Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Locked-in individuals do not experience the anguish and turmoil that this horrifying situation would lead observers to expect

Phenomenology of the Locked-In Syndrome: an Overview and Some Suggestions. Fernando Vidal. Neuroethics,

Abstract: There is no systematic knowledge about how individuals with Locked-in Syndrome (LIS) experience their situation. A phenomenology of LIS, in the sense of a description of subjective experience as lived by the ill persons themselves, does not yet exist as an organized endeavor. The present article takes a step in that direction by reviewing various materials and making some suggestions. First-person narratives provide the most important sources, but very few have been discussed. LIS barely appears in bioethics and neuroethics. Research on Quality of Life (QOL) provides relevant information, one questionnaire study explores the sense of personal continuity in LIS patients, and LIS has been used as a test case of theories in “embodied cognition” and to explore issues in the phenomenology of illness and communication. A systematic phenomenology of LIS would draw on these different areas: while some deal directly with subjective experience, others throw light on its psychological, sociocultural and materials conditions. Such an undertaking can contribute to the improvement of care and QOL, and help inform philosophical questions, such as those concerning the properties that define persons, the conditions of their identity and continuity, or the dynamics of embodiment and intersubjectivity.

Keywords: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) Illness narratives Locked-in syndrome (LIS) Personhood Phenomenology Quality of life (QOL)

Check also Wandering thoughts about consciousness, the brain, and the commentary system of Larry Weiskrantz. Giovanni Berlucchi. Neuropsychologia,
locked-in patients are not particularly distressed by their huge behavioral limitations [...] the emotional balance is shifted toward positive emotions

Forecasting tournaments & epistemic humility: Turning polarized beliefs to nuanced probability judgments, incentivizing people to be flexible belief updaters whose views converge in response to facts, depolarizing debates

Forecasting tournaments, epistemic humility and attitude depolarization. Barbara Mellers, PhilipTetlock, Hal R. Arkes. Cognition,

Abstract: People often express political opinions in starkly dichotomous terms, such as “Trump will either trigger a ruinous trade war or save U.S. factory workers from disaster.” This mode of communication promotes polarization into ideological in-groups and out-groups. We explore the power of an emerging methodology, forecasting tournaments, to encourage clashing factions to do something odd: to translate their beliefs into nuanced probability judgments and track accuracy over time and questions. In theory, tournaments advance the goals of “deliberative democracy” by incentivizing people to be flexible belief updaters whose views converge in response to facts, thus depolarizing unnecessarily polarized debates. We examine the hypothesis that, in the process of thinking critically about their beliefs, tournament participants become more moderate in their own political attitudes and those they attribute to the other side. We view tournaments as belonging to a broader class of psychological inductions that increase epistemic humility and that include asking people to explore alternative perspectives, probing the depth of their cause-effect understanding and holding them accountable to audiences with difficult-to-guess views.

There was no evidence for a positive association between partner similarity & the three well-being measures; they discuss the implications of this finding for our understanding of partner choice & divorce

Verbakel, Ellen, and Christiaan W. S. Monden. 2018. “Higher Well-being with Similar Partner? Testing the Similarity Hypothesis for Socio-demographic Characteristics.” SocArXiv. July 5. doi:10.31235/

Abstract: Studies on marriage and divorce often assume, explicitly or implicitly, that there is a positive relationship between partner similarity and well-being. We test this similarity hypothesis: do individuals who share more socio-demographic characteristics with their partners report higher well-being than individuals whose partners are less similar? We analyzed information on more than 2,300 married and cohabiting couples aged 18-50 from the UK Understanding Society wave 1 survey. Three dimensions of well-being were assessed: relationship quality, life satisfaction and psychological distress. We examined similarity on seven characteristics separately and as an index of similarity: age, father’s class, education, ethnicity, religiosity, native language, and parental divorce. The results provided no support for the similarity hypothesis: there was no evidence for a positive association between partner similarity and the three well-being measures. We discuss the implications of this finding for our understanding of partner choice and divorce.

