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How Your Brain Figures Out What It Doesn't Know

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the identifying-the-dunning-kruger-zone dept.

Science 96

hex0D passes along an article at NPR about a study that examined the biology behind the self-assessment of knowledge. Quoting: "We isolated a region of the prefrontal cortex, which is right at the front of the brain and is thought to be involved in high-level thought, conscious planning, monitoring of our ongoing brain activity,' Fleming says. In people who were good at assessing their own level of certainty, that region had more gray matter and more connections to other parts of the brain, according to the study Fleming and his colleagues published in the journal Science."

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relation to politics (4, Funny)

cide (7039) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621296)

They should have correlated the study's participants with their preferred political party.

Re:relation to politics (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621334)

As well, the should have correlated the study's participants to whether their occupation is politician or not...

Re:relation to politics (1, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621336)

Why? So they could see that people who vote based on a political party color have less development in those areas than people who make their vote by putting the effort into figuring out which politician will most likely do what they want regardless of political party or promises?

Its cute that you wanted to make it political, but the very fact that you bring up 'party' shows you're an idiot.

Vote for the guy who's going to do what you think is right, not because the guy flies your favorite color or animal.

Re:relation to politics (1, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621392)

The problem though is that independents aren't necessarily any smarter than partisans, they're just not influenced by the same things.

Republicans have run for quite a while of FUD, tax cuts for the rich and corporatism. Whereas Democrats have run more on emotions and notion that things ought to be more just and that we can do better than what we're currently achieving.

Independents OTOH are tougher in many ways to pin down as some of them think that the party on their side isn't extreme enough, some want something completely different and then some are just unpredictable morons.

Re:relation to politics (1, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621766)

Republicans have run for quite a while of FUD, tax cuts for the rich and corporatism. Whereas Democrats have run more on emotions and notion that things ought to be more just and that we can do better than what we're currently achieving.

Let me guess: You are for the Democrats, right?

Re:relation to politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33621900)

some of them think that the party on their side isn't extreme enough

No, but he still gave them a vote.

Re:relation to politics (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 3 years ago | (#33624256)

And I'm going to guess you're for Republicans but the truth is that things are pretty much that way. Democrat *voters* are likely to choose "socialist" strategies. socialist means, for the betterment of society, specifically through government action since the context is governing policies.

Socialism is the *obviously good* option as being opposed to it implicates being antisocial or in other words, for the detriment of society. So it's not Democrats but Republicans who have a more nuanced and rationalized position.

No, they are not against society, they are against the government doing good for society, the rationale being that government can't be trusted to help society because it is corrupt and/or inefficient. The needs of society are entrusted to the private sector a.k.a. individuals.

Capitalism and voluntary charity are therefore supposed to solve everything.

There are two problems with this position, one is that it has been a long time since power was divided as government vs people without mention to corporations which are small dictatorships each commanding more resources than the USA government had at its inception, The other one being that what little power is left to the government is evidently invested in defending corporate interests as they are the ones who benefit the most out of every public institution, be it the Patent Office, Copyrights, Police Departments, Defense Department etc, while at the same time pushing for tax breaks or at least being taxed no more than an small individual.

Of course Democrats can be criticized as naive either because of their political strategies or because of the fact that most politicians they manage to elect ends up doing the exact opposite of what they were elected for, but at least I can't characterize them as inherently evil.

Re:relation to politics (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33625988)

And I'm going to guess you're for Republicans

And you're going to guess wrong. I'm not American, so I'm voting for neither, but if I were, and I'd decide to vote for one of the large parties, it most probably would be the Democrats.

but the truth is that things are pretty much that way.

Well, his choice of words was what clearly revealed him: For Republicans he used words with clearly negative connotation ("FUD", "corporatism"), while for the Democrats he used words with positive connotation ("more just", "we can do better" [actually, the Republicans also think they can do better; they just disagree on the meaning of "better"]).

A way to make the same statement the original poster did, but without the bias in the language, would be:

"Republicans have run for quite a while of warning about dangers for America, tax cuts for the rich and supporting corporations. Whereas Democrats have run more on emotions and the notion that wealth should be more equally distributed."

Re:relation to politics (1)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628290)

Unfortunately one very wrong thing about that is both the Republicans and Democrats try to use emotions to swing peoples votes in there favor. The Republicans use the scare tactics using national security as its main focus whether is be about terrorist, immigrants, or what have you. The Democrats use scare tactics as well but theirs usually deal with social problems like jobs, taxes(usually talking about the breaks given to businesses and the rich), and whatever the social flavor of the day happens to be.

Re:relation to politics (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 3 years ago | (#33631122)

Actually I think I have a better way to describe the political goals of both parties.

