Friday, February 13, 2015

This Week in EID - Episode 41

First, we have a big announcement in EID.  I mentioned last week that Keith was stepping down as site manager and overall critical resource.  It will be really hard to replace him, but we have a candidate willing to take on the role.  Please help me in welcoming France Jackson.  She will be posting an introduction to herself on the site so I won’t steal any of her thunder by doing it here. 

Now – On to the weekly recap.

Three of the four articles this week involved cognitive science.  The one I found most fascinating is the piece on all of the different kinds of mental simulation by the team at Harvard.  It makes total sense that these would all happen in the same brain areas.  It also goes a long way to explaining consciousness – which is the grand challenge of both psychology and philosophy.  If you have any interest in philosophy of consciousness, read this one!

The one that got the most interest was the piece on the Dunning-Kruger effect.  It explains a lot of the politicians in Washington I am sorry to say.  The basic idea is that people who are completely ignorant wind up being the most confident that they are correct.  It crops up in school, finance, medicine, and yes, unfortunately, politics.

The exception was the piece on the usability of legal documents that apply to everyday users who generally have no clue what most of it means.  In many cases, it never comes back to haunt us.  Unless you are a victim of credit card theft, fraudulent charges, or outright identity theft, many of the details in your credit card agreement don’t apply.  Except of course for the interest rate, which is the one datum that we do notice right away.  But the importance of these agreements is for those times when they do matter.  And then, the fact that we never read them can come back to haunt us.