Saturday, May 27, 2017


Behave and After Piketty   Both are tough going for me. Passageslike this from the first book:

"Collectively these studies show that our dopaminergic system, frontal cortex, amygdala, insula, and other members of the chorus code for differing aspects of reward magnitude, delay, and probability with varying degrees of accuracy, all influencing whether we manage to do the harder, more correct thing. 

 Individual differences among people in the capacity for gratification postponement arise from variation in the volume of these individual neural voices. For example, there are abnormalities in dopamine response profiles during temporal discounting tasks in people with the maladaptive impulsiveness of attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Similarly, addictive drugs bias the dopamine system toward impulsiveness.

 Phew.One more complication: These studies of temporal discounting typically involve delays on the order of seconds. Though the dopamine system is similar across numerous species, humans do something utterly novel: we delay gratification for insanely long times. No warthog restricts calories to look good in a bathing suit next summer. No gerbil works hard at school to get good SAT scores to get into a good college to get into a good grad school to get a good job to get into a good nursing home. We do something even beyond this unprecedented gratification delay: we use the dopaminergic power of the happiness of pursuit to motivate us to work for rewards that come after we are dead—depending on your culture,.."

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