Brent Strickland’s blog

This blog asks how lessons from cognitive science can help us to understand and improve on cultural activities that impact our daily lives such as science, business, and political decision making.

Governments should more frequently publish CO2 emissions data: Leveraging human psychology to fight climate change

The most recent report by the International Panel on Climate Change (2018) states the danger very clearly: urgent action is required to avoid possible climate disaster. The primary cause of global climate change is greenhouse gas emissions, primarily CO2 emitted into the atmosphere in the burning of fossil fuels. We must drastically cut emissions at national and planet-wide scales in order to reduce the risk of worst-case scenarios to acceptable amounts. The major problem in bringing about the required large-scale change is not technical or economic, but social. We know roughly what to do, and we can afford to do it. Where we urgently need progress however is in motivating human decisions (at scale) that are effective in decreasing CO2 emissions. ...

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Are liberals too dumb to understand this? Virtue signaling in the age of outrage advertising

Through our newsfeeds and social media, we are constantly confronted with articles and headlines (like the headline of this piece) that have been deliberately designed to provoke outrage and attract clicks. We often naively think that by sharing our outrage on Facebook or Twitter, we are performing a small but good deed. However the collective effect of these small deeds often ends up exactly the opposite of what was intended....

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The R-word: “Racism” across the political spectrum

As a professional cognitive scientist, I usually conduct experiments on other people. However I recently carried out a somewhat unique experiment on myself. In this, I switched the political orient...

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Does replication matter? The case for conceptual replication and strong inference

Recent findings from a massive collaborative project (OSF, 2015), attempting to replicate many of the findings published in top psychology journals, have suggested that roughly half of these fail to ...

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Why reading minds is not like reading words

Written by Brent Strickland and Pierre Jacob. In a recent review paper in Science (2014. 344-6190) entitled “The cultural evolution of mind reading,” Cecilia Heyes and Chris Frith argue ...

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