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History UsefulNotes / Psychology

3rd Mar '16 3:37:27 AM JakesBrain
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Let's use the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment Milgram experiment]] as an example of how these things are quantified. If you're participating in the Milgram experiment, it's June 1961 and you arrive at the lab at Yale University. There are two other people there, one of whom is administrating the experiment and the other of whom is a fellow participant. The Administrator asks you to draw slips of paper which will determine which of you is the "learner" and which is the "teacher"; you pull the "Teacher" slip. Well, the Learner goes into another room, connected to you by an intercom, and you sit down at a control panel, where the Administrator explains that it's your job to get the Learner to remember a list of word-pairs. You'd teach him, and then give him a four-choice multiple-answer test. If he got it wrong, the control panel comes into play: you're [[DisproportionateRetribution required to administer electric shocks to the Learner]] as punishment for getting it wrong, with each button representing a higher voltage. As you continue, the Learner starts screaming in pain, pounding on the wall, and claiming that he has a heart condition, and that if you go further the electric shocks might do something terrible to him...

Well, here's the good news: the "Learner" is not a fellow participant at all. He's what we call a "confederate"--a scientist who is ''pretending'' to be a participant because that's what's necessary for the test to proceed. (Both slips of paper said "Teacher"; he just lied about his.) You, the actual participant, have been led to believe that the experiment has something to do with the effects of punishment on memory... but psychological experiments are always conducted blind, so that the participant doesn't have the chance to evaluate what hypothesis (he thinks) you're trying to test, and tailor his behavior to support (or bust) it. The test is ''actually'' about how far people will go when JustFollowingOrders. There are no actual electric shocks, but you ''think'' there are, and if you complain, the Administrator says things like, "It is absolutely essential that you continue" and "ButThouMust," and sees what you'll do.

Past a certain point, the confederate is instructed to stop yelling, stop banging on the wall... [[NothingIsScarier stop making any responses at all]]. The participant is told to construe these silences as failed responses and continue administering the shocks, ignoring that something is quite obviously wrong with the Learner. This is why the Milgram experiments are probably too unethical to reproduce today: the participant is made to believe that [[MoralEventHorizon s/he has killed a fellow human being for the sake of an experiment]]. It was staged just after the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, who used the "JustFollowingOrders" excuse, implicitly allowing almost every German citizen alive to use it as well. Milgram wanted to find out just how far people ''would'' go if given that excuse. This is why the control panel has the series of buttons: you can now set a quantity, in voltage, on the perils of blind obedience.

Before conducting the experiment, Milgram polled 14 psych majors on how many participants they expected to be willing to go all the way down the series of buttons, to a maximum of 450 volts. These psych majors predicted that at most one person in one hundred would do so. In reality, 26 participants of 40, ''sixty-five percent'', pushed all the buttons on the control panel, even ''after'' the "Learner" "died" of his "heart condition." All of them expressed disquiet with the idea, but all of them bowed in the face of authority. [[NightmareFuel The participants were normal people like you and me]].

After that, it was lots of statistics. (Trade secret: a lot of psychology is just statistics. Someone who hasn't completely forgotten how they work should feel free to add some details about them to this page.) But Milgram determined that there was "statistical significance" in the situation, that more people acted unusually than they would under completely normal circumstances. Like all psychological papers, his included a detailed description of the experiment's methodology, so that other professionals could try to poke holes in what he'd done. No one's really been able to, though (as mentioned) the ethics committees went wild. Most people--including the participants--feel that the tests were worth doing, but most people aren't willing to try and replicate them.

to:

Let's use the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment Milgram experiment]] as an example of how these things are quantified. If you're participating in the Milgram experiment, it's June 1961 and you arrive at the lab at Yale University. There are two other people there, one of whom is administrating the experiment and the other of whom is a fellow participant. The Administrator asks you to draw slips of paper which will determine which of you is the "learner" and which is the "teacher"; you pull the "Teacher" slip. Well, the Learner goes into another room, connected to you by an intercom, and you sit down at a control panel, where the Administrator explains that it's your job to get the Learner to remember a list of word-pairs. You'd teach him, and then give him a four-choice multiple-answer test. If he got it wrong, the control panel comes into play: you're [[DisproportionateRetribution required to administer electric shocks to the Learner]] as punishment for getting it wrong, with each button representing a higher voltage. As you continue, the Learner starts screaming in pain, pounding on the wall, and claiming that he has a heart condition, and it becomes clear that if you go further the electric shocks might do something terrible to him...

Well, here's the good news: the "Learner" is not a fellow participant at all. He's what we call a "confederate"--a "confederate" -- a scientist who is ''pretending'' to be a participant because that's what's necessary for the test to proceed. (Both slips of paper said "Teacher"; he just lied about his.) You, the actual participant, have been led to believe that the experiment has something to do with the effects of punishment on memory... but psychological experiments are always conducted blind, so that the participant doesn't have the chance to evaluate what hypothesis (he thinks) you're trying to test, test and so tailor his behavior to support (or bust) it. The test is ''actually'' about how far people will go when JustFollowingOrders. There are no actual electric shocks, but you ''think'' there are, and if you complain, the Administrator says things like, like "It is absolutely essential that you continue" and "ButThouMust," "[[ButThouMust You have no choice; you]] ''[[ButthouMust must]]'' [[ButThouMust continue,]]" and sees what you'll do.

Past The experiment dictates that past a certain point, point (in the original case, 375 volts), the confederate is instructed to will stop yelling, stop banging on the wall... [[NothingIsScarier stop making any responses at all]]. The participant is told to construe these silences as failed responses and continue administering the shocks, ignoring that something is quite obviously wrong with the Learner. This is why the Milgram experiments are probably too unethical to reproduce today: the participant is made to believe believe, or to fear, that [[MoralEventHorizon s/he has just killed a fellow human being for the sake of an experiment]]. It was staged just after the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, who used the "JustFollowingOrders" excuse, implicitly allowing almost every German citizen alive to use it as well. Milgram wanted to find out just how far people ''would'' go if given that excuse. This is why the control panel has the series of buttons: you can now set a quantity, in voltage, on the perils of blind obedience.

