« Freakonomics Radio

334. 5 Psychology Terms You’re Probably Misusing

2018-05-10 | 🔗
We all like to throw around terms that describe human behavior — “bystander apathy” and “steep learning curve” and “hard-wired.” Most of the time, they don't actually mean what we think they mean. But don't worry — the experts are getting it wrong, too.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Since you are african diamonds, radio listener you privately so little bit interested and we ve done several episodes on the topic over the years, The man generally considered to be the founder of behavioral Economics is Richard Sailor University of Chicago. He too has appeared in several episodes, he's what you might call friend for economics. So guess what our friend recently did he went out. and one a Nobel prize, so we thought it be nice to have failed or back on the show to answer our questions and yours. If you ve got a question about behavioral economics per se about what it's like to women Nobel Poor, just what it's like to be Richard sailor, send it along our email is radio. At we cannot come. Tell us your name where you live. What you do if you'd prefer you can make an audio recording of your question. Just use the voice memo app on your phone and send the file to that same address radio at reconnects, dot com and keep your ears out for the sailor episode in the near future. Thanks now,.
under this week's episode Come to us to write this article was that many of us felt. I felt that there were a lot of confusion about psychiatric psychological terminology, both in the popular media, public energy and also even an academic circles. Scott Lillian filled is a professor psychology, every university, a political stakeholders training and elzevir real interest in the application of scientific thinking to psychology and also help thinking so This goes wrong and can leave even the best. The brightest too grace ideas that are sometimes questionable. Maybe even pseudo scientific you are an author on a paper called fifty psychological in psychiatric terms to avoid a list of inaccurate misleading misuse,
ambiguous and logically confused words and phrases, but you're all The author of an earlier book called fifty great myths of popular psychology say so this book is incredibly fun. I love it. It's hugely enjoyable on the one hand, but also hugely sobering on the other, because it's kind of like looking at a table of content, The New York Times over the past twenty years- and I mean that not an accomplice in the New York Times, because basically ears all these things, all these ideas that people love to embrace and talk about and pass on are, if somewhere, between, bogus and trumped up. For instance, here you're chapter titles playing Mozart's music to infants, boost their intelligence, which you argue it, is not some people are left brained. Others are right, reigned which you argue and weave argued on. The show they are not. Intelligence tests are biased against certain groups of people which you argue there are not so
My question is very rude when I have to say- and I ask your forgiveness in advance, but it seems as though, if most of the pop or modern site how'd, you that most of us know are essentially fickle or anecdotal you know stories that you're saying are mostly not true in the end that so many of the terms are abused or misused are exaggerated. What are you people good for exactly? It's, not a big question, actually Psychology is a bit of a double edged sword because it is, intuitively interesting to all of us, and the positive side is that we're all psychology in everyday life we all know early. Think we know something about love the memory and friendships and dream, and some things I that the downside, though what you're getting at is that, because something scene, familiar it may some. I'm seem understandable, there's a very hungry, very receptive audience for psychological books on past
psychology, emotions, love relationships, infidelity, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot, that's all good, but the danger, I think, is that we can very the push our wonder buttons and and pusher interests buttons using pseudoscience rather science, we hear it for economics. Radio are totally in favour of people pushing their wonder buttons, but we also in favour of real science. So today, on the show, what are some of these misleading misused and abused ideas from psychology. So one that comes to mind is by stander apathy and the biggest error is to assume that these, personality traits or unity They only have one course and that their inherited, and one of the most important Discoveries in neuroscience of the last few years has been all that hardwired stuff is completely wrong and
A lot of people will say of his job. Has a really steeple learning curve, in fact than getting it backward. I'm happy from W and Y see studios. This is freakin comics radio podcast that explores the hidden side of everything. Here's your host Stevens Abner, Scott million felled of Emory along with fellow academic.
