nhaliday + embodied-cognition   48

Moravec's paradox - Wikipedia
Moravec's paradox is the discovery by artificial intelligence and robotics researchers that, contrary to traditional assumptions, high-level reasoning requires very little computation, but low-level sensorimotor skills require enormous computational resources. The principle was articulated by Hans Moravec, Rodney Brooks, Marvin Minsky and others in the 1980s. As Moravec writes, "it is comparatively easy to make computers exhibit adult level performance on intelligence tests or playing checkers, and difficult or impossible to give them the skills of a one-year-old when it comes to perception and mobility".[1]

Similarly, Minsky emphasized that the most difficult human skills to reverse engineer are those that are unconscious. "In general, we're least aware of what our minds do best", he wrote, and added "we're more aware of simple processes that don't work well than of complex ones that work flawlessly".[2]

...

One possible explanation of the paradox, offered by Moravec, is based on evolution. All human skills are implemented biologically, using machinery designed by the process of natural selection. In the course of their evolution, natural selection has tended to preserve design improvements and optimizations. The older a skill is, the more time natural selection has had to improve the design. Abstract thought developed only very recently, and consequently, we should not expect its implementation to be particularly efficient.

As Moravec writes:

Encoded in the large, highly evolved sensory and motor portions of the human brain is a billion years of experience about the nature of the world and how to survive in it. The deliberate process we call reasoning is, I believe, the thinnest veneer of human thought, effective only because it is supported by this much older and much more powerful, though usually unconscious, sensorimotor knowledge. We are all prodigious olympians in perceptual and motor areas, so good that we make the difficult look easy. Abstract thought, though, is a new trick, perhaps less than 100 thousand years old. We have not yet mastered it. It is not all that intrinsically difficult; it just seems so when we do it.[3]

A compact way to express this argument would be:

- We should expect the difficulty of reverse-engineering any human skill to be roughly proportional to the amount of time that skill has been evolving in animals.
- The oldest human skills are largely unconscious and so appear to us to be effortless.
- Therefore, we should expect skills that appear effortless to be difficult to reverse-engineer, but skills that require effort may not necessarily be difficult to engineer at all.
concept  wiki  reference  paradox  ai  intelligence  reason  instinct  neuro  psychology  cog-psych  hardness  logic  deep-learning  time  evopsych  evolution  sapiens  the-self  EEA  embodied  embodied-cognition  abstraction  universalism-particularism  gnosis-logos  robotics 
june 2018 by nhaliday
Secular decline in testosterone levels - Rogue Health and Fitness
A Population-Level Decline in Serum Testosterone Levels in American Men: http://sci-hub.tw/10.1210/jc.2006-1375
Secular trends in sex hormones and fractures in men and women: http://www.eje-online.org/content/166/5/887.full.pdf
https://twitter.com/toad_spotted/status/984543033285898246
https://archive.is/dcruu
Small n and older sample, but interesting that while testosterone decreases have been large for men they’ve been even larger (in % terms) for women; wonder if this contributes to declining pregnancy and sexual frequency, rising depression.

https://www.labcorp.com/assets/11476
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/sperm-killers-and-rising-male-infertility/
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jul/25/sperm-counts-among-western-men-have-halved-in-last-40-years-study
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/08/most-men-in-the-us-and-europe-could-be-infertile-by-2060
Strangelove: https://youtu.be/N1KvgtEnABY?t=67

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sperm-count-dropping-in-western-world/
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14855796
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14857588
People offering human-centric explanations like cell phones: Note also that the sperm quality of dogs has decreased 30% since 1988.

mendelian rand.:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28448539
1 SD genetically instrumented increase in BMI was associated with a 0.25 SD decrease in serum testosterone
https://twitter.com/SilverVVulpes/status/857902555489341441

Ibuprofen linked to male infertility: study: https://nypost.com/2018/01/08/ibuprofen-linked-to-male-infertility-study/
http://www.pnas.org/content/115/4/E715.full

Tucker Carlson: "Men Seem To Be Becoming Less Male": https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/03/08/tucker_carlson_men_seem_to_be_becoming_less_male.html
Carlson interviewed Dr. Jordan Peterson who blamed the "insidious" movement being driven by the "radical left" that teaches there a problem of "toxic masculinity." He said ideological policies focus on "de-emphasizing masculinity may be part of the problem."

...