See for so much the Republicans complain about government intervention they are enthusiast proposers of extending and empowering law enforcement agencies to unreasonable ends or indeed, to no end.

Whereas it is population surveillance, suppression of free speech and public gathering etc

Republicans are basically for the status quo and Democrats for change in contrast, which is why the Conservative/Liberal labels make much sense.

Re:relation to politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33621886)

the other problem is that half of the "independents" vote party line republican, but are ashamed to admit affiliation with the GOP. they are the second part of the republicn "morons and sociopaths" equation

Re:relation to politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33622236)

"some want something completely different and then some are just unpredictable morons."

if i told you that i am reliving the past and 10% of you are my puppets and we do all your chatting in simple text scripts would you call me crazy or not.

i have proof. 1 US 20 bill folds to show twin towers and pentagon fire 2 in a mortal kombat game is 'noobsaibot' noobs A.I. bot.

i am also crazy, and proof of that is npc nbc. abc apc. cbs kps. fox sox.

Re:relation to politics (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 3 years ago | (#33625744)

Independents OTOH are tougher in many ways to pin down

Well, you are trying to handle INDEPENDENTS as a group.

Re:relation to politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33627762)

"Vote for the guy who's going to do what you think is right, not because the guy flies your favorite color or animal."

That's nice in theory, but here is the reality: If one particular party mostly aligns with what you think is right, then you might be better off voting for a complete moron who happens to be in that party. Because the way the government in this country works, the party with the most seats makes the rules. It doesn't matter if that seat is held by a complete moron or not. Look at how the Democrats were able to pass sweeping healthcare reform through various "backdoor" tricks. You think they could have done that without having control of the Senate? Control of the agenda and rules is more important than any single vote.

Re:relation to politics (1)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 3 years ago | (#33628324)

sweeping healthcare reform? That bill was a shell of what I was supposed to be.

Re:relation to politics (0, Flamebait)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621528)

They've already done brain-scans on people with political affinities. Those who are right-wing show under-developed regions dealing with emotion, those on the left-wing show similar defects in other areas of the brain. I'd like to say politicians have no brain, but politicians fit into the same category as CEOs and CEOs are well-established as schizophrenic sociopaths and politicians will likely therefore exhibit brain damage accordingly. All political persuasions, by definition, operate on the theory that ideology comes before consequences, so all political persuasions can be considered neurological diseases.

This is not to say all politics is that way - it is entirely possible for a person to borrow from other ideologies to evolve their own heterogeneous philosophy. The end result may not be "correct" in any practical sense in any specific case, but it is mentally the sounder approach and shows a good balance between rationality and emotions. The "ideal" political process would be one of continuous evolution, with a multiplicity of variation, where both mentally unhealthy and socially unhealthy strains died off, and new ideas were both encouraged and continuously integrated in efforts to exploit the inherent health of heterogeneous systems versus homogeneous systems.

The reality is that no country in the world practices evolutionary politics - proportional representation is the closest anyone has got but hasn't yet successfully reduced power-play politics. Libertarians, Tea Party loonies and other fanatics are worsening the situation by devolution. Individualism ceased to be a significant force in the affairs of what would later become humans long before primates ever evolved. Even insects have long realized that that path is a dead end.

Re:relation to politics (0)

Iron Condor (964856) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621718)

They've already done brain-scans on people with political affinities. Those who are right-wing show under-developed regions dealing with emotion, those on the left-wing show similar defects in other areas of the brain.

{citation needed}

Re:relation to politics (4, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621846)

Let me know when you're done with those and I'll find some more.

Re:relation to politics (2, Informative)

mikem170 (698970) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621948)

Those studies seems to have rather small sample sizes, and questionable controls. I did think the one study that pointed out most partisans responded using the emotional, and not the reasoning, parts of their brains was interesting.

Re:relation to politics (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33623264)

Yeah, most of those studies are jokes and border on college classroom exercises. However,

most partisans responded using the emotional, and not the reasoning, parts of their brains

is almost just common sense. Just sit back and think about the people you know and their political affiliations, and observe their tendencies in critical thinking discussions (in general). It doesn't take a study to figure this one out.

Re:relation to politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33622016)

you're missing something. npc nbc. fox xof. abc apc. cbs cps. also fox sox.

i got a nice book with a picture from ben franklin all the 's' changed to 'f'

then there ace k/c and f/ph. then there is the stuff about dancing pi.gs, cat.s, or bears pears.

to get her. together. i could go on...

Re:relation to politics (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 3 years ago | (#33637038)

Here's another study [cnn.com] that shows more disparity that you'd think in the intelligence area.

