aetles + psychology   19

The Rise of the Video-Game Gambler | The New Yorker
As a species, we are suckers for the seemingly-inexpensive-but-secretly-costly fix. There’s hardly a parent who doesn’t worry that video games are sapping kids of the motivation to engage in more creative, intellectual, or physical activities. The New Zealand study, which appeared as a comment piece in Nature Human Behaviour, suggests that those games exact a long-term financial toll, too. Plenty of research indicates that video gamers “might be a ripe breeding ground” for gambling behaviors, the authors note, and boys, who make up the majority of gamers, are especially susceptible. Game developers, sensing a public-relations backlash, have begun removing loot boxes from their titles. But there’s still a great deal of illusory treasure to maybe, possibly, be found, and a generation of youngsters eager to hunt for it.
games  psychology  gaming  gambling  lootboxes 
7 weeks ago by Aetles
Turning your anxiety into excitement
Some recent research suggests that if you're feeling anxious, saying "I am excited" can switch your heightened emotional state from negative (anxiety) to positive (excitement).
happiness  anxiety  psychology  excitement 
july 2016 by Aetles
Why Competition Can Be Healthy For Kids | MindShift | KQED News
Competition. The word conjures images of people pushing and shoving, trash talking, the exulted winner standing above a field of downtrodden losers. Not exactly what most parents consider healthy or constructive for their kids’ development.

Po Bronson presented a very different picture of competition when he spoke with Michael Krasny on KQED’s Forum about Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing, his latest book written with co-author Ashley Merryman.

The book examines competition from all angles – physiological, psychological, historical. Their main point: competition, if done right, is a good thing. In fact, competition and team activities can drive learning and performance better than solo endeavors.

“In finite games, you compete and then you let it go, and you have rest and recuperation – that’s actually really important for kids.”
The performance-enhancing effects of competition and teams do not apply only at elite levels such as the Olympics or in physical match-ups. Competitions held in classrooms and lunch rooms across the country also push kids to do better.
children  psychology  training  competing  competition 
june 2016 by Aetles
newsletter | Brain Pickings
Brain Pickings has a free weekly interestingness digest. It comes out on Sunday mornings and offers the week’s most unmissable articles across creativity, psychology, art, science, design, philosophy, and other facets of our search for meaning.
art  science  philosophy  design  psychology  creativity 
december 2015 by Aetles
Whole Brain Creativity — Shawn Blanc
Each of us are dominant in one of these four quadrants. You, dear reader, have some strength and some weakness of all four quadrants of learning and thinking style, but one of them is your most dominant. Do you mostly thrive on: Facts and logic? Form and Safety? Feelings and relationships? Or future ideas and concepts?

However, for us to do our best creative work — work that matters — we have to operate out of all four quadrants.

Operating out of all four quadrants looks different for everyone because everyone has one or two quadrants that they are strongest in and then a few quadrants they are weaker in.

If you are a strong “Yellow” thinker, then having visionary creative solutions is probably a natural part of your everyday life. But you may have trouble when it comes time to execute on your ideas.
human  brain  psychology  work  creativity 
august 2015 by Aetles
Procrastination vs. impatience
In one ingenious experiment, Oettingen had some of the participants rendered mildly dehydrated. They were then taken through an exercise that involved visualising drinking a refreshing, icy glass of water, while others took part in a different exercise. The dehydrated water-visualisers -- contrary to the self-help doctrine of motivation through visualisation -- experienced a significant reduction in their energy levels, as measured by blood pressure. Far from becoming more motivated to hydrate themselves, their bodies relaxed, as if their thirst were already quenched. In experiment after experiment, people responded to positive visualisation by relaxing. They seemed, subconsciously, to have confused visualising success with having already achieved it.
humans  psychology 
august 2015 by Aetles
How Successful People Stay Calm — Medium
Research from the University of California, Berkeley, reveals an upside to experiencing moderate levels of stress. But it also reinforces how important it is to keep stress under control. The study, led by post-doctoral fellow Elizabeth Kirby, found that the onset of stress entices the brain into growing new cells responsible for improved memory. However, this effect is only seen when stress is intermittent. As soon as the stress continues beyond a few moments into a prolonged state, it suppresses the brain’s ability to develop new cells.

“I think intermittent stressful events are probably what keeps the brain more alert, and you perform better when you are alert,” Kirby says. For animals, intermittent stress is the bulk of what they experience, in the form of physical threats in their immediate environment. Long ago, this was also the case for humans. As the human brain evolved and increased in complexity, we’ve developed the ability to worry and perseverate on events, which creates frequent experiences of prolonged stress.

Besides increasing your risk of heart disease, depression, and obesity, stress decreases your cognitive performance. Fortunately, though, unless a lion is chasing you, the bulk of your stress is subjective and under your control. Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ under stressful circumstances. This lowers their stress levels regardless of what’s happening in their environment, ensuring that the stress they experience is intermittent and not prolonged.

