The Sunk Cost Fallacy
Jun28

The Sunk Cost Fallacy

To terminate a project in which $1.1 billion has been invested represents an unconscionable mishandling of taxpayers’ dollars. – Senator Jeremiah Denton, 1981 (in response to critics who showed that the total cost of this Waterway Project would be more money than it could ever make) I’m going to describe an experience that my psychophilosophy powers tells me you’ve had: Not long ago, you went out to eat and ordered a meal...

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The Invisible Influence of Cell Phones
Jun21

The Invisible Influence of Cell Phones

Cell phones are so convenient that they’re inconvenient. — Haruki Murakami If you were being mugged and had to give up either your wallet or your cell phone, which would you choose? In formulating your own answer, you probably tried to determine which of those two items was more replaceable (or rather, why the mugger was only asking for one of them…). For many people, their phone has become more indispensable than the...

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Choice Blindness
Jun14

Choice Blindness

When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice. — William James (the father of psychology) The other day, my girlfriend had a photoshoot, and she asked for my opinion on which of two shirts to wear. With my advanced degree in boyfriendology, I provided a very thoughtful response. As the actual photoshoot neared, however, my girlfriend again asked for my preference, and once more, I pointed to...

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Improve Yourself with One Word
May31

Improve Yourself with One Word

Mind is a flexible mirror, adjust it, to see a better world. — Amit Ray I have a question for you: When that voice inside your head tries to get you motivated, does it say things like, “I can do this?” or “You can do this?” Although this may seem like a trivial difference, the research on this distinction is rather impressive. When we talk about ourselves,  we tend to use first-person pronouns (e.g., “I” or “me”). On the other...

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Robot Psychology
Apr26

Robot Psychology

We’re fascinated with robots because they are reflections of ourselves. — Ken Goldberg If you watch The Terminator, robots aren’t really that great to humans—unless being besties in the future entails enslavement and eradication. Indeed, most movies with “sentient” robots paint them somewhat malevolently (e.g., The Matrix; I, Robot; all of the other Terminator movies). In our own reality, though, even Bill Gates, Elon...

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