Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Scientific reasoning ability does not predict scientific views on evolution among religious individuals

Scientific reasoning ability does not predict scientific views on evolution among religious individuals

Abstract Background Acceptance of evolutionary theory varies widely and is often associated with…

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Monday, March 19, 2018

Yale Research Confirms What You've Always Suspected: Nobody Is Normal

Yale Research Confirms What You've Always Suspected: Nobody Is Normal

From THE SCIENCE OF My LIFE, a Flipboard magazine by duskdiver

We're all weirdos, science has confirmed, and that's something to celebrate. Every day around the world millions of people ask…

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Does Success Come Mostly from Talent, Hard Work--or Luck?

Does Success Come Mostly from Talent, Hard Work--or Luck?

At a campaign rally in Roanoke, Va., before the 2012 election, President Barack Obama opined: "If you were successful, somebody along the line…

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The importance of differential psychology for school learning: 90% of school achievement variance is due to student characteristics

This is why the study of individual differences/differential psychology is so important. If you don’t want to read the article you can watch a video of Dr. Detterman where he summarizes his thinking and this paper.

Education and Intelligence: Pity the Poor Teacher because Student Characteristics are more Significant than Teachers or Schools. Article link.

Douglas K. Detterman

Case Western Reserve University (USA)


Education has not changed from the beginning of recorded history. The problem is that focus has been on schools and teachers and not students. Here is a simple thought experiment with two conditions: 1) 50 teachers are assigned by their teaching quality to randomly composed classes of 20 students, 2) 50 classes of 20 each are composed by selecting the most able students to fill each class in order and teachers are assigned randomly to classes. In condition 1, teaching ability of each teacher and in condition 2, mean ability level of students in each class is correlated with average gain over the course of instruction. Educational gain will be best predicted by student abilities (up to r = 0.95) and much less by teachers' skill (up to r = 0.32). I argue that seemingly immutable education will not change until we fully understand students and particularly human intelligence. Over the last 50 years in developed countries, evidence has accumulated that only about 10% of school achievement can be attributed to schools and teachers while the remaining 90% is due to characteristics associated with students. Teachers account for from 1% to 7% of total variance at every level of education. For students, intelligence accounts for much of the 90% of variance associated with learning gains. This evidence is reviewed

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Each Cell Has A Clock

Each Cell Has A Clock

For many years there was a consensus that most organisms have a circadian clock. In humans it was considered to be directed centrally by the master clock in the brain region…

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Why the Brain-Body Connection Is More Important Than We Think

Why the Brain-Body Connection Is More Important Than We Think

From Brain, a Flipboard magazine by Kurt Martinson

Our brains aren't flying solo; our emotions also come into play when we're interacting with the world, new research finds. The idea that…

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The AJT Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) test of intelligence for Indonesia: Launch in April 2018 as one of the most comprehenvise intelligence tests in the world

For the past 5 years I've served as a consultant to the Yayasan Dharma Bermakna foundation for the development of the AJT test of intelligence in Indonesia.  The AJT is a Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) based measure of intelligence.  The AJT is the first individually-administered, comprehensive, test of intelligence developed and normed in Indonesia.

The AJT will be one of the most comprehensive intelligence tests in the world--18 individual tests; 8 broad CHC ability domains).  The formal launch of the AJT will occur next month (April, 2018) in Indonesia.  During one of my recent visits I was filmed discussing various aspects of the AJT. This material is now available in a series of 9 videos [which I don't like to view as I don't like hearing my voice on tape, let alone seeing myself on video :) ..and now I wish I would have worn a suit--but it gets awful hot and humid in Indonesia, especially for someone who lives in Minnesota].  The first is included in this post.  You can find the complete list at this link.