Catherine, Slovene Stephen J Win Robin Cotton: Robert Lackman and Urban Waldman published a paper in frontiers in psychology listing fifty terms in their field that are inaccurate, misleading and so on. It begins with an epoch graph from Confucius. If names be not correct, language is not in accordance. with the truth of things. Now, I'm curious when you re a paper that basically tells you appears and the public. These are all the ways that we're screwing up. Does that make you kind of unpopular in the field. Are you thought of as a scold? Shall I was remind my colleagues when they give me a hard time about this, as I tell them, I put misused virtually every single one of those that are not a sound, appoint myself. I am, I must what do you have a lot of these misuses? As anybody else said, the summary of the article says that the goal is to quote promote
clear thinking and clear rating among students and teachers of psychological science by curbing terminal logic misinformation and confusion, and then you give fifty common these terms at fall into five categories, and I love you did walk me through categories. Yes, so those are inaccurate or misleading, frequently misused, ambiguous terms. Small oxymorons and pleonasm category one, inaccurate or misleading, described the problem and may be given example, those terms that can often lead people, into erroneous conclusion, so one that comes to mind, is by stander apathy. Can you tell us what it means what it represents an and where it came from absolutely so. What referring to here is a fair. well demonstrated psychological phenomenon that in emerge cs say when people are.
serving someone being robbed or stabbed or raped what we sometimes She is a very peculiar and sometimes very tragic phenomenon where while freeze and don't do anything and back in the nineteen sixty is. There was a classic series of studies in this regard. That wasn't by a real life tragedy. early in the morning, the March thirteen nineteen sixty
for a twenty eight year old woman and Catherine Kitty, Genovese was brutally attacked in Kew Gardens Queens, which is a relatively quiet community in New York City. That's James, Solomon, the director and producer of a documentary film about that real life tragedy. Two weeks later, the New York Times published the story
that had originated with the New York Police Commissioner, and a conversation with a DEN metropolitan editor of the New York Times a Rosenfeld. The police commissioner, mentioned many witnesses, had watched and heard what had taken place and reportedly had not called the place. Solomon's film is called the witness. It follows bill, Genovese kitties brother, as he tries to make sense of the killing many years after the fact. How could so many people have failed to intervene? The New York Times reported on his front page. Two hundred and thirty eight law abiding citizens had watched for more than a half hour. As this woman, two thousand eight hundred and one
TAT had murdered at the sea at the sea was the tagline the rose, and I gave to the story. That's bid lack any social psychologist and senior fellow at the centre for human science for years after the murder and the headline thirty watch and no one calls the place. This has been the subject different movies, less the television episodes and killed this magazine articles books and Most of all, I think in terms of its impact on the country. Sermons spoke to the time pressure. can you been assassinated. Country was asking. Who are we
We are also not many years from the Holocaust and it was a story that spoke to the thoughts that many had that there had been many silent, complicit witnesses to what had taken place in Europe. In the forties. People thought the big cities were part of the problem or the television was part of the problem or that you know, with all kinds of things were part of the problem. leading us too, to lose moral bearings and and become on this issue. Indeed, how could people just stand by The woman was brutally attacked over a significant period of time, ultimately ending in her death. True, the attack happened in the dark middle of the night
people were safe inside their homes, asleep prep scared to venture out some who heard the victim shouting thought it was a lovers quarrel, but still was any of that an excuse for such profound. apathy. For not a single person calling the police the results of the kid agenda: VC, murder, the uproar the came out about it, is the adoption of the nine eleven system, which is now all through the? U S before the event It was no easy to report a crime in process, genovese murder reverberated through many realms of life for many years aim to define New York Ass, a place of apathy, violence, it defined human behaviour. Generally in ninety ninety four murders beneath Anniversary President Bill Clinton spoke about it during public safety forum in New York. Well
