Author Archives: J. Quinton

Soundcloud Sounds

I haven’t posted any of my music in a while! I’ve still been making music, but after getting married, my time for hobbies — including blogging — has dramatically decreased.

Anyway, here’s a song/remix I made of some music from the game Final Fantasy XIV, more specifically the game’s most recent expansion “Shadowbringers” (the songs “Sands of Amber”, “The Source”, “Civilizations”, “Insatiable”, and “Tomorrow And Tomorrow” from the Shadowbringers soundtrack). Even though the song is metal — in the style of “One” from Metallica — it’s got a salsa beat throughout; I included that because my wife (whose screen name in her youth was “burythelight”) likes both salsa and metal.

So yeah. Enjoy!

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Posted by on May 30, 2020 in music


Tribalism Is Human Nature


We argue that because of a long history of intergroup conflict and competition, humans evolved to be tribal creatures. Tribalism is not inherently bad, but it can lead to ideological thinking and sacred values that distort cognitive processing of putatively objective information in ways that affirm and strengthen the views and well-being of one’s ingroup (and that increase one’s own standing within one’s ingroup). Because of this shared evolutionary history of intergroup conflict, liberals and conservatives likely share the same underlying tribal psychology, which creates the potential for ideologically distorted information processing. Over the past several decades, social scientists have sedulously documented various tribal and ideological psychological tendencies on the political right, and more recent work has documented similar tendencies on the political left. We contend that these tribal tendencies and propensities can lead to ideologically distorted information processing in any group. And this ideological epistemology can become especially problematic for the pursuit of the truth when groups are ideologically homogenous and hold sacred values that might be contradicted by empirical inquiry. Evidence suggests that these conditions might hold for modern social science; therefore, we conclude by exploring potential ideologically driven distortions in the social sciences.


More religious individuals are less likely to have pets — especially cats

Scientific evidence has emerged suggesting that religion has a significant influence on pet ownership. Specifically, those who practice religion are less likely to own pets and especially less likely to own a cat. These findings come from a study published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Read more at PsyPost

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Posted by on April 6, 2020 in cognitive science, religion


How do pandemics change the way we think?

When dealing with an absence of real knowledge about diseases, people tend to consult with their social circles in what psychologists call ‘social learning’, since the potential cost for trial-and-error or individual learning is high (or fatal). A greater conformity to group behavior and appeal to social obligation are perceived to be effective disease-avoidance strategies. One study showed that students who experienced higher perceived vulnerability to disease wound up conforming more to the majority view when evaluating abstract art drawings and self-rating as more conforming on questionnaires. In contrast, individualism, which is characterized by greater tolerance and even encouragement of deviation from the status quo, might not be an adaptive trait during periods of pandemic duress. So even for a freedom-loving society like the United State, viral outbreaks can make the population malleable to submitting to government authority and complying with social norms such as the newly-issued diktats to practice social distancing and adhere to strict hygiene standards.

Read more: How do pandemics change the way we think?

Also check out A Link Between Pathogen Avoidance And Religion?

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Posted by on March 12, 2020 in cognitive science, religion


People Who See God As A White Man Tend To Prefer White Men For Leadership Positions

When you picture God, who do you see: a young black woman, or an old white man? Chances are it’s the latter — and a new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that that image has its consequences.

Read more at BPS Research Digest

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Posted by on March 4, 2020 in cognitive science, religion


DeMorgan’s Law And Probability Theory

I touched on this a bit a few years ago but didn’t really post what I wanted to due to time constraints. I blog from my phone so blog posts usually take a few weeks to write 🙂.

Anyway, this post is my demonstration of how laws of logic also apply to probability theory.

In Boolean logic, we can use a truth table to demonstrate that two logic statements are equivalent.

So if you want to prove the statement P v ~Q (“P or Not Q”) is equal to Q v ~P, you would draw up a truth table and see if the columns for each statement are equal:

As you can see, the P v ~Q column doesn’t match the Q v ~P column. This logically proves that P v ~Q is not equal to Q v ~P.

DeMorgan’s Law is the proof that shows that the statement ~ (P ^ Q) is equal to the statement ~P v ~Q, proving that you can logically substitute one statement for the other:

This is a visual representation of DeMorgan’s Law from Wikipedia:

This exact methodology can be used to prove that probability theory is just Boolean logic that incorporates uncertainty; the columns will match. Boolean “and” is equal to mathematical multiplication and Boolean “or” is equal to mathematical addition. Though both come with a caveat for mutual exclusion.

So for example. Flipping a coin for heads or tails is mutually exclusive; you either get heads or tails. But if you’re flipping more than one coin, then heads or tails is no longer mutually exclusive. This is easy, you just go from multiplying your probabilities to adding them (though if you’re flipping more than one coin and want heads and tails, you keep with multiplying probabilities) If you flip two coins, the probability of getting head or tails is 100%.

But what if you flip three (or more) coins? It can’t be 150% chance of getting heads or tails! But notice what is going on in this addition: you’re effectively counting getting both heads and tails twice. Necessarily, you’re either going to get two heads with three coins being flipped at the same time (thus one instance of heads and tails) or two tails (thus the second instance of heads and tails).

So you have to subtract the second heads and tails when doing probabilistic “or”. In other words, P v Q becomes P + Q – P * Q. Indeed, if you go back to flipping only one coin for heads or tails, because this one coin cannot be both heads and tails, P * Q is zero.

Here we see DeMorgan’s replicating when substituting 100% and 0% for “true” and “false”:

Sure, this works with 0%/100%, but what about other probabilities?

As you can see, DeMorgan’s Law holds up even when using probabilities that aren’t equal to 0%/100%.

Thus my dilettante proof that probability theory is Boolean logic expanded to account for uncertainty 🙂

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Posted by on March 4, 2020 in Bayes, logical fallacies as weak bayesian evidence


Why the Activities of the Immune System Matter for Social and Personality Psychology (and Not Only for Those Who Study Health)


A growing body of research finds that the activities of the immune system – in addition to protecting the body from infection and injury – also influence how we think, feel, and behave. Although research on the relationship between the immune system and psychological and behavioral outcomes has most commonly focused on the experiences of those who are ill or experiencing an acute immune response, we propose that the immune system may also play a key role in influencing such outcomes in those who are healthy. Here, we review theory and research suggesting that inflammation – a key component of the immune response to pathogens and stressors – may play an important modulatory role in shaping emotions, motivation, cognition, and behavior, even among those without symptoms of illness. Moreover, because inflammation occurs in response to a number of everyday social experiences (e.g., loneliness, stress), we propose that it may be an important mediator of many psychological and behavioral outcomes that are of interest to social and personality psychologists. We close by discussing potential opportunities for researchers looking to incorporate psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) into their area of inquiry.

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Posted by on March 2, 2020 in cognitive science

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