Enjoy.  Take it easy on me...I am not a professional actor.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Found: more than 500 genes that are linked to intelligence

Found: more than 500 genes that are linked to intelligence

More than 500 genes associated with intelligence have been identified in the largest study of its kind. Researchers used data from the UK…

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NSF Funding Available for Research on Augmenting Human Cognition and Intelligent Cognitive Assistants

NSF Funding Available for Research on Augmenting Human Cognition and Intelligent Cognitive Assistants

From The Brain, a Flipboard topic

In 2016, the US National Science Foundation (NSF) released a set of 10 "Big Ideas" reflecting…

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Everyone’s favourite psychology theory isn’t all it’s cracked up to be- Growth mind set

Everyone's favourite psychology theory isn't all it's cracked up to be

From Psyc stuff, a Flipboard magazine by Carli

For decades, psychologists and educators have believed that a growth mindset can have a significant influence on the way a child…

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Monday, March 12, 2018

CHC theory update: Live chat or later YouTube viewing from #psychedpodcast

I am looking forward to talking about the Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) model of intelligence on the #psychedpodcast this sunday evening.

I will present material largely based on the forthcoming CHC chapter coauthored with Dr. Joel Schneider.  Tune it....it shall be fun. Or, watch the discussion later on YouTube, and eventually as an audio podcast on iTunes

Mind-wandering may help enhance creativity, job performance and general well-being, studies show

Mind-wandering may help enhance creativity, job performance and general well-being, studies show
// SharpBrains

When writing a song or a piece of prose, I often choose to let my mind wander, hoping the muse will strike. If it does, it not only moves my work along but feels great, too!
That's why I was troubled by studies that found an association between mind-wandering and problems like unhappiness and depression—and even a shorter life expectancy. This research suggests that focusing one's thoughts on the present moment is linked to well-being, while spacing out—which I personally love to do—is not.
Now, new studies are bringing nuance to this science. Whether or not mind-wandering is a negative depends on a lot of factors—like whether it's purposeful or spontaneous, the content of your musings, and what kind of mood you are in. In some cases, a wandering mind can lead to creativity, better moods, greater productivity, and more concrete goals.
Here is what some recent research says about the upsides of a meandering mind.

Mind-wandering can make you more creative

It's probably not a big surprise that mind-wandering augments creativity—particularly "divergent thinking," or being able to come up with novel ideas.
In one study, researchers gave participants a creativity test called the Unusual Uses Task that asks you to dream up novel uses for an everyday item, like a paperclip or a newspaper. Between the first and second stages, participants either engaged in an undemanding task to encourage mind-wandering or a demanding task that took all of their concentration; or they were given a resting period or no rest. Those participants who engaged in mind-wandering during the undemanding task improved their performance much more than any of the other groups. Taking their focus off of the task and mind-wandering, instead, were critical to success.
"The findings reported here provide arguably the most direct evidence to date that conditions that favor mind-wandering also enhance creativity," write the authors. In fact, they add, mind-wandering may "serve as a foundation for creative inspiration."
As a more recent study found, mind-wandering improved people's creativity above and beyond the positive effects of their reading ability or fluid intelligence, the general ability to solve problems or puzzles.
Mind-wandering seems to involve the default network of the brain, which is known to be active when we are not engaged directly in tasks and is also related to creativity.
So perhaps I'm right to let my focus wander while writing: It helps my mind put together information in novel and potentially compelling ways without my realizing it. It's no wonder that my best inspirations seem to come when I'm in the shower or hiking for miles on end.

Mind-wandering can make you happier…depending on the content

The relationship between mind-wandering and mood may be more complicated than we thought.
In one study, researchers pinged participants on a regular basis to see what they were doing, whether or not their minds were wandering, and how they were feeling. As in an earlier experiment, people tended to be in a negative mood when they were mind-wandering. But when researchers examined the content of people's thoughts during mind-wandering, they found an interesting caveat: If participants' minds were engaged in interesting, off-task musings, their moods became more positive rather than more negative.
As the authors conclude, "Those of us who regularly find our minds in the clouds—musing about the topics that most engage us—can take solace in knowing that at least this form of mind-wandering is associated with elevated mood."
It may be that mood affects mind-wandering more than the other way around. In a similar study, researchers concluded that feeling sad or being in a bad mood tended to lead to unhappy mind-wandering, but that mind-wandering itself didn't lead to later bad moods. Earlier experiments may have conflated mind-wandering with rumination—an unhealthy preoccupation with past failures that is tied to depression.
"This study suggests that mind-wandering is not something that is inherently bad for our happiness," write the authors. Instead, "Sadness is likely to lead the mind to wander and that mind-wandering is likely to be [emotionally] negative."
A review of the research on mind-wandering came to a similar conclusion: Mind-wandering is distinct from rumination and therefore has a different relationship to mood.
Can we actually direct our mind-wandering toward more positive thoughts and away from rumination? It turns out that we can! One study found that people who engaged in compassion-focused meditation practices had more positive mind-wandering. As an added bonus, people with more positive mind-wandering were also more caring toward themselves and others, which itself is tied to happiness.