Before conducting the experiment, Milgram polled 14 psych majors on how many participants they expected to be willing to go all the way down the series of buttons, to a maximum of 450 volts. These psych majors predicted that at most one person in one hundred would do so. In reality, 26 participants out of 40, 40 -- ''sixty-five percent'', percent'' -- pushed all the buttons on the control panel, even ''after'' the "Learner" "died" of his "heart condition." All of them expressed disquiet with the idea, but all of them bowed in the face of authority.what they believed to be legitimate authority, personified by the Administrator. [[NightmareFuel The participants were normal people like you and me]].

After that, it was lots of statistics. (Trade secret: a lot of psychology is just statistics. Someone who hasn't completely forgotten how they work should feel free to add some details about them to this page.) But Milgram determined that there was "statistical significance" in the situation, that more people acted unusually than they would under completely normal circumstances. Like all psychological papers, his included a detailed description of the experiment's methodology, so that other professionals could try to poke holes in what he'd done. No one's really been able to, though (as mentioned) the ethics committees went wild. Most people--including people -- including the participants--feel participants -- feel that the tests were worth doing, but most people aren't willing to try and replicate them.



A large part of talking therapy is just that--talking. "Armchair" psychology may be a DeadHorseTrope in the media, but sometimes we need someone to tell ''us'' the truth. This is why Functionalism was deposed to begin with: human beings are not always good at self-analysis. Think of it like standing inside a building and then trying to see the outside surfaces of said building. It's impossible; there's walls in the way; you can't do it unless you're standing outside the building. The same thing is true of being human: we can't stand outside ourselves enough to see ourselves clearly. It's just a rule of nature. We cannot be objective about ourselves; we need someone to be objective ''for'' us. And that's where the psychologist comes in.

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A large part of talking therapy is just that--talking.that -- talking. "Armchair" psychology may be a DeadHorseTrope in the media, but sometimes we need someone to tell ''us'' the truth. This is why Functionalism was deposed to begin with: human beings are not always good at self-analysis. Think of it like standing inside a building and then trying to see the outside surfaces of said building. It's impossible; there's walls in the way; you can't do it unless you're standing outside the building. The same thing is true of being human: we can't stand outside ourselves enough to see ourselves clearly. It's just a rule of nature. We cannot be objective about ourselves; we need someone to be objective ''for'' us. And that's where the psychologist comes in.
20th Feb '16 3:05:11 PM VanHohenheimOfXerxes
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"Just because A and B happen at the same time, that doesn't mean A causes B, or vice versa." This can be pretty obvious at times ("I was driving my car and my grandma died. I shall never drive again!,") but is less obvious when the two phenomena ''seem'' causally related. This principle reminds you to think twice about what seems obvious. Here are two examples:

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"Just because A and B happen at the same time, that doesn't mean A causes B, or vice versa." This can be pretty obvious at times ("I was driving my car ("The number of stereotypical {{pirate}}s has gone down over the years, and my grandma died. I shall never drive again!,") the global temperature has gone up, so [[UsefulNotes/FlyingSpaghettiMonster pirates prevent global warming!]]") but is less obvious when the two phenomena ''seem'' causally related. This principle reminds you to think twice about what seems obvious. Here are two examples:
30th Jan '16 11:20:56 AM MarkLungo
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* '''Personality Psychology''' deals with, pretty obviously, personality. It concerns not only how people are unique from each other but how people are alike as well. There are many, many different ways psychologists approach personality, from overall "type" theories to elaborate "[[ThereAreTwoKindsOfPeopleInTheWorld Two Kinds Of People]]" jokes (Type A vs. Type B personalities, anyone?,) so we're just going to direct you to our article on the most respected inventory, the BigFivePersonalityTraits, and leave it at that.

to:

* '''Personality Psychology''' deals with, pretty obviously, personality. It concerns not only how people are unique from each other but how people are alike as well. There are many, many different ways psychologists approach personality, from overall "type" theories to elaborate "[[ThereAreTwoKindsOfPeopleInTheWorld Two Kinds Of People]]" jokes (Type A vs. Type B personalities, anyone?,) so we're just going to direct you to our article on the most respected inventory, the BigFivePersonalityTraits, UsefulNotes/BigFivePersonalityTraits, and leave it at that.
19th Aug '15 5:06:06 PM MarkLungo
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Let's say you're required to take [[MyersBriggs a personality test]] two days in a row. You showed up yesterday and got a certain result from the test. You came back today... But you were ''pissed off''. You were woken up at asscrack o'clock by screaming from the apartment upstairs, the line at the coffee shop was five miles long, you were cut off in traffic and scalded yourself, there were no parking spaces... It's been a crappy day. So you take the personality test... And you get ''the exact opposite result'' you got yesterday.

to:

Let's say you're required to take [[MyersBriggs [[UsefulNotes/MyersBriggs a personality test]] two days in a row. You showed up yesterday and got a certain result from the test. You came back today... But you were ''pissed off''. You were woken up at asscrack o'clock by screaming from the apartment upstairs, the line at the coffee shop was five miles long, you were cut off in traffic and scalded yourself, there were no parking spaces... It's been a crappy day. So you take the personality test... And you get ''the exact opposite result'' you got yesterday.



