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Hi.  Some kind folks have followed this blog over the last couple of weeks, brought here by my liking and following their karate or similar related blogs.  I just want to let you know that this blog isn’t seeing much action just now, but I am doing much more work that you may find more pertinent, and not getting nearly so tired, sad and frustrated with the world, over at What I talk about when I talk about Karate.


Very interesting on many levels. I’m fascinated by the psychology of decisions and motivation, and I immediately thought of the possibilities for influencing social, economic and ecological behaviours in this way, and I picked up a nugget or two that may prove useful in the dojo, but as the video went on I became increasingly uneasy… I’ve always assumed that the purpose of studying decision errors and biases was to educate humanity about itself and point towards a truly rational way of managing life. Utilising them to enforce ‘good’ behaviour (who says it’s ‘good’ anyway?) smacks ever so slightly of the Ludovico technique to me.


Human Chess

By Professor Leslie John, Harvard Business School

Identifying effective obesity treatment is both a clinical challenge and a public health priority. Can monetary incentives stimulate weight loss? Leslie John presents a study that examines different economic incentives for weight loss during a 16 week intervention.

Leslie John presented at the “The Science of Getting People to Do Good” research briefing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, co-sponsored by the Center for Social Innovation.

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Brilliant. A great example of one of my central themes…human evolved behaviour is not in step with the rate at which we can change our own environment.

Human Chess

Who hasn’t sent a text message saying “I’m on my way” when it wasn’t true or fudged the truth a touch in their online dating profile? But Jeff Hancock doesn’t believe that the anonymity of the internet encourages dishonesty. In fact, he says the searchability and permanence of information online may even keep us honest.

Jeff Hancock studies how we interact by email, text message and social media blips, seeking to understand how technology mediates communication

Speaker’s bio:

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Fascinating and terrifying.

Human Chess

By Chris Simmons

The most diabolical, manipulative, and extraordinarily successful interrogation ploy I used to interrogate High-Value terrorists in Iraq was the Prisoners’ Dilemma. It LITERALLY never failed. Research the Prisoners’ Dilemma and you will find it called “game theory.” I can assure you its use is neither theoretical nor game-like. It appeals to the strongest and basest instincts in all of us – self-survival –by pitting members of a group against one another for a reward.

More was always better with this technique, but a two detainee minimum was sufficient. In our case, we always began our “theater of the mind” in the Black Room, so named as its floor, ceiling, and walls were painted matte black. We’d also found a way to give the room a slight echo-effect, which many found unsettling. Having captured several Al-Qaeda associates (all believed to have similar information) in a given raid…

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