by Stephen Downes
May 06, 2016
I have said in the past that we see what we are looking for. This is confirmation of that. "Our findings provide evidence that the stereotypes we hold can systematically alter the brain’s visual representation of a face, distorting what we see to be more in line with our biased expectations." Our expectations play a critical role in perception. That's why there is no such thing as 'theory-neutral data'. We need to be aware of the way our subjective perceptions in turn shape our expectations. "Men, and particularly black men, were initially perceived 'angry,' even when their faces were not objectively angry; and women were initially perceived 'happy,' even when their faces were not objectively happy."
I think there's a point to this post, which is why I'm linking to it, but I think it could probably have been explained more clearly. Essentially the argument is this: companies have shifted their thinking from treating other agencies as 'externalities' to thinking of them as the network. This shift in thinking is important, because it reflects a change from thinking of them as a net cost to thinking of them as the most effective way to produce certain business outcomes. "What assets were for the industrial firm, network effects are for the post-industrial firm." These network effects reflect a value of a company that is far greater than the assets it may hold. Apple's position, for example, as the centre of a network of developers is far greater than it would be if it had all these developers in-house.
The point of the article, in a nutshell: "a growing body of evidence suggests that seeing ourselves as self-made—rather than as talented, hardworking, and lucky—leads us to be less generous and public-spirited. It may even make the lucky less likely to support the conditions (such as high-quality public infrastructure and education) that made their own success possible."
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