Spoiler - Liberals, atheists, and people who stick to one sexual partner are smarter. I think we all knew that already, though. :)

Re:relation to politics (4, Insightful)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621998)

They've already done brain-scans on people with political affinities. Those who are right-wing show under-developed regions dealing with emotion, those on the left-wing show similar defects in other areas of the brain.

I've seen some half-baked studies making similar claims that, curiously, always echo popular stereotypes. This stuff really isn't any better science than the hoary old studies measuring skull sizes of African-Americans. The biggest problem with any of them is determining what someone's orientation really is. Most people, nominally left or right, have poorly constructed views on a mess of issues, a tribal identity, and a fair amount of political paranoia. They are generally all over the map, and often don't realize their beliefs are contradictory. Honest to god partisans, who have independently developed their views and ideology, are a pretty small percentage of the population, mostly because there's so little economic benefit to doing so.

I'd like to say politicians have no brain, but politicians fit into the same category as CEOs and CEOs are well-established as schizophrenic sociopaths and politicians will likely therefore exhibit brain damage accordingly.

I'm calling bullshit on this. People need to believe in the devil, and in a secular society they substitute powerful figures for it. Politicians and CEOs and such ride the wave, for the most part, and have little actual control over anything outside a narrow domain. In other words, bad things happen because people, generally, are bad, not because there is some unaccountable elite scheming behind the scenes.

I find few powerful figures whose controversial actions aren't (eventually) explainable by a. them having superior knowledge of their domain than I have or b. them being poor leaders and surrounded by yes-men. B is a big one, never underestimate the Peter Principle.

All political persuasions, by definition, operate on the theory that ideology comes before consequences, so all political persuasions can be considered neurological diseases.

Nope, American conservatism operates on precisely the opposite theory. As Buckley put it, "don't immanentize the eschaton", meaning, don't try to bring about the end times or a utopia. The whole notion is that you can't have a perfect world, you don't even consider a perfect world in what you're trying to achieve. You have to work with what you've got, and you have to realize that their lives and dreams are valuable in and of themselves, and temper any changes you might try to achieve with the realization that your ends are not necessarily any greater than what they have now. The more thoroughly conservative a person is, the more consequences are everything, the ideology is nothing.

Libertarians, Tea Party loonies and other fanatics are worsening the situation by devolution.

Progressivism has always, in all of its incarnations, had reasons for why the right-thinking adherents to the movement were smarter, wiser, better human beings, and why people who disagreed were mentally defective, overwhelmed by hate, or even subhuman. The most depressing development lately is that as more women are taking leadership positions in the conservative movement, we now have liberals deriding them as insane or sexually damaged. Modern American progressivism started with women's suffrage, and has now come full circle to attack them in the most vicious, misogynistic ways.

Re:relation to politics (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33622136)

Progressivism has always, in all of its incarnations, had reasons for why the right-thinking adherents to the movement were smarter, wiser, better human beings, and why people who disagreed were mentally defective, overwhelmed by hate, or even subhuman. The most depressing development lately is that as more women are taking leadership positions in the conservative movement, we now have liberals deriding them as insane or sexually damaged. Modern American progressivism started with women's suffrage, and has now come full circle to attack them in the most vicious, misogynistic ways.

"Progressives" are awfully reactionary, aren't they?

It'd be hilarious if they weren't wrecking the living statards of the US populace. [washingtonpost.com]

In the second year of a brutal recession*, the ranks of the American poor soared to their highest level in half a century and millions more are barely avoiding falling below the poverty line, the Census Bureau reported Thursday.

About 44 million Americans - one in seven - lived last year in homes in which the income was below the poverty level, which is about $22,000 for a family of four. That is the largest number of people since the census began tracking poverty 51 years ago.

* -otherwise known as the "Obama Presidency"

Re:relation to politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33622686)

I looked up wrong in the dictionary, and scoo8y's picture DOES show up right next to the definition!

Re:relation to politics (2, Insightful)

rhakka (224319) | more than 3 years ago | (#33623716)

the idea that any high minded or even marginally abstract ideal drives conservatism dies seconds after entering any room with more than 2 people who identify as conservative in it. beyond "taxes are bad" and "regulation is bad" there is no unifying principle. Jim DeMint just said at a rally that you can't be a fiscal conservative without being a social conservative... an amazingly ridiculous statement. And he's one of the most powerful "conservatives" in this country today. Tell me what Sarah Palin's ideology is other than "make sarah palin rich and powerful"? "Bring more God"?

some idea that conservatives are against 'change' is also badly outdated. They want change. They want the whole country to change to be like them, to the point of making it illegal to be anything else. That's a huge change, they just don't understand it, because they think everyone in america except a 'minority' are like them. Or, should be.

