Character  &  Context

The Science of Who We Are and How We Relate
Editors: Mark Leary, Shira Gabriel, Brett Pelham
Jun 22, 2015

Psychology News Round-Up (March 14th)

Image of newspapers shaped to spell the word News
Photo courtesy littlelostrobot

By Dave Nussbaum

Photo courtesy littlelostrobot

David Pizarro (@peez) gives a talk at the Edge conference about how people misapply social and moral intuitions to objects that don’t have intentions. Some insightful follow-up questions from Daniel Kahneman, Sendhil Mullainathan, and Josh Knobe.

“…we see intentionality in agency where there is none at all. So we’re quick to think that even a machine—a vending machine that doesn’t deliver, that doesn’t dispense what I order is angering me—and in some way I am making a judgment of moral blame, when, in fact, there is absolutely no intentionality there.”

“rationality should be considered anything that is in the service of helping people pursue their goals. And so it is rational for people to support any policy that furthers their goals – whatever those goals may be.”

if you cannot be happy without knowing, then i don’t think you’re cut out for science.  some people need to know.  that is fine.  but those people should not become scientists, and especially not social scientists.  predicting human behavior is not for the faint of heart.  you must be prepared to be wrong, and wrong again, and again, and again. richard feynman seems to have been an extremely happy man. knowledge is not necessary for happiness.

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Everything that people think, feel, and do is affected by some combination of their personal characteristics and features of the social context they are in at the time. Character & Context explores the latest insights about human behavior from research in personality and social psychology, the scientific field that studies the causes of everyday behaviors.  

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