That story shocked us all thirty years ago, not just because of what happened to that. Woman is tragic as it was, but all because of what had happened to her neighbours it sent a chilling message about what had happened at that time, in a society suggesting that we were each of us not sent The endangered fundamentally alone, Mr Baker. Thirty eight neighbours heard her cries, but fear or irresponsibility? Not one went to her aid this morning she was found dead. That's congressmen, Stani Hoyer, Maryland in nineteen. Ninety five referencing, the gene, this murder, while urging his peers to pull out of a? U s. arms embargo against Bosnia today, Bosnia as for help kitty, gonna is not in Bosnia. but genocide resides
They are now. Let us act today to lift arms embargo to give beleaguered Bosnia a chance. Former deputy secretary of Defence policy, which pointed to Katy Genovese, is murder as having enormous influence on his thinking about international policy, stuck with me insisted terrible example of disengagement and then, when I started dealing with decisions about putting american soldiers into harm's way that the simple any of it to me said you don't want to be one of the thirty eight the country. We don't want to be one of the thirty eight and he said it's not. The cost of action is the cost of inaction, international affairs public. So
the image of New York City there's one more realm where the kitty, Genovese murder, lived on. Nowhere was it more impact for then in the field of psychology? Behavioral psychology as a the question as to how do we remain silent beer black- Nay, was one psychologist who began asking that question a few years after the murder he embarked on a series of studies with fellow psychologist, on Darley Gender, and I were both newly minted tenure track professors you're sitting here in New York University me Columbia, university. They met at a cocktail party. We discovered that we both in some degree resented the fact that every time we met somebody from outside the university there's a oh you're, a social psychologist so heading
explain the sun apathy that the people in New York and seemed to have latin. I wasn't convinced that apathy was necessarily the operative explanation. One part of the puzzle there weren't just one or two witnesses, but thirty eight join us well, maybe that's part of the explanation. Maybe the fact that it was thirty. Eight people led them to be if differently than if it had just been one or two one of the whence they ran, came to be known as the lady in Distress Julie, Robin Hood, then? A graduate student Columbia University played the role the experimenter who recruited Colombia, students to come up to mathematics, building to fill up some questionnaires, and why There are doing that she went through a folding curtain into her office next door,
where she went to students, can see that there is a desk with books, piled high bookcase and a rolling chair. There were three experimental conditions, one in which a student with alone, one with a friend one with stranger over and over again. They could hear Judy. of your him? Get that book down here, the noise of heard pulling the rolling office cheer up to the desk in trying to climb up on the chair. They heard the crash in the cry as the cheer went out from under her feet and she fell on the floor, she didn't actually fall. She jumped down, but is pretty effective. Simulation of somebody so we having a serious accident in the room next door, so what the students do and was their response. its influenced by whether they were alone with They were alone or with other people, made a major difference in what they did
Listen Judy being rescued, far more likely, There is only one person hearing her, then if there were to all things, become all the more people who were present at an emergency, the less likely the likelihood of of help that again Scott Lillian, felt the beauty of this was they took pains to try to replicate the findings fairly well, and they observed quite similar effects across different experimental paradigms. Oh for example, another case there was a people were in a room, small little room with filling out questionnaires, and then what appeared to be smoke began filling up. There somebody in there alone, with typically the anyway, there's smell something. First, look up, see, their smoke coming out of this meant and then most often they would find the secretary.
