How to test your stories

By Andrew Appleton / November 4, 2020 /

At the time of this writing, the US election of November 3rd is undecided, showing signs that an eventual result will be contested. Those of us watching (most of the world) will experience feelings about this, along with an attempted explanation for ourselves. Yet most of us will never be privy to the sort of…

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Feelings and the limits of language

By Andrew Appleton / November 3, 2020 /

How are you feeling? A simple enough question, sometimes hard to answer. If you pay close attention, you know how you feel, but describing it to someone else seems impossible. The limits of language do not allow it. Human beings love having words, or labels, for things. If we know what something is called, we…

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Expect the Unexpected

By Andrew Appleton / May 1, 2020 /

We form expectations about all manner of things. Sometimes this is explicit, but often it’s not. Without being aware of our expectations, or testing their validity, we set ourselves up for disappointment.  The most recent example of this is the proposed timing for reopening schools and the broader economy. It’s all over the media, people…

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On Being Disappointed in Oneself

By Andrew Appleton / March 13, 2020 /

We’ve all experienced disappointment in many forms. Disappointment is the feeling of displeasure when something doesn’t turn out as expected. Perhaps the most insidious form is self-disappointment. It’s insidious because it occurs within the privacy of our own minds, subject to our inner monologues, badgering us relentlessly. I find the notion of being disappointed in…

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The Vacation Fallacy – Part 2

By Andrew Appleton / September 24, 2019 /

In wonderfully coincident timing, the Farnam Street Blog recently published a piece (click here) on how to think about your travel experiences. Their thesis aligns with mine (confirmation bias alert) in that vacation should be used as an opportunity to experience the diversity of the world and promote different perspectives. In keeping with their theme…

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Two hard truths to set you free

By Andrew Appleton / August 15, 2019 /

We think we are more important than we actually are. I mean this in the individual sense. Afterall, our own thoughts are the only ones we can think. Try as you might to, “put yourself in someone else’s shoes,” the experience will undoubtedly be coloured by your prior thinking and cognitive biases. Why does this…

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How to Practically Assess Health Information

By Andrew Appleton / May 3, 2019 /

You may have heard the term ‘evidence-based medicine’. This refers to practicing medicine with a solid grounding in scientific research. In medical school, we were taught how to critically appraise the evidence. Like any skill, this needs to be practiced. Hence, groups of doctors often assemble at a nice restaurant to discuss scientific journal articles.…

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