Author: Brett Buttliere

Introduction to the Omnipsychology

The omnipsychology is essentially that part of our mind that we share with all types of life. This is more than one might originally think, and indeed most of our mind is the same (e.g., we have to breathe, eat); the differences are in how we make meaning, which also often results from the physical structure of our bodies.

In essence, it is the similarities of the mind that all beings that are alive have in common. For instance, that they take in some sensory information. There is no live being in the world that does not take in some sensory information – even at the cellular level. There is no live being without some sort of meaning making mechanisms, a memory, or even a goal.

One can easily look on you tube (see this blog post) that the virus flees from the white blood cell. This implies vision, and knowledge that the thing it ‘sees’ is a ‘danger’. It knows and it decides to move away from the being. One can break this down to pure conditioning or evolutionary selection or etc, but the basic processes occur. One could even, if they want to get serious with it, suggest that the being became afraid, to the extent that it saw a frightening stimuli.

There are many of these aspects and over the next months I will write more about them.


Its all for my coming book, Mind and Meaning. Stay Tuned. 😀 Love ya.







A Demonstration That Such Can Occur. Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment

There has been Very much discussion in the last week about the study, and suggestions that because the participants were somehow encouraged or suggested to act in some particular way, that the study is no longer interesting or informative.

As I see it, this is a mistake.

The study is both interesting and informative, because it shows that with a couple of days and some appearance of authority people will do things they know are wrong to people they know are innocent.

That in its self is ridiculous and crazy informative and definitely worth talking about. And probably thinking more about how to avoid.

But instead there have even been suggestions that because the participants were coached the study is no longer pure, A similar criticism is leveled at Milgram’s pretend shock experiments. Yes, the study probably cannot say anything fundamental about human nature, or maybe it does. But the study is informative and interesting in any case, because such a situation can be created within even a week. Probably faster if one really trained in it.

This has serious implications for.. everything. Pretty much every leader follower relationship in the world. Teams, businesses, labs, cults, and the military. People with even pretend power (such as a research assistant or lab PI) can make people do things they might not otherwise do (e.g., Questionable Research Practices, beating people). Maybe it doesn’t hold so well because they were paid very well, but I am not sure.


tldr; the study shows that such a situation can be created even quite easily, and I don’t think this changes depending on coaching or what.


Theory and Experiment in Social Communication


Attached is Festinger’s book on Social Communication, mostly a summary of the research done at the Research Center for Group Dynamics, with Kurt Back, Stanley Schacter, Harold Kelley, and John Thibaut.

Theory in social dynamics — HERE IS THE PDF 



One thing is I like how simple the table of contents is. and interesting!


This book really set the stage for social psychology, and it is really an interesting demonstration just of how science should be done. Simply, theory driven, with large grants from the navy. 😀


hope you enjoy it, Festinger is one of my favorites, and happy to bring it here.


All Best,


What’s happened in philosophy of science since popper?

It seems like, basically nothing.


I would be very happy to hear that I am wrong on that, but certainly I don’t know any of the thoughts of thinkers, and that is a sad thing.

It seems like most of the efforts have simply been trying to bring data to their assertions, but I am not sure this is the case either.


Image result for confused karl popper


So please, do tell me, what has happened in Philosophy of Science since Popper?


Fiedler on the Replicability Project

This was originally posted into the ISCON Facebook Page, I repost it here in its entirety:


Klaus Fiedler has granted me permission to share a letter that he wrote to a reported (Bruce Bowers) in response to the replication project. This letter contains Klaus’s words only and the only part I edited was to remove his phone number. I thought this would be of interest to the group.

These are his words on the 2015 estimating the replicability of psychology article.


Dear Bruce:

Thanks for your email. You can call be tomorrow but I guess what I have to say is summarized in this email.

Before I try to tell it like it is, I ask you to please attend to my arguments, not just the final evaluations, which may appear unbalanced. So if you want to include my statement in your article, maybe along with my name, I would be happy not to detach my evaluative judgment from the arguments that in my opinion inevitably lead to my critical evaluation.