The office outside and say: hey, something strange is in there. I don't know if it's a problem, but there's smoke, they were we're like that are run out than when other subjects were there when too people were in their liberties, shove. Maybe look up at it appear puzzled, but each seeing the other one not doing anything presently felt it wasn't really a fire or that the appropriate thing is to stiffen out, stay there. The phenomena was surprising because the smoke got pretty intense after a while, and people were coughing and having to wave the smoke away from their faces with. I think they had a file folder in front. They were fairly willing to endure this guy, RO the embarrassment of overreacting, so the up set of safety in numbers. If they're a lot ass right around right and what was the
alleged psychological underpinning of that affect. Why would people be less likely to intervene? Current latin at one of them is just pure fear of intervening. Another one is of fear making a fool of itself and looking stupid, but there too, the malignant processes that often get set in motion. The first is what they call pluralistic. When you have an emergency in a public sector, creation where people can see and be seen by others, you have a budget. In a situation where everybody is trying not to flip out trying not to panic, run screaming. That's, particularly likely when the situation is ambiguous. What does not entirely clear that something is an emergency? We see a couple shouting arguing something we don't know. This is really an emergency ears is just to people having a spat, and what we do we look around. We see that no one else is intervening and as a result, we figure up again
this, is not an emergency, and so that can lead to people failing to intervene I can process is what they called diffusion of responsibility when there are multiple people around, we feel less responsibility, less personal guilt for the consequences of doing nothing, I always tell ourselves later problems nationalism, but we can tell those later well. I should intervened. Okay but tell the people could have done it as well This idea came in the psychological cannon in de what late, sixties, early seventies, late sixties, were the main studies. That's right. And so describe for me briefly just how long it held prominence for or how long it was considered legitimate and how how strong was the effect. Yes, I would say the effect. self actual fairly robust. I think we're not not robust as the idea that somehow people are apathetic
Cases much more likely was happening is that people feel psychologically frozen. So this is supposedly psychological phenomenon, bystander apathy. It turns out to be misinterpreted or exaggerated, but about the store read that inspired the murder of Kitty Genovese. The irony of this is number people since noted, as that as it was originally described, much of what the New York Times reported was not accurate. There is a saying that many journalists have at some stories are too good to check. And this was one of those kinds of stories where its power almost defied. The facts That again is James Solomon, director of the witness it took in many respects, Bill Genovese, kiddies brother, over the course of ten years
his life to unravel the story of his sisters, murder for us to begin to undo. Dan, just how flawed the story was. Let's go back to the original times report. It read quote for more than half an hour: thirty eight respectable law abiding citizens in queens watched a killer stalk in stab woman in threes but attacks in Q Gardens in two thousand and four on the fortieth anniversary of the kitty, Genovese murder, the New York Times revisited its own story. A local residents, Joseph Dumay Junior Head, begun, investigating and found several problems with the original reporting. For starters, there weren't three attacks they were to attacks and when attack. Yes, that was on the street, but the other the set an attack happened in a small vestibule. The great majority of neighbors were asleep and
a much greater majority only heard did not see an attack, nor was it true. but no one did anything one of kiddies neighbours, yelled out, to lead the girl alone and the attacker Winston mostly ran off. those who were at the window at this point saw kitty stagger around the corner and then lost sight of her. The attacker returned only after things had quieted down. By that point she had made her way inside a vestibule inside and inter your space where she had collapsed. No one on the street could have seen her at this point, so that- were many who heard portions of the attack and few who saw
even portions and none who sought beginning to end, perhaps the most neglected part of the narrative is what happened next, as Kitty Genovese, his brother bill discovered during his Here's long investigation, but wasn't until bill started right, in the trial transcript decades later that he came across and came to see where there was someone there who rushed to kiddies and her name was Sophie of her. She was kitty. the actual next door neighbour, and when she received a phone call, that kitty was hurt she rushed outside without hesitating down. Stairs data golly still in her night, close to three and having no idea will lose out in the rear alley and who and what was inside the vestibule Sophia had to force your way inside the vestibule
because Kitty was now laying inside the doorway and her body up against the door and she cradled Kitty she cradled kitty. And reassured kitty and was ensure if kitty, who was at that point in extraordinary physical duress, realised that she was in. friends, arms but Kitty did die in the arms of a friend. she's. My friend and I knew she was hurt and I'm high and she needed help that with. That is my reason for Flying down them stance that is fairer in the film explaining to Bill Genovese that his sister at least hadn't died.
And then, when I came in, I never forget the black kilns will compel Black led the gloves and all cuts to the gloves both hands. I only hope, but she knew range. she wasn't long? As for Kitty Genovese as other neighbours, it appears that at least one of them did knowingly refrained from helping, but for many others, things were much less clear. Some who heard the commotion claim to have thought it was a drunken brawl or lovers quarrel still, others insisted they did call the police after the first attack the police logging.
