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The EA Behavioral Science Newsletter

September 2022 (#6)

⭐ Special Announcement

Introducing the new Effective Altruism Psychology Lab at NYU
A new Effective Altruism Psychology Lab, led by Lucius Caviola and Joshua Lewis, has been set up to study the psychology of effective altruism. 

Their primary research agenda "Psychology for Effectively Improving the Future" outlines research questions aimed at generating insights about human psychology and behavior that can guide and assist the longtermism project. They also conduct research on effective giving, EA community building, and cause areas like animal welfare. 

Several positions are available:
 

To feature in the Researchers Directory (a list of EA psychology/behavioral science researchers) on their website, contact ea.psych.lab@gmail.com. To be listed, you must be a professional psychologist or behavioral scientist who has published research and demonstrated a commitment to the ideas of effective altruism.

🏡 Join our community
📚 Summary

📖 23 publications

📝 7 preprints & articles

💬 8 forum posts

🎧/🎦 7 podcasts/videos

💰 3 funding opportunities 

💼 6 job opportunities

🗓 3 events

👨‍🔬 Falk Lieder profiled

📖 Publications

An interdisciplinary synthesis of research on understanding and promoting well-doing 

Lieder, F., Prentice, M., & Corwin-Renner, E. R. 

Social and Personality Psychology Compass (2022)
 

 

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People's intentional pursuit of prosocial goals and values (i.e., well-doing) is critical to the flourishing of humanity in the long run. Understanding and promoting well-doing is a shared goal across many fields inside and outside of social and personality psychology. Several of these fields are (partially) disconnected from each other and could benefit from more integration of existing knowledge, interdisciplinary collaboration, and cross-fertilization.

To foster the transfer and integration of knowledge across these different fields, we provide a brief overview with pointers to some key articles from each field, highlight connections, and introduce an integrative model of the psychological mechanisms of well-doing. We identify some gaps in the current understanding of well-doing, such as the paucity of research on well-doing with large and long-lasting positive consequences. Building on this analysis, we identify opportunities for high-impact research on well-doing in social and personality psychology, such as understanding and promoting the effective pursuit of highly impactful altruistic goals.

 

 

Forecasting: Theory and Practice.

Fotios Petropoulos et al.,

International Journal of Forecasting (2022)

 

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Forecasting has always been at the forefront of decision making and planning. The uncertainty that surrounds the future is both exciting and challenging, with individuals and organisations seeking to minimise risks and maximise utilities. The large number of forecasting applications calls for a diverse set of forecasting methods to tackle real-life challenges. This article provides a non-systematic review of the theory and the practice of forecasting. We provide an overview of a wide range of theoretical, state-of-the-art models, methods, principles, and approaches to prepare, produce, organise, and evaluate forecasts. We then demonstrate how such theoretical concepts are applied in a variety of real-life contexts.

We do not claim that this review is an exhaustive list of methods and applications. However, we wish that our encyclopedic presentation will offer a point of reference for the rich work that has been undertaken over the last decades, with some key insights for the future of forecasting theory and practice. Given its encyclopedic nature, the intended mode of reading is non-linear. We offer cross-references to allow the readers to navigate through the various topics. We complement the theoretical concepts and applications covered by large lists of free or open-source software implementations and publicly-available databases.
 

Predicting the moral consideration of artificial intelligences.

Janet V.T. Pauketat, Jacy Reese Anthis

Journal of Consumer Behaviour (2022)

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Understanding the moral consideration of AIs as moral patients is increasingly critical given their rapid integration into daily life and the projected proliferation of advanced AIs. We present the results from a preregistered online survey with 300 U.S. Americans on the psychological predictors of the moral consideration of AIs to develop psychological theory surrounding this phenomenon. We tested an array of psychological predictors inspired by the literature on human-human and human-animal relations: perspective (future orientation, construal level), relational (social dominance orientation, sci-fi fan identity), expansive (human-centric norms, anthropomorphism, global citizenship, openness to experience, techno-animism), technological (affinity for technology, substratism, human-AI overlap, realistic threat, identity threat), and affective (emotions felt towards AIs). 

The strongest predictors were substratism, sci-fi fan identity, techno-animism, and positive emotions. We also identified three conceptual dimensions of moral consideration with an exploratory factor analysis of eight moral consideration indices drawn from prior literature: mind perception, psychological expansion, and practical consideration. Additionally, the temporal existence of AIs impacted moral consideration: AIs existing in the future were attributed more emotional capacity and more value as feeling entities than were current AIs. These results illustrate nuances in the moral consideration of AIs and lay the foundation for future research.

Other publications

Leveraging machine learning to automatically derive robust decision strategies from imperfect models of the real world, Mehta, A., Jain, Y. R., Kemtur, A., Stojcheski, J., Consul, S., Tosic, M., & Lieder, F., Computational Brain & Behavior (2022)

Why People Do What They Do: An Interdisciplinary Synthesis of Human Action TheoriesHarold N. Eyster, Terre Satterfield and Kai M.A. Chan, Annual Reviews (2022)

Individuals of high socioeconomic status are altruistic in sharing money but egoistic in sharing timeUlf Liebe, Nicole Schwitter & Andreas Tutić, Scientific Reports (2022)

Brain stimulation and other biological non-pharmacological interventions in mental disorders: An umbrella review,  Stella Rosson et al., Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews (2022)

Knowledge overconfidence is associated with anti-consensus views on controversial scientific issues,  Nicholas Light et al., Science Advances (2022)

Predictors and consequences of intellectual humilityTenelle Porter et al., Nature Reviews Psychology (2022)

Meating Conflict: Toward a Model of Ambivalence-Motivated Reduction of Meat Consumption Shiva Pauer et al., Foods (2022)

