Category Archive: News

General announcements

Nov 12

Lessons Learned on Scientific Field Work in Esports

Scene: Mandalay Bay Esports Stadium, a 12,000-seat arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Two young men sip water and wipe their sweaty hands as they wait for a cue that it’s time to perform for the filled stadium seats and the two hundred thousand viewers online. Digital versions of themselves pose in sponsored gear on loop …

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Oct 11

Implicit/Machine learning gender bias

I ran across a headline recently “Amazon scraps secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women” that I realized provides a nice example of a few points we’ve been discussing in the lab. First, I have found myself describing on a few recent occasions that it is reasonable to think of implicit learning (IL) …

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Jul 02

Real-World Adventures in Science, part 1: Aconcagua

[In the lab, studies of decision-making are done with highly artificial tasks in tightly controlled situations (is this sine-wave grating an A or a B?).  However, our theory of how multiple memory systems contribute to decision making is supposed to apply to complex, real-world, high-leverage decision making.  Getting data on how well that works means …

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Jul 02

Expertise in Unusual Domains

It’s tempting to call this kind of thing ‘stupid human tricks’ but it’s really awesome human tricks.  I’m regularly fascinated by people who have pushed themselves to achieve extremely high levels of skill in offbeat areas.  The skill performance her is amazing, clearly thousands of hours of practice.   With a lot of the more …

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May 04

The “Dan Plan”

I mentioned the Dan Plan awhile ago as a fascinating real-world self experiment on the acquisition of expertise.  Dan, the eponyous experimenter and experimentee, quit his job to try to spend 10,000 hours playing golf to see if he could meet a standard of ‘internationally competitive’ defined by winning a PGA tour card — starting …

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Apr 05

Leela Chess

Courtesy of Jerry (ChessNetwork), I found out today about Leela and the LCzero chess project ( This appears to be a replication of the Google DeepMind AlphaZero project with open source and distributed computing contributing to the pattern learner. Among the cool aspects of the project is that you can play against the engine after …

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Jan 10

Adventures in data visualization

If you happen to be a fan of data-driven political analysis, you are probably also well aware of the ongoing challenge of how to effectively and accurately visualize maps that show US voting patterns.  The debate over how to do this has been going on for decades but was nicely summarized in a 2016 article …

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Dec 12

AlphaZero Beats Chess In 4 (!?) hours

Google’s DeepMind group updated their game learning algorithm, now called AlphaZero, and mastered chess.  I’ve seen the game play and it elegantly destroyed the previous top computer chess-playing algorithm (the computers have been better than humans for about a decade now), Stockfish.  Part of what is intriguing about their claim is that the new algorithm …

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Nov 07

Cognitive Symmetry and Trust

A chain of speculative scientific reasoning from our work into really big social/society questions: Skill learning is a thing. If we practice something we get better at it and the learning curve goes on for a long time, 10,000 hours or more.  Because we can keep getting better for so many hours, nobody can really …

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Aug 30

Evidence and conclusions

I think this should be the last note on this topic for awhile, but since it’s topical a new piece of data popped up related to possible sources of gender outcome differences in STEM-related fields.   The new piece of data was reported in the NY Time Upshot section, titled “Evidence of a Toxic Environment …

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