While recorded, only one call well after the murder had left the scene. A cynic might wonder if the police were telling the whole truth, what if witnesses had called and the police failed to respond? Remember this story got it start. When the New York Police Commissioner told the Times editor eyebrows and thought about the thirty eight witnesses who did nothing. This was after the killer had already been caught and had confessed. He also confess to a second murder, but the police had already gotten a confession from someone else for that, one that What Rosen's I was asking about when the police commissioner started talking about the thirty eight witnesses. Did the police have incentive to play up bystander apathy in genovese murder, yourselves, Eve Levitt, and I wrote about the scenario in our book super for economics
about two men arrested for the same murder clearly has the potential to embarrass the police. Furthermore, given the prolonged and brutal nature, the Genovese murder the police may have been touchy about who caught the blame? Why haven't they ve been able to stop it with this kind of a story, especially after so much time through always be elusive details? Suffice it to say that the tragic murder of Kitty Genovese had been repackaged to represent something that probably didn't the big T truth is this probably wasn't apathy, the psychologist, bib Latin again, the whole interpretation in the stirring was probably wrong is probably in social innovation effect. I dont think most I would just when used the word of apathy. A number and I think it's
either misleading or not very descriptive, we'll call it the bystander effect, but It doesnt tell you where the bystanders effect is to increase or decrease reporting, as why like in addition or bystander innovation, because I told you what the effect is: there's probably kernel of truth, but it's probably a gross over simplification and the psychologist Scott Lillian felt so much of what was for what was inaccurate to me. The the irony is that to these psychological and idea of by Zander apathy work. Created essential, by one newspaper article that, from my perspective, was just a model of ports journalism that was dry then, by what we think of. As the you know, if it bleeds leads school of thought, but really even deeper and it goes to another. Psychological concept which is the seeming attraction to or thirst for the worst version.
Of ourselves. It was this story in your, I guess professional opinion just too bad to be true was with that part of what helped to establish the myth. Yeah, I don't know. Maybe at some level we we may be drawn to those stories, perhaps because they may seem to vindicate our own failures to enter in some cases we have all had times were, maybe we should have done something and we didn't Maybe those stories in some way give us a certain amount of reassurance. It's not just me I better made us also be. The fact that we are coloured drawn to the period weakens like things the they're sensational and give me a sense of the downside of how robustly, the bystander apathy than the notion was embraced, did it, I mean to say it, set back there of psychology, but maybe did, I know you don't offer if it set back any
It was probably a generation of psychology students who may have misunderstood this. With students do to understand is that most people are in fact quite impasse. I guess there are exceptions, but but most of us do have a deep seated capacity for emotional empathy, Most of us see modern. Yes, we want to help deepen side of us. Is the hero also deepened set of us as the chicken and maybe in some ways recognising. The fact that part of us is kind of chicken is the first step to helping us overcome it. There is a danger, I think in assuming that anyone who does not intervene in an emergency is a monster nor inherently a bad person, but at that we're all capable of that. We are such em Perfect animals aren't way. We sure will my colleague get Emory
funds Doyle likes to call us that the bipolar ape were capable of of great evil end and in some cases, Barroso, Caple a great goodness as part of what makes us such and such a fascinating, such a complex and sometimes such infuriating species coming up after the break more things about our infuriating species. That were absolutely sure are true, except they're, not and is more like an echo sketch it's coming up right after this for economics, radio sponsored by cell on Amazon. When, you sell on Amazon, there's room to grow ways to move and countless reasons to believe that your brand can do more. Amazon can help you set up your products and Your brand story give you access to
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Ok, so the stalwart psychological phenomenon you may know as bystander apathy is mostly a faulty interpretation based on the faulty reporting of nineteen sixty four murder What other things do we know to be so that in fact are not about how about the notion of being hard wired for us? Behavior new research on the mind has uncover the possibility that believing in God may be hard wired in our brains and the problem for parents is kids, don't just lie. Sugar, their biologically hard wired for it, and in the overwhelming majority of cases in which its use hard wired is, is really misleading. I think sometimes potentially pernicious Scott Lillian felled from memory because it can leave people into assuming that certainly There cannot be changed the predisposition towards infidel. please hard wired and the brain, it must mean as a as
