Calling all Conferences

Midwest UX Conference 2018

The Team W is compiling a list of some of the best User Experience, Human/Tech, Design, and Behavioral Science conferences coming up in 2019. If you have a favorite conference (or if you put on a conference) that you would like to be considered for the list please send:

Conference Name
2019 dates
2019 location
What makes the conference special/the best/a not-to-miss event
Website if available, otherwise a contact person

Send to susan@theteamw.com

We’ll compile the list and post it.

Thanks!

Episode 18: Subjective Probability


I hope you’ve heard of System 1 and System 2 thinking. It’s an idea originally put together by Daniel Kahneman. System 1 is our normal state of brain activity. Watching TV, driving, looking at a picture of a sad face. It’s simple, effortless, and our favorite mode to be in. System 2 is heavy thinking, such as solving a tough math problem, or taking the bar exam to be a lawyer (which this author did and passed, so there). It’s hard, uncomfortable, and actually uses up more calories. It’s literally more work.

The idea that there are two different processing systems in the brain is not new. And it’s probably a much better analogy of how the brain works rather than the traditional “the brain is a computer” metaphor that isn’t accurate.

Much like System 1 and System 2, in 1992 Kirkpatrick and Epstein proposed another way of thinking about these networks in their paper “Cognitive-experiential self-theory and subjective probability: Further evidence for two conceptual systems.”

They propose the idea that there are two modes of processing info, one with an experiential conceptual system, and one with a rational conceptual system. Let me try and simplify this.

The first mode is an experiential conceptual system. Note, this is not experimental, it’s experiential which means observed or perceived. Our experiential system encodes information as “concrete representations” (thanks BEGUIDE 2016). Take this mind journey with me:

Think of a door alone in a long hallway. A single closed door in an empty space.

Through the magic of the brain, you have conjured up an image of a door. You can see its color, how it opens. The space around it. It’s a physical object.

In your mind journey keep thinking about the door, but walk closer. Get so close to the door you can almost smell it. Lean up close to it right before you touch it, and blow softly on it.

I’ll bet your brain made a solid door. Your breath didn’t go through. It’s a real object in your mind.

In the cognitive-experiential self-theory you’ve used your experiential conceptual system to create something observable; it’s an object.

Now instead let’s put you in front of a tricky math problem you have to solve by hand. Say (47*16)/19.

I want you to visualize the answer. What is it? Well. Unless you’re an autistic savant can’t visualize the answer right away. You can’t “see” the answer in the same way you can see the door because you’re using a different system. You have to use the rational conceptual system. You have to remember math and the strategies to multiply and do long division. It’s a different system. It feels different.

Kirkpatrick and Epstein wanted to see if any weird human brain stuff went on when humans had to switch between the two systems. So here’s the experiment they set up (for you purists, I’m skipping to Experiment 3 in their study):

There were two bowls with red and white jelly beans. One was the Big Bowl that had 100 jelly beans, and one was the Small Bowl with only 10 jelly beans.

They set up a game where if you randomly pick a jelly bean and it’s red, you win some money (like $4); but if it’s white you win nothing.

They then put their subjects into one of four conditions. Condition 1 had (and told subjects) there was a 10% win rate. So that means 10 red jelly beans and 90 white jelly beans in the Big Bowl, and 1 red jelly bean and 9 white jelly beans in the Small Bowl.

The odds are the same; either 10/90 or 1/9.

Condition 2 had (and told subjects) there was a 90% win rate. With 9/1 jelly beans in the Small Bowl, and again 90/10 jelly beans in the Big Bowl.

Again, the odds are the same; either 90/10 or 9/1.

Conditions 3 and 4 were the same as Conditions 1 and 2, except the odds were framed as losing. Condition 3 had a 10% lose rate (so the odds and bowls were the same as Condition 2, 9/1 and 90/10), and Condition 4 had a 90% lose rate (so the odds and bowls were the same as Condition 1, 1/9 and 10/90).