This is less a big deal in the world of the physical sciences, where they have (for instance) a world standard kilogram in a vault somewhere in Europe that you can compare your classroom plastic weight to. Psychology doesn't have that luxury; there isn't a world-standard personality tucked into a vault somewhere to test our tools against. Psychologists design tests to measure a certain thing about personality, behavior, cognition, etc, but that doesn't mean the test ''succeeds''. And even if it does, most psychology results are expressed statistically, and [[LiesDamnedLiesAndStatistics a statistic will say anything if you torture it long enough]]. Finally, because anything sounds scientific if it's got charts and figures behind it, people can make up the most egregious nonsense around and pass it off as trustworthy; the MyersBriggs in particular was formulated entirely by people in their spare time, according to what made sense to them, and did not undergo ''any'' testing against real personalities before being released into the wild. Nonsense like this is part of why people are HardOnSoftScience, and to be clear, we are saying that [[TropesAreNotBad they are right to be so]]. Don't believe everything people tell you.

to:

This is less a big deal in the world of the physical sciences, where they have (for instance) a world standard kilogram in a vault somewhere in Europe that you can compare your classroom plastic weight to. Psychology doesn't have that luxury; there isn't a world-standard personality tucked into a vault somewhere to test our tools against. Psychologists design tests to measure a certain thing about personality, behavior, cognition, etc, but that doesn't mean the test ''succeeds''. And even if it does, most psychology results are expressed statistically, and [[LiesDamnedLiesAndStatistics a statistic will say anything if you torture it long enough]]. Finally, because anything sounds scientific if it's got charts and figures behind it, people can make up the most egregious nonsense around and pass it off as trustworthy; the MyersBriggs UsefulNotes/MyersBriggs in particular was formulated entirely by people in their spare time, according to what made sense to them, and did not undergo ''any'' testing against real personalities before being released into the wild. Nonsense like this is part of why people are HardOnSoftScience, and to be clear, we are saying that [[TropesAreNotBad they are right to be so]]. Don't believe everything people tell you.



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23rd Feb '15 9:42:18 AM spirasen
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Psychology largely branched off from philosophy, which is where most vague ruminations get their start; as far back as Creator/{{Plato}} and Creator/{{Aristotle}}, people were making suppositions on human behavior. Major boosts to physiology during the 1800s made people start to believe (not incorrectly) that fundamental aspects of consciousness--sensation, motor control, personality, memory, etc--could be detected as physical phenomena in the brain. The first "true" psychologist was Wilhelm Wundt, who opened a laboratory for the purpose in Leipzig in 1879.

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Psychology largely branched off from philosophy, which is where most vague ruminations get their start; as far back as Creator/{{Plato}} and Creator/{{Aristotle}}, people were making suppositions on human behavior. Major boosts to physiology during the 1800s 1800's made people start to believe (not incorrectly) that fundamental aspects of consciousness--sensation, consciousness -- sensation, motor control, personality, memory, etc--could etc. -- could be detected as physical phenomena in the brain. The first "true" psychologist was Wilhelm Wundt, UsefulNotes/WilhelmWundt, who opened a laboratory for the purpose in Leipzig in 1879.



* Wundt's student Edward Titchener argued for a school called '''Structuralism''', which employed trained NavelGazing in order to analyze the [[TitleDrop structure]] of one's own consciousness.
* '''Functionalism''', primarily advocated by the American William James, cared more about how the mind [[TitleDrop functioned]], more about what it did than how it was built. Since functionalist experiments could look for quantifiable behavior ("I wonder how many times I need to punch someone before they get angry enough to punch me back? Let's grab a hundred strangers and test!"), this school won, and Structuralism is largely a footnote today.
* Finally, a fellow we've all heard of--UsefulNotes/SigmundFreud--came up with an approach called '''Psychoanalysis''', which in some ways combined the two: while introspection and self-observation were a major part of the process, the client looked for actual dysfunctional behaviors they were displaying, and then asked the psychoanalyst for help in puzzling out the motivations behind those behaviors. While a fair amount of Freud's theories--particularly his [[FreudWasRight obsession with sex]]--are [[DeadHorseTrope largely discredited today]], the things he got ''right'', particularly the idea of the the subconscious mind and all tropes rooted therein, are just as sacrosanct.

Functionalism evolved further into '''Behaviorism''' as time went on. The first step in this direction was another name you're likely to know--Ivan Pavlov--who demonstrated the link between experience and learning. Pavlov's classic "Classical Conditioning" experiment was to ring a bell every time he fed his dog, who had been outfitted with an implant that collected some of its saliva. After a while of this, Pavlov demonstrated that, when he rang the bell, the dog would start to drool; it had been "conditioned" to associate the bell with food. Another researcher, B. F. Skinner, expanded this to "operant conditioning" which is basically how consequences, such as rewards and benefits, determine the frequency of behavior. He rigged up a contraption where lab rats would receive food every time they hit a lever in their cages; the rats continued to do this even after the food stopped. He was also able to train rats ''not'' to do things--even natural, logical things--by immediately administering punishments every time they did. In doing so, Skinner gave us the most radical definition of Behaviorism: all things we do and value are trained into us by stimulus-response conditioning, the hard way, and thus do not require consciousness. We are all easily manipulated robots.

Well, obviously, that was an unpopular and dystopian philosophy, even if there is some truth to it, and the response to it is called the "Cognitive Revolution." It originated around beginning of TheSixties and has completely replaced Functionalism as the guiding principle of psychological research, especially in America, and much reduced Behaviorism's traction as well. One of the main tenets of the Cognitive Revolution is that there ''is'' such thing as a mind, damn it, but is more about (to quote Jerome Bruner) "an all-out effort to establish meaning as the central concept in psychology [...] Its aim was to discover and to describe formally the meanings that human beings created out of their encounters with the world, and then to propose hypotheses about what meaning-making processes were implicated." The seminal article in cognitive psychology was George Miller's "[[http://www.psych.utoronto.ca/users/peterson/psy430s2001/Miller%20GA%20Magical%20Seven%20Psych%20Review%201955.pdf The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information]]," which basically identified how much Random Access Memory the human brain has. The exact amount is currently under dispute--it's not seven, but then Miller never claimed it was seven ''facts'', it was seven "chunks", a "chunk" being the largest meaningful unit of data a person can process. (What a chunk consists of varies by training and content. For instance, you reading this article are probably fairly literate in English and can store an entire sentence in a chunk... but if you were a foreigner just starting an English-Second-Language course, your chunk capacity might be overwhelmed by an eight-letter word like "tangible"--especially since it's not a compound word like "doorknob".) Even then, the exact nature and storage capacity of a "chunk" is still being debated. But the point was that Miller discovered something specific about a non-corporeal cognitive process--and a fairly unintuitive thing too. It was a big step forward, and Miller's paper is one of ''the'' most-referred-to papers in the field of psychology.