Progressives are not right about everything, never have been. But on civil rights they have always been on the right side. And that makes them morally superior to anything conservatism has to offer. Allowing people you think are wrong to have the freedom to live their ideals while you live yours is basic morality 101. But that doesn't mean that thinking that it's legal to be a conservative, and should be, equals thinking that conservatism is smart, or equal in its "right ness". I can respect your rights while having no respect whatsoever for your point of view.

Calling woman conservative leaders "insane" is thus totally fair game; palin and O'Donnel are definitely a few cards short of a deck. attacking them on the basis of gender roles, appearance or sexuality is not. Sadly, that does happen. Just like it's been happening to liberal female politicians for decades. See, it's not new, it just took this long for conservatives to let their women run for office to see what happens when the "masses" get to have their say.

Re:relation to politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33626530)

Flamebait?

Re:relation to politics (1)

jimrthy (893116) | more than 3 years ago | (#33622234)

That evolving political process you describe sounds interesting.

But the only way that I can see it happening is by providing maximum freedom to the most people. Which is really that individualism you treat so contemptuously.

We are pack animals who evolved to live in tribes. Not a hive.

Re:relation to politics (2, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33629914)

We are indeed pack animals, and packs do not exhibit total individual freedom. Rather, they balance individual freedom with societal freedom and governmental freedom (the sum total of which is the same for all societies, no matter what the form). I do not pretend to know where in this three-way division the ideal balance should be, but I am absolutely certain that political evolution must involve changing those values. Holding them fixed, regardless of what they are fixed to, is a Bad Idea. Holding any of the three above a certain threshold has never, historically, been so great either. Somalia has total individual freedom, France has total societal freedom and Iran has total governmental freedom - all three are complete disasters.

Now, you're all completely safe as I'm totally unelectable anywhere on the planet, but if I were to be able to wave my hands and impose some bounds, I'd probably start by splitting freedom in a 4:4:2 ratio, giving equal rights to society and to the individual, with government mostly ensuring that neither abused the system to deprive the other of those rights. My underlying principle is that a balanced system is free to evolve, an unbalanced one will forever fight itself and have no time left over to evolve.

So why do I sneer at individual freedom if I make it such a big part of this concept? It isn't individual freedom I have a problem with, it's absolute freedom I have a problem with. Once any of the three divisions has all the degrees of freedom for itself, the other two automatically have nothing left for themselves. I don't care which division that is. I'd have said the same thing replacing individual freedom with any other type of freedom in any other discussion that covered the freedom of something else. One-sided freedom isn't free. Indeed, this isn't even one-sided - you need two points to make a side and absolute freedom only has one.

Ideally, you'd have far more points than the three I've listed, but three is an easy number to work with on a posting. You can extend the concept as much as you like in your mind, where the only restrictions my idea places on the concept are that no parameter is set to 0, interdependencies should start balanced and regulating dependencies should be capable of regulating but never supplanting.

Re:relation to politics (1)

jimrthy (893116) | more than 3 years ago | (#33630284)

Wow. That was extremely well written. I wish it wouldn't get buried down in /.'s bowels.

I will spend some serious time thinking about it. I can't come up with a way to write that sentence that doesn't sound snarky, but I really do mean it sincerely.

I only have one problem (admittedly, it's a big one). How do you pick a government to find that balance between society and individuals?

I can't come up with any way that doesn't allow individuals to compete amongst themselves. That whole messy "evolution" thing. So what do you suggest?

Re:relation to politics (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33631084)

It =IS= a big problem and as much as I think that I'm working along the right lines, all of the reasoning is based on the idea that you can identify when forces are balanced and how to get them there when they are not. In Britain, there were two attempts at achieving some semblance of balance - Alfred the Great's educational and legal reforms, and (to a lesser extent) the Magna Carta. Plato also emphasized the need for education. Education would enable individuals (and communities) to determine if a degree of parity had been achieved, but alone would not either create that parity nor would it (alone) persuade either individuals or communities to respect that balance.

Proportional Representation would seem to be part - but only part - of the key on the government side. I've wondered what would happen if you had a system where the first and second placed candidates for any seat were elected but had voting power proportional to the votes cast for them, in addition to (or in place of) some form of "traditional" Proportional Representation scheme. It would be messy to run such a system, but it would make cooperation much more valuable than antagonism. It's not the answer you're looking for, but it forms a possible starting point. The UK's House of Lords is also a good place to look, as it shows the concept of having two houses with separation not just of powers but of formation as well, so that there's a level of fault-tolerance - if one system isn't working right, it won't affect the other. In theory.

Re:relation to politics (0, Redundant)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621622)

I am willing to bet that if they did they wouldn't find much of a difference over all. Political Affiliation has influence of your environment your emotional response to particular issues and only a small fraction of actual rational thinking.

