Thursday, August 25, 2016
  This is dumb.

Headline: Why experts get it wrong

Rest of article: Memory is imperfect. A false story PROVIDED BY THE EXPERIMENTER is more likely to be judged as true if we're interested in the subject of the story.

Tautology.

Our perception and memory are always built by filling in gaps. What we "see" is vastly richer than the light waves that enter our retinas. What we "hear" is always more meaningful and patterned than the sound waves hitting our tympanic membranes. What we "remember" is always a logical story, assembled with some slight assistance from observation.

If we "remember" a story better in an area of interest, it just means we have more scripts on file in that area.

Give me a story about prison** or typesetting or programming, and I'll listen carefully and pull an appropriate script to fill in the missing bits. My story may be close to what really happened; even if it's not close, it will be plausible. Could have happened.

Give me a story about football or rock-n-roll, and I'll tune out. If you force me to listen and judge the story, I simply won't be able to do it. I have no idea of the relationship between a ______ and a _______ because I can't even think of any words to fill those blanks. Those subjects are totally missing from my file cabinets. So I'd call the story false for safety because I have no way of assessing its truth.

This tautological stuff has NOTHING TO DO with "why experts are wrong". Experts are wrong because they're paid to be wrong. That's how they get to be experts.

Another conclusion in the article is equally faulty.
“Increasing scientific and public understanding of the causes of false memory is an important goal, particularly in light of some of the more negative consequences associated with the phenomenon, including faulty eyewitness accounts and the controversies surrounding false memories of traumatic childhood events."
Police have known for 200 years that eyewitnesses disagree about everything. Recent "studies" were nothing new. This is why police have always used eyewitness accounts as hints and suggestions, making it easier to locate PHYSICAL EVIDENCE without searching the whole universe.

False memories of traumatic experiences are not spontaneous. They are implanted and reinforced by bad prosecutors and bad social workers. Again no science involved or needed. When you see a lawyer or social worker "helping" a witness to develop a story, you know the process is corrupt.


= = = = =

** Example: There's been some recent discussion about Ramen packages replacing cigarettes as the currency of prisons. At first I judged this story as dubious. Didn't sound right. One fact was missing from the story, and I was filling in an obsolete fact from memory. Missing fact, found after further looking: Modern low-security prisons generally have electric outlets and allow microwave ovens in cells. When I was in the walls, the only source of hot water was a cart that rolled down the range once per morning and once per evening. If you wanted to make instant coffee or cocoa, you put your cup through the bars. If the rangeboy had any water left, he'd pour a little in your cup.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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