In his talk I said that you cannot change psychology. That’s what I said, right? I’m not getting a lot of questions about this. I’m actually getting a lot of questions about how illusions work psychology. So if you look at our paper, it’s actually about how illusions work psychology. Why is it that people can believe a certain thing, but it’s a false belief at the end of the day? If somebody can lie to make you lose, they will do it. So you can look at this phenomenon and say: “Well, psychologists can’t change psychology, people just can’t tell the difference between truth and not”. I don’t agree. We can make you think that you’re going to win a race, but when it actually happens you’ll probably not win, but you’ll be glad you thought you were going to win. So that’s this psychological model where you can tell someone that they’re not going to win a race but it’s actually not real.
I remember reading an interview in one of my classes where Professor Bill Dembski, a prominent sports psychologist – all of a sudden, a very popular sport psychology professor, and he’d just died, one of the leading sports psychologists, started talking about how it’s the same for all sports. This was the first time I’d ever seen that mentioned in a science book – that he said this, and the audience was actually very excited. I’d heard this before when I was first starting out as a science journalist, but I’d never put it into words. That it’s the same in all sports and it all starts with what we call “mind control”. So he said that this is what he calls “preferences” for certain sports or some specific event and if it doesn’t happen, it’ll never happen again. I think that’s a pretty good analogy for the way in which we can manipulate information. The way that we manipulate information is with what’s called “pattern recognition” or “preferences”. If we’re talking about a car, the way we’re thinking about it right now is that we might think of the car as a “black box”, an electronic piece of equipment, but then at a certain point in the past there’ve been some accidents, and we can’t look at the car as an electronic piece of equipment any more because the car has turned into a “black box”, and it can no longer be looked at. It becomes more about the person and more about the emotional response that they have.
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