Those are the numbers. They paint a very clear picture: American men are failing, in body, mind and spirit. This is a crisis. Yet our leaders pretend it’s not happening. They tell us the opposite is true: Women are victims, men are oppressors. To question that assumption is to risk punishment. Even as women far outpace men in higher education, virtually every college campus supports a women’s studies department, whose core goal is to attack male power. Our politicians and business leaders internalize and amplify that message. Men are privileged. Women are oppressed. Hire and promote and reward accordingly.

https://pinboard.in/u:nhaliday/b:bd7b0a50d741
But it also hints at an almost opposite take: average testosterone levels have been falling for decades, so at this point these businessmen would be the only “normal” (by 1950s standards) men out there, and everyone else would be unprecedently risk-averse and boring.
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may 2017 by nhaliday
Whole Health Source: The Glycemic Index: A Critical Evaluation
Overall, these studies do not support the idea that lowering the glycemic index of carbohydrate foods is useful for weight loss, insulin or glucose control, or anything else besides complicating your life. I'll keep my finger on the pulse of this research as it expands, but for the time being I don't see the glycemic index per se as a significant way to combat fat gain or metabolic disease.
critique  concept  diet  nutrition  stamina  embodied-cognition  embodied  health  taubes-guyenet  org:health  contrarianism  fitsci  obesity  metrics 
march 2017 by nhaliday
Placebo interventions for all clinical conditions. - PubMed - NCBI
We did not find that placebo interventions have important clinical effects in general. However, in certain settings placebo interventions can influence patient-reported outcomes, especially pain and nausea, though it is difficult to distinguish patient-reported effects of placebo from biased reporting. The effect on pain varied, even among trials with low risk of bias, from negligible to clinically important. Variations in the effect of placebo were partly explained by variations in how trials were conducted and how patients were informed.

How much of the placebo 'effect' is really statistical regression?: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6369471
Statistical regression to the mean predicts that patients selected for abnormalcy will, on the average, tend to improve. We argue that most improvements attributed to the placebo effect are actually instances of statistical regression. First, whereas older clinical trials susceptible to regression resulted in a marked improvement in placebo-treated patients, in a modern series of clinical trials whose design tended to protect against regression, we found no significant improvement (median change 0.3 per cent, p greater than 0.05) in placebo-treated patients.

Placebo effects are weak: regression to the mean is the main reason ineffective treatments appear to work: http://www.dcscience.net/2015/12/11/placebo-effects-are-weak-regression-to-the-mean-is-the-main-reason-ineffective-treatments-appear-to-work/

A radical new hypothesis in medicine: give patients drugs they know don’t work: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/6/1/15711814/open-label-placebo-kaptchuk
People on no treatment got about 30 percent better. And people who were given an open-label placebo got 60 percent improvement in the adequate relief of their irritable bowel syndrome.

Surgery Is One Hell Of A Placebo: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/surgery-is-one-hell-of-a-placebo/
study  psychology  social-psych  medicine  meta:medicine  contrarianism  evidence-based  embodied-cognition  intervention  illusion  realness  meta-analysis  multi  science  stats  replication  gelman  regularizer  thinking  regression-to-mean  methodology  insight  hmm  news  org:data  org:lite  interview  tricks  drugs  cost-benefit  health  ability-competence  chart 
march 2017 by nhaliday
The Gut-Brain Axis in Healthy Females: Lack of Significant Association between Microbial Composition and Diversity with Psychiatric Measures
We found no significant associations between microbial markers of gut composition and diversity and scores on psychiatric measures of anxiety, depression, eating-related thoughts and behaviors, stress, or personality in a large cohort of healthy adult females
study  psychology  cog-psych  parasites-microbiome  embodied-cognition  regularizer  psychiatry  disease  correlation  epidemiology  null-result 
january 2017 by nhaliday
The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality | Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) | US EPA
In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. Other research indicates that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. Thus, for many people, the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors.
advice  atmosphere  environment  urban  embodied-cognition  org:gov  urban-rural 
november 2016 by nhaliday
Investigation of PM2.5 and carbon dioxide levels in urban homes. - PubMed - NCBI
measured in Alexandria, Egypt

The indoor/outdoor (I/O) ratios of the monitored homes varied from 0.73 to 1.65 with average value of 0.99 ± 0.26 for PM2.5, whereas those for CO₂ranged from 1.13 to 1.66 with average value of 1.41 ± 0.15. Indoor sources and personal activities, including smoking and cooking, were found to significantly influence indoor levels.
PMID
study  environment  health  embodied  embodied-cognition  data  objektbuch  embodied-street-fighting  atmosphere  urban  MENA  urban-rural 
november 2016 by nhaliday
A sobering thought | West Hunter
All this has an obvious implication that I have never seen discussed. If breathing two atmosphere of nitrogen is like having one drink, what would people be like if they were breathing a zero-nitrogen mixture? The natural conclusion is that they would be one drink under sober. Technically, they would be slightly knurd.

