how the mind works and what some of the pre-conditions might be to foster creative thought.

Thinking Fast and Slow
In this ABC Lateline program from 11 June 2012, Emma Alberici interviews renown psychologist and so called "father of behavioural economics" and Nobel prize-winner Daniel Kahneman to discuss his book "Thinking Fast and Slow", which discusses how human thinking differes between quick "intuitive" decision making and more slow "deliberate" thought applied to a problem, which he refers to as "lazy thinking". However, there can also be shortcomings when we exclusively rely on our intuition, especailly when making intuitive decisions without having previous experience to draw upon. 

The Nature and Perception of Fluctuations in Human Musical Rhythms
In this PLoS ONE (Public Library of Science) article, Holger Henning et al discuss that although human musical performances represent one of the most valuable achievements of mankind, the best musicians perform imperfectly. Musical rhythms are not entirely accurate and thus inevitably deviate from the ideal beat pattern. Nevertheless, computer generated perfect beat patterns are frequently devalued by listeners due to a perceived lack of human touch. Professional audio editing software therefore offers a humanizing feature which artificially generates rhythmic fluctuations. However, the built-in humanizing units are essentially random number generators producing only simple uncorrelated fluctuations. Here, for the first time, we establish long-range fluctuations as an inevitable natural companion of both simple and complex human rhythmic performances. Moreover, we demonstrate that listeners strongly prefer long-range correlated fluctuations in musical rhythms. Thus, the favorable fluctuation type for humanizing interbeat intervals coincides with the one generically inherent in human musical performances.

Consumer Soverignity in an age of Republicanism
June 6th 2011 - Ruby Hutchison Memorial Lecture by Ross Gittins, Sydney Morning Herald Economics Editor.

@katiecouric: Digital Philosophy - CBS News Video
Katie Couric speaks with author William Powers about his new book, "Hamlet's Blackberry," and the new age of digital philosophy.

Julian Treasure: 5 ways to listen better.......
In our louder and louder world, says sound expert Julian Treasure, "We are losing our listening." In this short, fascinating talk, Treasure shares five ways to re-tune your ears for conscious listening -- to other people and the world around you.

'Incognito': What's Hiding In The Unconscious Mind
An NPR interview with neuroscientist Dr David Eagleman where he discusses his book: 'Incognito: The Secret Lives Of The Brain'- Pantheon Press -, an excerpt follows:
"The first thing we learn from studying our own circuitry is a simple lesson: most of what we do and think and feel is not under our conscious control. The vast jungles of neurons operate their own programs. The conscious you — the I that flickers to life when you wake up in the morning — is the smallest bit of what's transpiring in your brain. Although we are dependent on the functioning of the brain for our inner lives, it runs its own show. Most of its operations are above the security clearance of the conscious mind. The I simply has no right of entry. Your consciousness is like a tiny stowaway on a transatlantic steamship, taking credit for the journey without acknowledging the massive engineering underfoot. This book is about that amazing fact: how we know it, what it means, and what it explains about people, markets, secrets, strippers, retirement accounts, criminals, artists, Ulysses, drunkards, stroke victims, gamblers, athletes, bloodhounds, racists, lovers, and every decision you've ever taken to be yours."

Dorothy Rowe: Why We Lie
Do you tell the occasional white lie? Well psychologist Dorothy Rowe believes you could be doing more harm than good. At the 2011 Perth Writers Festival, Dorothy Rowe sits down with fellow psychologist Leah Giarratano to talk about why we lie. This conversation ranges from the everyday lies, to the lies global leaders tell that have devastating global impacts. Parents, religious institutions, Tony Blair, Muammar Gaddafi all go under Dorothy’s microscope in this fascinating talk. Dr Dorothy Rowe, born in 1930, is an Australian born clinical psychologist who lives in England. From 1972 until 1986 she was head of the North Lincolnshire Department of Clinical Psychology. She has written several books on psychology and mental health including “Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison”, and her most recent book “Why We Lie: The Source of Our Disasters” was published in 2010.

TEDxSydney - Genevieve Bell - The Value of Boredom
Genevieve Bell talks about the value of boredom at Tedx Sydney in May 2011.Genevieve Bell is a Corporate Anthropologist, recently named one of the top 50 most creative people in Business (Fast Company), Genevieve Bell is an Intel Fellow and director of the Interaction and Experience Research Group within the Intel Labs. Bell joined Intel in 1998 and has come to lead an R&D team of social scientists, interaction designers and human factors engineers to drive human-centric product innovation in Intel's consumer electronics business.