Mind-wandering may improve job performance

Taking a break from work can be a good thing—perhaps because our minds are freer to wander.
Mind-wandering is particularly useful when work is mind-numbing. In one study, participants reported on their mind-wandering during a repetitive task. Participants who engaged in more mind-wandering performed better and faster, decreasing their response times significantly. The researchers speculated that mind-wandering allowed people to go off-task briefly, reset, and see data with fresh eyes—so that they didn't miss sudden changes.
In another study, researchers aimed to figure out what parts of the brain were implicated in mind-wandering and discovered something unexpected. When their frontal lobes were stimulated with a small electrical current to boost mind-wandering, people's performance on an attention task slightly improved.
Of course, not every job calls for mind-wandering. A surgeon or a driver should stay focused on the task at hand, since mind-wandering could be detrimental to both. On the other hand, even for them it might be rejuvenating to take a mind-wandering break after their workday is over, leading to more focused attention the next time around.

Mind-wandering may help us with goal-setting

It seems like mind-wandering would be detrimental when it comes to planning for the future. In fact, some research suggests mind-wandering can improve goal-setting.
In a recent neuroscience experiment, participants did an undemanding task and reported on the content of their thoughts as researchers scanned their brains with fMRI. Afterwards, they wrote for 15 minutes about personal goals or TV programs (the control group). Then, they repeated these two tasks—the undemanding one and writing about goals or TV.
Analyzers unaware of the study's purpose were asked to assess the concreteness of participants' goal-setting and TV program descriptions. The result? People with wandering minds—who probably started musing about what they really wanted in life after the first writing session—ultimately came up with more concrete and higher-quality goal descriptions in the second session. Over the course of the experiment, their brains also showed an increase in connectivity between the hippocampus and the pre-frontal cortex—areas implicated in goal-setting.
Research has also found that, the more people engage in mind-wandering during a task, the more they are willing to wait for a reward afterwards. According to the researchers, this suggests that mind-wandering helps delay gratification and "engages processes associated with the successful management of long-term goals."
On the other hand, some research suggests mind-wandering makes us less "gritty"—or less able to stay focused on our goals to completion—especially if it is spontaneous rather than deliberate. So, it may be important to consider where you are in the process of goal creation before deciding mind-wandering would be a good idea.
None of this suggests that mind-wandering is better for us than being focused. More likely, both aspects of cognition serve a purpose. Under the right circumstances, a wandering mind may actually benefit us and possibly those around us. The trick is to know when to set your mind free.
jill_suttie.thumbnail— Jill Suttie, Psy.D., is Greater Good's  book review editor and a frequent contributor to the magazine. Based at UC-Berkeley, Greater Good highlights ground breaking scientific research into the roots of compassion and altruism. Copyright Greater Good.
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Friday, March 09, 2018

New study reveals why some people are more creative than others

New study reveals why some people are more creative than others

From James C. Kaufman, a Flipboard magazine by Duncan Wardle

Creativity is often defined as the ability to come up with new and useful ideas. Like intelligence, it can be considered a trait that…

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Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Let's Not Do Away with Comprehensive Cognitive Assessments Just Yet | Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology

Good article by two of my favorite scholars.  Joel Schneider and Alan Kaufman

Let's Not Do Away with Comprehensive Cognitive Assessments Just Yet | Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology

From Twitter, a Flipboard magazine by School Psyched!

We review rational and empirical reasons that comprehensive cognitive assessments are useful…

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Monday, March 05, 2018

Developments in the CHC domain of visual processing

Much new is occurring regarding the domain of Gv. Below is a new review of the Gv research and a proposed heuristic framework. This is then followed by select excerpts from our (Schneider and McGrew, 2018) upcoming CHC update chapter in the CIA book, where we add some caution regarding new “proposed”Gv frameworks.

