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Culture and games

I firmly believe that the single most important area of scientific research is cognitive psychology (the rigorous branch of psych, not the motherlovin' it's-just-a-cigar-to-me-but-you're-a-pervert freudian crap). There's an interesting article on the results of a cross cultural comparison of behavior in some simple games here. This sort of thing helps get at what human nature really is and what's just cultural overlay. The results are interesting, and generate more questions than answers, but at least the questions are well posed.

btw, welcome back, Rand. I hope the moving problems resolve painlessly.

Posted by Andrew Case at June 01, 2004 06:37 PM
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Cognitive psychology is like that - as soon as you begin research into one question, more questions pop up. I'm a cognitive psychology researcher (I focus more on the neuropsychological end) and I've found in my researches that cognition is a truly bizare thing.

It is a truly fascinating time to be a cognitive neuroscientist - we are finally zeroing in on tools that are helping us to really see what is going on inside the brain. Of course, we are generating more unknowns than knowns that way, but it sure is fun.

Posted by Olesma at June 2, 2004 10:37 AM

Heh I was just watching a documentary over cognitive psychology circa 1970 something not that long ago on I believe it is the UCTV channel on Dish network. Large lapels, beehive hair do's, platform shoes, and plaid striped pants and do-gooder, know it all, professors typing up documentation on nothing but the most state of the art microcomputer terminals.

The documentary was about an experiment performed with college students exploring how people perform actions under and over the guise of authority that they themselves wouldn't ordinarily elect to do on their own. It was a scenario where some students were labelled "Prison guard" and others were labelled "Prisoner". It didn't take long for the students given the prison gaurd label to start abusing their authority and pushing harder on their students labelled prisoners. Likewise, the prisoners immediately became more subservient and taking verbal and physical treatment that they themselves wouldn't ordinarily endure simply because that was the role they were expected to play. It didn't take long before the students themselves started to improvise beyond the original outlines of the experiment. The experiment had to be cancelled for fear that the students were getting to carried away with their role playing.

Hey that sounds like a vaguely familiar sitaution I've heard of more recently.

Posted by Hefty at June 2, 2004 12:56 PM

Google linked me to this page, nice reading

Posted by pop up at June 27, 2004 01:31 PM

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