Subjects were then put in front of the Big Bowl and Small Bowl and could decide which bowls they wanted to bet on. Here’s the important thing to remember; THE ODDS IN THE BOWLS ARE EXACTLY THE SAME. In every condition the odds for the Big Bowl and Small Bowl are Identical. It’s just that the big bowl has 10x the number of Jelly Beans.

Statistically it makes NO DIFFERENCE which bowl you bet on. If you gave this problem to a computer (and perhaps this is a great question for my Turing Test, to see if you’re AI or a human), it would bet randomly, or 50/50 on the Big or Small bowls. The odds are the same. You make no more or less money betting on one over the other.

So that’s what people did right? Of course not!

When presented with low odds of winning (the 10% win, or 90% lose conditions), about 75% of people chose to bet in the Big Bowl (73.1% for 90% lose and 76.9% for 10% win).

Conversely when presented with high odds of winning (the 90% win, or 10% lose conditions), only about 30% chose to bet in the Big Bowl (30.8% for the 10% lose condition, and 36.5% for the 90% win condition).

When presented with low odds of winning, most people wanted to gamble on a Big Bowl with lots of jelly beans, but when presented with high odds of winning, most people wanted to gamble on a Small Bowl with very few jelly beans.

This provides very strong support for the theory that there are two different systems. Rationally we know the odds are the same, but then our experiential system kicks in. I quote from the BEGUIDE 2016: “our experiential system – unlike the rational system – encodes information as concrete representations, and absolute numbers are more concrete than ratios or percentages.”

When we’re faced with a simply ratio-based math problem we use our rational system. But when we are standing in front of bowls with jelly beans it’s not 90%; it’s 9 out of 10. That kicks us into experiential.

9 out of 10 is almost a sure win; it’s really concrete. Our brains tell us that we want the small bowl because there are “fewer” chances to lose because there are fewer jelly beans. There’s only one loser jelly bean! We only have to avoid one bad bean, but in the Big Bowl we have to avoid 10! Your brain says, “oh, 1 is smaller than 10, that feels better, bet on that”. And this happens even while the rational system tells you they’re the same.

We walk around in non-rational, experiential mode, so people bet the small bowl.

Conversely, when it is only a 1 out of 10 chance of winning, oh man, there’s only one winner jelly bean in the whole Small Bowl. I’d rather have 10 chances of winning, and the big bowl has 10 winner jelly beans, so 10 is more than 1, so let’s bet in the Big Bowl.

Even while the rational system says they’re the same.

People go with their feelings.

Takeaways then. Welp. It’s another nail in the coffin of human rational decision making. If you want people to feel better about making a choice that has small odds of success, they’ll feel better if there are lots of possible winners, even if there are also proportionally just as many chances to lose.

Conversely, if you want people to feel better about making a choice that has high odds of success, minimize the number of losing tickets, even if that means reducing the number of winning tickets. People feel much better when they see numerically only one losing ticket.

 

Kirkpatrick, L. A., & Epstein, S. (1992). Cognitive-experiential self-theory and subjective probability: Further evidence for two conceptual systems. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology63(4), 534-544. doi:10.1037//0022-3514.63.4.534

http://www.behavioraleconomics.com/BEGuide2016.pdf

7 Science-Backed Tips To Be More Productive

Whether you work at a job or work at a hobby or work at an avocation, if you are like me you want to be productive. You want to get more done, with less effort, and enjoy it as much as possible.

Maybe not everyone cares about this as much as I do. For me, one of the joys in life is feeling like I have accomplished something worthwhile and useful. And if I can feel energized before, during, and after so much the better.