A Heuristic Framework of Spatial Ability: A Review and Synthesis of Spatial Factor Literature to Support its Translation into STEM Education. Article link.

Jeffrey Buckley & Niall Seery & Donal Canty


An abundance of empirical evidence exists identifying a significant correlation between spatial ability and educational performance particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Despite this evidence, a causal explanation has yet to be identified. Pertinent research illustrates that spatial ability can be developed and that doing so has positive educational effects. However, contention exists within the relevant literature concerning the explicit definition for spatial ability. There is therefore a need to define spatial ability relative to empirical evidence which in this circumstance relates to its factor structure. Substantial empirical evidence supports the existence of unique spatial factors not represented in modern frameworks. Further understanding such factors can support the development of educational interventions to increase their efficacy and related effects in STEM education. It may also lead to the identification of why spatial ability has such a significant impact on STEM educational achievement as examining more factors in practice can help in deducing which are most important. In light of this, a synthesis of the spatial factors offered within existing frameworks with those suggested within contempo-rary studies is presented to guide further investigation and the translation of spatial ability research to further enhance learning in STEM education.

Keywords Spatial ability . Spatial factors . STEM education . Human intelligence

Click on image to enlarge.

The following are select sections of our Gv chapter in the forthcoming CIA book.

Visual processing (Gv) can be defined as the ability to make use of simulated mental imagery to solve problems—perceiving, discriminating, manipulating, and recalling nonlinguistic images in the “mind’s eye.” Humans do more than “act” in space; they “cognize” about space (Tommasi & Laeng, 2012). Once the eyes have transmitted visual information, the visual system of the brain automatically performs several low-level computations (e.g., edge detection, light–dark perception, color differentiation, motion detection). The results of these low-level computations are used by various higher-order processors to infer more complex aspects of the visual image (e.g., object recognition, constructing models of spatial configuration, motion prediction). Traditionally, tests measuring Gv are designed to measure individual differences in these higher-order processes as they work in tandem to perceive relevant information (e.g., a truck is approaching!) and solve problems of a visual-–spatial nature (e.g., arranging suitcases in a car trunk).

Among the CHC domains, Gv has been one of the most studied (Carroll, 1993). Yet it has long been considered a second-class citizen in psychometric models of intelligence, due in large part to its relatively weak or inconsistent prediction of important outcomes in comparison to powerhouse abilities like Gf and Gc (Lohman, 1996). But “the times they are a-changing.” Carroll (1993), citing Eliot and Smith (1983), summarized three phases of research on spatial abilities, ending in large part in the late 1970s to early 1980s (Lohman, 1979). A reading of Carroll’s survey conveys the impression that his synthesis reflects nothing more than what was largely known already in the 1980s. We believe that the Gv domain is entering a fourth period and undergoing a new renaissance, which will result in its increased status in CHC theory and eventually in cognitive assessment. Carroll, the oracle, provided a few hints in his 1993 Gv chapter.

Carroll (1993) was prophetic regarding two of the targets of the resurgent interest in Gv and Gv-related constellations (often broadly referred to as spatial thinking, spatial cognition, spatial intelligence, or spatial expertise; Hegarty, 2010; National Research Council, 2006). In Carroll’s discussion of “other possible visual perception factors” (which he did not accord formal status in his model), he mentioned “ecological” abilities (e.g., abilities reflecting a person’s ability to orient the self in real-world space and maintain a sense of direction) and dynamic (vs. static) spatial reasoning factors (e.g., predicting where a moving object is moving and when it will arrive at a predicted location).

Carroll’s ecological abilities are reflected in a growing body of research regarding large-scale spatial navigation. Large-scale spatial navigation is concerned with finding one’s way, or the ability to represent and maintain a sense of direction and location, and move through the environment (Allen, 2003; Hegarty, 2010; Newcombe, Uttal, & Sauter, 2013; Wolbers & Hegarty, 2010; Yilmaz, 2009). Using a map or smartphone GPS system to find one’s way to a restaurant, and then to return to one’s hotel room, in an unfamiliar large city requires large-scale spatial navigation. A primary distinction between small- and large-scale spatial abilities is the use of different perspectives or frames of reference. Small-scale spatial ability, as represented by traditional psychometric tests on available cognitive or neuropsychological batteries, involves allocentric or object-based transformation.

