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 …

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 …

Hurricanes, cognitive bias and “what’s in a name?” – Gender bias update

Thanks to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America we’ve got a good example of sexist cognitive bias in operation. (See ManVsBrain.com essay “Think you’re not sexist? Think again: A thinking tool for fixing gender bias”). Kiju Jung, a doctoral student in marketing at the university, and marketing professor Sharon Shavitt have published …

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 …