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Comment author: John_D 29 June 2015 07:19:18PM *  0 points [-]

I suspect there is a communication barrier between high-IQ and average-IQ people. Also, people tend to connect with each other through shared interests, and many with high-IQ also have high openness, lending oneself to have unconventional interests. With fewer people like you, it can lead to literal social isolation, and a feeling of disconnectedness with others. I don't think this is autism per se, but I can see why many people with high IQs may think they have autism.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 29 June 2015 12:25:14AM *  0 points [-]

I suffer from extreme social isolation, and I have a constant mental fog which sometimes lifts during periods of emotional intensity. By itself I think this is evidence that cognition is tied to social health. Not that it can tell you much else.

Comment author: John_D 29 June 2015 12:56:04AM *  0 points [-]

I suspect there is a bidirectional relationship regarding quality relationships and cognition.

Even without direct evidence, there is indirect evidence that supports the lack of confidants affects cognition. Socializing is an experiment with measurable effects on cognition that I already mentioned. Animal models, which historically have been a pretty good proxy for human models, certainly support isolation affecting cognition. Prisoners put in solitary confinement show signs of deteriorating mental functioning. Close knit communities, not to be confused with rural communities, have much lower rates of mental illness (almost all of which deteriorate cognition after onset, some to devastating magnitudes) despite lower educational achievement. These lend support that the correlational data is not a simple matter of poor cogniton affecting social skills, and warrants actual experimentation.

Comment author: John_D 28 June 2015 10:19:37PM *  0 points [-]

An article in the Atlantic talks about a paradox in modern societies; people are more lonely despite (supposedly) more opportunities to interact with others. This also coincides with the rise of cognitive declining mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. It references the falling of close confidants and more rocky relationships with family and spouses as a possible source. Indeed, 10 minutes of conversation can enhance cognition, less quality (but not quantity of) relationships predict cognitive decline in the elderly, and people with more friends have better executive functioning. Forced social isolation deteriorates cognition in other social animals such as rodents.

I think this is important because cognitive enhancement is discussed somewhat frequently in LW (to my knowledge), but developing close friendships less so, and (also) to my knowledge, never in the context of cognitive enhancement. The knee-jerk reaction is that correlation is not causation, and indeed loneliness is hereditary despite it being increased in the past several decades. I suspect, the hereditary aspect is in part, due to the fact that some people are more prone to seek out close relationships, and receive the mood and cognitive enhancement as a positive side effect.

Based on what I could find, no experiments have looked at developing quality relationships and seeing its effects on cognition, and most studies are correlational or based on animal-models. At the very least, it is something to look at.


http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/is-facebook-making-us-lonely/308930/ http://psychsocgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/58/2/S93.full http://journals.lww.com/psychosomaticmedicine/Abstract/2010/11000/What_Aspects_of_Social_Network_Are_Protective_for.12.aspx http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306452210006159

Comment author: buybuydandavis 21 July 2014 09:28:35AM 1 point [-]

No doubt extreme hardship does help later in life in terms of having solid experienced frames of reference that make the current glass seem very full in comparison.

Fortunately, I don't think you actually have to go through major deprivation to get that frame of reference. I don't think it is a set point issue as much as an issue of having some perspective and controlling your emotional state.

The usual corporate job is not in fact Hell. But it hits us in all the tender points that David Rock points out in "Your Brain at Work" - Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, Fairness. The most damaging thing about it, by far, is my reaction to it.

I can get my undies in a bunch over violations of the above, or I can calm down, accept that it is what it is, while looking forward to finding some place that is better.

Comment author: John_D 01 August 2014 05:50:48PM 0 points [-]

This post hit a chord with me, and I am curious as to what actions you took to change it. Did you simply go somewhere different, or are you doing something different?

Comment author: John_D 30 July 2014 12:06:26PM *  0 points [-]

A problem with this experiment is that while Bill may be the same person in Interview A and B, the interviewers are not the same person. You can't know for sure if the VP in A would act like the CEO in B if Bill was interviewing for a managerial position. It is just as likely that the VP in A is simply a jerk who tries and one-up all interviewees, regardless of the status of the position they are interviewing for.

Comment author: Lumifer 29 July 2014 06:14:35PM *  1 point [-]

Modified food may or may not have adverse effects

"Organic" and "non-modified" are very different things.

"Organic" means that the food producer has received a particular kind of certification for his production. By the way, in this context the opposite of "organic" is "conventional", not "inorganic".

"Non-modified" has a less well-defined meaning, but generally it means food as it comes from the farm, not from a factory.

There is lots of "organic modified" and "conventional non-modified" food.

Comment author: John_D 29 July 2014 06:37:40PM *  0 points [-]

Misnomer noted. So, is there evidence that conventional foods (or foods that are not organic) have adverse effects beyond possible nutritional differences, when compared to organic foods, and genetically modified vs. not modified? (and by not modified I mean not genetically modified, if the context preceding the words didn't make those words crystal clear) I am of course open to the possibility, but I would like to see harder evidence before paying a premium.

Comment author: Lumifer 29 July 2014 05:40:20PM 2 points [-]

Here is one meta-study. Here is another one

Comment author: John_D 29 July 2014 06:03:25PM *  1 point [-]

Are we trying to find out if organic foods are more nutritious, or if organic foods offer health benefits beyond nutrition? (or to reverse that, do inorganic foods offer adverse effects beyond nutrition) Remember I said , " Modified food may or may not have adverse effects beyond different nutrient contents (which so far is debatable)," The authors conclude in your 2nd link that they agree the evidence on the benefits of organic foods is scant at the moment.

In response to comment by John_D on On saving the world
Comment author: Lumifer 29 July 2014 04:49:52PM 2 points [-]

most people don't respond to rational ideas and actions, just ideas and actions they believe will benefit themselves or their group.

You are confused between rationality and altruism. These are quite different things.

the question is do most people want the world to be saved?

What does it mean for the world to be "saved"?

Comment author: John_D 29 July 2014 05:44:37PM 0 points [-]

Yes, that was a little extreme on my part. What I was trying to say is that people don't always respond to rational ideas.

"What does it mean for the world to be "saved"?"

I was trying to relate to the author's idea of "saving" the world, which from what I gather is maximizing altruism and bureaucratic inefficiencies, to start. (governments are inefficient, wars are bad, etc.)

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 29 July 2014 04:49:24PM *  1 point [-]

Controlling doesn't get rid of all the confounders (easiest one: people who eat organic care more about what they eat, almost by definition - how do you control for that?), and long term studies are very hard to do.

Comment author: John_D 29 July 2014 05:27:47PM *  1 point [-]

A place to start is to feed two groups of animals foods, one eating organic and the other eating inorganic, with identical or near-identical nutrient compositions, and see how they respond over time. Linking dietary effects between animal and human models has been done in the past, so it isn't too far-fetched. It won't be perfect, since the animals won't be humans, but it is certainly better than the paucity of data available, and assuming that organic = good with scarce evidence (see below).


In response to Optimizing Sleep
Comment author: John_D 29 July 2014 04:48:30PM 0 points [-]

Some other ways to optimize sleep:

  • Metformin helps improve sleep, and a theorized mechanism is through improved glucose metabolism. This might also explain why exercise, which has a similar effect on glucose metabolism, improves sleep as well, and why deteriorating health worsens it.
  • Some blood pressure lowering drugs worsen sleep, but the possible mechanism is through melatonin suppression.



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