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Comment author: HungryHippo 16 March 2017 01:50:47PM 0 points [-]

They tried to show, they got a different answer, they showed it anyway.

This is very admirable! Especially on such a politically charged topic.

Comment author: ingive 03 March 2017 11:36:31AM 0 points [-]

Yes, you are right. I'm sorry. The weight loss per day slows down over time. I wish I knew math so I could say what that curve is.

Comment author: HungryHippo 03 March 2017 09:22:20PM *  1 point [-]

Under the assumption that your daily energy expenditure is a constant proportional to your bodyweight, the resulting curve is similar to exponential decay, ~exp(-c*t).

Think radioactive material, except that instead of decaying all the way towards zero atoms, one's weightloss would stop at a bodyweight consistent with an energy expenditure equal to the energy input from the diet.

Note that this is a pretty bold assumption with many caveats.

Comment author: chaosmage 22 February 2017 11:56:52AM 5 points [-]

Here's a nifty little trick Sam Harris shared in his recent AMA.

When someone says they don't believe something that you believe and consider to be obvious...

(Examples: "I don't think Trump is a pathological liar" - "I don't think ISIS is motivated by Islam")

...ask them for the counterfactual that would convince them the proposition was true.

(Examples: "What would Trump have to do that would make you think he is a pathological liar?" - "What would ISIS have to do to convince you they are motivated by Islam?")

Comment author: HungryHippo 23 February 2017 02:04:15PM *  0 points [-]

When I listend to his AMA, I noticed this line as well. It's a really clever "tool for thinking" that deserves to be noticed.

There's an interview with Dawkins somewhere where he mentions an anecdote about Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein is supposed to have said "Why did people ever believe that the sun revolves around the earth?", and his interlocutor supposedly answered: "Well, obviously it's because it looks like the sun is revolving around the earth." Then Wittgenstein whips out the counterfactual: "Well, what would it have looked like if it looked like the earth revolves around the sun?".

And the answer is obviously: exactly the same, lol!

Comment author: username2 13 February 2017 04:22:46PM 2 points [-]

Are there interesting youtubers lesswrong is subscribed to ? I never really used youtube and after watching history of japan I get the feeling I'm missing out on some stuff.

Comment author: HungryHippo 15 February 2017 04:54:09PM 1 point [-]

The "Web of Stories" channel has interviews with notable scientists (Freeman Dyson, Marvin Minsky, John Maynard Smith, etc.).

Comment author: HungryHippo 21 December 2016 04:32:32PM 1 point [-]

Thank you for this reference!

Sharpening Your Forecasting Skills, Link

Are there any case histories of how superforcaster work, where they "show their work" as it were?

Comment author: HungryHippo 20 December 2016 05:55:18PM *  4 points [-]

Very interesting article!

I'm incidentally re-reading "Feeling Good" and parts of it deal with situations exactly like the ones Oshun-Kid is in.

From Chapter 6 ("Verbal Judo: How to talk back when you're under the fire of criticism"), I quote:

Here’s how it works. When another person criticizes you, certain negative thoughts are automatically triggered in your head. Your emotional reaction will be created by these thoughts and not by what the other person says. The thoughts which upset you will invariably contain the same types of mental errors described in Chapter 3: overgeneralization, all-or-nothing thinking, the mental filter, labeling, etc. For example, let’s take a look at Art’s thoughts. His panic was the result of his catastrophic interpretation: “This criticism shows how worthless I am.” What mental errors is he making? In the first place, Art is jumping to conclusions when he arbitrarily concludes the patient’s criticism is valid and reasonable. This may or may not be the case. Furthermore, he is exaggerating the importance of whatever he actually said to the patient that may have been undiplomatic (magnification), and he is assuming he could do nothing to correct any errors in his behavior (the fortune teller error). He unrealistically predicted he would be rejected and ruined professionally because he would repeat endlessly whatever error he made with this one patient (overgeneralization). He focused exclusively on his error (the mental filter) and over-looked his numerous other therapeutic successes (disqualifying or overlooking the positive). He identified with his erroneous behavior and concluded he was a “worthless and insensitive human being” (labeling). The first step in overcoming your fear of criticism concerns your own mental processes: Learn to identify the negative thoughts you have when you are being criticized. It will be most helpful to write them down using the double-column technique described in the two previous chapters. This will enable you to analyze your thoughts and recognize where your thinking is illogical or wrong. Finally, write down rational responses that are more reasonable and less upsetting.

And quoting your article:

(You might take a moment, right now, to name the cognitive ritual the kid in the story should do (if only she knew the ritual). Or to name what you think you'd do if you found yourself in the kid's situation -- and how you would notice that you were at risk of a "buckets error".)

I would encourage Oshun-Kid to cultivate the following habit:

  1. Notice when you feel certain (negative) emotions. (E.g. anxiety, sadness, fear, frustration, boredom, stressed, depressed, self-critical, etc.) Recognizing these (sometimes fleeting) moments is a skill that you get better at as you practice.
  2. Try putting down in words (write it down!) why you feel that emotion in this situation. This too, you will get better at as you practice. These are your Automatic Thoughts. E.g. "I'm always late!".
  3. Identify the cognitive distortions present in your automatic thought. E.g. Overgeneralization, all-or-nothing thinking, catastrophizing, etc.
  4. Write down a Rational Response that is absolutely true (don't try to deceive yourself --- it doesn't work!) and also less upsetting. E.g.: I'm not literally always late! I'm sometimes late and sometimes on time. If I'm going to beat myself up for the times I'm late, I might as well feel good about myself for the times I'm on time. Etc.

