Nov 2021 Links

From Reddit, a list of transhumanist papers:

A new MIT study suggests that our brains are actually not optimized to calculate the so-called “shortest path” when navigating on foot. Based on a dataset of more than 14,000 people going about their daily lives, the MIT team found that instead, pedestrians appear to choose paths that seem to point most directly toward their destination, even if those routes end up being longer. They call this the “pointiest path.”

Rights and Responsibilities Are Substitutable Framings That Differentially Affect Judgment Allon Vishkin & Jeremy Ginges Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract: Do employers have a responsibility to treat their workers equally or do employees have a right to be treated equally? In common discourse, rights and responsibilities are often used as substitutable framings for the same event, but they may differentially shape judgment. In this investigation, we develop an experimental manipulation of rights versus responsibilities and evaluate whether framing an arrangement between two parties in terms of rights, versus responsibilities, affects people’s judgment. We found that people judged unequal distributions between two parties as less fair when framed in terms of rights than in terms of responsibilities. Furthermore, people judged a rights framing as fairer for an unequal (vs. equal) contractual agreement. Thus, a subtle framing manipulation can increase or decrease people’s sensitivity to unequal distributions. We discuss potential mechanisms for this effect and implications for behavioral law as well as the potential to nudge people’s sensitivity to inequality. 

Horseshoes, hand grenades, and regulatory enforcement: Close experience with potential sanctions and fraud deterrence Jeremy Douthit, Melanie Millar & Roger White Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, September 2021, Pages 137-148

Abstract: We investigate the deterrence effect of experience with regulatory enforcement on fraud in a unique natural setting. Using ride-level data on New York City taxicab drivers, we identify drivers who fraudulently overcharge customers and pair them with the outcomes of drivers’ experience with regulatory enforcement (taxi court). We examine whether drivers’ experience with the taxi court, specifically whether the taxi court found them guilty or not guilty of fraud, affects their subsequent fraud. Interestingly, we find that the effect of experience with the regulatory enforcement on the likelihood of future fraud depends on the verdict received. Consistent with an impact bias in drivers’ affective forecasting, drivers who are found guilty (not guilty) are more (less) likely to commit fraud than similar drivers without recent taxi court experience. Our results have implications for academics and policymakers by showing that sometimes the threat of enforcement can be more effective at deterring future fraud than the actual enforcement itself.

Reexamining the Automobile’s Past: What Were the Critical Factors That Determined the Emergence of the Internal Combustion Engine as the Dominant Automotive Technology? Constantine Hadjilambrinos

Abstract: At the end of the 19th-century three technologies had emerged as sources of motive power for the automobile: steam, internal combustion, and electric motors. In 1900, in the United States and around the world, each of these powered a roughly equal number of automobiles. Thus, the early period of automobile development offers fertile ground for the study of technological path choice. At that time, it appeared that the electric motor was poised to become the dominant automotive technology. However, the internal combustion engine achieved this status instead. Although a large number of studies have examined the history of the automobile with a view to determining the reasons for the emergence of the internal combustion engine as the dominant technology for the car engine (especially its choice over the electric motor), no consensus has emerged of what the critical factors were. A close reexamining of the history allows us to identify the years 1900-1904 as the period during which the automobile’s technological path was determined. A review of the conditions prevailing during this period and the stages of development of the sociotechnical systems in which each of the alternative automotive technologies was embedded helps us identify the aspiration for touring as the key factor fixing the path for the technological development of the automobile from that point on.

First published Dec 6, 2021