First of all I want to make it clear that I have been a big fan of properly conducted replication and validation studies for many years – long before the current hype of what one might call a shallow replication research program. Please note also that one of my own studies has been included in the present replication project; the original findings have been borne out more clearly than in the original study. So there is no self-referent motive for me to be overly critical.

However, I have to say that I am more than disappointed by the present report. In my view, such an expensive, time-consuming, and resource-intensive replication study, which can be expected to receive so much attention and to have such a strong impact on the field and on its public image, should live up (at least) to the same standards of scientific scrutiny as the studies that it evaluates. I’m afraid this is not the case, for the following reasons …

The rationale is to plot the effect size of replication results as a function of original results. Such a plot is necessarily subject to regression toward the mean. On a-priori-grounds, to the extent that the reliability of the original results is less than perfect, it can be expected that replication studies regress toward weaker effect sizes. This is very common knowledge. In a scholarly article one would try to compare the obtained effects to what can be expected from regression alone. The rule is simple and straightforward. Multiply the effect size of the original study (as a deviation score) with the reliability of the original test, and you get the expected replication results (in deviation scores) – as expected from regression alone. The informative question is to what extent the obtained results are weaker than the to-be-expected regressive results.

To be sure, the article’s muteness regarding regression is related to the fact that the reliability was not assessed. This is a huge source of weakness. It has been shown (in a nice recent article by Stanley & Spence, 2014, in PPS) that measurement error and sampling error alone will greatly reduce the replicability of empirical results, even when the hypothesis is completely correct. In order not to be fooled by statistical data, it is therefore of utmost importance to control for measurement error and sampling error. This is the lesson we took from Frank Schmidt (2010). It is also very common wisdom.

The failure to assess the reliability of the dependent measures greatly reduces the interpretation of the results. Some studies may use single measures to assess an effect whereas others may use multiple measures and thereby enhance the reliability, according to a principle well-known since Spearman & Brown. Thus, some of the replication failures may simply reflect the naïve reliance on single-item dependent measures. This is of course a weakness of the original studies, but a weakness different from non-replicability of the theoretically important effect. Indeed, contrary to the notion that researchers perfectly exploit their degrees of freedom and always come up with results that overestimate their true effect size, they often make naïve mistakes.

By the way, this failure to control for reliability might explain the apparent replication advantage of cognitive over social psychology. Social psychologists may simply often rely on singular measure, whereas cognitive psychologists use multi-trial designs resulting in much higher reliability.

The failure to consider reliability refers to the dependent measure. A similar failure to systematically include manipulation checks renders the independent variables equivocal. The so-called Duhem-Quine problem refers to the unwarranted assumption that some experimental manipulation can be equated with the theoretical variable. An independent variable can be operationalized in multiple ways. A manipulation that worked a few years ago need to work now, simply because no manipulation provides a plain manipulation of the theoretical variable proper. It is therefore essential to include a manipulation check, to make sure that the very premise of a study is met, namely a successful manipulation of the theoretical variable. Simply running the same operational procedure as years before is not sufficient, logically.

Last but not least, the sampling rule that underlies the selection of the 100 studies strikes me as hard to tolerate. Replication teams could select their studies from the first 20 articles published in a journal in a year (if I correctly understand this sentence). What might have motivated the replication teams’ choices? Could this procedure be sensitive to their attitude towards particular authors or their research? Could they have selected simply studies with a single dependent measure (implying low reliability)? – I do not want to be too suspicious here but, given the costs of the replication project and the human resources, does this sampling procedure represent the kind of high-quality science the whole project is striving for?

Across all replication studies, power is presupposed to be a pure function of the size of participant samples. The notion of a truly representative design in which tasks and stimuli and context conditions and a number of other boundary conditions are taken into account is not even mentioned (cf. Westfall & Judd).


What do you think about this?


I 100% agree with his concern about the expense. Speaking with some of the replicators, we estimated the endeavor cost over 1 million euros, all told. This paid for the time of 300 psychologists, who ‘donated’ their time to the endeavor. The taxpayer paid for this… Is it the best use of their tax dollars, I guess not.

I also definitely agree with his assessment about regression to the mean.


Fishing for effects – on estimating the average size of fish in our pond.