Environment
Left Wing Parties. Tend to have supporters who are people who directly benefit from government support. Live in Cities where they need governments to keep the infrastructure up so they can survive, or are students where the government invests into their futures.
Right Wing Parties. Tend to be in Rural areas where there are little government services, work in institutions who get little government funding or support. And often see the government as a hindering their success.

Emotional Responses
Left Wing Parties. Wants a world where everything is fair and on equal footing. People who have more should be giving even more. People who have less should be getting some more.
Right Wing Parties. Are more on "Tough Love" where if you mess up in life then you will need to suffer the consequences, if you are successful you need to reap the rewards.

Any particular facts which are true are almost purely accidental. Statistics and numbers can be taken and analysis to mean many things, that will prove anyones point. Politics are all about geting the emotional factor in.

Right Wing Parties are Evil because the support the theoretical Rich man who sits on a pot of money and does spread a dime except to pay off people to keep him there.
Left Wing Parties are Evil because they are Godless folks with no morals who wants to bankrupt the American Worker.

Re:relation to politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33622036)

I more or less agree with you, but I'd like to note that, with regard to your section about emotional responses, right wing parties would view the description given for them as being fair. Really, the fundamental difference between left and right is how one defines fair. The left is generally visual, focuses on tangible experience, and favors equality of outcome; the right is generally cerebral, focuses on theoretical principle, and favors equality of process. Neither view is necessarily wrong, but they are tremendously different, and lead to a great deal of mutual misunderstanding. (Of course, this discussion really only applies to the intelligent members of each side, not the loonies that hold signs, scream stupid slogans, and generally don't have a clue.)

Re:relation to politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33621898)

I am sure there are fat-heads on both sides of the aisle.

Re:relation to politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33622002)

They should have correlated the study's participants with their preferred political party.

I'm not certain that is always true. Take for example this epic example of fail,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c6HsiixFS8

Re:relation to politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33622228)

Don't ask it what it thinks you, it might not give the answer that you want it to.

Re:relation to politics (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33622372)

They should have correlated the study's participants with their preferred political party.

How would matching participants with their flatlines help?

Oh dear.. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33621302)

So my brain didn't know that my brain didn't know...that my brain didn't know... break;

Re:Oh dear.. (2, Interesting)

catmistake (814204) | more than 3 years ago | (#33623058)

I'm going with Plato on this one... easier to swallow: we already knew everything, we just forgot, and we 'learn' by being reminded of what we already know (knew).

Let me see if I understand this correctly (4, Funny)

Chocolate Teapot (639869) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621312)

The ability to introspect about self-performance is key to human subjective experience, but the neuroanatomical basis of this ability is unknown. Such accurate introspection requires discriminating correct decisions from incorrect ones, a capacity that varies substantially across individuals. We dissociated variation in introspective ability from objective performance in a simple perceptual-decision task, allowing us to determine whether this interindividual variability was associated with a distinct neural basis. We show that introspective ability is correlated with gray matter volume in the anterior prefrontal cortex, a region that shows marked evolutionary development in humans. Moreover, interindividual variation in introspective ability is also correlated with white-matter microstructure connected with this area of the prefrontal cortex. Our findings point to a focal neuroanatomical substrate for introspective ability, a substrate distinct from that supporting primary perception

Nope.

Re:Let me see if I understand this correctly (4, Funny)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621360)

We found a distinct part of the brain that, if more developed in a particular way, lets one know that he sucks at making correct decisions. For everyone else, they don't realise that they suck.

Re:Let me see if I understand this correctly (1)

Chocolate Teapot (639869) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621406)

OIC. Thanks. Would you mind if I paraphrased that in my sig?

Re:Let me see if I understand this correctly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33621442)

Be my guest :)

Mikkeles

Re:Let me see if I understand this correctly (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621988)

Can I paraphrase your paraphrasing? Just to make sure it no longer makes any sense.

Re:Let me see if I understand this correctly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33622336)

Can I paraphrase your paraphrasing? Just to make sure it no longer makes any sense.

Wow, George Bush on Slashdot...

Let's give this a shot (3, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33622418)

The ability to introspect about self-performance is key to human subjective experience, but the neuroanatomical basis of this ability is unknown

Error correction is important; but we're not sure where the EC functionality is on this board.

Such accurate introspection requires discriminating correct decisions from incorrect ones,

Let's parrot the definition of EC in pretentious sounding verbiage so we'll look more important.

a capacity that varies substantially across individuals

Some of the EC chips are better than others.

We dissociated variation in introspective ability from objective performance in a simple perceptual-decision task, allowing us to determine whether this interindividual variability was associated with a distinct neural basis.

