How Little We Know: Big Gaps in Psychology and Economics

Seth’s final paper “How Little We Know: Big Gaps in Psychology and Economics” is published in a special issue of the International Journal of Comparative Psychology (Vol 27, Issue 2, 2014). This issue is about behavioral variability and is dedicated to Seth. Abstract of the paper follows:

A rule about variability is reducing expectation of reward increases variation of the form of rewarded actions. This rule helps animals learn what to do at a food source, something that is rarely studied. Almost all instrumental learning experiments start later in the learning-how-to-forage process. They start after the animal has learned where to find food and how to find it. Because of the exclusions (no study of learning where, no study of learning how), we know almost nothing about these two sorts of learning. The study of himan learning by psychologists has a similar gap. Motivation to contact new material (curiousity) is not studied. Walking may increase curiosity, some evidence suggests. In economics, likewise, research is almost all about how people use economically valuable knowledge. The creation and spread of knowledge are rarely studied.

The family is grateful to Aaron Blaisdell Ph.D. who completed final edits to Seth’s final manuscript for publication.

8 Replies to “How Little We Know: Big Gaps in Psychology and Economics”

  1. RIP Seth. Of all the blogs I read, you were the first I went to on a daily basis, and you were there nearly every day with the most interest thoughts of your own, or a collection of link to the thoughts of others you thought most interesting, and… I was always most interested to read them. It is fortunate you were in a position as professor and blogger to inspire our next generation. Thank you.

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