There’s no dearth of advice about how to be more productive, but recently I set out to find out what I could about the science of productivity. I ended up creating an online video course based on what I learned. Here’s a summary of the science of productivity. See how many of these you currently use:

  1. Work with your own rhythms. We all have our own cycles of work and rest. Whether it is a daily circadian rhythm or a week rhythm or even months long rhythm, observe your own rhythms of when you are at a high work energy and when you are in “rest” mode. Fighting your own rhythm won’t make you more productive.
  2. Break tasks up into smaller steps. When you accomplish a task your brain chemicals change. Accomplishing a step is like a small reward AND it stimulates you to want to start the next task. If you are working on one big long task it takes a long time to accomplish something. If you partition the big task into smaller tasks then you have lots of accomplishments.
  3. Pay attention to the room and furnishings. Set up a place to work that is only where you work. If you have a comfortable and efficient space to work in, and if the only thing you do when you are in that space is your wonderful productive work, then your body and your brain form a habit. Everytime you walk into the “work” space your brain automatically goes into productive work mode.
  4. MInimize multi-tasking. The estimate is that you can lose up to 40% of your productivity switching from one task to another, which is what happens a lot of the time when you are multi-tasking.
  5. Minimize alerts. To make multi-tasking less tempting, turn off automatic alerts and notifications on your computer, laptop, and phone.
  6. Sleep.  The research shows that being sleep deprived makes you less efficient in  your work. Try getting  7-8 hours a night. Napping for 20 minutes during the day can also boost your productivity.
  7. Work with a team. There is a lot of research, from Allport’s study in the 1920s up to research in the present day , that shows that when people work in a team they are more productive and they enjoy the work more. Sometimes working alone can be a good thing, but don’t forget the power of the team.

So there’s seven ideas on productivity that are backed up by science. What do you think?

If you want to learn more, check out the online video course: The Science of Productivity. 

Remembering And Forgetting: An Interview With Author Ylva Ostby


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Why do we remember and forget stuff? In this episode of the Human Tech podcast we talk with Ylva Ostby, a neuropsychologist from the University of Oslo, who, with her sister, Hilde Ostby, has written a book for everyone about memory.


Their book is called Adventures in Memory and is brand new this week.

The best ways to reach Ylva are:

Ylva.ostby@gmail.com

Ylva.ostby@psykologi.uio.no

@ylvaostby on Instagram and twitter

or through their publisher:

Greystone Books: corina.eberle@greystonbooks.com

 

 

Bringing Emotional Intelligence To Machines: An Interview With Pamela Pavliscak


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Do we know enough about human emotions to start building them into our technology? Isn’t human emotion the one thing that differentiates us from machines? What does it mean to build emotional artificial intelligence? These are some of the questions we discuss with Pamela in this episode of the Human Tech podcast.


Pamela’s upcoming book is Emotionally Intelligent Design, and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

The best ways to reach Pamela are:

Twitter: @paminthelab or https://twitter.com/paminthelab
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/pamelapavliscak/
https://www.changesciences.com/
https://soundingbox.com/

A Closer Look At Concession, or “The Foot In The Door” Technique


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Do you want people to say “yes” to a request you make? In this episode of the Human Tech podcast we take a closer look at the original research on concessions and the Foot in the Door technique. We discuss what works, what doesn’t and why.

Here’s the reference for the study we are looking at:

Cialdini, R. B., & Et al. (1975). Reciprocal concessions procedure for inducing compliance: The door-in-the-face technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology31(2), 206-215. doi:10.1037/h0076284

Human Tech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

Get a Free Social Media Evaluation, Free Social Media Care and Feeding, and Free Advice

Would you like to get FREE advice on how to start and/or improve the social media impact of your organization or brand? And help train the next generation of social media/UX designers?

I am an Adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. Starting in September of 2018 I’m teaching a course on Social Media. From the course description:

“Topics will include: the behavioral science of social communication online, the user experience of social media, legal and ethical issues in social media, and strategies for effectively using social media for growing a business and/or community. Student teams will work on case studies with actual organizations and companies to plan social media strategies, as well as experience the “care and feeding” of social media communities. Diverse applications will include, healthcare, wellness, tech, and non-profits.”

In the class we will use real life case studies. A team of 3-4 students will be assigned to a client. They will perform a Social Media Audit and make suggestions for changes to improve the impact of the existing social media, if any, and suggest changes for adding new social media channels. The teams will also be responsible for the “care and feeding” of one or more social media channels for the case study organization thoughout the semester.

