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The power of default



The evolution of overconfidence : Nature : Nature Publishing Group

The evolution of overconfidence

Dominic D. P. Johnson & James H. Fowler

Nature 477, 317–320 (15 September 2011) doi:10.1038/nature10384

Confidence is an essential ingredient of success in a wide range of domains ranging from job performance and mental health to sports, business and combat1, 2, 3, 4. Some authors have suggested that not just confidence but overconfidence—believing you are better than you are in reality—is advantageous because it serves to increase ambition, morale, resolve, persistence or the credibility of bluffing, generating a self-fulfilling prophecy in which exaggerated confidence actually increases the probability of success3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. However, overconfidence also leads to faulty assessments, unrealistic expectations and hazardous decisions, so it remains a puzzle how such a false belief could evolve or remain stable in a population of competing strategies that include accurate, unbiased beliefs. Here we present an evolutionary model showing that, counterintuitively, overconfidence maximizes individual fitness and populations tend to become overconfident, as long as benefits from contested resources are sufficiently large compared with the cost of competition. In contrast, unbiased strategies are only stable under limited conditions. The fact that overconfident populations are evolutionarily stable in a wide range of environments may help to explain why overconfidence remains prevalent today, even if it contributes to hubris, market bubbles, financial collapses, policy failures, disasters and costly wars9, 10, 11, 12, 13.

via The evolution of overconfidence : Nature : Nature Publishing Group.

via The evolution of overconfidence : Nature : Nature Publishing Group.

Self-deceived individuals deceive others better — ScienceDaily

Self-deceived individuals deceive others better — ScienceDaily.

via Self-deceived individuals deceive others better — ScienceDaily.

Over-confident people can fool others into believing they are more talented than they actually are, a study has found. These ‘self-deceived’ individuals could be more likely to get promotions and reach influential positions in banks and other organizations. And these people are more likely to overestimate other people’s abilities and take greater risks, possibly creating problems for their organizations.”

A Bad Taste in the Mouth – taste affects moral judgments

A Bad Taste in the Mouth

Gustatory Disgust Influences Moral Judgment

Kendall J. Eskine1,2,

Natalie A. Kacinik1,2 and

Jesse J. Prinz1

+ Author Affiliations

1The Graduate Center, City University of New York

2Brooklyn College, City University of New York

Kendall J. Eskine, Department of Psychology, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, 2900 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11210 E-mail:


Can sweet-tasting substances trigger kind, favorable judgments about other people? What about substances that are disgusting and bitter? Various studies have linked physical disgust to moral disgust, but despite the rich and sometimes striking findings these studies have yielded, no research has explored morality in conjunction with taste, which can vary greatly and may differentially affect cognition. The research reported here tested the effects of taste perception on moral judgments. After consuming a sweet beverage, a bitter beverage, or water, participants rated a variety of moral transgressions. Results showed that taste perception significantly affected moral judgments, such that physical disgust (induced via a bitter taste) elicited feelings of moral disgust. Further, this effect was more pronounced in participants with politically conservative views than in participants with politically liberal views. Taken together, these differential findings suggest that embodied gustatory experiences may affect moral processing more than previously thought.

via A Bad Taste in the Mouth.

via A Bad Taste in the Mouth.

cognitive reframing helps delay gratification

Here is a fascinating bit of work from Magen et. al., who show that a simple cognitive reframing of the classic immediate or delayed gratification test makes energy requiring willpower less necessary.

In our paradigm, instead of presenting choices in a traditional hidden-zero format (e.g., “Would you prefer [A] $5 today OR [B] $10 in a month?”), choices are presented in an explicit-zero format, which references the nonreward consequences of each choice (e.g., “Would you prefer [A] $5 today and $0 in a month OR [B] $0 today and $10 in a month?”). Including future outcomes in all choice options has been argued to reduce the attentional bias toward immediate rewards that contributes to impulsive behavior.

via Deric Bownds’ MindBlog.

via Deric Bownds’ MindBlog.

Biases against non-native accent

Political skill: Explaining the effects of nonnative accent on managerial hiring and entrepreneurial investment decisions.
By Huang, Laura; Frideger, Marcia; Pearce, Jone L.
Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 98(6), Nov 2013, 1005-1017.
We propose and test a new theory explaining glass-ceiling bias against nonnative speakers as driven by perceptions that nonnative speakers have weak political skill. Although nonnative accent is a complex signal, its effects on assessments of the speakers’ political skill are something that speakers can actively mitigate; this makes it an important bias to understand. In Study 1, White and Asian nonnative speakers using the same scripted responses as native speakers were found to be significantly less likely to be recommended for a middle-management position, and this bias was fully mediated by assessments of their political skill. The alternative explanations of race, communication skill, and collaborative skill were nonsignificant. In Study 2, entrepreneurial start-up pitches from national high-technology, new-venture funding competitions were shown to experienced executive MBA students. Nonnative speakers were found to have a significantly lower likelihood of receiving new-venture funding, and this was fully mediated by the coders’ assessments of their political skill. The entrepreneurs’ race, communication skill, and collaborative skill had no effect. We discuss the value of empirically testing various posited reasons for glass-ceiling biases, how the importance and ambiguity of political skill for executive success serve as an ostensibly meritocratic cover for nonnative speaker bias, and other theoretical and practical implications of this work. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

via Biases against non-native accent.