[ExI] willpower defined

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Sun Apr 10 13:43:45 UTC 2022

On Sat, Apr 9, 2022 at 7:37 PM Will Steinberg via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Not every experiment has to be done like a clinical trial.
> Take 100,000 people.  Also have each of them them to an objective observer
> in their life.  Ask each of the 10000 their goals for the next year.  In a
> year, check with the participants and their observers, to see whether they
> completed their goals.  Split the 'did complete' and 'didn't complete'
> groups into 2.  Match individuals in each group to an individual in the
> other who is matched in terms of income, race, age, sex, as much as
> possible.  Discard unmatched participants.  The difference is willpower

Yeah, or some other more or less equivalent term.  I think they need to be
matched on goals, the goals rated as to difficulty and so on. and I could
quibble a bit about their environments, but I more or less agree.  bill w

> On Sat, Apr 9, 2022 at 1:20 PM William Flynn Wallace via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> EXample:  a couple, male and female, go to a party.  The guy's
>> ex-girlfriend is there.  We observe his interactions with people.  He talks
>> to others, including the ex and his date observes body language, facial
>> expressions and so on.  We see signs in her of anger and just being upset.
>> She talks to him and they leave the party.
>> Well, does that look like jealousy?  Sure does.  But how do we know it's
>> not a stomachache?  Or leaving to study for a test?  Or or or.We don't.
>> What we need is more observations of that couple in various situations and
>> maybe just interview them and ask what is going on.
>> The point is this:  for an abstract concept to have some validity, you
>> cannot have just one line of evidence.  The more observations you have
>> which, common sense-wise, look like jealousy, the better.
>> But you can never be sure.  Even if both the guy and the girl say they
>> have problems with jealousy in her, it can be something else. Maybe she is
>> acting jealous and doesn't care a flip who he talks to or dances with etc.
>> You cannot directly observe an abstraction.  You can only observe the
>> factual data (smiling at other girls while she fumes) and infer.
>> So - with willpower, you have to observe several different situations in
>> which the person succeeds, or fails, and try to find a pattern.  And try to
>> build a theory.
>> Like any other aspect of psyc, unknown variables which very often cannot
>> be controlled for, are present and can mess up your interpretations, and
>> those are likely to vary between and among situations.  Complex behavior
>> has more than one cause - we call it multi-determined.
>> Psychology has many such theories and all of them have messy data, some
>> studies supporting, some not, some poorly controlled, some with unusual Ss
>> and so on and so on.  Maddening trying to figure out people.  Psychologists
>> are the least likely people to form solid conclusions in analyzing people.
>> And certainly not quickly.
>> bill w
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