There is much nice discussion recently, most recently a Data Colada post about how difficult it is to estimate an effect size.

i am not sure if I wrote it up before or not, but the argument is succinctly captured by trying to estimate the average size of fish in any particular pond (except that is way way easier). Each particular effect size a (group of) researcher(s) gets is like catching a particular fish in that pond (though of course sampling error is essentially taken care of in the pond example).

If one catches 10 or 15 fish from the pond, one can begin estimating the ‘average size of fish in the pond’. But of course, this is only ‘the average size of fish that we caught, in the pond’.

What you catch depends on how you fish… 

The key is that, of course, the size of fish one catches in the pond is related to how one fishes, where one looks, what type of bait one uses, the strategy of reeling, the time of day, the depth that one looks at, and even things like how one approaches the spot one will try to fish.

and of course one only takes a picture/ documents with the largest fish, and the fish become bigger over time (so long as no picture is present), and of course, when it is the person who owns the land doing the documenting and they want people to come fish their land, there is some.. potential upward drift of the average size of the fish.

Image result for things that affect how many fish I catch

a pair of happy academics with the fish they want to report on, with about as much information about how they obtained it as in the average journal article. 

This says nothing of the fact that in our real world example, we don’t actually know how big the pond is, or even if there are fish in it, and we can mistake an old shoe for a fish and a fish for an old shoe.

The key is, of course, that one must be careful in making proclamations about the size or presence of fish in the pond.


On suggestions there are no fish in the pond.. 

This is especially true after any single fishing trip, or any group of fishers that all use the same lure, or look in the same area or the same way… as maybe they were just doing it wrong, or at the wrong time, or with the wrong bait, or etc etc.

Image result for things that affect how many fish I catch

In any case, I think you get the point. Would be happy to discuss below.

Love ya, Keep on,





A Treatise of Human Nature.. by David Hume (1739)


Attached here is Hume’s Treatise on Human Nature, actually it is quite interesting. Looking at the table of contents, you see that it is mostly interested in understanding, how we make sense of the world, passions, which seems like motivations really, and then morals, which is essentially about justice and how we understand right and wrong.

Really interesting, and actually it was one of Einstein’s favorite books, he even said it was influential in his thinking. I do with I had time to read it, but I am at least glad I was able to look at the TOC.

Have you read it? What do you think is best?

Love ya,




Editor’s Preface.


Book I: Of the Understanding


Part I.: Of Ideas, Their Origin, Composition, Connexion, Abstraction, &c.

Section I.: Of the Origin of Our Ideas.
Section II.: Division of the Subject.
Section III.: Of the Ideas of the Memory and Imagination.
Section IV.: Of the Connexion Or Association of Ideas.
Section V.: Of Relations.
Section VI.: Of Modes and Substances.
Section VII.: Of Abstract Ideas.

Part II.: Of the Ideas of Space and Time.

Section I.: Of the Infinite Divisibility of Our Ideas of Space and Time.
Section II.: Of the Infinite Divisibility of Space and Time.
Section III.: Of the Other Qualities of Our Ideas of Space and Time.
Section IV.: Objections Answer’d.
Section V.: The Same Subject Continu’d.
Section VI.: Of the Idea of Existence, and of External Existence.

Part III.: Of Knowledge and Probability.

Section I.: Of Knowledge.
Section II.: Of Probability; and of the Idea of Cause and Effect.
Section III.: Why a Cause Is Always Necessary.
Section IV.: Of the Component Parts of Our Reasonings Concerning Cause and Effect.
Section. V.: Of the Impressions of the Senses and Memory.
Section VI.: Of the Inference From the Impression to the Idea.
Section VII.: Of the Nature of the Idea Or Belief.
Section VIII.: Of the Causes of Belief.
Section IX.: Of the Effects of Other Relations and Other Habits.
Section X.: Of the Influence of Belief.
Section XI.: Of the Probability of Chances.
Section XII.: Of the Probability of Causes.
Section XIII.: Of Unphilosophical Probability.
Section XIV.: Of the Idea of Necessary Connexion.
Section XV.: Rules By Which to Judge of Causes and Effects.
Section XVI.: Of the Reason of Animals.