Thinking about Thinking
In this BBC World Service interview, Peter Day talks to two academics from the Rotman School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Hilary Austen and Professor Roger Martin discuss design thinking and artistry in business.

How Social Influence can Undermine the Wisdom of Crowd Effect
In this research article from the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Science", Jan Lorenz et al. examine various aspects of group psychology, which have application to investment markets.

Synchronicity, Instant Messaging, and Performance Among Financial Traders
http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/uzzi/ftp/PNAS-2011-Saavedra-1018462108.pdf
In this 2011 research article from the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Science", Serguei Saavedra et al. analysed the impact of synchronicity achieved via instant messaging on the performance among financial traders.

Detecting Deception in Conference Calls
This 2010 Stanford University article is a must read for financial analysts. It provides a useful list of clues to look out for as potential signs of deception.

Patience in Finance
In this presentation, Andrew Haldane (Executive Director Financial Stability - Bank of England), considers the virtue of patience in a finance context.

John Cleese on Creativity
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMpdPrm6Ul4
In this training video, lawyer, actor, comedian, writer and film producer John Cleese discusses the mysterious ways of the subconscious mind.

Magic at the Marketplace: Choice Blindness for the Taste of Jam and the Smell of Tea
http://www.lucs.lu.se/Petter.Johansson/Papers/Hall_et_al-2010-Magic_at_the_Marketplace.pdf
In this 2010 "Cognition" journal article, Lars Hall et al. highlight how fickle our mind is and how easily it can be manipulated.
 
Steve Joordens on Critical Thinking
http://www.tvo.org/TVO/WebObjects/TVO.woa?videoid?69381193001
Steve Joordens from the Psychology Department at the University of Toronto presents his competition lecture entitled "You Can Lead Students to Knowledge, But How Do You Make Them Think?".

The New Yorker - Don't
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/18/090518fa_fact_lehrer?printable=true
Investors need to remain sensitised about market psychology and how it affects their own decision making.
 
Lessons from a Faraway Land: The Effect of Spatial Distance on Creative Cognition
This 2009 Journal of Experimental Social Psychology provides valuable ammunition for those asking their boss for an extended holiday. It shows that spatial distance improves creative cognition...

What Makes Us Human?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JvNwEMXLD8
This 2009 video is by The Leaky Foundation, whose mission it is to increase scientific knowledge, education, and public understanding of human origins, evolution, behaviour, and survival.

Dan Ariely: Irrational Economics
http://poptech.org/popcasts/dan_ariely_irrational_economics
This 2009 seminar is presented by MIT professor Dan Ariely who believes that the starting point for making better decisions, particularly with financial matters, requires understanding the impulse to act irrationally. Here Ariely discussed an excerpt from his new book, The Upside of Irrationality, about the role of emotions in the workplace.

Do Buy-Side Analysts Out-Perform the Sell-Side?
This 2008 "Financial Analysts Journal" paper by Boris Groysenberg et al., looks at differences in earnings forecast optimism and accuracy between buy-side and sell-side analysts.
In this 2006 "Journal of Accounting and Economics" article, Amanda Cowen et al. examine to what extent analysts' forecasts and recommendations vary depending on the business activities used to fund the research. Perhaps surprisingly they discovered that analysts at firms that funded research through underwriting and trading activities actually made less optimistic forecasts and recommendations than those at brokerage houses who performed no underwriting.

The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information 
http://www.musanim.com/miller1956/
This is a fascinating analysis of human capacity to process different types of information. A key finding is that more information can be processed if information is drawn from a multi-dimensional array of experiences, than if one attempts to process lots of information from just one dimension to data source.

The Web and the Wisdom of Crowds
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/frontal-cortex/
Jonah Lehrer's psych blog - frequently updated and a great read

On Snap Decisions and How People Make up Their Minds
http://www.tvo.org/TVO/WebObjects/TVO.woa?videoid?108832217001
Malcolm Gladwell delivers a lecture discussing his fantastic book "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" at the University of Toronto, in February, 2005.

Loss Aversion and Seller Behaviour: Evidence from the Housing Market
In this 2001 Quarterly Journal of Economics, Associate Professor at the Department of Economics Hebrew University of Jerusalem, David Genesove, and his co-author, Economist and Senior Vice Dean of Columbia Business School and Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Christopher Mayer, discuss non-rational behaviour of sellers who are selling at a loss.  
 
C.G. Jung - death is not the end
Carl Gustav Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist, influential thinker, and founder of analytical psychology. Here he speaks about Death and the Human Psyche.