They should have slightly faster reflexes. Actually, this is known to be true, from studies of pilots breathing pure oxygen. In other respects, you would expect that the changes would be in the opposite direction to those caused by intoxication. Instead of a warm glow, a bit of dysphoria, Since a little narcosis causes a mild impairment in reasoning and judgment, you might see a mild improvement. This could be important, since the world suffers from a glaring shortage of good judgment.

If this idea is correct, how would we go about implementing it? Pure oxygen isn’t the right approach. The normal three pounds of O2 pressure, by itself, is too low: buildings would implode. A full atmosphere of oxygen is bad for your health. Obviously, we would want a full atmosphere of pressure, 80% helium and 20% oxygen. With that, you need to make a building airtight, but that’s all: there are no structural problem. This all costs money, so we (government and market) would provide this boon to people whose intellect and judgment are of unusual importance. The doors of Congress and the White House would be replaced by airlocks. You’d see top-notch research professors wearing breathing masks and carrying an air tank. Any professor walking across campus with a bare face would be low-status, probably a sociologist or cultural anthropologist. High-class hedge funds like Renaissance Technologies would put their whole campus under a transparent dome.

Experimental Psychologist wanted: https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2017/09/28/experimental-psychologist-wanted/
I mentioned this a few years ago: there is reason to suspect that just as an increased pressures of nitrogen has a narcotic effect, a zero-nitrogen breathing mixture [ presumably heliox] might leave you abnormally sober. On oxygen, I’ve felt something like that – anyone have the same experience?

Anyhow, someone is interested in checking this out. So I need an experimental psychologist.
west-hunter  speculation  cocktail  embodied-cognition  embodied  iq  ethanol  gedanken  troll  scitariat  atmosphere  ideas  multi  intervention  money-for-time 
november 2016 by nhaliday
Physical Activity, Fitness, Glucose Homeostasis, and Brain Morphology in Twins
twin study (N=10) shows exercise increases grey matter, lowers body fat

[Rottensteiner et al, 2016]: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.sci-hub.cc/pubmed/27112070
N=10
Inactive twins had 31% more intra-abdominal fat than their active co-twins (mean difference 0.52 kg, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.91, P = 0.016), whereas the difference in subcutaneous abdominal fat was only 13% (P = 0.21) and 3% in body mass index (P = 0.28). Intraperitoneal fat mass was 41% higher among inactive twins compared to their active co-twins (mean difference 0.41 kg, 95% CI 0.11 to 0.70, P = 0.012). Dietary intake did not differ between co-twins.