Large-scale spatial ability typically involves an egocentric spatial transformation, in which the viewer’s internal perspective or frame of reference changes regarding the environment, while the person’s relationship with the objects do not change (Hegarty & Waller, 2004; Newcombe et al., 2013; Wang, Cohen, & Carr, 2014). Recent meta-analyses indicate that large-scale spatial abilities are clearly distinct from small-scale spatial abilities, with an overall correlation of approximately .27. In practical terms, this means that the ability to easily solve the 3D Rubik’s cube may not predict the probability of getting lost in a large, unfamiliar city. Also supporting a clear distinction between the two types of spatial abilities is developmental evidence suggesting that large-scale spatial abilities show a much faster rate of age-related decline, and that the two types are most likely related to different brain networks (Newcombe et al., 2013; Wang et al., 2014).

The distinction between static and dynamic spatial abilities is typically traced to work by Pellegrino and colleagues (Hunt, Pellegrino, Frick, Farr, & Alderton, 1988; Pellegrino, Hunt, Abate, & Farr, 1987) and is now considered one of the two primary organizational facets of spatial thinking (Uttal, Meadow, et al., 2013). Static spatial abilities are well represented by standard tests of Gv (e.g., block design tests). Dynamic and static spatial tasks differ primarily by the presence or absence of movement. “Dynamic spatial ability is one's ability to estimate when a moving object will reach a destination, or one's skill in making time-to-contact (TTC) judgments” (Kyllonen & Chaiken, 2003, p. 233). The ability to catch a football, play a video game, or perform as an air traffic controller requires dynamic spatial abilities, as “one must note the position of the moving object, judge the velocity of the object, anticipate when the object will reach another point (e.g., one's hand, car, or ship), and take some motor action in response to that judgment. In the perception literature, the research surrounding this everyday human information-processing activity has been known as ‘time to collision’” (Kyllonen & Chaiken, 2003, p. 233). Although the dynamic–static distinction has gained considerable traction and support (Allen, 2003; Buckley, Seery, & Canty, 2017; Contreras, Colom, Hernandez, & Santacreu, 2003), some research has questioned whether the underlying difference reflects an actual spatial ability distinction. [AU: Any update on status of Buckley et al.? No] Kyllonen and Chaiken (2003) reported research suggesting that the underlying cognitive process involved in performing dynamic spatial tasks may be a nonspatial, counting-like clock mechanism—temporal processing, not spatial.

The driving forces behind the increased interest and new conceptual developments regarding spatial thinking are threefold. First, rapid technological changes in the past decade have now made access to relatively cheap and accessible visual-graphic-based technology available to large portions of the population. Individuals can immerse themselves in 3D virtual-reality environments for pleasure or learning. Computer visualizations, often available on smartphones and computer tablets, can be used to teach medical students human anatomy and surgery. The complexities and nuances underling “bid data” can now be unearthed with complex visual network models than can be rotated at will. Anyone can learn geography by zooming over the world via Google Earth to explore locations and cities. Individuals rely on car- or phone-based GPS visual navigation systems to move from point A to point B. Clearly, developing Gv abilities (or spatial thinking) is becoming simultaneously easier via technology, but also more demanding as humans must learn how to use and understand Gv graphic interface tools that present complex visual displays of multidimensional information.
Second, ever-increasing calls have been made to embed spatial thinking throughout the educational curriculum—“spatializing” the curriculum (Newcombe, 2013)—to raise the collective spatial intelligence of our children and youth (Hegarty, 2010; National Research Council, 2006). The extant research has demonstrated a significant link between spatial abilities and educational performance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM; Buckley et al., 2017; Hegarty, 2010; Lubinski, 2010; Newcombe et al., 2013). Gv abilities and individuals with spatially oriented cognitive “tilts” (Lubinksi, 2010) are becoming increasingly valued by technologically advanced societies. More important, research has demonstrated that spatial abilities or strategies are malleable (National Research Council, 2006; Tzuriel & Egozi, 2010; Uttal, Meadow, et al., 2013; Uttal, Miller, & Newcombe, 2013).