a mail. I can't resist my inclination towards infidelity hogwash. Of course you can when do we know these things? Can be kept can be This did, although not always easy, if you say it's hard, wired, implicitly or actually not that implicitly, quite explicitly the messages you can't change that Sharon Beggarly has been writing for decades. About neuroscience. Just as you know, if you wanted to go into your computer's hard drive with you now at any less screwdriver and stop messing around with, as integrated circuits, to change, something that will not work out very well but the hard idea didn't originate with computing this. Narrow science has shown us that you know, going back centuries. Whatever was the prevail cool mechanical machine device. Whatever. That was the metaphor, the people appealed to sew it. The brain was compared to accounting machine to a clock and then computer
First on the scene- and so people said well than the brain is like a computer, but one of the most important Discoveries in neuroscience of the last few years has been in fact that all that hard wired stuff is completely wrong in There are very fundamental ways: there are very few if any psychological, attributes that are strictly genetically determine strictly hard wired into the brain. This sort of realisation has also led to treatments for major depressive disorder because Here too, there is a clear neurosurgeon tree underlying it o c d, which reflects over activity in particular circuit and through the form of therapy called cognitive behaviour therapy. The over activity in that circuit can be quieted just as much as people take medications that are prescribed for OECD, the brain can even be trained to control different body parts. After a stroke,
So when someone has a stroke and the region that controlled motors pick, the example of the right hand is wiped out. obviously you have trouble moving your right hand, but it turns out that there are. Our interventions. We have techniques that can teach the brain to turn its right side into the part that controls the right and so again what had been controlled in the left side of the brain it can move over to the inside and assume a totally new function. This is not to say the brains for ability is unlimited. If you are ask me, you know, can somebody oh gosh think them jobs out of schizophrenia or think themselves out of addiction. I would say in those two examples: we do not have evidence that that is possible, but Beggarly says it may be time to treat it hard wired metaphor for less misleading one, the brain is more like an extra sketch UK
You know seem too in size lines on it and they look for all the work like their real, but with a little bit of shaking up, you can make significant changes. next phrase? If you would love this one, statistically reliable, danger of statistically reliable. Is it can mislead people into thinking that if they result, is typically significant if it falls below a particular threshold for significant psychosis, often use point five that has one in twenty as a kind of rough guided, a lot of people think O. Therefore, it is likely to replicates in other samples. Typically when psychologists for two reliability: they mean consistency, consistency over time. That is misuse of the term, because in fact, most significant results promptly to replicate So we shouldn't confuse a result that is Sicily significant with one that
likely to be reliable, consistent overtime or reputable there. Two very different things: excellent, ok, the next phrase person many tape. Personality type. You see that a law in psychology, especially psychology type policies of now you ve been around with a since the days of the is another. So we like to sort people into different types that is mutually exclusive. Discreet categories interval versus extroverts, neurotics, verses, neurotics, intuitive people versus numb to its people and so on, but effect we know from the personality literature that most and probably all personality traits are continuously, distributed much like height or wait. There really are dimensions. We want to make a distinction between a personality type in a personal dimension that is Jerome Kagan Emeritus, professor of psychology,
Harvard and a pioneer of developmental and personality psychology, dimension implies that. People range along a certain trade like how agreeable are you. A type implies a pattern of treats the major tourist, of course was Freud and fry did posit types we should do were eight o pipes, there were oral aggressive types and, although those ideas repealing the nineteen twenty asian Thirty's, they turned out to not match good scientific inquiry and show no one uses them any more. What most psychologist study these days are traits, although traits and types are often confused, which leads to fundamental misunderstandings, about
