Crystal Meth & Your Brain: An Infographic

Methamphetamine use is on the rise (Drug Enforcement Administration 2015). And so are crystal-meth-related drug convictions (see “State Sentencing…”). So what do we know about crystal meth? In particular, what does cognitive science tell us about crystal meth? The South Shore Recovery Center has some answers. In fact, they’ve done us the favor of turning the answers into an infographic, which is below.
Continue reading Crystal Meth & Your Brain: An Infographic

Implicit Bias & Philosophy

This week, I’m talking about implicit bias over at The Brains Blog. I’m including my portion of the discussion below.

1.  The Implicit Association Test (IAT)

The implicit association test (IAT) is one way to measure implicitly biased behavior. In the IAT, “participants […] are asked to rapidly categorize two [kinds of stimuli] (black vs. white [faces]) [into one of] two attributes (‘good’ vs. ‘bad’). Differences in response latency (and sometimes differences in error-rates) are then treated as a measure of the association between the target [stimuli] and the target attribute” (Huebner 2016). Likewise, changes in response latencies and error-rates resulting from experimental interventions are treated as experimentally manipulated changes in associations.

2.  The Effect Of Philosophy

As philosophers, we are in the business of arguments and their propositions, not associations. So we might wonder whether we can use arguments to intervene on our implicitly biased behavior. And it turns out that we can — even if the findings are not always significant and the effect sizes are often small. Some think that this effect of arguments on IAT performance falsifies the idea that implicitly biased behavior is realized by associations (Mandelbaum 2015). The idea is that propositions are fundamentally different than associations. So associations cannot be modified by propositions. So if an arguments’ propositions can change participants’ implicitly biased behavior — as measured by the IAT — then implicit biases might “not [be] predicated on [associations] but [rather] unconscious propositionally structured beliefs” (Mandelbaum 2015, bracketed text and italics added). But there is some reason to think that such falsification relies on oversimplification. After all, there are many processes involved in our behavior — implicitly biased or otherwise. So there are many processes that need to be accounted for when trying to measure the effect of an intervention on our implicitly biased behavior — e.g., participants’ concern about discrimination, their motivation to respond without prejudice (Plant & Devine, 1998), and their personal awareness of bias. So what happens when we control for these variables? In many cases, we find that argument-like interventions on implicitly biased behavior are actually explained by changes in participants’ concern(s), motivation(s), and/or awareness, but not changes in associations (Devine, Forscher, Austin, and Cox 2013; Conrey, Sherman, Gawronski, Hugenberg, and Groom 2005). Continue reading Implicit Bias & Philosophy

Is Reflective Reasoning Supposed To Change My Mind?

Yes and no. (Listen: I hate that answer as much as anyone, so hear me out.)

1.  Define ‘Change my mind’

First, let’s get clear on what we mean by ‘change my mind.’ By that I mean a change in belief or Continue reading Is Reflective Reasoning Supposed To Change My Mind?

Plans for 2017

Now that I’ve been admitted to candidacy for my PhD, I’ll be focusing my energy on writing a dissertation and on publishing hitherto unpublished projects. I will regularly post bits and pieces of that on the blog.1

I’ve also become more interested in how my reasoning research relates to politics — ergo the recent posts “Is post-fact reasoning redeemable?” and “Third Party Voting: A Wasted Vote?” So I might also write about how my research relates to US and international politics.

So if you’re interested in this stuff, then stay tuned. More specifically,

  • subscribe to the blog (in the menu) to find out when new posts are published.
  • follow me on social media to find out what I’m reading, thinking, and doing.

Here’s to the best possible 2017 — whatever that would be.

  1. I share my research on the blog for two reasons: First, to get your thoughts on it; Second, to make academic research available to more people.

Top posts of 2016

As I look back on 2016, I also look back on the posts that received the most attention. Here are the top 5:

Top 5 Posts of 2016

  1. 30+ Online Resources For Studying & Teaching Philosophy | Dec 18, 2016
  2. 30+ Podcasts About Cognitive Science & Philosophy | Dec 21, 2016
  3. Voting Third Party: A Wasted Vote? | July 24, 2016
  4. Addiction vs. Habit: An Infographic | October 24, 2016
  5. 50+ Blogs About Cognitive Science and/of Philosophy | Dec 11, 2016

In the next post, I’ll talk about my plans for 2017.

35+ Cognitive Science & Philosophy Podcasts

Here are some cognitive science and philosophy podcasts — and a few other podcasts. Feel free to share the list and/or recommend your own podcasts.  Continue reading 35+ Cognitive Science & Philosophy Podcasts

30+ Online Resources For Studying & Teaching Philosophy

Below is a list of online resources for studying and teaching philosophy. Feel free to share it and/or add your own suggestions. Continue reading 30+ Online Resources For Studying & Teaching Philosophy