August, 2009


31
Aug 09

Psychometrics

The Normal DistributionWhen I finished writing the previous entry, I did a little research on the existing fields of study that attempt to quantify aspects of the mind. I hit upon psychometrics and that immediately started me worrying.

Psychometrics is a division of psychology that attempts to quantify people’s mental ability, personality, emotions, etc. This sounds very similar to what I mentioned in the previous blog entry. I started worrying though when I found examples of psychometrics used out in the “real world”. These include: IQ tests, SAT scores, etc. I disliked almost everything I found.
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24
Aug 09

Quantification

Ball in the Sky The idea of measuring mood directly relates to one of the items listed by Carl Sagan in his baloney detection kit: quantification.

Sagan was specifically talking about making claims about physical activities. And it is a whole lot easier measuring repeatable, physical phenomenon than measuring mental activity. Thoughts and emotions are transient, inconsistent and amorphous. But couldn’t that have been said about all aspects of nature before science was applied to it?

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17
Aug 09

Measuring Mood

Columns

I found this article on The Quantified Self blog going over the current state of how scientists and self surveillance specialists are measuring the frequency and extent of people’s emotions throughout their daily lives.

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10
Aug 09

Universal Loving Friendliness

DesertMaybe, when I have become a master meditator, I will be kind and loving to all living creatures.  As for right now, I am fine with missing out on that aspect of meditating.  I am not learning how to meditate and I am not reading Mindfulness in Plain English to become this peaceful, joyous, sweetheart of a monk.  I want to be able to control all thoughts that go through my head.  I want to be aware of what thoughts automatically take focus.  I want to be able to stop certain thoughts from controlling my brain.

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3
Aug 09

Appreciation and Mindfulness

Photo courtesy of cipher

In his interview with Charlie Rose (referenced here), Carl Sagan said “every inanimate object, to say nothing of the exquisite complexity of living beings, you imagine missing it all and suddenly it is so much more precious.”   He says this as he lifts up his glass of water using it as an example of an inanimate object.

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