The asymmetric effect of narratives on prosocial behavior 
Adrian Hillenbrand & Eugenio Verrinac, Games and Economic Behavior (2022)

The Effects of Exposure to Information About Animal Welfare Reforms on Animal Farming Opposition: A Randomized ExperimentJamie Harris, Ali Ladak & Maya B. Mathur, Anthrozoös (2022)

Promoting plant-based food choices: Findings from a field experiment with over 150,000 consumer decisionsDaniel L. Rosenfeld, Carole Bartolotto & Janet Tomiyama, Journal of Environmental Psychology (2022)

Review: Do green defaults reduce meat consumption?Johanna Meier, Food Policy (2022)

The Influence of Proportion Dominance and Global Need Perception on DonationsDanit Ein-Gar & Amir Give’on, Frontiers in Psychology (2022)

To veg or not to veg? The impact of framing on vegetarian food choiceDario Krpan & Nanne Houtsma, Journal of Environmental Psychology (2020)

Help Is in Your Blood—Incentive to “Double Altruism” Resolves the Plasma Donation Paradox, Petra Gyuris et al., Frontiers in Psychology (2021)

The evolution of cognitive biases in human learningPeter S.Park, Journal of Theoretical Biology (2022)

Private costs of carbon emissions abatement by limiting beef consumption and vehicle use in the United States , Brandon R. McFadden ,Paul J. Ferraro,Kent D. Messer, PLOS ONE (2022)

📝 Preprints & articles

Boosting human decision-making with AI-generated decision aidsBecker, F., Skirzynski, J., van Opheusden, B., & Lieder, F. (2022)
 

Evaluating Life Reflection Techniques to Help People Select Virtuous Life Goals, Prentice, M., Gonzalez Cruz, H., & Lieder, F. (2022)

Give physicians' views to improve COVID vaccine uptakeNina Mažar, Nature News and Views (2022)
 

How to win an election in 10 easy steps: an effective altruist's guideTrevor Klee

Moral Universals: A machine-reading analysis of 256 societiesMark Alfano, Marc Cheong & Oliver Scott Curry (2022)

💬 Forum posts
🎧/🎦 Audio-visual

 

💰 Funding
💼 Jobs & volunteering
🗓 Events
👨‍🔬 Researcher profile
Falk Lieder

What is your background?
 

Cognitive science, psychology, mathematics, machine learning, and computational neuroscience

 

What is your research area?

My mission is to lay the scientific foundations for motivating and enabling people to embark on highly impactful altruistic projects and pursue them effectively. This includes research on understanding and improving goal-setting and decision-making, motivation, goal-pursuit, values, moral reasoning, wisdom, learning from experience, and rationality. My lab’s multidisciplinary approaches include computational and mathematical modeling, online and field experiments, machine learning, questionnaires, and experience sampling. We translate the insights of our basic research into (intelligent) digital tools for improving decision-making and fostering the effective pursuit of altruistic goals, and evaluate the resulting interventions in field experiments.


What are you planning to focus on in the future?
 

I am committed to identifying and focusing on the psychological questions that are most crucial for the long-term flourishing of humanity. To identify those questions, my collaborators and I are extending cause prioritization research to the behavioral sciences (new collaborators welcome). The first step is to develop a general method for estimating the expected value of the cost-effectiveness of research on a given topic in units of subjective well-being per dollar. The second step is applying this method to prioritize and choose from behavioral science questions crucial for Effective Altruism.

In parallel to this meta-science project, my psychological research will focus on:

1. Developing interventions for directing more people towards choosing and effectively pursuing highly impactful altruistic goals.

2. Investigating how people can learn to think, feel, and decide according to the virtues of EA.

3. Developing scalable digital interventions that foster this type of character development.

Moreover, I am highly interested in the causes, psychological mechanisms, and consequences of the effective pursuit of impactful altruistic goals and psychological obstacles to effective altruism and how they can be overcome.

 

Do you want help or collaborators, if so who?

 

For any of the projects and topics outlined above, I would be thrilled to have more academic and applied EA collaborators at any stage of their career. My research is highly interdisciplinary and spans the full range from foundational basic research to practical applications. So, it doesn't matter if your background is in psychology, economics, cognitive science, computer science, mathematics, statistics, ML/AI, education, HCI, or a related discipline.

I am also looking for graduate students, postdocs, a lab manager, a web developer, and research assistants to join the new Rational Altruism Lab I will start at UCLA in Fall 2023. Potential projects include investigating how people can learn to make crucial decisions more wisely and developing interventions for motivating people to set goals with a high positive social impact and helping them pursue those goals effectively. If you are interested in joining the lab at some point, please do not hesitate to contact me.
 

 


Do you want to share some of your work?
 

1. Lieder, F., Prentice, M., & Corwin-Renner, E. R. (2022). An interdisciplinary synthesis of research on understanding and promoting well-doing. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, e12704. https://doi.org/10.1111/spc3.12704

2. Callaway, F., Jain, Y. R., van Opheusden, B., Krueger, P. M., Das, P., Iwama, G., Gul, S., Becker, F., Griffiths, T. L., & Lieder, F. (2022). Leveraging artificial intelligence to improve people’s planning strategies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(12), e2117432119. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2...

3. Doing research on promoting prosocial behavior might be 100 times as cost-effective at increasing well-being as providing psychotherapy

 

[You can contact Falk at falk.lieder@psych.ucla.edu]

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Creators:

Peter with help from Zac Richardson and Simon Alperstein.

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Previous editions: 

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Subscribe here.

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New Comment
4 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 2:38 PM

will add the Rational Altruism lab position opportunity to the EA opportunity board!

Exciting to hear that there's a new Rational Altruism Lab starting at UCLA!

Yeah, it's really great to see all this progress!