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* Wundt's student Edward Titchener UsefulNotes/EdwardTitchener argued for a school called '''Structuralism''', which employed trained NavelGazing in order to analyze the [[TitleDrop structure]] of one's own consciousness.
* '''Functionalism''', primarily advocated by the American William James, [[UsefulNotes/TheUnitedStates American]] UsefulNotes/WilliamJames, cared more about how the mind [[TitleDrop functioned]], more about what it did than how it was built. Since functionalist experiments could look for quantifiable behavior ("I wonder how many times I need to punch someone before they get angry enough to punch me back? Let's grab a hundred strangers and test!"), test!,") this school won, and Structuralism is largely a footnote today.
* Finally, a fellow we've all heard of--UsefulNotes/SigmundFreud--came of -- UsefulNotes/SigmundFreud -- came up with an approach called '''Psychoanalysis''', which in some ways combined the two: while While introspection and self-observation were a major part of the process, the client looked for actual dysfunctional behaviors they were displaying, and then asked the psychoanalyst for help in puzzling out the motivations behind those behaviors. While a fair amount of Freud's theories--particularly theories -- particularly his [[FreudWasRight obsession with sex]]--are sex]] -- are [[DeadHorseTrope largely discredited today]], the things he got ''right'', particularly the idea of the the subconscious mind and all tropes rooted therein, are just as sacrosanct.

Functionalism evolved further into '''Behaviorism''' as time went on. The first step in this direction was another name you're likely to know--Ivan Pavlov--who know -- UsefulNotes/IvanPavlov -- who demonstrated the link between experience and learning. Pavlov's classic "Classical Conditioning" experiment was to ring a bell every time he fed his dog, who had been outfitted with an implant that collected some of its saliva. After a while of this, Pavlov demonstrated that, when he rang the bell, the dog would start to drool; it had been "conditioned" to associate the bell with food. Another researcher, B. F. Skinner, UsefulNotes/BFSkinner, expanded this to "operant conditioning" which is basically how consequences, such as rewards and benefits, determine the frequency of behavior. He rigged up a contraption where lab rats would receive food every time they hit a lever in their cages; the rats continued to do this even after the food stopped. He was also able to train rats ''not'' to do things--even things -- even natural, logical things--by things -- by immediately administering punishments every time they did. In doing so, Skinner gave us the most radical definition of Behaviorism: all All things we do and value are trained into us by stimulus-response conditioning, the hard way, and thus do not require consciousness. We are all easily manipulated robots.

Well, obviously, that was an unpopular and dystopian {{dystopia}}n philosophy, even if there is some truth to it, and the response to it is called the "Cognitive Revolution." It originated around beginning of TheSixties and has completely replaced Functionalism as the guiding principle of psychological research, especially in America, and much reduced Behaviorism's traction as well. One of the main tenets of the Cognitive Revolution is that there ''is'' such thing as a mind, damn it, but is more about (to quote Jerome Bruner) UsefulNotes/JeromeBruner) "an all-out effort to establish meaning as the central concept in psychology [...] Its aim was to discover and to describe formally the meanings that human beings created out of their encounters with the world, and then to propose hypotheses about what meaning-making processes were implicated." The seminal article in cognitive psychology was George Miller's "[[http://www.psych.utoronto.ca/users/peterson/psy430s2001/Miller%20GA%20Magical%20Seven%20Psych%20Review%201955.pdf UsefulNotes/GeorgeMiller's "[[http://tinyurl.com/3b5rat The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information]]," which basically identified how much Random Access Memory the human brain has. The exact amount is currently under dispute--it's dispute -- it's not seven, but then Miller never claimed it was seven ''facts'', it was seven "chunks", "chunks," a "chunk" being the largest meaningful unit of data a person can process. (What a chunk consists of varies by training and content. For instance, you reading this article are probably fairly literate in English and can store an entire sentence in a chunk... but But if you were a foreigner just starting an English-Second-Language course, your chunk capacity might be overwhelmed by an eight-letter word like "tangible"--especially "tangible" -- especially since it's not a compound word like "doorknob".) "doorknob.") Even then, the exact nature and storage capacity of a "chunk" is still being debated. But the point was that Miller discovered something specific about a non-corporeal cognitive process--and process -- and a fairly unintuitive thing too. It was a big step forward, and Miller's paper is one of ''the'' most-referred-to papers in the field of psychology.



There's two basic branches of psychology: "Basic" and "Applied". The former is more about making discoveries and figuring out fundamental things about human braining; the latter is about using them in other areas. Examples of these "other areas" on TheOtherWiki include education, medicine and health care, product design and law; but psychology is "the study of human behavior" and those are all places where humans behave, you could make the argument that those fields are all just either extensions of psychology or hybrids of it with other disciplines. That's kind of the problem with psychology: aside from the hard sciences, there's very little it doesn't have its fingers in.

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There's two basic branches of psychology: "Basic" and "Applied". "Applied." The former is more about making discoveries and figuring out fundamental things about human braining; the latter is about using them in other areas. Examples of these "other areas" on TheOtherWiki include education, medicine and health care, product design and law; but psychology is "the study of human behavior" and those are all places where humans behave, you could make the argument that those fields are all just either extensions of psychology or hybrids of it with other disciplines. That's kind of the problem with psychology: aside Aside from the hard sciences, there's very little it doesn't have its fingers in.



