SciBeh-Topic-Visualization

opinion, science, society, insight, economist

Topic 20

opinion science society insight economist apply behavioural recent perspective engage governance polarize progress communication law

Trying to make sense out of chaos: science, politics and the COVID-19 pandemic

This essay discusses the proliferation of discourses about the COVID-19 pandemic, presenting the challenges both to science and public policies that such an information overload present, having Collins’ sociology of expertise as a theoretical framework.
covid-19
policy
expertise
science
research
humanity, statistic, wrong, communicate, fit
opinion, science, society, insight, economist
Theory development requires an epistemological sea change

Up until 2019, `psychological reform' mostly meant methodological and statistical reform of empirical research practices in psychology. Since then, however, we have seen a surge of proposals for theoretical reform. While those calling for theoretical reform may agree on many things, they also do not form a monolith. One aim of the present commentary is to highlight some of this diversity by commenting on Fried's target article in this broader context.
covid-19
metascience
scientific method
psychology
improvement
reform
commentary
opinion, science, society, insight, economist
peer, publish, publication, review, preregistration
Putting nudges in perspective
May 31, 2017 · · Original resource · article

Conventional economic policy focuses on ‘economic’ solutions (e.g. taxes, incentives, regulation) to problems caused by market-level factors such as externalities, misaligned incentives and information asymmetries. By contrast, ‘nudges’ provide behavioural solutions to problems that have generally been assumed to originate from limitations in human decision making, such as present bias. While policy-makers have good reason for exploiting the power of nudges, we argue that these extremes leave open a large space of policy options that have received less attention in the academic literature. First, there is no reason that solution and problem need have the same theoretical basis: there are promising behavioural solutions to problems that have causes that are well explained by traditional economics, and conventional economic solutions often offer the best line of attack on problems of behavioural origin. Second, there is a wide range of hybrid policy actions with both economic and behavioural components (e.g. framing a tax or incentive in a specific way), and there exist many societal problems – perhaps the majority – that arise from both economic and behavioural factors (e.g. firms’ exploitation of consumers’ behavioural biases). This paper aims to remind policy-makers that behavioural economics can influence policy in a variety of ways, of which nudges are the most prominent but not necessarily the most powerful.
behavioral science
policy
decision-making
economy
nudging
behavioral economics
nudge
economic
policymaker
humanity, statistic, wrong, communicate, fit
opinion, science, society, insight, economist
The Science of Wisdom in a Polarized World: Knowns and Unknowns

Interest in wisdom in the cognitive sciences, psychology, and education has been paralleled by conceptual confusions about its nature and assessment. To clarify these issues and promote consensus in the field, wisdom researchers met in Toronto in July of 2019, resolving disputes through discussion. Guided by a survey of scientists who study wisdom-related constructs, we established a common wisdom model, observing that empirical approaches to wisdom converge on the morally-grounded application of metacognition to reasoning and problem-solving. After outlining the function of relevant metacognitive and moral processes, we critically evaluate existing empirical approaches to measurement and offer recommendations for best practices. In the subsequent sections, we use the common wisdom model to selectively review evidence about the role of individual differences for development and manifestation of wisdom, approaches to wisdom development and training, as well as cultural, subcultural, and social-contextual differences. We conclude by discussing wisdom’s conceptual overlap with a host of other constructs and outline unresolved conceptual and methodological challenges.
development
culture
reasoning
meta-science
moral, belief, conspiracy, personality, trait
opinion, science, society, insight, economist
Complex systems thinking is being used for policymaking. Is it the future?
Oct. 25, 2018 · · Original resource · webpage

Opinion: The theory is enjoying a moment of popularity in policy research and practice
policy
research
theory
future
policymaking
system
approach
practice
humanity, statistic, wrong, communicate, fit
opinion, science, society, insight, economist
Coronavirus misinformation and the political scenario: the science cannot be ‘another’ barrier

The sensible and conflicting scenario of the pandemic postulated many challenges to societies around the world in 2020. Part of this problem refers to how the differences between politics and science are not comprehended in their particularities. The recognition of limits and power of science and politics can not only contribute to reaching the actions and strategies facing novel coronavirus but also optimized many domains of societies post-pandemic.
covid-19
misinformation
politics
science
behavior science
humanity, statistic, wrong, communicate, fit
opinion, science, society, insight, economist
When Values Collide: Why Scientists Argue About Open Science and How to Move Forward

