Archive

Deducing the Cognitive Basis of Attempting to Influence Others

In the course of Donald Trump’s rise to pow­er, peo­ple have repeat­ed­ly been ask­ing, Why did he tweet that? What was he think­ing about?” Our fas­ci­na­tion with his men­tal states high­lights a very impor­tant ques­tion for us: What hap­pens in our minds and brains when we try to influ­ence oth­ers?

Reflection & Synthesis on Truthiness

I’d like to clus­ter my thoughts and struc­ture them into four cat­e­gories. One is what I will call foun­da­tion­al issues. Second, a few words and obser­va­tions regard­ing meth­ods. Third, a few areas of appli­ca­tion that we touched upon this morn­ing, and maybe also high­light­ing one or two that we haven’t talked so much about but that I think are increas­ing­ly impor­tant. And then final­ly also as a segue to the fol­low­ing ses­sions, a few words about poten­tial points of inter­ven­tion.

Celebrity Chefs, Past and Present

There’ve always been celebri­ty chefs whose skill and cre­ativ­i­ty made them famous. But the pas­sage of time usu­al­ly means we know lit­tle more about them than their names. From ancient Greece and Rome there’s only one cook­book that sur­vives in full, that attrib­uted to the Roman cook Apicius, which dates actu­al­ly from the end of the Roman Empire.

Media, Technology & Culture 1.3: So, What’s New?

So, how do we make sense of new media? How can we guard against our temp­ta­tion to assume, our implic­it sense, even, that every­thing in our expe­ri­ence of today’s emerg­ing dig­i­tal media is brand new and unprece­dent­ed? And how do we do that while also appre­ci­at­ing the things that real­ly are new or unique to our cur­rent cul­tur­al con­text and moment in his­to­ry?

Social Contagion

The rea­son that I am inter­est­ed in behav­ioral con­ta­gions is that I firm­ly believe that if we can under­stand how behav­iors spread in a social net­work and thus in a pop­u­la­tion from per­son to per­son to per­son to per­son, that we could poten­tial­ly pro­mote behav­iors like…condom use, or tol­er­ance.