Everything is fucked …

This syllabus of an (obviously) awesome class has a ton of good reads:

Everything is fucked: The syllabus

by Sanjay Srivastava

I would have two additions:

  1. A multi lab replication project on ego-depletion (Hagger & Chatzisarantis, 2016)
  2. And the response from Roy Baumeister and Kathleen D. Vohs

It’s a really good statement of how f… up things are (in addition to all the other good examples above) …

“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” – Max Planck


New Paper on pychodiagnosis and eye-tracking

Cilia Witteman and Nanon Spaanjaars (my dutch connection) worked together on a piece on whether psychodiagnosticians improve over time (they don’t) in their ability to classify symptoms to DSM categories. This turned out to be a pretty cool paper combining eye-tracking data with a practical, and hopefully, relevant question.

Schulte-Mecklenbeck, M., Spaanjaars, N.L., & Witteman, C.L.M. (in press). The (in)visibility of psychodiagnosticians’ expertise. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bdm.1925


This study investigates decision making in mental health care. Specifically, it compares the diagnostic decision outcomes (i.e., the quality of diagnoses) and the diagnostic decision process (i.e., pre-decisional information acquisition patterns) of novice and experienced clinical psychologists. Participants’ eye movements were recorded while they completed diagnostic tasks, classifying mental disorders. In line with previous research, our findings indicate that diagnosticians’ performance is not related to their clinical experience. Eye-tracking data pro- vide corroborative evidence for this result from the process perspective: experience does not predict changes in cue inspection patterns. For future research into expertise in this domain, it is advisable to track individual differences between clinicians rather than study differences on the group level.

about illusions

Andrew Gelman talked about a really old paper I did together with Anton Kühberger ages ago. It was actually the first paper / ‘real’ scientific project I was involved in.

It generated quite the buzz over its 20 year lifespan and was cited a whopping 13 times (stats look good without y-axis) …





Going back to it, I was happy to see that we already talked about replication (and were very reluctant to push the button harder – as we would have not been able to get through the reviews, I guess) … Things have changed.

When something old …

Schulte-Mecklenbeck, M., & Kühberger, A. (2014). Out of sight – out of mind? Information acquisition patterns in risky choice framing. Polish Psychological Bulletin, 45, 21–28.

I teamed up with Anton Kühberger to write about one of our old, favorite topics: framing and process tracing …

Here is the abstract:
We investigate whether risky choice framing, i.e., the preference of a sure over an equivalent risky option when choosing among gains, and the reverse when choosing among losses, depends on redundancy and density of information available in a task. Redundancy, the saliency of missing information, and density, the description of options in one or multiple chunks, was manipulated in a matrix setup presented in MouselabWeb. On the choice level we found a framing effect only in setups with non-redundant information. On the process level outcomes attracted more acquisitions than probabilities, irrespective of redundancy. A dissociation between acquisition behavior and choice calls for a critical discussion of the limits of process-tracing measures for understanding and predicting choices in decision making tasks.

New paper on food choice and simple heuristics

We got a new paper out on how people (consumers) use simple rules to make food choices. This is work in collaboration with the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne.
Here is the reference:

Schulte-Mecklenbeck, M., Sohn, M., Bellis, E., Martin, N., & Hertwig, R. (2013). A Lack of Appetite for Information and Computation: Simple Heuristics in Food Choice. Appetite, 71, 242–251.


The predominant, but largely untested, assumption in research on food choice is that people obey the classic commandments of rational behavior: they carefully look up every piece of relevant information, weight each piece according to subjective importance, and then combine them into a judgment or choice. In real world situations, however, the available time, motivation, and computational resources may simply not suffice to keep these commandments. Indeed, there is a large body of research suggesting that human choice is often better accommodated by heuristics—simple rules that enable decision making on the basis of a few, but important, pieces of information. We investigated the prevalence of such heuristics in a computerized experiment that engaged participants in a series of choices between two lunch dishes. Employing MouselabWeb, a process-tracing technique, we found that simple heuristics described an overwhelmingly large proportion of choices, whereas strategies traditionally deemed rational were barely apparent in our data. Replicating previous findings, we also observed that visual stimulus segments received a much larger proportion of attention than any nutritional values did. Our results suggest that, consistent with human behavior in other domains, people make their food choices on the basis of simple and informationally frugal heuristics.