Part 2 in a short series of posts. Part 1 and part 3 are also available.
One of the most powerful ideas in physics is the principle of locality. This principle insists that objects can only be influenced by other objects that touch them. Two items separated by a distance cannot directly exert any force or influence on each other, but must communicate via some medium which physically transmits the force from one to the other.
Albert Einstein described this principle as "no spooky action at a distance" and it applies to his theory of gravity as well as all the other physical forces (it gets more complicated when we consider quantum mechanics, but that would take a whole other article). The Scottish physicist James Maxwell also used it in developing his theory of electromagnetism.
Instead of the magnets directly pushing or pulling each other, each magnet creates an electromagnetic field, and sends out the field into the world around it, transmitted by light waves. When anothe…
For the first time, there will be a session on Cognitive Economics at the American Economic Association’s conference. The conference, in association with the ASSA, is taking place from Friday 4 January to Sunday 6 January and will be a hugely interesting programme over the long weekend.
The Cognitive Economics session will take place on Sunday 6 January 2019 at 8-10am in Atlanta Marriott Marquis, International 10. I hope that any readers who are attending the conference are able to come along!
Let’s give you a quick overview of the session: Dan Benjamin, University of Southern California; Kristen Cooper, Gordon College; Ori Heffetz, Cornell University and Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Miles Kimball, University of Colorado Boulder will be presenting a paper on What Do People Want? On the use of large-scale surveys to estimate multidimensional indifference maps over "fundamental" goods that include mental states such as emotions, perceptions and beliefs: answering the quest…
In recent years we’ve become used to thinking about decisions as “system 1” or “system 2”. System 1 choices are automatic decisions, made without thinking, based on an immediate emotional or sensory reaction. System 2 is used to stop and rationally calculate the consequences of our choices, and determine the best cost-benefit tradeoff.
But these two processes don’t capture every decision. Indeed they might only encompass a minority of our daily choices.
Recent work in neuroscience and psychology has discovered another way of making choices: with the imagination. Customers imagine their possible futures: the outcomes they would experience after a choice, and how those outcomes will make them feel. The future that makes them feel happiest will be the one they choose. These choices use different parts of the brain than System 1 and 2. They are called System 3 choices.
Think about how you might buy a car. System 1 would suggest that you see a colour, or shape, or brand of car, immed…