In the early/mid 20th century, scientists and philosophers advocated for a scientific framework that valued objectivity and certainty. This framework was committed to the value-free ideal, which held that social, political, ethical, and personal values are irrelevant to the process of science. This value system was adopted, both in science and public education systems. Indeed, the value of objectivity is thought to be synonymous with sound scientific practice. However, the “replication crisis” showed objectivity and certainty are illusory, and a value-system that favors objectivity may actually incentivize researchers to hide their biases. Over the last few years, a new value system is emerging, one that embraces uncertainty, encourages openness and transparency, and recognizes bias inherent in the scientific enterprise. These values conflict with those of the previous system, which creates discord among the scientific community. In this paper, we trace the origins of the existing value system and delineate new values emerging in the post-replication-crisis scientific community. This new set of values, objectified by the open science movement, recognizes the scientific process as a social enterprise. Neither set of values is inherently better, but both are reactions to the social environment in which researchers participate. What is important, however, is to recognize the significance of personal values in scientific discovery and to open dialogue about how to leverage these values. We conclude with recommendations about how to overcome both discord and the current incentive structure to increase the validity and reputability of science.
communication
uncertainty
bias
scientific practice
transparency
metascience
open science
value
validity
flaw
humanity, statistic, wrong, communicate, fit
opinion, science, society, insight, economist
The role of disciplinary perspectives in an epistemology of scientific models
June 3, 2020 · · Original resource · preprint

The purpose of this article is to develop an epistemology of scientific models in scientific research practices, and to show that disciplinary perspectives have crucial role in such an epistemology. A transcendental (Kantian) approach is taken, aimed at explanations of the kinds of questions relevant to the intended epistemology, such as “How is it possible that models provide knowledge about aspects of reality?” The approach is also pragmatic in the sense that the questions and explanations must be adequate and relevant to concrete scientific practice. First it is explained why the idea of models as representations in terms of similarity or isomorphism between a model and its target is too limited as a basis for this epistemology. An important finding is that the target-phenomenon is usually not something that can be observed in a straightforward manner, but requires both characterization in terms of measurable variables and subsumption under (scientific) concepts.The loss of this basis leads to a number of issues, such as: how can models be interpreted as representations if models also include conceptually meaningful linguistic content; how can researchers identify non-observable real-world target-phenomena that are then represented in the model; how do models enable inferential reasoning in performing epistemic tasks by researchers; and, how to justify scientific models. My proposal is to deal with these issues by analyzing how models are constructed, rather than by looking at ready-made models. Based on this analysis, I claim that the identification of phenomena and the construction of scientific models is guided and also confined by the disciplinary perspective within which researchers in a scientific discipline have learned to work. I propose a Kuhnian framework by which the disciplinary perspective can be systematically articulated. Finally, I argue that harmful forms of subjectivism, due to the loss of the belief that models objectively represent aspects of reality, can be overcome by making the disciplinary perspective(s) in a research project explicit, thereby enabling its critical assessment, for which the proposed Kuhnian framework provides a tool.
scientific practice
interpretation
opinion, science, society, insight, economist
peer, publish, publication, review, preregistration
How Intellectual Communities Progress

Recent work takes both philosophical and scientific progress to consist in acquiring factive epistemic states such as knowledge. However, much of this work leaves unclear what entity is the subject of these epistemic states. Furthermore, by focusing only on states like knowledge, we overlook progress in intermediate cases between ignorance and knowledge—for example, many now celebrated theories were initially so controversial that they were not known. This paper develops an improved framework for thinking about intellectual progress. Firstly, I argue that we should think of progress relative to the epistemic position of an intellectual community rather than individual inquirers. Secondly, I show how focusing on the extended process of inquiry (rather than the mere presence or absence of states like knowledge) provides a better evaluation of different types of progress. This includes progress through formulating worthwhile questions, acquiring new evidence, and increasing credence on the right answers to these questions. I close by considering the ramifications for philosophical progress, suggesting that my account supports rejecting the most negative views while allowing us to articulate different varieties of optimism and pessimism.
knowledge
progress
ignorance
optimism
pessimism
humanity, statistic, wrong, communicate, fit
opinion, science, society, insight, economist
Economists as experts: Overconfidence in theory and practice

Drawing on research in the psychology of judgment and decision making, I argue that individual economists acting as experts in matters of public policy are likely to be victims of significant overconfidence. The case is based on the pervasiveness of the phenomenon, the nature of the task facing economists‐as‐experts, and the character of the institutional constraints under which they operate. Moreover, I argue that economist overconfidence can have dramatic consequences. Finally, I explore how the negative consequences of overconfidence can be mitigated, and how the phenomenon can be reduced or eliminated. As a case study, I discuss the involvement of Western experts in post‐communist Russian economic reforms.
decision-making
overconfidence
public policy
expert
calibration
psychology
judgment
opinion, science, society, insight, economist
political, attitude, partisan, democracy, ideology