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Hermione comments on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) - Less Wrong

25 Post author: orthonormal 26 December 2011 10:57PM

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Comment author: Hermione 23 February 2012 01:54:42PM 10 points [-]

Hi there. I'm Hermione (yes, really). I went to my first LW meetup recently and I'm now working on the Rationality Curriculum, so it feels like time to introduce myself and start getting involved in discussions.

There are a lot of things I'd be interested in talking about. I only found LW a couple of months ago so I'm trying to level up in rationality and work out how to teach others to do so at the same time. I'll probably be posting about this and asking for advice. Has anyone written about their experiences of reading the sequences for the first time? Should I try and absorb things really quickly, or is it better to take it slowly, and if so, what comes first? That kind of thing.

I've also been inspired by Alicorn's Luminosity sequence and have been piloting a beeper experiment, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi style. In order to understand myself and my moods better, I've been recording what I'm doing and how I feel at random times (3x/day). I'd like to improve the indicators I've been using. I struggle to get the right balance between quantitative (more analysable) and qualitative (more accurate). Any suggestions?

Finally, I'd really like to meet some more rationalists in person, so please PM me if you're in Brussels!

Comment author: gwern 23 February 2012 05:24:59PM 2 points [-]

I'd like to improve the indicators I've been using. I struggle to get the right balance between quantitative (more analysable) and qualitative (more accurate). Any suggestions?

I am slowly setting up a self-experiment with lithium focusing on mood, so I'm interested in the same question. Seth Roberts suggested I rate my mood on just a 0-100 scale as opposed to the 1-5 I was using; I suggested using the Brief POMS as an apparently standard mood rating tool (and used in previous lithium studies) but I haven't heard back.

Comment author: Hermione 27 February 2012 09:32:55PM 0 points [-]

Thanks. My problem seems to be along the lines of "well, I'm happy about x but simultaneously anxious about y and kind of stressed because I only just met my deadline for blah..., so what does that aggregate to?"

I'm not sure how increasing the scale would help with that, but I followed the link to the POMs stuff on your website, I reckon something similar could be a good solution, though probably with different moods.

Comment author: gwern 28 February 2012 01:29:27AM 0 points [-]

Well, if each axis of happiness / anxiety / stress is equally important, then the happiness gets canceled out. And you'd wind up with a score indicating as much on the POMS.

This seems sensible to me. If the happiness wasn't being canceled out by the other two, would you really be feeling 'kind of stressed'? Wouldn't you be feeling a kind of relief or smugness - 'ha, beat the deadline again!' - or feeling of accomplishment - 'go me!' - or something positive like that?

Comment author: Kevin 23 February 2012 02:11:13PM *  1 point [-]

Hello there! With regards to better understanding your moods and indicators, I'd suggest a bit of noting meditation, or at least adding some of the different kinds of things to note to your vocabulary of moods and indicators.

http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/ Just see the lists from "First Gear".

Comment author: Hermione 27 February 2012 09:48:40PM 0 points [-]

At the moment I'm looking for something that can be done with half a brain when busy, since the beeper study interrupts me a lot. Meditation in any form seems to require quite a big investment before it yields results.Thanks for the link, though

Comment author: Kevin 28 February 2012 12:44:11AM 1 point [-]

Right, I meant that you could just add the vocabulary of noting meditation to the beeper study without actually doing the meditation.

Comment author: thomblake 23 February 2012 02:47:38PM *  0 points [-]

Welcome! Note that there are some references to "Hermione" on this site and they are probably about that other person.

Should I try and absorb things really quickly, or is it better to take it slowly, and if so, what comes first?

As a general comment, remember The Art must have a purpose other than itself. Don't assume you're more rational because you know some bias names or feel more rational. Make sure it's making a difference in your life, and if possible do that via systematic empirical study.

Comment author: Hermione 27 February 2012 09:10:52PM 0 points [-]

Hmm, thanks, that makes sense. But do you have any suggestions for indicators that would measure if I'm improving?

Comment author: thomblake 28 February 2012 02:22:57PM 3 points [-]

Sorry, I'm just here ironically to recite empty platitudes about empiricism.

But seriously, figuring out how to know that is one of the big projects here.

Comment author: Hermione 29 February 2012 01:21:15PM 1 point [-]

hah. Has anyone made any progress?

I was wondering if one could test group rationality by starting a conversation about something the group finds it hard to agree on. There are a few such topics here on LW and I'm sure there would be more if you added politics into the mix. The test would be so see whether the group could reach unanimity. I was thinking this might be a fun thing to try at the brussels meetups if they get going.

Comment author: beoShaffer 29 February 2012 04:45:13PM *  0 points [-]

Articles taged verification

Unfortuantly, the set of articles with the tag verification doesn't have a perfect correspondence to articles that would be relevant here, but its close and generally to broad rather than to narrow. http://lesswrong.com/lw/2s/3_levels_of_rationality_verification/ and the rest of it's series are probably the most important.