* '''Abnormal Psychology''' is the study of "unusual patterns of behavior, emotions and thought." These may or may not relate to specific mental disorder. Psychologists are the first to admit that there is no such thing as "normal" to begin with, so this field can be on unstable ground; even worse, there's always the question of whether a particular "abnormal" behavior has psychological or biological roots. (The fact that one can affect the other just complicates things.) The UniverseBible for this field is the DSM, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental_Disorders Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders]], which lists every recognized mental disorder and its symptoms. To say that {{Flame War}}s can erupt over what's a disorder, and what its symptoms are, is an understatement.
* '''Behavioral Neuroscience''' focuses on biology, particularly neurobiology, and its impact on behavior and behavioral development. In particular, the experiments that led to the "NinetyPercentOfYourBrain" urban legend came out of this field. Much of our knowledge of the anatomy of the brain, what happens where, also comes from here--not just people inflicting deliberate lesions on rats, but also doing field research. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phineas_Gage Phineas Gage]], for instance, has proved a useful case study to psychologists and neurologists for some 150 years.
* '''Cognitive Psychology''' explores internal mental processes--how people think, speak, receive stimuli, remember things, solve problems, etc. Obviously, this also covers a ''great'' deal of material, from [[FailedASpotCheck Failed Spot Check]]s to FeigningIntelligence to [[TakeAThirdOption Taking A Third Option]] to {{Weirdness Censor}}ing, and we're just going to leave it at that for now instead of doubling the size of this article.
* '''Cultural Psychology''' examines the effects of culture--upbringing, laws, customs, taboos--on the mind. It embraces the BlankSlate idea, feeling that mind and culture are largely inseparable. If you want ideas on where [[DrivesLikeCrazy Crazy Asian Drivers]], WidgetSeries or [[ScaryBlackMan Scary Black Men]] come from, for instance, this is the place to look. This field is unfashionable, since it can so easily drift into corroboration of AcceptableEthnicTargets. But it isn't going away any time soon either; culture obviously influences thought patterns--and, more importantly, the lens of culture is built into everything we do, so cultural psychologists will of necessity be involved in any attempts to develop truly universal models of behavior.
* '''Developmental Psychology''', is the study of "systematic psychological changes, emotional changes, and perception changes that occur in human beings over the course of their life span." (We keep quoting TheOtherWiki because they keep putting things well.) Another good name for it might be "The Psychology of Aging." Once called "Child Psychology," the field has expanded to cover all age ranges; indeed there's specialties in Elderly Psychology now (which could prove really useful to those of us who intend to have jobs during the Baby Boom Retirement Wave). The general focus of developmental psychology is on acquisition and/or evolution of skills, moral & conceptual understanding, and self-concept.
* '''Evolutionary Psychology''' takes the assumption that behaviors, like organs, are the product of natural selection, and still exist because they provide some benefit to the organism that bears them. This field attempts to justify ideas like BuxomIsBetter, looks for TruthInTelevision in {{Double Standard}}s, wonders why SacredHospitality developed, tries to find where {{Stage Mom}}s came from, even ponders why we are conscious at all. It's simultaneously the oldest branch of psychology (having roots in CharlesDarwin, 20 years before Wundt) and one of the youngest (its modern era having started in 1972 at earliest). Practically at war with more modern iterations of Cultural Psychology, [[note]] The two sub-fields are essentially extensions of the "Nature vs. Nurture" debate, and academics in either sub-field have a tendency to talk past each other [[/note]] making it ample fuel for a FlameWar, and that's all we'll say here.
* '''Personality Psychology''' deals with, pretty obviously, personality. It concerns not only how people are unique from each other but how people are alike as well. There are many, many different ways psychologists approach personality, from overall "type" theories to elaborate "[[ThereAreTwoKindsOfPeopleInTheWorld Two Kinds Of People]]" jokes (Type A vs. Type B personalities, anyone?), so we're just going to direct you to our article on the most respected inventory, the BigFivePersonalityTraits, and leave it at that.
* '''Positive Psychology''' tries to live on the happy side of the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism, preferring to promote well-being and nurture talent and genius. It feels that people spend too much time trying to fix what's wrong and not enough time encouraging and enjoying what we already have. Though people have been concerned with these topics since Adam and Eve, the field's first real glimmer of existence was in '98, making it by far the youngest branch of psychology, and the concommitant immaturity of its approach has been a point of contention for some critics.