We ran the bogomips benchmark while some logic probes were placed in strategic locations.

We show that introspective ability is correlated with gray matter volume in the anterior prefrontal cortex, a region that shows marked evolutionary development in humans

We found some interesting signals on pin 3A of the 3rd chip from the CPU. By the way, did I mention that the Homo Sapiens model rocks? That's us. We RULE!

Moreover, interindividual variation in introspective ability is also correlated with white-matter microstructure connected with this area of the prefrontal cortex. Our findings point to a focal neuroanatomical substrate for introspective ability, a substrate distinct from that supporting primary perception

We're pretty sure that the ATMEL 5344-C with the glob of thermal goo performs some of this functionality on the system too. It looks like EC functionality is done on a couple of separate chips.

Re:Let's give this a shot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33623388)

mod +5 Entertaining. And Interesting until the end, but it seems like you got bored.

Re:Let's give this a shot (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33623966)

Bored, and under pressure to come up with something quickly since the article already had quite a few posts. I've been around here long enough to know you shouldn't waste too much effort once a handful of posts have +5.

Mostly, it doesn't (4, Interesting)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621326)

In The Science of Fear (a book I heartily recommend), Daniel Gardner claims the strength of our "feeling of knowing" generally has no statistically significant correlation with factual reality. Humans are not very good at "knowing." and our most cherished concepts of "truth" may be unverifiable or demonstrably false.

Which is why, paradox intended, a person who knows he knows nothing is wise.

Re:Mostly, it doesn't (2, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621398)

Precisely, I've found that I know far more than I think I know, and it isn't until later on that the knowledge is proved or disproved that I have any idea as to what I really know.

It's odd sometimes how gut feeling and instinct end up being correct.

Re:Mostly, it doesn't (5, Insightful)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621464)

It's odd sometimes how gut feeling and instinct end up being correct.

Nope. Confirmation bias is perfectly normal.

And resulted in religions (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 3 years ago | (#33625016)

And it sprouted religions. If I pray for x and I get it, my god did it. Therefor he exists. If I don't get it, it was busy or had other plans.

Bert

Re:Mostly, it doesn't (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621484)

When I was in high school, I used to try to cram for history exams the night before, having never cracked the book prior to the test. I would fall asleep sometime during the night, with my face in the middle of a chapter on, say, the Byzantine Empire.

I would wake up in the morning without really recalling anything from the previous night. I must have dreamed, though, that I finished the chapter. I would walk into my exam feeling good about it: Constantinople was named after Emperor Constantine, there was some guy named Justinian, they all got vanquished by the Turks. Then I would get the exam handed to me and realize that half the stuff I thought I knew was ethereal---the random sensory noise of a dream, and the harder I tried to grasp what the dream-state had told me, the more it slipped through my fingers.

Nowadays I have a better sense of when I'm unprepared.

Re:Mostly, it doesn't (2, Insightful)

farnsworth (558449) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621700)

"Do you know you have more nerve endings in your stomach than in your head? Look it up. Now somebody's gonna say, "I did look that up and it's wrong." Well mister, that's cause you looked it up in a book. Next time, try looking it up in your gut. I did. And my gut tells me that's how our nervous system works."

Re:Mostly, it doesn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33638414)

For those who don't recognize the quote it's from Stephen Colbert's speach about President Bush.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qa-4E8ZDj9s&feature=PlayList&p=7033D15958A6E881&index=0&playnext=1

Re:Mostly, it doesn't (2, Funny)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621412)

I'm quite certain that you're wrong!

Re:Mostly, it doesn't (0)

Iron Condor (964856) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621756)

[..]

Which is why, paradox intended, a person who knows he knows nothing is wise.

No, they aren't. They're retarded.

Someone who imagines they know nothing is as retarded as someone who imagines they know everything. Wisdom cannot possibly be found in either of these simpletons.

Some things are known. Some are not. Some are knowable. Some are not. Some are difficult to figure out, others are obvious. There's a universe of subtlety and complexity there, with all shades of grey from the deepest back to the most brilliant white.

Wisdom is the ability to acknowledge this and find one's way in it. NOT the propensity to deny it.

Re:Mostly, it doesn't (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621798)

Or they find the infinitesimal unconvincing and so when they look at their own finite knowledge divided by the infinite knowledge they don't have, they get 0.

Re:Mostly, it doesn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33622882)

All knowledge is just a reflexion of reality; an abstract mental representation of the patters of reality that are useful as a tool to interact with the world.

Knowledge about knowledge is just a reflexion of a reflexion.

A man who knows this, knows that he knows nothing: he only dreams the world he perceives.

Re:Mostly, it doesn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33621862)

The truism about education is a prime example.

