Tag Archives: decision making

riot police

Do Police Need Lapel Cameras?

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This article in the New York Times highlights many of the issues regarding lapel-mounted video cameras on law enforcement officers.

No consensus has emerged about when officers should turn on their cameras, which could leave departments open to accusations of selective recording. And tapes do not always lead to universally shared conclusions…

Big Picture Thinking

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Another fantastic example of the truism in human cognition and behavior – “it depends” – in this case brought to us by the folks at the University of Illinois. When prompted to think abstractly, too much self-focus can lead to feelings of missing out on life, which then induces regret and leads to corrective overindulgence – a finding that runs counter to much of the extant consumer psychology literature. Ravi Mehta, a professor of business administration, looked at the impact on cognition from thinking abstractly.…

red poisonous berries

Evolutionary Design and the Ability to Recognize Key Resources

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I am not sure if this research with seem so obvious to you that you skip over it, but since so many things in motivational psychology are counterintuitive I thought I should share one of those great examples where things just make sense.

Question: If our ancient ancestors were driven by the need for food, what is an important skill for them to have?
Answer: The ability to recognize food and differentiate it from things that are not food (especially those berries our moms warned us about that look good but are poisonous)…

a baseball in the grass

Neuro Scout

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Quoting the inimitable Yogi Berra “Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical,” Larry Greenemeier over at Scientific American brought to my attention a new technology being developed at the Columbia University Laboratory for Intelligent Imaging and Neural Computing called the NeuroScout.

Batters facing professional or collegiate pitching must make extremely quick perceptual decisions—a pitch takes only about 600 milliseconds to cross home plate after the pitcher releases it…

multiple lines of people waiting at a grocery store

Bad Luck or Conspiracy in the Checkout Line

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I am sure this will resonate with many of you, and you have probably thought about it from a HF perspective many times while waiting in the slowest checkout line in the store.

You run into the grocery store to quickly pick up one ingredient. You grab what you need and head to the front of the store. After quickly sizing up the check-out lines, you choose the one that looks fastest. You chose wrong…

a stack of engineering papers

Design Principles Over Standards

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Principles are better than standards in UX design, according to this article by Peter Hornsby at UX Matters.

For a long time, I’ve been an advocate of creating standards, guidelines, and patterns as a way of achieving design consistency within a large organization. While these do offer significant benefits, they also introduce a number of problems into the design process…

a wire figure kneeling and bowing

Cognitive Humility and Information Processing

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Cognitive Humility is a concept we never talk about in our HF/E education or training, but I think it is much more important than we realize. I am going to define it a little more specifically than either Annie Murphy Paul or David Brooks do.

Brooks, the New York Times op-ed columnist, has for the past couple of years taught a course called “Humilty” at Yale… The purpose of the course, according to its description in the catalog, is to study “traditions of modesty and humility in character building and political leadership,” and to explore “the premise that human beings are blessed with many talents but are also burdened by sinfulness, ignorance, and weakness.”…

a napa vineyard

Insurance Loopholes and Behavioral Nudges

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Two stories in the news caught my eye today, at first because of the similarities but then because they are so different. OK, now that you are totally confused, let me explain what I mean. The first article was in Bloomberg Business Week and covered the recent earthquake in Napa Valley.

Unless the federal government designates Napa a disaster, winemakers will not be eligible for special loans.

The second story talked about businesses that were hurt by the tornado in July in Revere, MA. Tornados are extremely rare in Revere and very few businesses had tornado insurance. And as with the Napa wineries, most of them are small businesses with an eye on expenses. And as with the Napa wineries’ insurance, many of them found themselves with loophole-riddled policies…

two women meeting at a coffee shop

Ebanking and Capital One 360 Cafés

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When I read about the new Capital One cafés opening up in Boston I was intrigued. The basic idea is that bank branches don’t support the significant expense of maintaining them. But there are enough people and activities that they support that banks don’t really want to get rid of them completely. So how do you balance the tradeoffs? The café is Capital One’s idea for how to bridge the gap. I have not been to one, so I am doing a little imagining here.

At Capital One 360®, we believe banking should fit comfortably into everyday life. That’s why we’re not just online and mobile; we can now be found in Cafés opening across Boston. A place where you can get your banking questions answered or simply recharge your lives with free WiFi, tips on saving time & money.

stephen colbert

The Real Science of Truthiness

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This piece has gone somewhat viral, and while the basic message is important, it gets some of the facts wrong. So I thought I would use this platform to share my concerns and see if you agree. Maybe it is me who is wrong.

Truthiness is “truth that comes from the gut, not books,” Colbert said in 2005. Scientists who study the phenomenon … use the term. It humorously captures how, as cognitive psychologist Eryn Newman put it, “smart, sophisticated people” can go awry on questions of fact.