All of mnoetel's Comments + Replies

How to maximize a career in psychology/therapy for the most good?

I'm sure you've read this paper that guides young psychologists like you in some useful directions:

If you're committed to mental health then the research agenda for the Happier Lives Institute is useful to consider: or scaleable online interventions like those of Spencer Greenberg's team (see MindEase and UpLift:

If you're more flexible, then your skills from counselling psychology would be useful in movement building (because basically you learn how to be a warm... (read more)

1Jon Massmann1moThese are great, thank you! Would you mind saying what you switch your career to after counselling work?
Listen to more EA content with The Nonlinear Library

Whatever happens with the discussions about copyright, I really hope this continues to exist. I listened to six forum posts at 5am today while walking a baby around to sleep... very good for parental mental health

PhD Scholarships for EA projects in psychology, health, IIDM, or education

I spend a few years as a professional before coming back to do my PhD. I think what you're describing sounds like a good model. The only criteria some professionals struggle to meet is 'equivalent of honours'; that is, to get into a PhD you need to have completed a thesis before.

Making impact researchful

I understand what you're saying about the tension. As someone trained in psychology, there's a litany of papers that 'solve the problem of not understanding' with little or no 'problem solving' benefit.

Having said that, I think those incentives are changing. In the UK and Australia, universities are now being evaluated and incentivised based on how well they solve problems (e.g. I think, in general, your motivation and career would not be hurt by doing things that focus on engagement with people who... (read more)

1Michael_Wulfsohn4moThanks for your detailed reply. Absolutely, there is some academic reward available from solving problems. Naively, the goal is to impress other academics (and thus get published, cited), and academics are more impressed when the work solves a problem. You seem to encourage problem-solving work, and point out that governments are starting to push academia in that direction. This is great, and to me, it raises the interesting question of optimal policy in rewarding research. That is supremely difficult, at least outside of the commercialisable. My understanding is that optimal policy would pay each researcher something like the marginal societal benefit of their work, summed globally and intertemporally forever. How on earth do you estimate that for the seminal New Keynesian model paper? Governments won't come close, and (I imagine) will tend to focus on projects whose benefits can be more easily measured or otherwise justified. So we are back to the problem of misaligned researcher incentives. But surely a government push towards impact is a step in the right direction. Until our civilisation solves that optimal policy problem, I think academia will continue to incentivise the pursuit of knowledge at least partly for knowledge's sake. I wrote the post because understanding the implications of that has been useful to me.
What are some skills useful for EA that one could learn in ~6 months?

Critical thinking about research, including what biases are most common, why they apply, and how to know if an intervention works:

Improving the EA-aligned research pipeline: Sequence introduction

Great initiative @MichaelA. I'm not sure what a 'sequence' does, but I assume this means there'll be a series of related posts to follow, is that right?

3MichaelA7moYeah, I think it's basically EA Forum / LessWrong jargon for "series of posts". There are 4 more posts to come in this sequence, plus ~2 somewhat related posts that I'll tack on afterwards, one of which I've already posted: Notes on EA-related research, writing, testing fit, learning, and the Forum []
Why do EAs have children?

My little dude is only 2 but one of my best mates. Have never had more laughs than as a dad. But, never had more tears either. It's turbulent, but the highs are high.

3Risto_Uuk9moYeah, I feel that too. My daughter is just 1 year and 9 months. We are constantly high-fiving and fist-pumping.
Are there any other pro athlete aspiring EAs?

I'm a university professor (senior lecturer, is what we call it down under) and sport psychologist, so if ever you want me to speak to how involvement in your project can actually increase the quality of athletes' motivation and therefor performance, I can hopefully act as a credible source for an interesting angle to sell it.

1Marcus Daniell1yWould love to! Have PM'd you. Cheers
Research on Nudging People to Increase Donations to Effective Charities

So there's lots of small studies showing nudges work, but some studies say the same nudges are harmful. Instead, I'd recommend relying more upon evidence syntheses, when they're available. Some things that are 'strongly recommended' by theory and experts just don't stand up to the data (e.g., 'legitimising paltry contributions') because of counter-veiling forces (e.g., anchoring). A whole bunch of EAs finished this project earlier in the year to summarise all the evidence syntheses: You might find it a useful summary.

0Closed Limelike Curves2yThanks for the source!
Are there robustly good and disputable leadership practices?

"Balance autonomy, competence, and relatedness"

These are the three most robust psychological needs. Let me start by outlining what these are, why most don't balance them, and the evidence for involving each.

By autonomy, I mean giving following the feeling that they're acting out of their own volition. They either have the freedom to act on what is important to them (e.g., choices over projects) or what they're doing is so aligned with their values that they don't need choice (e.g., doctors following evidence-based protocols).

By competence, I mean giving th

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