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* '''Abnormal Psychology''' is the study of "unusual patterns of behavior, emotions and thought." These may or may not relate to specific mental disorder. Psychologists are the first to admit that there is no such thing as "normal" to begin with, so this field can be on unstable ground; even worse, there's always the question of whether a particular "abnormal" behavior has psychological or biological roots. (The fact that one can affect the other just complicates things.) The UniverseBible for this field is the DSM, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental_Disorders Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders]], which lists every recognized mental disorder and its symptoms. To say that {{Flame War}}s FlameWar[=s=] can erupt over what's a disorder, and what its symptoms are, is an understatement.
* '''Behavioral Neuroscience''' focuses on biology, particularly neurobiology, and its impact on behavior and behavioral development. In particular, the experiments that led to the "NinetyPercentOfYourBrain" urban legend came out of this field. Much of our knowledge of the anatomy of the brain, what happens where, also comes from here--not here -- not just people inflicting deliberate lesions on rats, but also doing field research. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phineas_Gage Phineas Gage]], for instance, has proved a useful case study to psychologists and neurologists for some 150 years.
* '''Cognitive Psychology''' explores internal mental processes--how processes -- how people think, speak, receive stimuli, remember things, solve problems, etc. Obviously, this also covers a ''great'' deal of material, from [[FailedASpotCheck Failed Spot Check]]s Checks]] to FeigningIntelligence to [[TakeAThirdOption Taking A Third Option]] to {{Weirdness Censor}}ing, and we're just going to leave it at that for now instead of doubling the size of this article.
* '''Cultural Psychology''' examines the effects of culture--upbringing, culture -- upbringing, laws, customs, taboos--on taboos -- on the mind. It embraces the BlankSlate idea, feeling that mind and culture are largely inseparable. If you want ideas on where [[DrivesLikeCrazy Crazy Asian Drivers]], WidgetSeries WidgetSeries, or [[ScaryBlackMan Scary Black Men]] come from, for instance, this is the place to look. This field is unfashionable, since it can so easily drift into corroboration of AcceptableEthnicTargets. But it isn't going away any time soon either; culture obviously influences thought patterns--and, patterns -- and, more importantly, the lens of culture is built into everything we do, so cultural psychologists will of necessity be involved in any attempts to develop truly universal models of behavior.
* '''Developmental Psychology''', is the study of "systematic psychological changes, emotional changes, and perception changes that occur in human beings over the course of their life span." (We keep quoting TheOtherWiki because they keep putting things well.) Another good name for it might be "The Psychology of Aging." Once called "Child Psychology," the field has expanded to cover all age ranges; indeed there's specialties in Elderly Psychology now (which could prove really useful to those of us who intend to have jobs during the Baby Boom Retirement Wave). Wave.) The general focus of developmental psychology is on acquisition and/or evolution of skills, moral & conceptual understanding, and self-concept.
* '''Evolutionary Psychology''' takes the assumption that behaviors, like organs, are the product of natural selection, and still exist because they provide some benefit to the organism that bears them. This field attempts to justify ideas like BuxomIsBetter, looks for TruthInTelevision in {{Double Standard}}s, DoubleStandard[=s=], wonders why SacredHospitality developed, tries to find where {{Stage Mom}}s StageMom[=s=] came from, even ponders why we are conscious at all. It's simultaneously the oldest branch of psychology (having roots in CharlesDarwin, UsefulNotes/CharlesDarwin, 20 years before Wundt) and one of the youngest (its modern era having started in 1972 at earliest). earliest.) Practically at war with more modern iterations of Cultural Psychology, [[note]] The [[note]]The two sub-fields are essentially extensions of the "Nature vs. Nurture" debate, and academics in either sub-field have a tendency to talk past each other [[/note]] other[[/note]] making it ample fuel for a FlameWar, and that's all we'll say here.
* '''Personality Psychology''' deals with, pretty obviously, personality. It concerns not only how people are unique from each other but how people are alike as well. There are many, many different ways psychologists approach personality, from overall "type" theories to elaborate "[[ThereAreTwoKindsOfPeopleInTheWorld Two Kinds Of People]]" jokes (Type A vs. Type B personalities, anyone?), anyone?,) so we're just going to direct you to our article on the most respected inventory, the BigFivePersonalityTraits, and leave it at that.
* '''Positive Psychology''' tries to live on the happy side of the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism, preferring to promote well-being and nurture talent and genius. It feels that people spend too much time trying to fix what's wrong and not enough time encouraging and enjoying what we already have. Though people have been concerned with these topics since Adam and Eve, the field's first real glimmer of existence was in '98, making it by far the youngest branch of psychology, and the concommitant concomitant immaturity of its approach has been a point of contention for some critics.



"Just because A and B happen at the same time, that doesn't mean A causes B, or vice versa." This can be pretty obvious at times ("I was driving my car and my grandma died. I shall never drive again!"), but is less obvious when the two phenomena ''seem'' causally related. This principle reminds you to think twice about what seems obvious. Here are two examples:
* There are several studies which demonstrate that most people who win the lottery have poor money management skills. Does this mean that gaining large amounts of money makes you careless with your checkbook? (Answer in spoilers: [[spoiler:Probably not--especially since most people who make large fortunes are careful with money; this is ''how'' they make large fortunes. But the kind of person who plays the lottery is sloppy with money to begin with; it's a tax on people who can't calculate percentages. Therefore, montetary carelessness is an explanatory variable that is often mistaken for a response variable. Winning the lottery does not cause monetary carelessness; monetary carelessness causes lottery wins.]])
* A study showed that children who have nightlights are more likely to need vision-correcting lenses as adults. What's going on here? ([[spoiler:The obvious conclusion is that nightlights cause vision damage... but that's pretty obviously not true; our eyes are exposed to much higher amounts of light during the day and do not suffer permanent damage. The other conclusion is that... adult-glasses-wearing causes nightlights? How is ''that'' possible?--how could my wearing glasses at 28 cause a StableTimeLoop when I'm 6? The answer is that adults wearing glasses ''does'' cause nightlights... But the adult ''is not you''. It's your parents. They couldn't see well when you were a child [the nightlight was for them, not you], and bad vision is hereditary [which is why you need glasses today]. A does not cause B, and B does not cause A; ''C causes both''. Fun Fact: In statistics, this is known as "''common response'' caused by a ''lurking variable''."]])

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"Just because A and B happen at the same time, that doesn't mean A causes B, or vice versa." This can be pretty obvious at times ("I was driving my car and my grandma died. I shall never drive again!"), again!,") but is less obvious when the two phenomena ''seem'' causally related. This principle reminds you to think twice about what seems obvious. Here are two examples:
* There are several studies which demonstrate that most people who win the lottery have poor money management skills. Does this mean that gaining large amounts of money makes you careless with your checkbook? (Answer in spoilers: [[spoiler:Probably not--especially not -- especially since most people who make large fortunes are careful with money; this is ''how'' they make large fortunes. But the kind of person who plays the lottery is sloppy with money to begin with; it's a tax on people who can't calculate percentages. Therefore, montetary monetary carelessness is an explanatory variable that is often mistaken for a response variable. Winning the lottery does not cause monetary carelessness; monetary carelessness causes lottery wins.]])
wins]].)
* A study showed that children who have nightlights are more likely to need vision-correcting lenses as adults. What's going on here? ([[spoiler:The obvious conclusion is that nightlights cause vision damage... but But that's pretty obviously not true; our eyes are exposed to much higher amounts of light during the day and do not suffer permanent damage. The other conclusion is that... adult-glasses-wearing Adult-glasses-wearing causes nightlights? How is ''that'' possible?--how possible? -- How could my wearing glasses at 28 cause a StableTimeLoop when I'm 6? The answer is that adults wearing glasses ''does'' cause nightlights... But the adult ''is not you''. It's your parents. They couldn't see well when you were a child [the nightlight was for them, not you], and bad vision is hereditary [which is why you need glasses today]. today.] A does not cause B, and B does not cause A; ''C causes both''. Fun Fact: In statistics, this is known as "''common response'' caused by a ''lurking variable''."]])