Although many psychologists are important drivers of the renewed interest in an expanded notion of the conceptualization and measurement of Gv (e.g., Allen, 2003; Hegarty, 2010; Kyllonen & Chaiken, 2009; Kyllonen & Gluck, 2003; Lubinski, 2010; Uttal, Miller, et al., 2013; Wang et al., 2014), some of the more active research and conceptualizing are being driven by researchers in education (e.g., National Research Council, 2006; Yilmaz, 2009), cognitive neuroscience (e.g., Thompson, Slotnick, Burrage, & Kosslyn, 2009; Wolbers & Hegarty, 2010), and the STEM disciplines (Harle & Towns, 2010; Seery, Buckley, & Delahunty, 2015). Clearly the CHC model’s “mind’s eye” (Gv) is achieving more prominence, which needs to be supported with renewed research on yet to be identified well-supported additional narrow abilities and innovative measurement methods, particularly regarding large-scale and dynamic spatial abilities.

Do other Gv narrow abilities exist? Of course. As with all CHC domains, the validated narrow abilities in the current taxonomy are largely the result of bottom-up programs of research predicated on developing tests for practical purposes (e.g., prediction, diagnosis). Recent conceptualizations of Gv as a broader spatial thinking construct; the dynamic versus spatial and large-scale versus small-scale conceptualizations; and other functional family conceptualizations of Gv abilities are opening a potential Pandora’s box of hypothesized new Gv narrow abilities. For example, Buckley and colleagues (2017) have proposed a comprehensive Gv taxonomy that includes the current Gv abilities and posits 16 potential new narrow abilities based on either theory or research, some previously reviewed by Carroll (1993). These possible new narrow abilities are related to classic spatial tasks (spatial orientation); imagery (quality and speed); illusions (shape and direction, size contrast, overestimation and underestimation, frame of reference); judgments (direction, speed, movement); and dynamic versions of current Gv abilities (visual memory, serial perceptual integration, spatial scanning, perceptual alternations).

These new Gv conceptualizations are welcomed, but they must be studied with serious caution. All new candidates for Gv abilities will need to be validated with well-conceptualized structural validity research (see “Criteria for Updating CHC Theory,” above). Also, if new Gv abilities are identified, it is important to determine whether they have any practical use or validity. An instructive example is a recent CFA CHC-designed study that provided preliminary support for a narrow ability of face recognition (called face identification recognition by the researchers), distinct from other Gv and CHC abilities (Gignac, Shankaralingam, Walker, & Kilpatrick, 2016). The face recognition ability may have practical usefulness, as it could facilitate measurement and research regarding the phenomenon of prosopagnosia (in which a cognitively capable individual is completely unable to recognize familiar faces). Although it is important to guard against premature hardening of the CHC categories (McGrew, 2005; Schneider & McGrew, 2012), we believe that even greater due diligence is necessary to prevent premature proliferation of new entries in the Gv domain in the CHC model. We don’t want to be at a place soon where formal START negotiations (STrategic Ability Reduction Talks) are necessary to halt unsupported speculation about and proliferation of Gv abilities.

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"My Brain Made Me Do It" is Becoming a More Common Criminal Defense - Scientific American


Sunday, March 04, 2018

Picture: First PLOS ONE article in a talk so far at the network modelling of psychiatric disorders talk by Denny Borsboom at #EPA2018

First PLOS ONE article in a talk so far at the network modelling of psychiatric disorders talk by Denny Borsboom at #EPA2018

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Talent vs Luck: the role of randomness in success and failure. (arXiv:1802.07068v2 [physics.soc-ph] UPDATED)

Talent vs Luck: the role of randomness in success and failure. (arXiv:1802.07068v2 [physics.soc-ph] UPDATED)

Authors: A. Pluchino. A. E. Biondo, A. RapisardaThe largely dominant meritocratic paradigm…

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