The more you learn, that is..go from having a high school diploma, to a Bachelors degree, to a Masters degree to a PhD.

You learn more and more about less and less.

Re:Mostly, it doesn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33632866)

a person who knows he knows nothing is wise.

But if you claim to know nothing, how could you then claim to know that it is wise? Or is this some silly kind of recursive claim: "It is wise to claim that I know nothing except that it is wise to claim that I know nothing except that it is wise..." ?! If you knew nothing, then by that statement you wouldn't even know that you knew nothing. You simply won't know anything at all!

Humans are not very good at "knowing." and our most cherished concepts of "truth" may be unverifiable or demonstrably false.

If something was demonstrated to be false, would it not be correct to say that you *know* it to be false? If so, won't that be a form of "knowing"? If you say that even demonstrations of falsity cannot be certain, then what's the point of mentioning that at all?

ENLIGHTENED BRIGHT PERSON: "Hey you, inferior bumpkin! You think you know anything? Well let me tell you now that nothing can be known! It's very likely that your so-called knowledge will be disproved! Any time now! Not that I'm claiming that any demonstration of falsity could be known for certain to be final... coz, you know, I'd be contradicting myself... but... you're gonna feel bad about it! Yeah! Take that!"
INFERIOR BUMPKIN: "Riiight..."

So they're saying ... (2, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621330)

.... there's an anatomical explanation for who is ignorant. If it takes an autopsy to arrive at the proper conclusion, I'm fine with that. Shoot them all and let the coroner sort them out.

Re:So they're saying ... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621430)

End result: world full of coroners and shootists. This can't end well.

Re:So they're saying ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33621872)

simpler test ask them what a psy and why should it be on an auto

Re:So they're saying ... (1)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 3 years ago | (#33622586)

Ever heard of functional MRI ?

I seem to have a lesion (3, Funny)

Duncan J Murray (1678632) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621350)

Well, at 3 weeks prior to the most important professional exam of my career, I appear to be posting on Slashdot.

I hereby donate my brain to medical science so that the lesion present in my prefrontal cortex can help pinpoint this area more precisely.

Re:I seem to have a lesion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33621656)

Well, at 3 weeks prior to the most important professional exam of my career, I appear to be posting on Slashdot.

I hereby donate my brain to medical science so that the lesion present in my prefrontal cortex can help pinpoint this area more precisely.

Pwah, 3 weeks -- luxury! Get back to us when the exam's the next day.

Re:I seem to have a lesion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33624952)

Thank you. You got me back to studying for my preliminary exams. bye

thanks (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33621364)

...for not linking the NPR article -- and for linking the same paywalled article twice. Good job. Is this what you were going for?

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/09/16/129910351/how-your-brain-figures-out-what-it-doesn-t-know [npr.org]

Re:thanks (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621500)

So, obviously the poster sucks at making correct decisions, but doesn't realize it.

Bill and Ted therefore must have been geniuses... (3, Funny)

nebaz (453974) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621592)

Bill: "So-crates . . . the only true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing."
Ted: "That's US, dude!"
Bill: "Oh, yeah!"

I think I am.. (1)

mace9984 (1406805) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621602)

I like this.... I think..

Employment precondition (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621750)

So in the future, they'll demand a scan of your forehead, and if that region isn't large enough, you'll not get employed?

Retraining self-assessment skills (3, Informative)

manaway (53637) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621806)

The study mentioned at the end of the NPR article with this quote: "In fact, there was one study where people who are narcissistic would say they are really spectacularly good at this and they were actually worse than everyone else" is referring to Unskilled and Unaware of It [homedns.org] (scanned pdf [psu.edu] ). The Unskilled study covers regular people too, not just us narcissists.

What you don't know (1)

davvr6 (823826) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621810)

What you don't know you don't know.

Re:What you don't know (4, Informative)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 3 years ago | (#33622010)

"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we do not know we don’t know." --Donald Rumsfeld

Re:What you don't know (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 3 years ago | (#33622248)

"And no one will convince us that white is white and black is black" - Some other politician.

Re:What you don't know (3, Interesting)

Philotic (957984) | more than 3 years ago | (#33622482)

"In March 2003, Donald Rumsfeld engaged in a little bit of amateur philosophising: "There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know." What he forgot to add was the crucial fourth term: the "unknown knowns", things we don't know that we know - which is precisely the Freudian unconscious. If Rumsfeld thought that the main dangers in the confrontation with Iraq were the "unknown unknowns", the threats from Saddam we did not even suspect, the Abu Ghraib scandal shows where the main dangers actually are in the "unknown knowns", the disavowed beliefs, suppositions and obscene practices we pretend not to know about, even though they form the background of our public values. To unearth these "unknown knowns" is the task of an intellectual."

