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Comment author: lifelonglearner 22 August 2017 10:55:30AM 3 points [-]

Finally finished writing Habits 101! It's posted on Medium for nicer formatting for now. Once LW 2.0 gets fully underway, I'll repost with some additional edits as well.

[Link] Habits 101: Techniques and Research

3 lifelonglearner 22 August 2017 10:54AM
Comment author: Bound_up 12 August 2017 06:19:40PM 0 points [-]

Suppose that a vast group of statements that sound (they really, REALLY sound) like propositions about economic cause and effect are ALL interpreted by a great many people always and only as either "Yay blues" or "Boo blues."

In that case, your ability to tell the truth is limited by their way of filtering your statements, and your ability to tell lie is equally hampered. All you can do is decide whether to say Yay or Boo or not say anything at all (which will also often be interpreted one way or the other if you're involved in politics). It is an illusion that you're saying something about the minimum wage, for example. All you're really saying is "Yay blues!" as far as a great many people are concerned.

And if you're aware of this and count on it, you can choose to use statements that way on purpose, such that that IS all you're really saying.

This is most of politics.

Comment author: lifelonglearner 12 August 2017 07:16:09PM 0 points [-]

<Nods> Thanks for the additional clarification.

Comment author: lifelonglearner 12 August 2017 06:29:37AM 1 point [-]

[Quick comprehension check]: I think that you are saying that it is important to acknowledge when our notions of truths and lies break down because saying a thing that is apparently "true" can have connotations we didn't intend, thus making it "false". And you're flipping it around to say that the opposite is also valid-- that you can say a thing which is apparently "false", yet the way that it's interpreted could make it more "true".

I think you are saying that there are other factors when communicating, which is the context you convey with your words, i.e. meaning that is imparted which is distinct from the actual referents of the words in your utterances. And that this meaning is also important to keep in mind because we can't "just" communicate with only the words themselves, apart from connotation / context. It's just part of the package.

I think that you then took this to show that there are often times where knowledge about true things isn't easily transmissible due to a lack of prerequisite knowledge. And that this has problems when that information might be important.

[Actual response, if the above was accurate]: I think the part of this essay about how trying to get across points is often difficult is important. There are certain tradeoffs to be wary of, like when someone asks you a question, and you give an abridged / simplified question to optimize more for communication rather than accuracy. (EX: Giving someone a stripped-down description of your medical condition when they ask you why you're taking a pill.)

Thus, one of the questions we might want to take out of this is "How can we convey information many inferential steps away from the other party, especially when it's beneficial to them?" which seems like it could be resolved several ways:

  • 1) Take the time to build up their prerequisites.

  • 2) Convince them you're competent / trustworthy such that they can defer to your judgment.

  • 3) Tell them false things such that they do the thing the information would have convinced them to do.

(I don't really like these options. Feel free to take this as an open invitation to spend 3 minutes thinking of other things.)

Anyway, it's less clear to me that you can tell people false stuff to make them believe true stuff. It feels more like you can people false stuff to do either 2 or 3, but not 1.

Comment author: lifelonglearner 08 August 2017 02:49:20PM 3 points [-]

The two Zvi posts on Mark Rosewater, design, and complexity / writing things down were great.

Thanks for continuing to compile all this!

Comment author: Viliam 04 August 2017 01:26:26PM 0 points [-]

I started copying the relevant parts of the article, but... why exactly am I trying to do your homework?

Wouldn't it make more sense for one person who likes the article (and presumably has already read it) to find and copy the good parts, instead of hundred people having to go through dozens of pages, just to see if there is something new and important?

At least in my case, following links and reading long texts just because someone shared them without providing a summary, is a huge contributor to akrasia.

Comment author: lifelonglearner 04 August 2017 05:09:55PM 2 points [-]

Hey Villiam! I hope you're not feeling too frustrated by the link + short summary. Some additional context that might help:

I currently am trying to make a more coherent / readable synthesis of existing work on habits / stuff like this, and that's currently in the editing stage, so hopefully that'll be good for everyone. It just so happened that I bumped into this paper when I was researching stuff, and I found that it approximated a lot of my thoughts very well, so I thought I'd share it here as an interesting compilation before my content was ready.

Comment author: HungryHippo 01 August 2017 11:52:50PM *  2 points [-]

I bumped into this paper when looking for additional research for Habits 101.

Are you by any chance familiar with the text book Self-Directed Behavior? It's basically psychology of habits 101.

Comment author: lifelonglearner 02 August 2017 12:40:18AM 0 points [-]

I haven't! I've only been looking at papers, not textbooks. Thanks so much for sharing!

Comment author: lifelonglearner 01 August 2017 10:32:23PM 0 points [-]

[old link was broken, resubmitting]

Short summary: In the psychological literature, the "intention-behavior" gap is used to refer to instances where people want to do something...but don't get it done. (EX: People who know exercise is good for them but don't do it.) It also roughly parallels our LW formalization of akrasia.

I bumped into this paper when looking for additional research for Habits 101. I think it does a very good job of summarizing interventions to combat this at different stages in just a few pages (~9). Goal monitoring and implementation intentions (aka TAPs by CFAR) are mentioned.

There's also this very good graphic showing the different things you might want to try, depending on where you are in relation to your goal. Plus, the authors do reasonable things like acknowledge that ego depletion is on shaky ground when they mention willpower as a potential factor.

Here's another pretty sensibly cynical quote:

However, few people monitor their household energy consumption (Webb, Benn, & Chang, 2014), check their bank balances regularly, or keep track of what they are eating ( for a review, see Webb, Chang, & Benn, 2013). This motivated avoidance of progress monitoring is termed “The Ostrich Problem” and appears to be rooted in people’s desire to maintain favorable views of themselves and their standing with respect to the goal (Webb et al., 2013).

I really, really like this paper.

[Link] Bridging the Intention-Action Gap (aka Akrasia)

1 lifelonglearner 01 August 2017 10:31PM
Comment author: lifelonglearner 01 August 2017 05:32:20PM *  2 points [-]

Short summary: In the psychological literature, the "intention-behavior" gap is used to refer to instances where people want to do something...but don't get it done. (EX: People who know exercise is good for them but don't do it.) It also roughly parallels our LW formalization of akrasia.

I bumped into this paper when looking for additional research for Habits 101. I think it does a very good job of summarizing interventions to combat this at different stages in just a few pages (~9). Goal monitoring and implementation intentions (aka TAPs by CFAR) are mentioned.

There's also this very good graphic showing the different things you might want to try, depending on where you are in relation to your goal. Plus, the authors do reasonable things like acknowledge that ego depletion is on shaky ground when they mention willpower as a potential factor.

Here's another pretty sensibly cynical quote:

However, few people monitor their household energy consumption (Webb, Benn, & Chang, 2014), check their bank balances regularly, or keep track of what they are eating ( for a review, see Webb, Chang, & Benn, 2013). This motivated avoidance of progress monitoring is termed “The Ostrich Problem” and appears to be rooted in people’s desire to maintain favorable views of themselves and their standing with respect to the goal (Webb et al., 2013).

I really, really like this paper.

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