Part IV.: Of the Sceptical and Other Systems of Philosophy.

Section I.: Of Scepticism With Regard to Reason.
Section II.: Of Scepticism With Regard to the Senses.
Section III.: Of the Antient Philosophy.
Section IV.: Of the Modern Philosophy.
Section V.: Of the Immateriality of the Soul.
Section VI.: Of Personal Identity.
Section VII.: Conclusion of This Book.


Book II: Of the Passions

Part I.: Of Pride and Humility.
Section I.: Division of the Subject.
Section II.: Of Pride and Humility; Their Objects and Causes.
Section III.: Whence These Objects and Causes Are Deriv’d.
Section IV.: Of the Relations of Impressions and Ideas.
Section V.: Of the Influence of These Relations On Pride and Humility.
Section VI.: Limitations of This System.
Section VII.: Of Vice and Virtue.
Section VIII.: Of Beauty and Deformity.
Section IX.: Of External Advantages and Disadvantages.
Section X.: Of Property and Riches.
Section XI.: Of the Love of Fame.
Section XII.: Of the Pride and Humility of Animals.

Part II.: Of Love and Hatred.

Section I.: Of the Objects and Causes of Love and Hatred.
Section II.: Experiments to Confirm This System.
Section III.: Difficulties Solv’d.
Section IV.: Of the Love of Relations.
Section V.: Of Our Esteem For the Rich and Powerful.
Section VI.: Of Benevolence and Anger.
Section VII.: Of Compassion.
Section VIII.: Of Malice and Envy.
Section IX.: Of the Mixture of Benevolence and Anger With Compassion and Malice.
Section X.: Of Respect and Contempt.
Section XI.: Of the Amorous Passion, Or Love Betwixt the Sexes.
Section XII.: Of the Love and Hatred of Animals.
Part III.: Of the Will and Direct Passions.

Section I.: Of Liberty and Necessity.
Section II.: The Same Subject Continu’d.
Section III.: Of the Influencing Motives of the Will.
Section IV.: Of the Causes of the Violent Passions.
Section V.: Of the Effects of Custom.
Section VI.: Of the Influence of the Imagination On the Passions.
Section VII.: Of Contiguity, and Distance In Space and Time.
Section VIII.: The Same Subject Continu’d.
Section IX.: Of the Direct Passions.
Section X.: Of Curiosity, Or the Love of Truth.

Book III: Of Morals

Part I.: Of Virtue and Vice In General.

Section I.: Moral Distinctions Not Deriv’d From Reason.
Section II.: Moral Distinctions Deriv’d From a Moral Sense.

Part II.: Of Justice and Injustice.

Section I.: Justice, Whether a Natural Or Artificial Virtue?
Section II.: Of the Origin of Justice and Property.
Section III.: Of the Rules, Which Determine Property.
Section IV.: Of the Transference of Property By Consent.
Section V.: Of the Obligation of Promises.
Section VI.: Some Farther Reflexions Concerning Justice and Injustice.
Section VII.: Of the Origin of Government.
Section VIII.: Of the Source of Allegiance.
Section IX.: Of the Measures of Allegiance.
Section X.: Of the Objects of Allegiance.
Section XI.: Of the Laws of Nations.
Section XII.: Of Chastity and Modesty.

Part III.: Of the Other Virtues and Vices.

Section I.: Of the Origin of the Natural Virtues and Vices.
Section II.: Of Greatness of Mind.
Section III.: Of Goodness and Benevolence.
Section IV.: Of Natural Abilities.
Section V.: Some Farther Reflexions Concerning the Natural Virtues.
Section VI.: Conclusion of This Book.


The Behavior of Organisms: An Experimental Analysis

This is Skinner’s first book, so far as I can see. Really quite interesting.

Really quite interesting, in its table of contents.

IX       DRIVE 341


Basically it is about conditioning, he doesn’t come to drive until the end. He doesn’t mention person differences at all, in the table of contents at least. Also doesn’t talk about the biological basis, the neuron at all, so far as I can see. Nor anything about personality or etc, nor influence or really people beyond the individual..

It is also his first book, so far as I can see. Really quite long at 450 pages.


The full book is available here.