There is something to be said about people-watching; something to be said about sitting in Olin Library staring out at the people playing Frisbee in the Arts Quad, or perhaps walking down Ho Plaza figuring out how to dodge the quarter card mania properly (NOT me though, I love all of your quarter cards… STAY #woke). From an outsider looking in it’s interesting to ponder, even for a millisecond, the thought processes that encapsulate another person’s mind. As humans, we love to analyze, we love to group, we love to categorize. It’s a basic human process that we do consistently—consciously, or even subconsciously. Through analyzation, the basis of our human psyche strives to delve into the psyche of others for clarity, confirmation, and/or understanding.
David Pizarro has taught Introduction to Psychology and a number of other seminars since becoming an associate professor in 2012, and his research on moral judgement and emotion has been published in countless places, including an article for The Guardian that he co-wrote last month. He was nice enough to be the guest for my first Cornell Daily Sun podcast, during which he discussed his research, shared his thoughts on robots, and answered ten “Speed Round” questions. Listen to the full podcast and check out the complete list of topics below. Moral Judgement
1:30 – “The Trolley Problem” and its relation to robots making moral judgements
10:55 – Why humans don’t trust others who make calculating moral decisions
15:00 – A fun variant of “The Trolley Problem”
19:10 – How close are robots to taking over decision-making roles in society? 23:10 – Robots replacing referees in sports
Disgust and Political Orientation
28:15 – The relationship between disgust sensitivity and political orientation
35:00 – Could political orientation be biological?
Buzzfeed, or some similar listicle oracle, recently informed me oh-so-helpfully of the top seventeen most romantic places to visit (I assume they meant with a partner and not just by yourself). Which, of course, got me thinking – what makes a place romantic? I guess this is where we have to admit that romantic means something different for everyone. So dozens of people might call Ithaca’s gorges romantic, but to one person that might mean, “Damn, these gorges really make me wanna bang anything that moves,” and to another, “Golly doesn’t this gorge just make me want to stare at the moon and talk about our spirit animals,” and to yet another person, “This would be a postcard-perfect place to begin an attempt to beat the 50% odds of divorce.” And yet, most people can agree that scenic vistas of nature are romantic, similar to cute or expensive restaurants or places that are quiet and private. Then, you have misattribution of arousal – a term used in psychology – which is actually pretty trippy.