The the biggest error is to assume that. He's personality traits, agreeableness, conscientiousness or unit, hurry? They only have one cause and that their inherited. they're, not in your genes and theirs, no basic shudder, personality traits. So assuming that certain people fall into types I think and can, predisposed to a lot of misunderstanding, because it can make us think that certain groups of people are or some a qualitatively different different in time, rather than indeed you from the rest of us? Yes, introverts and extroverts do differ in important ways, but in fact they grade off an imperceptible into each other. Is this related to the kind of broad concept of hard wired? And that's you know, and if it is Is there some comfort in the notion that oh, I can explain better that person's behaviour, if I can attributed to
something that was me no etched already into the code, so in some cases, not all, but in some cases this idea thing being dichotomy, yes or no prisoner absent, may be tied in our heads to the idea that somehow it is biologically ere the rather x, or why in the last one will do right now is deep learning curve The people will say I started on a new job. We're has had to do something new, and this job has a really steeple learning curve, in fact they're getting it backward of steeper and a crevice easy different occur you learn about narrowing. We re not slowly. So when I read that in your paper I thought. Oh, my goodness, that's really interesting that we ve all got it backwards, but then I then, I quickly rationalized and said. Well, I guess
but I always assumed that the stiffness was on the access referring to difficulty. Somehow, if a task is particularly difficult, then that's the steepness and the colonel by mind right you're, really when we income there's something that's really difficult and having a hard time mastering it, we should say we're on a very shallow averse, shallow learning curve, a thorough answer they would people say this because a steep learning curve, so do they mean, as me so I'm gonna bust mixer does pushing the rock up the hill, I'm up a very steep mountain, but effective as a steep learning curve. That means that its acquired very quickly. Let's take a step back now and talk about it phenomena that you ve been describing generally of misuse of late. Wage and so on, What would you say are the reasons for this poor use
I mean even I, as a total amateur, could imagine a few. Maybe you know the narrower the languages the more easily that you can claim as a researcher that your research has legitimate and original value rate. If it's getting to something that others hadn't gotten before or maybe you're trying to cover up fact that you don't really know what you're talking about where maybe you're trying to impress p earth and journal editors and and students in I'm. I guess the non academic saying as if you can't dazzled with brilliance baffling with bullshit right I think, all the above excellence in some of its also the fact that a lot of human behaviour lot of human phenomena very multiply, determined even just the way people use terms like OECD or depression, or things like that depression. I think, there's probably some some course thing there, but
we're talking about a very heterogeneous entity, they're, probably a lot of different depressions, rather than one pure form of depression out there that the same across every one. So I think I can cut off and mislead us into thinking we're talking about one thing when in fact we were talking about me, simple things and give me an example. A real world example were their real, serious ramifications. Some people might think that the quick and simple a cure for her school shootings is mental illness reform. I think that may have to be part of the picture, but it's unlikely to be all of it and the reason that's the cases. Many perpetrators of violence are not mentally ill, so So I think the link between mental illness and violence falls in between two extremes. So what we do? oh, is that these substantial
priority of the mentally ill and by the mentally ill I mean people speak schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychotic, depression. the overwhelming majority of people. These disorders are not never will be violent. The rates are probably well under five percent, and we also know that people severe mental illness are much more likely to be the victims, red and the perpetrators of violence. At the same time, I think we also have to avoid the earth say there, is no increase risk at all among the mentally ill? That's probably a modest increased risk among people, schizophrenia and, in particular, when severe mental illnesses paired with substances so will we have to. We have to realise the pictures more complicated than its often portrayed, and let me ask you ridiculous and impossible question if say all of psychological in psychiatric knowledge were a pie like a blueberry pie. How much of the pie is known now