Future clarity—the extent to which the future seems vivid and certain—is associated with the inclination to consume healthy food, abstain from cigarettes, participate in physical activity, & experience positive emotions

Look into the crystal ball: Can vivid images of the future enhance physical health? Simon A Moss et al. Journal of Health Psychology,

Abstract: Many impulsive behaviors, unpleasant emotions, and misguided cognitions increase the incidence of type 2 diabetes and other conditions. This study tests the premise that such risk factors are inversely related to future clarity—the extent to which the future seems vivid and certain. Specifically, 211 participants completed the measures of future clarity and various determinants of health. Future clarity was positively associated with the inclination of participants to consume healthy food, abstain from cigarettes, participate in physical activity, and experience positive emotions. Future research should examine whether interventions designed to help individuals clarify and pursue their aspirations could stem lifestyle diseases.

Keywords: emotions, healthy behavior, physical activity, quasi-experiment, smoking

People infuse their passwords with autobiographical information; some people do it as mementos to cue autobiographical information

People infuse their passwords with autobiographical information. Robbie J. Taylor & Maryanne Garry. Memory,

ABSTRACT: Passwords might unlock more than our computer accounts. A New York Times Magazine described anecdotes of people who infused their passwords with autobiographical information [Urbina, I. (2014, November 20). The Secret Life of Passwords. New York Times. Retrieved from]. We suspected people infused their passwords with autobiographical information so they could privately remember that information. Across two studies we took a systematic approach to address the extent to which people infused passwords with autobiographical information and the functions that information served. We also examined the self-reported consequences of people infusing their passwords with autobiographical information. Across both studies, 41.6–71.1% of people infused their passwords with autobiographical memories; in Study 2, 9.3% of people infused their passwords with episodic future thoughts. People who infused their password with autobiographical information reported that information served identity, social, and directive functions, and they created their password to remember that information. These studies show that people do not simply use passwords to unlock their computer accounts. Some people might use passwords as mementos to cue autobiographical information.

KEYWORDS: Autobiographical memory, password, episodic future thought

We perceive good luck itself, rather than material goods, as a limited resource; there is a limited amount of good luck to get, and if another is lucky, he is robbing us

Marciano, Deborah, Eden Krispin, Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde, and Leon Deouell. 2018. “Limited Resources or Limited Luck? Why People Perceive an Illusory Negative Correlation Between the Outcomes of Choice Options Despite Unequivocal Evidence for Independence.” PsyArXiv. October 30. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: When humans learn of the outcome of an option they did not choose (the alternative outcome), before their own outcome is known, they form biased expectations about their future reward. Specifically, people see an illusory negative correlation between the two outcomes, which we coined the Alternative Omen Effect (ALOE). Why does this happen? Here, we tested several alternative explanations and conclude that the ALOE may derive from a pervasive belief that good luck is a limited resource. In Experiment 1, we show that the ALOE is due to people seeing a good alternative outcome as a bad sign regarding their outcome, but not vice versa. Experiment 2 confirms that the ALOE is a highly ingrained bias that replicates across tasks, and that the ALOE cannot be explained by preconceptions regarding outcome distribution, including 1) the Limited Good Hypothesis (zero-sum bias), according to which people see the world as a zero-sum game, and assume that resources there means fewer resources here, and/or 2) a more specific assumption that laboratory tasks are programmed as zero-sum games. To neutralize these potential beliefs, participants had to draw actual colored beads from two real, distinct bags. In spite of the unequivocal situational evidence of the independence of the two resources, we found a strong ALOE. Finally, in Experiment 3, we tested the Limited Luck Hypothesis: by eliminating the value of the outcomes we eliminated the ALOE. These results suggest that individuals perceive good luck itself, rather than material goods, as a limited resource. We discuss how the Limited Luck belief might explain a wide range of behaviors traditionally associated with the Limited Good belief.