Let's say you're required to take [[MyersBriggs a personality test]] two days in a row. You showed up yesterday and got a certain result from the test. You came back today... but you were ''pissed off''. You were woken up at asscrack o'clock by screaming from the apartment upstairs, the line at the coffee shop was five miles long, you were cut off in traffic and scalded yourself, there were no parking spaces... It's been a crappy day. So you take the personality test... and you get ''the exact opposite result'' you got yesterday.

to:

Let's say you're required to take [[MyersBriggs a personality test]] two days in a row. You showed up yesterday and got a certain result from the test. You came back today... but But you were ''pissed off''. You were woken up at asscrack o'clock by screaming from the apartment upstairs, the line at the coffee shop was five miles long, you were cut off in traffic and scalded yourself, there were no parking spaces... It's been a crappy day. So you take the personality test... and And you get ''the exact opposite result'' you got yesterday.



!!Cognitive Biases On Trope
It should hardly surprise you that humans don't always think well. What ''may'' surprise you is how frequently, and how subtly, we do so. One of the biggest categories of flawed thought processes are the "cognitive biases," which is when a person makes a judgment that certifiably departs from reality, or from the judgments of more-impartial outsiders. Typically these are not done on purpose--they're learned behaviors which we acquire because they make it easier to think faster, or which work in certain circumstances but are being [[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer currently misapplied]]. Here are some that correspond to known tropes.
* FeigningIntelligence: this is one of ''many'' "positive illusions," in which people overvalue or over-expect positive outcomes and downplay negative ones. Specifically, it's related to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_superiority illusory superiority]], in which people place more emphasis on their virtues and laugh off their flaws.
* KnowNothingKnowItAll / HeroicSelfDeprecation: these are both the result of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect Dunning-Kruger effect]], which states that it's possible to be [[TooDumbToLive so flamingly incompetent]] that you can't even recognize your own incompetence. Conversely, people with actual skill often underestimate themselves, assuming that ''everyone'' can detect the FatalFlaw or AchillesHeel in their competence. See also the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overconfidence_effect Overconfidence effect]], in which one believes one is always right.
* SunkCostFallacy: the more time, money and effort you've put into a thing, the more you value it--regardless of your likelihood of return or the objective value of the thing you're building. See also [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-purchase_rationalization post-purchase rationalization]]. This is a way for the brain to avoid realizing, "Holy shit, I've been wasting my time on this." Seriously, IgnoranceIsBliss. The implications of how sales people (or {{MMORPG}}s) can exploit this to gain money are probably already apparent to you, Dear Troper.
* ConfirmationBias: people are more likely to remember things that support what they already believe, and to interpret ambiguous data to support their own conclusions. If your favorite MMO got an Editor's Choice award from GameSpot, you'll remember that. The fact that it got EightPointEight reviews from every other publication out there may mysteriously slip your mind.
* OutOfCharacterMoment, ProtagonistCenteredMorality: these are informed by the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_attribution_error fundamental attribution error]], which basically says that people have trouble assuming that anyone except themselves can ''have'' an OutOfCharacterMoment. If I'm driving to work and I cut someone off, I'm excused because I am in a hurry. If, however, he cuts ''me'' off, it's because he's a JerkAss; every action he ever takes is a direct reflection of his personality. This is, of course, a good example of how cognitive biases can develop in the first place: maybe he ''does'' have an excuse, but how the heck am I supposed to ''know'' that? Having said that, it's still unfair for me to not give him the benefit of the doubt. See also the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actor%E2%80%93observer_bias actor-observer bias]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trait_ascription_bias trait-ascription bias]].

to:

!!Cognitive Biases On on Trope
It should hardly surprise you that humans don't always think well. What ''may'' surprise you is how frequently, and how subtly, we do so. One of the biggest categories of flawed thought processes are the "cognitive biases," which is when a person makes a judgment that certifiably departs from reality, or from the judgments of more-impartial outsiders. Typically these are not done on purpose--they're purpose -- they're learned behaviors which we acquire because they make it easier to think faster, or which work in certain circumstances but are being [[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer currently misapplied]]. Here are some that correspond to known tropes.
* FeigningIntelligence: this This is one of ''many'' "positive illusions," in which people overvalue or over-expect positive outcomes and downplay negative ones. Specifically, it's related to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_superiority illusory superiority]], in which people place more emphasis on their virtues and laugh off their flaws.
* KnowNothingKnowItAll / HeroicSelfDeprecation: these These are both the result of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect Dunning-Kruger effect]], which states that it's possible to be [[TooDumbToLive so flamingly incompetent]] that you can't even recognize your own incompetence. Conversely, people with actual skill often underestimate themselves, assuming that ''everyone'' can detect the FatalFlaw or AchillesHeel in their competence. See also the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overconfidence_effect Overconfidence effect]], in which one believes one is always right.
* SunkCostFallacy: the The more time, money and effort you've put into a thing, the more you value it--regardless it -- regardless of your likelihood of return or the objective value of the thing you're building. See also [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-purchase_rationalization post-purchase rationalization]]. This is a way for the brain to avoid realizing, "Holy shit, I've been wasting my time on this." Seriously, IgnoranceIsBliss. The implications of how sales people (or {{MMORPG}}s) [[MassivelyMultiplayerOnlineRolePlayingGame MMORPGs]]) can exploit this to gain money are probably already apparent to you, Dear Troper.
* ConfirmationBias: people People are more likely to remember things that support what they already believe, and to interpret ambiguous data to support their own conclusions. If your favorite MMO got an Editor's Choice award from GameSpot, [=GameSpot=], you'll remember that. The fact that it got EightPointEight reviews from every other publication out there may mysteriously slip your mind.
* OutOfCharacterMoment, OutOfCharacterMoment / ProtagonistCenteredMorality: these These are informed by the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_attribution_error fundamental attribution error]], which basically says that people have trouble assuming that anyone except themselves can ''have'' an OutOfCharacterMoment. If I'm driving to work and I cut someone off, I'm excused because I am in a hurry. If, however, he cuts ''me'' off, it's because he's a JerkAss; every action he ever takes is a direct reflection of his personality. This is, of course, a good example of how cognitive biases can develop in the first place: maybe he ''does'' have an excuse, but how the heck am I supposed to ''know'' that? Having said that, it's still unfair for me to not give him the benefit of the doubt. See also the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actor%E2%80%93observer_bias actor-observer bias]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trait_ascription_bias trait-ascription bias]].
21st Nov '14 1:27:27 AM Patachou
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* Finally, a fellow we've all heard of--SigmundFreud--came up with an approach called '''Psychoanalysis''', which in some ways combined the two: while introspection and self-observation were a major part of the process, the client looked for actual dysfunctional behaviors they were displaying, and then asked the psychoanalyst for help in puzzling out the motivations behind those behaviors. While a fair amount of Freud's theories--particularly his [[FreudWasRight obsession with sex]]--are [[DeadHorseTrope largely discredited today]], the things he got ''right'', particularly the idea of the the subconscious mind and all tropes rooted therein, are just as sacrosanct.