Write steps 2., 3., and 4., in three columns, where you add a new row each time you notice a negative emotion.

I'm actually surprised that Cognitive Biases are focused on to a greater degree than Cognitive Distortions are in the rational community (based on google-phrase search on site:lesswrong.com), especially when Kahneman writes more or less in Thinking: Fast and Slow that being aware of cognitive biases has not made him that much better at countering them (IIRC) while CBT techniques are regularly used in therapy sessions to alleviate depression, anxiety, etc. Sometimes as effectively as in a single session.

I also have some objections as to how the teacher behaves. I think the teacher would be more effective if he said stuff like: "Wow! I really like the story! You must have worked really hard to make it! Tell me how you worked at it: did you think up the story first and then write it down, or did you think it up as you were writing it, or did you do it a different way? Do you think there are authors who do it a different way from you or in a similar way to you? Do you think it's possible to become a better writer, just like a runner becomes a faster runner or like a basketball player becomes better at basketball? How would you go about doing that to become a better author? If a basketball player makes a mistake in a game, does it always make him a bad basketball player? Do the best players always do everything perfectly, or do they sometimes make mistakes? Should you expect of yourself to always be a perfect author, or is it okay for you to sometimes make mistakes? What can you do if you discover a mistake in your writing? Is it useful to sometimes search through your writings to find mistakes you can fix? Etc."

Edit: I personally find that when tutoring someone and you notice in real time that they are making a mistake or are just about to make a mistake, it's more effective to correct them in the form of a question rather than outright saying "that's wrong" or "that's incorrect" or similar.


Pupil, saying: "... and then I multiply nine by eight and get fifty-four ..." Here, I wouldn't say: "that's a mistake." I would rather say, "hmm... is that the case?" or "is that so?" or "wait a second, what did you say that was again?" or "hold on, can you repeat that for me?". It's a bit difficult for me to translate my question-phrases from Norwegian to English, because a lot of the effect in the tone of voice. My theory for why this works is that when you say "that's wrong" or similar, you are more likely to express the emotion of disapproval at the student's actions or the student herself (and the student is more likely to read that emotion into you whether or not you express it). Whereas when you put it in the form of a question, the emotions you express are more of the form: mild surprise, puzzlement, uncertainty, curiosity, interest, etc. which are not directly rejecting or disapproving emotions on your part and therefore don't make the student feel bad.

After you do this a couple of times, the student becomes aware that every time you put a question to them, they are expected to double check that something is correct and to justify their conclusion.

Comment author: Lumifer 27 October 2016 03:02:48PM 2 points [-]

This should be right up LW's alley. Reconstruct dead people as... chatbots? Quote:

And one day it will do things for you, including keeping you alive. You talk to it, and it becomes you.

Comment author: HungryHippo 29 October 2016 05:12:52PM 1 point [-]

The TV-show Black Mirror had a great (read: terrifying) take on this in "Be Right Back" (S2E1).

Comment author: [deleted] 13 September 2016 11:27:41PM 0 points [-]

What's the best ways to upgrade my defence mechanisms from immature splitting and projection in addition to seeing a psychologist?

In response to comment by [deleted] on Open thread, Sep. 12 - Sep. 18, 2016
Comment author: HungryHippo 15 September 2016 04:50:43PM 0 points [-]

In David Burn's book "Feeling Good", a CBT self-help book, he teaches how to identify 10 cognitive distortions in our thinking patterns and develops practices for counteracting them.

Among the distortions he identifies are all-or-nothing-thinking (i.e. splitting). I don't remember if he says anything about projection specifically, but another of the distortions is mind-reading/jumping-to-conclusions, which at least is in ballpark of falsely attributing mental states to others.

The context of the book is to alleviate your own depression, but it is also really interesting from an anti-biasing perspective.

Comment author: root 15 September 2016 08:51:11AM *  0 points [-]

Have you ever had a moment where they could not directly recall something, but you could recall it indirectly, if you were given a list of words with the correct one in it?

I'm going to try this for myself with Anki, but I'm curious if anyone else ever had this. Something like the information is stored, but cannot be retrieved.

For example: "What is the ___ word?"

1) Right 2) Code 3) Missing 4) Test

Any of those don't seem inappropriate, but option (3) should be the correct answer.

Comment author: HungryHippo 15 September 2016 04:35:36PM 1 point [-]

What you're describing is the difference between recall and recognition, if you want to google it.

E.g. the question "What is the atomic number of Oxygen?" is a recognition task if you're given multiple choices "a) 1 b) 6 c) 8", and it's a recall task if you're just presented a blank space in which to write down your answer.

Recognition tasks are generally easier.

Comment author: ignoranceprior 05 September 2016 02:05:10AM *  2 points [-]

Has anyone here had success with the method of loci (memory palace)? I've seen it mentioned a few times on LW but I'm not sure where to start, or whether it's worth investing time into.

Comment author: HungryHippo 05 September 2016 07:49:31AM 1 point [-]

"Your Memory: How it works and how to improve it" by Higbee is an excellent book on memory. It dispels some common memory myths, clarifies concepts (e.g. short vs long term memory), teaches general principles on how to remember information (meaningfulness, organisation, association, visualization, etc.), as well as specific memory techniques (method of loci, peg mnemonic, first letter mnemonic, etc.).

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