-Slavoj Zizek
http://www.lacan.com/zizekempty.htm [lacan.com]

Re:What you don't know (2, Interesting)

ZorroXXX (610877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33623232)

Also expressed as Orders of Ignorance by Phillip G. Armour in "The Laws of Software Process":
  • 0OI - Lack of Ignorance. You know something.
  • 1OI - Lack of Knowledge. You know that you do not know something.
  • 2OI - Lack of Awareness. You do not know that you do not know something.

Mmhh ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33621824)

They said that the region they are talking about is behind the eyes ... and then ...

"Participants had to identify a patch of screen that was just slightly brighter than the rest of the screen. And every time they did this they had to say how confident they felt about their choice."

Maybe those people just had better visual processing ? o_O

Re:Mmhh ... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33621890)

Visual processing is done on the opposite side of the brain, at the back of the head.

I guess it all boils down to distance (1)

BlueScreenO'Life (1813666) | more than 3 years ago | (#33622006)

Think impressionist paintings with thick strokes. You have to take a few steps back to see them clearly. I think the same thing applies to decisions and planning; they're difficult to make because the one making them is too close, too attached to the situation.

Years ago, I made some poor decisions. A few years later I saw how stupid they were and I thought "Ah, if only I had been as wise as I am now, I would have made good decisions back then". What I think now is I never got a lot wiser; it's just the detachment that makes one see things more clearly.

Re:I guess it all boils down to distance (2, Interesting)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33623306)

EMOTIONAL detachment is part of the key. Emotions are a dangerous input to allow in the decision-making process. Sadly as a species we are wired to allow exactly that, excepting those blessed with specific neural damage or mutations.

Re:I guess it all boils down to distance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33628088)

You are wrong. Emotions allow us to make most of the decisions we are faced with--that is, those whose choices offered are nearly equivalent. There's a guy who had a tumor removed, and he was completely functional afterwards except that he lacked emotion. He'd sit in his office and take half an hour to decide whether to sign a document with blue or black ink. Weighing it purely rationally, he first leaned towards blue since the blue would "pop" better against the black of the rest of the document, but maybe it pops too much? He wanted to be consistent; had he been signing with blue or black previously? Oh, and it looks like there's a bit more ink in the black pen, so perhaps he should conserve the blue for when he really needs it...

And then there is the fact that desire is an emotion, and desire drives our entire being. Without a desire for some outcome, no logic can be employed at all.

Here's sort of the link to the story. Slashdot and Chrome aren't playing nice, so I couldn't paste this further up, and I can't paste a link directly to Radiolab. It's the first result.
http://www.google.com/search?aq=f&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=radiolab+emotion [google.com]

Stupid fucking technology.

Re:I guess it all boils down to distance (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33629188)

You should read this:

Emotions Can Negatively Impact Investment Decisions [stanford.edu] . One of the study's authors was the same person, Antoine Bechara, who authored the other paper you mention.

One study does not equate with proof or dis-proof.

Doh! (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33622132)

Anyone with a fully functioning prefrontal cortex knows this.

Re:Doh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33623178)

Only if the prefrontal cortex is able to monitor itself!

So this is how you know... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33622186)

...what you know that you don't know?

News Flash! You can't fix stupid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33622470)

This is certainly going to renew interest in the Dunning-Kruger effect...

How Your Brain Figures Out What It Doesn't Know (1)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 3 years ago | (#33622600)

Sorry, my brain does not have that feature. It doesn't even know how much it knows.

hummmmm (1)

fjsage (1774730) | more than 3 years ago | (#33623094)

third eye area....

Dirty Harry said it best when he simply said... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33623274)

"A man's gotta know his limitations."

At least a slim majority of H. sapiens seems to come up a few cards short of what's required to do this effectively; I don't think there's nearly enough "marked evolutionary development". I wish it were fun for me to watch this circus. Will it ever be better?

Religion (1)

Msdose (867833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33625088)

So the left has committed itself to the godless religion of political correctness because it appeals to a lot of voters. What they miss is that political correctness is not science, it is a religion, and thus a lie. This doesn't bother them except that the opposition is a better liar. So they are like the monkey whose hand is stuck in the jar of peanuts and won't come out because he won't let go of the goodies. Both sides are simply pushing their religion on a society that doesn't want a religious state.

Old Sage (1)

EricTheO (973140) | more than 3 years ago | (#33625254)

I had an instructor, Dr. Fine of Drafting Technology circa 1976 at the College of San Mateo, a JC. He had a saying I still remember, "Do you understand everything you know?"

Well some people seems to know everything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33626414)

In fact they are just bluffing and don't really know a thing. I really want to cut their brain open to examine whether they have excessive level of gray matter or the opposite.

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