Thursday, May 30, 2013

Perceptions Of Performance In Groups

Starting at a young age I adopted the policy to believe the opposite of what people say about themselves. If someone mentions he's hardworking, I'd start of assuming he wasn't. Obviously, one should keep an open mind and make adjustments in one's perception as one goes along, but my assumption would be opposite. I haven't really changed my mind about this policy. Here is some justification for keeping it:

Personality measures taken at the start of the course showed that more neurotic individuals received lower status ratings at the first measurement stage, but made gains at the second stage. Extraverts, meanwhile, received marginally higher initial ratings but these decreased by time two. The effects were small, possibly because researchers controlled for a wide range of measures including other personality factors, gender, cognitive ability and individual assignment grades, which may soak up what might otherwise be observed. Further analysis confirmed effects were not due to regression to the mean, as variability in ratings was similar across the two time points. Instead, it appeared that the status changes were due to neurotics being seen to contribute more than had been expected, and extroverts less than expected.

"Science" - You Sure About That? Edition

Erick Erickson claims liberals are anti-science because they do not believe it is harmful if a woman makes the most money in a family. This dude is regularly on CNN. Let us weep.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bad Theories Of Other Minds

Hard to get political disagreement when members of Congress believe members of the other part are pushing nefarious agendas. People who disagree politically do this all the time; members of all parties are often culprits. Here's an example:

REP. KING: Handing out benefits is not an economic stimulator. But we wanna take care of the people that are needy, the people that’re hungry, and we’ve watched this program grow from a number that I think I first memorized when I arrived here in Congress, about 19 million people, now about 49 million people. And it appears to me that the goal of this administration is to expand the rolls of people that’re on SNAP benefits. And their purpose for doing so in part is because of what the gentleman has said from Massachusetts. Another purpose for that though is just to simply expand the dependency class.

Movie Criticism

Some of my friends say I don't like any movies. That's not true - it's just that I'm more discriminating, like professional critics and unlike most movie watchers. One might argue that this is the result of a selection bias and not necessarily refined movie tastes, but one has to contend with the fact that people who watch more movies tend to be less forgiving.

Jonathan Plucker and colleagues compared the ratings given to films by professional critics, "amateur critics", and undergrad students, and discovered a continuum of overlapping opinion with the experts being the harshest judges, followed by the amateur critics, while the students were the most generous.

A further finding to emerge was that undergrads who'd watched more films tended to provide harsher ratings, but these were still more generous on average than the amateur and professional critics.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Couple Of Things

When taxes rates are as low as they are in the U.S., raising taxes raises revenue. Believe or not, it is orthodoxy among some groups that raising tax rates even when at the low level they were in the past few years will not raise revenue. Yet every tax rates are raised, so is revenue. Second thing: shrinking deficit is not good news. We should immediately slash the payroll tax rate again. Ask yourself why there is a gigantic fight over whether to raise income tax for the wealthy (class warfare!) but nobody put up a stink about a raise in payroll taxes. I'll give you a clue - payroll taxes disproportionately affect poor people.