While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that successful people employ when faced with stress, what follows are ten of the best. Some of these strategies may seem obvious, but the real challenge lies in recognizing when you need to use them and having the wherewithal to actually do so in spite of your stress.
stress  health  life  work  family  psychology  depression 
april 2015 by Aetles
The Talented Mr. Schuman: Love & Mistaken Identity in the Internet Age | Observer
I fell for a guy who didn't exist and so did several other women -- until we got to the bottom of a sick person's strange fetish
dating  psychology  Internet 
march 2015 by Aetles
Rob Delaney — On Depression & Getting Help
I deal with suicidal, unipolar depression and I take medication daily to treat it. Over the past seven years, I’ve had two episodes that were severe and during which I thought almost exclusively of suicide. I did not eat much and lost weight during these episodes. I couldn’t sleep at all, didn’t even think about sex, and had constant diarrhea. The first thing I did each morning was vomit. My mind played one thought over and over, which was “Kill yourself.” It was also accompanied by a constant, thrumming pain that I felt through my whole body. I describe the physical symptoms because it helps to understand that real depression isn’t just a “mood.” These two episodes were the most difficult experiences of my life, by a wide margin, and I did not know if I would make it through them. To illustrate how horrible it was, being in jail in a wheelchair with four broken limbs after the car accident that prompted me to get sober eight years ago was much, much easier and less painful. That isn’t an exxageration and I hope it helps people understand clinical depression better; I’m saying that I would rather be in jail in a wheelchair with a body that doesn’t work than experience a severe episode of depression.
depression  psychology  health 
august 2014 by Aetles
News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier | Media | The Guardian
In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don't really concern our lives and don't require thinking. That's why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-coloured candies for the mind. Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years ago in regard to food. We are beginning to recognise how toxic news can be.
health  news  psychology 
december 2013 by Aetles
Gamasutra: Ramin Shokrizade's Blog - The Top F2P Monetization Tricks
A coercive monetization model depends on the ability to “trick” a person into making a purchase with incomplete information, or by hiding that information such that while it is technically available, the brain of the consumer does not access that information. Hiding a purchase can be as simple as disguising the relationship between the action and the cost as I describe in my Systems of Control in F2P paper.

Research has shown that putting even one intermediate currency between the consumer and real money, such as a “game gem” (premium currency), makes the consumer much less adept at assessing the value of the transaction. Additional intermediary objects, what I call “layering”, makes it even harder for the brain to accurately assess the situation, especially if there is some additional stress applied.
business  games  psychology  appstore  iap 
july 2013 by Aetles
Coding, Fast and Slow: Developers and the Psychology of Overconfidence
So what do we do? Just accept that all our projects are doomed to failure? That we’ll have poisoned relationships with the rest of the business, because we’ll always be failing to meet our promises?

The key is that you first accept that making accurate long-term estimates is fundamentally impossible. Once you’ve done that, you can tackle a challenge which, though extremely difficult, can be met: how you can your dev team generate a ton of value, even though you can not make meaningful long-term estimates?

What we’ve arrived at is basically a first-principles explanation of why the various Agile approaches have taken over the world. I’ll get into more detail on that in a later post: “No Deadlines For You! How To Help Business Owners Love You, Even Though You Will Make No Commitments”.
programming  psychology  projectmanagement 
april 2013 by Aetles
Ray Kurzweil does not understand the brain – Pharyngula
We cannot derive the brain from the protein sequences underlying it; the sequences are insufficient, as well, because the nature of their expression is dependent on the environment and the history of a few hundred billion cells, each plugging along interdependently. We haven’t even solved the sequence-to-protein-folding problem, which is an essential first step to executing Kurzweil’s clueless algorithm. And we have absolutely no way to calculate in principle all the possible interactions and functions of a single protein with the tens of thousands of other proteins in the cell!

Let me give you a few specific examples of just how wrong Kurzweil’s calculations are. Here are a few proteins that I plucked at random from the NIH database; all play a role in the human brain.
psychology  brain  research 
january 2013 by Aetles
adam brault: I quit Twitter for a month and it completely changed my thinking about mostly everything.
So—great, right? What’s the problem?

Well, in general, it’s a very good thing. It helps people connect and build relationships in sometimes an even more meaningful way than they might in person, given that some folks (like me) communicate their thoughts and feelings more openly in writing than verbally—plus, it’s asynchronous.

But the problem that occurs is that it can be a huge mental lease we’re signing when we invite a few hundred people into our Twitter life. To some degree, it is choosing to subject ourselves to thousands of ads throughout the day, but ones that come from trusted sources we care about, so they’re actually impactful.

Even if the people we know aren’t explicitly selling things (not that there’s anything wrong with that) or Promoting their Personal Brand™ (there is everything wrong with that), we’re still choosing to accept their stream of one-second ads with *some* kind of message all day.

