Explaining the Facebook data ethics issue: Nazis, topless models & Stanley Milgram

There’s a lot been written of late about that Facebook data experiment. You know the one I mean. The one where, without taking any of the basic ethical measures a regulated scientist would take before undertaking research, Facebook conducted a massive scale psychological research piece. 689,003 users unwittingly took part in an experiment by data scientist Adam Kramer to study …

It’s Crap Hammer time: See it working for yourself…

A couple of weeks ago I published a prototype thinking tool called “The Reverse Formulation Bullsh*t Detector” or “Crap Hammer”. This week, I’ve taken it out there into the world of LinkedIn Job listings to demonstrate its effectiveness. Take a look at the results… like all thinking tools (and tools in general) it’s not designed to be a stand alone …

Britishness: The cognition of difference throws everyone a curve ball…

Britishness has been in the news a lot recently. After the current education secretary has encouraged the deregulation of state funded schools, opting-out from the national curriculum, openly expressed his preference to “empower” faith schools and so on, there is a sudden panic. You see, in an ethnically diverse, multicultural society like the UK, it turns out that giving local …

Metacognition: Is how you decide more valuable than what you decide?

Metacognition is the process of thinking about thinking. It’s what ManvsBrain.com is all about. And you can’t think about the way we think without turning your attention to practical, applied thinking sooner or later, which (of course) means thinking about decision making. Making better decisions dominates much of the writing about the topic, but actually, it’s a bit of a …

Islamic School Plots to UFOs? The cognition of conspiracy theories

Humans love conspiracy theories. We can’t help it. Creating plots, schemes, unseen forces and secret organisations to explain the world around us is actually wired into our brains. It stems from a thinking process we all develop as babies and forms completely between the ages of 3 and 4, called the Theory of Mind. It’s extremely powerful and evolutionarily was …

Think you’re not sexist? Think again: A thinking tool for fixing gender bias.

Are you a sexist? The chances are you’ll answer that question with a “no”. But how do you know? You might not mean to be sexist, but have you ever tested the assumption with a logical, rational measure? You’ll probably answer that question with a “no” too, because you don’t need to prove it to yourself… because you’re not a …

Crap Hammer

The Reverse Formulation Bullshit Detector – or “Crap Hammer”

The interesting thing about thinking tools is the fact they don’t have to be complex philosophical or psychological concepts. In fact, the simpler they are, the better they work. Especially on concepts like bullshit. Thinking tools, in that need for simplicity, are like a hammer or a screwdriver. If you needed a manual to operate a hammer (as opposed to …

Dinosaur economics, wave physics & saucepans: the cognition of employment

Next week I’m delighted to be talking at Huckletree, London to the members of KindredHQ – a collective of freelancers, contractors and self-employed people who, like me, don’t have a traditional “job”. We are the self-employed. But how can you give yourself a job? Jobs don’t work like that, do they? You get one, you don’t invent one. But we …

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“For the rain it raineth every day” – Shakespeare vs. cognitive bias & linguistics

The 450th anniversary of Shakespeare has the whole English speaking world jumping with excitement. Of course it does, he’s the greatest playwright that ever lived, right? How do you know? It’s not just a critical opinion, based on evidence, it’s also an assumption. Assumptions are the name we give to cognitive bias behaviours, and in when it comes to the …