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* Finally, a fellow we've all heard of--SigmundFreud--came of--UsefulNotes/SigmundFreud--came up with an approach called '''Psychoanalysis''', which in some ways combined the two: while introspection and self-observation were a major part of the process, the client looked for actual dysfunctional behaviors they were displaying, and then asked the psychoanalyst for help in puzzling out the motivations behind those behaviors. While a fair amount of Freud's theories--particularly his [[FreudWasRight obsession with sex]]--are [[DeadHorseTrope largely discredited today]], the things he got ''right'', particularly the idea of the the subconscious mind and all tropes rooted therein, are just as sacrosanct.
18th Sep '14 5:11:21 PM CharacterInWhite
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* '''Evolutionary Psychology''' takes the assumption that behaviors, like organs, are the product of natural selection, and still exist because they provide some benefit to the organism that bears them. This field asks why BuxomIsBetter, looks for the TruthInTelevision behind {{Double Standard}}s, wonders why SacredHospitality developed, tries to find where {{Stage Mom}}s came from, even ponders why we are conscious at all. It's simultaneously the oldest branch of psychology (having roots in CharlesDarwin, 20 years before Wundt) and one of the youngest (its modern era having started in 1972 at earliest), and is gaining serious traction in the psychological community.

to:

* '''Evolutionary Psychology''' takes the assumption that behaviors, like organs, are the product of natural selection, and still exist because they provide some benefit to the organism that bears them. This field asks why attempts to justify ideas like BuxomIsBetter, looks for the TruthInTelevision behind in {{Double Standard}}s, wonders why SacredHospitality developed, tries to find where {{Stage Mom}}s came from, even ponders why we are conscious at all. It's simultaneously the oldest branch of psychology (having roots in CharlesDarwin, 20 years before Wundt) and one of the youngest (its modern era having started in 1972 at earliest), earliest). Practically at war with more modern iterations of Cultural Psychology, [[note]] The two sub-fields are essentially extensions of the "Nature vs. Nurture" debate, and is gaining serious traction academics in the psychological community.either sub-field have a tendency to talk past each other [[/note]] making it ample fuel for a FlameWar, and that's all we'll say here.
24th Feb '14 9:22:01 AM BeerBaron
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Added DiffLines:

** Some argue that there are even more, potentially ''dozens'' of senses. Typically, to reach this number, the five-to-seven main senses most people are aware of are simply broken further down. For example, the sense of "touch" is broken into the ability to feel pressure, feel pain, detect the temperature of what you are touching, etc. The validity of breaking the senses down to this degree is questionable at best, but there isn't really a concrete definition of what constitutes a "sense" to go by.
7th Jan '14 8:19:32 PM Twentington
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A large part of talking therapy is just that--talking. ArmchairPsychology may be a DeadHorseTrope in the media, but sometimes we need someone to tell ''us'' the truth. This is why Functionalism was deposed to begin with: human beings are not always good at self-analysis. Think of it like standing inside a building and then trying to see the outside surfaces of said building. It's impossible; there's walls in the way; you can't do it unless you're standing outside the building. The same thing is true of being human: we can't stand outside ourselves enough to see ourselves clearly. It's just a rule of nature. We cannot be objective about ourselves; we need someone to be objective ''for'' us. And that's where the psychologist comes in.

to:

A large part of talking therapy is just that--talking. ArmchairPsychology "Armchair" psychology may be a DeadHorseTrope in the media, but sometimes we need someone to tell ''us'' the truth. This is why Functionalism was deposed to begin with: human beings are not always good at self-analysis. Think of it like standing inside a building and then trying to see the outside surfaces of said building. It's impossible; there's walls in the way; you can't do it unless you're standing outside the building. The same thing is true of being human: we can't stand outside ourselves enough to see ourselves clearly. It's just a rule of nature. We cannot be objective about ourselves; we need someone to be objective ''for'' us. And that's where the psychologist comes in.
11th Dec '13 4:27:47 PM AzureSeas
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* This editor's mother was once heard to quote a study which demonstrated that most people who win the lottery have poor money management skills. In her mind, this suggested that gaining large amounts of money made you careless with your checkbook. Is this the truth? (Answer in spoilers: [[spoiler:Probably not--especially since most people who make large fortunes are careful with money; this is ''how'' they make large fortunes. But the kind of person who plays the lottery is sloppy with money to begin with; it's a tax on people who can't calculate percentages. Therefore, montetary carelessness is an explanatory variable that is often mistaken for a response variable. Winning the lottery does not cause monetary carelessness; monetary carelessness causes lottery wins.]])

to:

* This editor's mother was once heard to quote a study There are several studies which demonstrated demonstrate that most people who win the lottery have poor money management skills. In her mind, Does this suggested mean that gaining large amounts of money made makes you careless with your checkbook. Is this the truth? checkbook? (Answer in spoilers: [[spoiler:Probably not--especially since most people who make large fortunes are careful with money; this is ''how'' they make large fortunes. But the kind of person who plays the lottery is sloppy with money to begin with; it's a tax on people who can't calculate percentages. Therefore, montetary carelessness is an explanatory variable that is often mistaken for a response variable. Winning the lottery does not cause monetary carelessness; monetary carelessness causes lottery wins.]])
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