We’ve surrendered a massive amount of mental and emotional energy without making the explicit choice to do so—it’s simply imposed on us by subscribing to the channel and checking it.

If someone I know is going through a very rough personal time, I want to be there for them in a way that’s useful to them. Exposing myself to their pain all day is not useful for me or them in the same way it helps no one to watch TV news all day. Yes, now I’m aware of all the things that are wrong with the world, but I’m now overwhelmed and, as a result, ever more powerless to do anything about the things I *can*.

Mentally, we just aren’t capable of simultaneously empathizing with hundreds of people—let alone thousands or millions. The result is we either build up a calloused, jaded, or cynical defense against empathy or find a way to block out more.
twitter  productivity  psychology 
december 2012 by Aetles
Why Waiting in Line Is Torture - NYTimes.com
SOME years ago, executives at a Houston airport faced a troubling customer-relations issue. Passengers were lodging an inordinate number of complaints about the long waits at baggage claim. In response, the executives increased the number of baggage handlers working that shift. The plan worked: the average wait fell to eight minutes, well within industry benchmarks. But the complaints persisted.

Puzzled, the airport executives undertook a more careful, on-site analysis. They found that it took passengers a minute to walk from their arrival gates to baggage claim and seven more minutes to get their bags. Roughly 88 percent of their time, in other words, was spent standing around waiting for their bags.

So the airport decided on a new approach: instead of reducing wait times, it moved the arrival gates away from the main terminal and routed bags to the outermost carousel. Passengers now had to walk six times longer to get their bags. Complaints dropped to near zero.

This story hints at a general principle: the experience of waiting, whether for luggage or groceries, is defined only partly by the objective length of the wait.
psychology  waiting  lines  disney 
august 2012 by Aetles
Pics and you assume it did happen | Ars Technica
The authors, based in New Zealand and Canada, performed an "alive or dead" test, showing the names of minor celebrities and asking undergraduates whether the person was still alive. In half the cases, they also showed a photo of the person. When the photo was present, people were more likely to answer that the statement was true.

The obvious explanation for this is that none of the photos were of a corpse, and seeing a person alive would almost certainly bias the participants toward thinking the person was alive. So, they switched the questions, asking another group whether they thought the person was dead. As it turned out, the photo also caused people to evaluate the statement as true, and answer that the person was no longer alive.

To make sure this didn't only work with people, the authors switched to true/false trivia questions, like the macadamia example mentioned above. Again, photos (in this case, images of the subject of the question) caused people to answer "true" more often than they did in a control quiz. And it wasn't just images. They could get a similar effect by reading a short description of the person in question.
ars  science  psychology 
august 2012 by Aetles
I Think You're Fat - Esquire
What I mentioned to my boss was this: a movement called Radical Honesty.

The movement was founded by a sixty-six-year-old Virginia-based psychotherapist named Brad Blanton. He says everybody would be happier if we just stopped lying. Tell the truth, all the time. This would be radical enough -- a world without fibs -- but Blanton goes further. He says we should toss out the filters between our brains and our mouths. If you think it, say it. Confess to your boss your secret plans to start your own company. If you're having fantasies about your wife's sister, Blanton says to tell your wife and tell her sister. It's the only path to authentic relationships. It's the only way to smash through modernity's soul-deadening alienation. Oversharing? No such thing.

Yes. I know. One of the most idiotic ideas ever, right up there with Vanilla Coke and giving Phil Spector a gun permit. Deceit makes our world go round. Without lies, marriages would crumble, workers would be fired, egos would be shattered, governments would collapse.

And yet...maybe there's something to it. Especially for me. I have a lying problem. Mine aren't big lies. They aren't lies like "I cannot recall that crucial meeting from two months ago, Senator." Mine are little lies. White lies. Half-truths. The kind we all tell. But I tell dozens of them every day. "Yes, let's definitely get together soon." "I'd love to, but I have a touch of the stomach flu." "No, we can't buy a toy today -- the toy store is closed." It's bad. Maybe a couple of weeks of truth-immersion therapy would do me good.
psychology 
may 2012 by Aetles
Teller Reveals His Secrets | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian Magazine
I remember an experiment I did at the age of 11. My test subjects were Cub Scouts. My hypothesis (that nobody would see me sneak a fishbowl under a shawl) proved false and the Scouts pelted me with hard candy. If I could have avoided those welts by visiting an MRI lab, I surely would have.

But magic’s not easy to pick apart with machines, because it’s not really about the mechanics of your senses. Magic’s about understanding—and then manipulating—how viewers digest the sensory information.

I think you’ll see what I mean if I teach you a few principles magicians employ when they want to alter your perceptions.
magic  magician  teller  penandteller  psychology 
february 2012 by Aetles

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