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Elizabeth Bernard Higgs

Bio: Elizabeth Bernard Higgs is an academic researcher. The author has an hindex of 1, co-authored 1 publications receiving 37 citations.

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Journal Article
TL;DR: Prospect Theory led cognitive psychology in a new direction that began to uncover other human biases in thinking that are probably not learned but are part of the authors' brain’s wiring.
Abstract: In 1974 an article appeared in Science magazine with the dry-sounding title “Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases” by a pair of psychologists who were not well known outside their discipline of decision theory. In it Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman introduced the world to Prospect Theory, which mapped out how humans actually behave when faced with decisions about gains and losses, in contrast to how economists assumed that people behave. Prospect Theory turned Economics on its head by demonstrating through a series of ingenious experiments that people are much more concerned with losses than they are with gains, and that framing a choice from one perspective or the other will result in decisions that are exactly the opposite of each other, even if the outcomes are monetarily the same. Prospect Theory led cognitive psychology in a new direction that began to uncover other human biases in thinking that are probably not learned but are part of our brain’s wiring.

4,351 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: Haidt as mentioned in this paper argues that the visceral reaction to competing ideologies is a subconscious, rather than leaned, reaction that evolved over human evolution to innate senses of suffering, fairness, cheating and disease, and that moral foundations facilitated intra-group cooperation which in turn conferred survival advantages over other groups.
Abstract: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion Jonathan Haidt Pantheon Books, 2012One has likely heard that, for the sake of decorum, religion and politics should never be topics of conversation with strangers. Even amongst friends or even when it is known that others hold opposing political or religious views, why is it that discussion of religion and politics leads to visceral-level acrimony and that one's views are right and the other's views are wrong? Professor Jonathan Haidt of the University of Virginia examines the psychological basis of our "righteous minds" without resorting to any of the pejorative labeling that is usually found in a book on politics and religion and eschews a purely comparative approach. Haidt proposes the intriguing hypothesis that our visceral reaction to competing ideologies is a subconscious, rather than leaned, reaction that evolved over human evolution to innate senses of suffering, fairness, cheating and disease, and that moral foundations facilitated intra-group cooperation which in turn conferred survival advantages over other groups. These psychological mechanisms are genetic in origin and not necessarily amenable to rational and voluntary control - this is in part the reason debating one's ideological opposite more often leads to frustration rather than understanding. Haidt also suggests that morality is based on six "psychological systems" or foundations (Moral Foundations Theory), similar to the hypothesized adaptive mental modules which evolved to solve specific problems of survival in the human ancestral environment.While decorum pleads for more civility, it would be better, as Haidt suggests, dragging the issue of partisan politics out into the open in order to understand it and work around our righteous minds. Haidt suggests a few methods by which the level of rhetoric in American politics can be reduced, such that the political parties can at least be cordial as they have been in the past and work together to solve truly pressing social problems.There are a number of fascinating points raised in the current book, but most intriguing is the one that morality, ideology and religion are products of group selection, as adaptations that increased individual cooperation and suppressed selfishness, thereby increasing individual loyalty to the group. That morality, political ideology and religion buttress group survival is probably highly intuitive. However, given the contemporary focus on the individual as the source of adaptations, to the exclusion of all else, to suggest that adaptations such as religion and political ideology arose to enhance survival of groups is heresy or, as Haidt recounts, "foolishness". While previous rejection of group selection itself was due in part to conceptual issues, one could also point out the prevailing individualist social sentiment, "selfish gene" mentality and unrelenting hostility against those who supported the view that group selection did indeed apply to humans and not just to insects. Haidt gives a lengthy and convincing defense of group selection, his main point being that humans can pursue self- interest at the same time they promote self-interest within a group setting - humans are "90 percent chimp, 10 percent bees". One can readily observe in the news and entertainment mediate that religion is a frequent target of derision, even within the scientific community - Haidt points to the strident contempt that the "New Atheists" hold for religion. They claim that religion is purely a by-product of an adaptive psychological trait and as a mere by-product religion serves no useful purpose. However, the religious "sense" has somehow managed to persist in the human psyche. One explanation by the New Atheists of how religion propagated itself is that it is a "parasite" or "virus" which latches onto a susceptible host and induces the host to "infect" others. As a "virus" or "parasite" that is merely interested in its own survival, religion causes people to perform behaviors that do not increase their own reproductive fitness and may even be detrimental to survival, but religion spreads nonetheless. …