If you have a social media existing channel that you would like evaluated and/or if you would like to start a social media campaign for your organizaiton, then you can apply to be a team case study. If chosen you receive free advice  and you will be helping to train the next generation of social media and UX designers.

What you should expect:

  • You will  spend about 2-3 hours a month for September, October, November and December working with your team. This will be via email, Skype and/or teleconference. You will be speaking with them about your company/organization, your social media goals and giving them feedback on the  advice that they prepare for you.
  • At the end of the semester you will have suggestions for how to start, increase, and/or improve your social media.

Here are the requirements:

  • You have an existing or shortly to be deployed company or organization.
  • You have existing social media accounts and/or are ready to establish new ones. These accounts must work in English.
  • You or a member(s) of your team have time to meet with the team remotely, answer their questions and give feedback in a timely manner.

Here’s what you need to submit in an email to: susan@theteamw.com

  • Your Name:
  • Your Contact Info:
  • Brief Description of the company/organization
  • Brief Description of your current social media use
  • Social media goals or changes if you know them
  • Anything else you think we should know:

Let me know if you have questions, and thanks in advance for submitting your product for a possible evaluation. We will look through all applications submitted and get back to you in early September.

Thanks!

Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D.

How Trust Affects Creative Collaboration


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Control freaks and psychological safety — We brought Eric Olive on the podcast as a guest to talk about the science of decisions and we ended up talking about control and safety. How do you create an environment of psychological safety? And how does that encourage creative collaboration?

Eric has also offered a list of articles and books for more reading which we’ve added below.

You can reach Eric at:

uiuxtraining.com
eric@uiuxtraining.com

Articles

A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making by David J. Snowden and Mary E. Boone HBR November 2007

Fooled by Experience by Emre Soyer and Robin M. Hogarth

Leaders as Decision Architects by John Beshears and Francesca Gino— Harvard Business Review. Structure your organization’s work to encourage wise choices.

“Organizing and the Process of Sensemaking”, Organization Science, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 409-421.

“The Identification of Solution Ideas During Organizational Decision Making,” Management Science 39: 1071–85. Paul C. Nutt (1993),

“Surprising but True: Half the Decisions in Organizations Fail,” Academy of Management Executive 13: 75–90. Paul C. Nutt, 1999.

Only for HBR (Harvard Business Review) Subscribers

Before You Make That Big Decision by Daniel Kahneman, Dan Lovallo, and Olivier Sibony. Harvard Business Review.

The Hidden Traps in Decision Making by John S. Hammond, Ralph L. Keeney, and Howard Raiffa. Harvard Business Review, January 2006.

Books

A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger

Beyond Greed and Fear by Hersh Shefrin

Decisive by Dan and Chip Heath

Educating Intuition by Robin Hogarth

Focus by Daniel Goleman

How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer

Intuition at Work by Gary Klein

Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein

Seeing what Others Don’t by Gary Klein

The Art Of Thinking Clearly by Rolf/Griffin Dobelli

Winning Decisions by J. Edward Russo and Paul J.H. Schoemaker’

 

Human Tech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

The Intersection of Multitasking, Flow State and Mindfulness on the Human Tech Podcast


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You’ve probably heard (maybe too many times) how multitasking is not a good thing for your productivity. In this episode of Human Tech we share the myths and truths of multitasking and also explore the relationship between multitasking, the flow state, and mindfulness.

In the episode we talk about a video where you can test out your multitasking abilities. Here’s the video:

We also mention our latest online video course, The Science of Productivity if you want to check that out.

Human Tech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

How do you build a culture of trust?


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How’s the trust quotient where you work? Or in the country where you live? How do you build a culture where people trust each other?

We talk about the research on cooperation, punishment and trust in this episode of Human Tech.

For more details on the topic after you listen to the podcast, you may want to check out the blog post and video post on the same topic.


Human Tech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.