same study: https://twitter.com/timothycbates/status/880326920491106304
Visible changes to body, but zero effect of exercise on mortality (p=.94) in MZ differences lifespan studies... #BGA2017
gwern  pdf  study  fitness  health  genetics  neuro  regularizer  🐸  fitsci  embodied-cognition  variance-components  🌞  twin-study  environmental-effects  c:**  hmm  biodet  virtu  oscillation  brain-scan  intervention  multi  obesity  twitter  social  commentary  scitariat  longevity  null-result  effect-size  piracy  europe  nordic  evidence-based  human-study  solid-study 
september 2016 by nhaliday
The Influence of Glycemic Index on Cognitive Functioning: A Systematic Review of the Evidence
The primary outcome measure was the effect on cognitive function (CF) after the consumption of meals varying in GI. Eleven eligible studies were identified. The age range of the participants varied from 6 to 82 y old. Overall, the findings were inconsistent, with some studies showing benefits toward either the high-GI or the low-GI meal, others not finding any differences between the 2 meals, and other studies showing a positive or negative effect on performance on only some cognitive domain or domains after consumption of 1 of the 2 meals. A number of methodologic and confounding factors were identified that could explain these inconsistencies.
study  meta-analysis  food  health  neuro  intelligence  productivity  akrasia  evidence-based  embodied-cognition  confounding  stamina  neuro-nitgrit  replication  ego-depletion  psychology  cog-psych  discipline  solid-study 
july 2016 by nhaliday
Lead: America's Real Criminal Element | Mother Jones
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july 2016 by nhaliday
A Meta-Analysis of Blood Glucose Effects on Human Decision Making
mixed evidence for ego-depletion:
We did not find a uniform influence of blood glucose on decision making. Instead, we found that low levels of blood glucose increase the willingness to pay and willingness to work when a situation is food related, but decrease willingness to pay and work in all other situations. Low levels of blood glucose increase the future discount rate for food; that is, decision makers become more impatient, and to a lesser extent increase the future discount rate for money. Low levels of blood glucose also increase the tendency to make more intuitive rather than deliberate decisions. However, this effect was only observed in situations unrelated to food.
http://daniellakens.blogspot.nl/2017/07/impossibly-hungry-judges.html
psychology  productivity  regularizer  study  meta-analysis  pdf  cog-psych  field-study  c:***  time-preference  discipline  values  decision-making  stamina  embodied-cognition  neuro-nitgrit  replication  null-result  ego-depletion  neuro  food  self-control  solid-study  multi  street-fighting  critique  scitariat 
july 2016 by nhaliday
What if PTSD Is More Physical Than Psychological? - The New York Times
A new study supports what a small group of military researchers has suspected for decades: that modern warfare destroys the brain.

https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2018/08/18/ptsd/
You know, it shouldn’t exist. Human history and prehistory is crammed with all kind of mayhem and trauma: infant mortality, infanticide, genocidal fights with neighboring tribes. You routinely lost family and routinely killed enemies. Childbirth hurts a lot. What’s the adaptive strategy, in all of these situations? ? Get over it.

...

But in WWI, we heard a lot about ‘shell shock’. Later, in WWII, ‘combat fatigue’ or ‘battle neurosis’. Artillery wars. I would guess that what actually happened was a combination of people finding a way to avoid getting killed, and brain damage due to nearby explosions. After experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus football and boxing, people are thinking seriously about those explosions as a cause of PTSD.

Psychology in the 20th century looked for environmental causes of mental problems – toilet training, ‘refrigerator mothers’, ‘absent father/overprotective mother’, ‘double binds’. And of other social problems: school could make you smart or dumb, kids were ‘depraved because they were deprived’, blah blah.

As far as I can tell they were entirely wrong. Genetics and physical trauma ( which includes iodine shortages). No real sign that they were right about those other problems either: certainly interesting that the programs designed to ameliorate those problems, based on the standard environmental assumptions, never, ever work.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/07/25/sports/football/nfl-cte.html
A neuropathologist has examined the brains of 111 N.F.L. players — and 110 were found to have C.T.E., the degenerative disease linked to repeated blows to the head.
neuro  medicine  :/  war  military  hmm  cocktail  embodied-cognition  🌞  org:rec  psychiatry  biodet  embodied  safety  brain-scan  multi  fighting  sports  roots  thinking  being-right  darwinian  evolution  evopsych  west-hunter  scitariat  volo-avolo  strategy  environmental-effects  realness  equilibrium  explanans  track-record  social-science  psychology  cog-psych  error  EGT  EEA  history  antiquity  death  nihil  order-disorder  mostly-modern  world-war 
june 2016 by nhaliday
What is up with carbon dioxide and cognition? An offer - Less Wrong Discussion
study: http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1104789/
n=22, p-values < .001 generally, no multiple comparisons or anything, right?
chart: http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/ehp.1104789.g002.png
- note it's CO2 not oxygen that's relevant
- some interesting debate in comments about whether you would find similar effects for similar levels of variation in oxygen, implications for high-altitude living, etc.
- CO2 levels can range quite to quite high levels indoors (~1500, and even ~7000 in some of Gwern's experiments); this seems to be enough to impact cognition to a significant degree
- outdoor air quality often better than indoor even in urban areas (see other studies)

the solution: houseplants, http://lesswrong.com/lw/nk0/what_is_up_with_carbon_dioxide_and_cognition_an/d956

https://twitter.com/menangahela/status/965167009083379712
https://archive.is/k0I0U
except that environmental instability tends to be harder on more 'complex' adaptations and co2 ppm directly correlates with decreased effectiveness of cognition-enhancing traits vis chronic low-grade acidosis
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may 2016 by nhaliday

bundles : embodiedgrowththinking

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