1,388 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Mar 1994-Nature
TL;DR: It is clear that the above can lead to confusion when scientists of different countries are trying to communicate with each other, so an internationally recognized system of naming organisms is created.
Abstract: It is clear that the above can lead to confusion when scientists of different countries are trying to communicate with each other. Another example is the burrowing rodent called a gopher found throughout the western United States. In the southeastern United States the term gopher refers to a burrowing turtle very similar to the desert tortoise found in the American southwest. One final example; two North American mammals known as the elk and the caribou are known in Europe as the reindeer and the elk. We never sing “Rudolph the Red-nosed elk”! Confused? This was the reason for creating an internationally recognized system of naming organisms. To avoid confusion, living organisms are assigned a scientific name based on Latin or Latinized words. The English sparrow is Passer domesticus or Passer domesticus (italics or underlining these two names is the official written representation of a scientific name). Using a uniform naming system allows scientists from all over the world to recognize exactly which life form a scientist is referring to. The naming process is called the binomial system of nomenclature. Passer is comparable to a surname and is called the genus, while domesticus is the specific or species name (like your given name) of the English sparrow. Now scientists can give all sparrow-like birds the genus Passer but the species name will vary. All similar genera (plural for genus) can be grouped into another, “higher” category (see below). Study the following for a more through understanding of taxonomy. Taxonomy Analogy Kingdom: Animalia Country

1,305 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Marriage Contract, the Individual and Slavery, Genesis, Fathers and the Political Liberty of Sons as mentioned in this paper is a well-known example of the Marriage Contract and its application to prostitution.
Abstract: 1. Contracting In. 2. Patriarchal Confusions. 3. Contract, the Individual and Slavery. 4. Genesis, Fathers and the Political Liberty of Sons. 5. Wives, Slaves and Wage-Slaves. 6. Feminism and the Marriage Contract. 7. What's Wrong with Prostitution?

966 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Wealth of Nature as mentioned in this paper is a collection of essays written by Donald Worster, who argues that history represents a dialogue between humanity and nature, though it is usually reported as if it were simple dictation.
Abstract: Hailed as \"one of the most eminent environmental historians of the West\" by Alan Brinkley in The New York Times Book Review, Donald Worster has been a leader in reshaping the study of American history. Winner of the prestigious Bancroft Prize for his book Dust Bowl, Worster has helped bring humanity's interaction with nature to the forefront of historical thinking. Now, in The Wealth of Nature, he offers a series of thoughtful, eloquent essays which lay out his views on environmental history, tying the study of the past to today's agenda for change. The Wealth of Nature captures the fruit of what Worster calls \"my own intellectual turning to the land.\" History, he writes, represents a dialogue between humanity and nature-though it is usually reported as if it were simple dictation. Worster takes as his point of departure the approach expressed early on by Aldo Leopold, who stresses the importance of nature in determining human history; Leopold pointed out that the spread of bluegrass in Kentucky, for instance, created new pastures and fed the rush of American settlers across the Appalachians, which affected the contest between Britain, France, and the U.S. for control of the area. Worster's own work offers an even more subtly textured understanding, noting in this example, for instance, that bluegrass itself was an import from the Old World which supplanted native vegetation-a form of \"environmental imperialism.\" He ranges across such areas as agriculture, water development, and other questions, examining them as environmental issues, showing how they have affected-and continue to affect-human settlement. Environmental history, he argues, is not simply the history of rural and wilderness areas; cities clearly have a tremendous impact on the land, on which they depend for their existence. He argues for a comprehensive approach to understanding our past as well as our present in environmental terms. \"Nostalgia runs all through this society,\" Worster writes, \"fortunately, for it may be our only hope of salvation.\" These reflective and engaging essays capture the fascination of environmental history-and the beauty of nature lost or endangered-underscoring the importance of intelligent action in the present.

274 citations