yeah. That's a tough one of her to come up with a number, I guess by ten percent, and I think it will vary depending on the area, but I think we we tend to overestimate the level uncertainty for knowledge, a speck when we look back and a hundred years- and maybe even fifty years will be astonished at how silly many the ideas we we currently hold near. Indeed, Hearts are actually wrong. Well, I guess in that regard, psychology psychiatry are very similar to the rest of medicine, but me no one could argue the same, firm economics and allow the other meats are certainly the social Sciences. It's really hard to prove a lot of causality in your field. Is it not then the Oakland I agree with your Wilson, the real hot. Sciences, are the sort of Sciences we will have the opposite of the heart is crazy, but not to minimize the difficulties of
yeah visit chemistry happy. I know it's tough too, but we live in so much more problematic world or dealing with people are so many other variables coming into play. So many moving parts and sometimes were criticised press justifiably for how crap than we are predicting behaviorally, predictive violence, but Sometimes it amazes me, we do even as well as we do that we can do even better than chance. For example, at predicting violence are predicting work performance, sir, predicting happiness or longevity. Given all the moving parts So I even though I teach a course where I call odd stuff in the question and tried in many cases to debunk it- I don't look down on people- have those beliefs, because I think they often reflect the kind of thirst, for knowledge, which I think is actually kind of healthy? I think we scientists sometimes make that mistake when we're dealing with things we don't agree with like creationism, sometimes cleansing
These people are so sillier so stupid. But in fact many of us myself but has held ideas that we now look back on this not so good, and I think The bottom line you're at the two projector, but scientific methods over there not perfect, and they can make their mistakes to because their practice by by we humans or all imperfect, but cite three methods, are ultimately our best hope for a kind of sorting through and sorting out, which are these lay believes. Intuitive beliefs has some truth in which, which doesn't so there you down a dose of humility, along with a plea for a good sign, thanks to Scott Lillian, failed for having the humility and the courage to challenge the veracity of his own field and do so with such grace and nuance and going back to the kitty. Genovese story is one further detail. I thought you might find interesting. Her kill
remember was named Winston Mosely You also remember he wasn't caught at the scene. That's what led to the bystander apathy story. So how was he caught? happened several days after the genovese murder? Here again is James Solomon, director of the witness mostly was in another part of queens in the middle of day and was stealing the tv from individuals parchment. Ass, he went back inside. Ah, a neighbor noticed mostly. And knew that the neighbourhood given anyone permission to sort of remove things from her house, so he can front, in mostly in the neighbour chased Mosely and PIN Mosely until the police came so. the ultimate active sort of a good Samaritan.
The irony is the sort of story that we only associate with bad samaritans. Had good Samaritan who led to the apprehension of mostly the moral of the story, I guess, is to always be careful what you think you know coming up next time on economics, radio. What do you think you know about corporate social responsibility or c s arm, No, you have ninety percent of companies now publishing. and you will see us our reports, economists, we should say, have long been skeptical of corporate. Do Gooders Milton Friedman argue cs are, is a fundamentally subversive doctrine and declared that the business of business is I am very familiar with the business of business is business, but from our perspective we don't make lipstick. We
medicines and vaccines. How much of corporate social responsibility is just public relations? Emmy look. This is a complex issue. What kind of unintended consequences might see us or have? I think the real gem here is that we also attract A very different type of worker is the business of business just business. That's next time on finance radio economics, radio is produced by w and my c studios and W productions. This episode was produced by Stephanie Tam. Special thanks, Games Solomon for letting us use clips from his documentary, the witness you can watch it on Netflix, Itunes and Amazon thanks Andy Lancet near public radio, director of archives, the friggin demonstrated
that also includes Alison Hockenberry Merit Jacob Gregory, Zawoiski MAX Miller, Harry Huggins and Andy Meissner timer. We had hoped this week from David Herman and proud New Father de Entozoa, the music you here throughout the episode was composed by Luis Gara. You can subscribe to for economics, radio and apple podcast teacher or wherever you get your punk ass. You should also our archive and economics dot com, we can stream or download every episode we ve ever made. You can also read the transcripts and you can find links to the underlying academic research we can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or the email at radio free, comics. Dotcom thanks for listening. Your health first, Cooper, University, healthcare? That's our aim our doors are open. In fact, they never closed
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Transcript generated on 2020-12-22.