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RS 158 - Dr. George Ainslie on "Negotiating with your future selves"

Release date: May 1st, 2016

Dr. George Ainslie

Ever make a plan to diet, or exercise, or study, and then -- when the scheduled hour rolls around -- decide, "Nah, I'll just put it off another day"? If you said "no," I don't believe you!

This episode features behavioral psychiatrist (and economist) George Ainslie, who demonstrated the existence of this ubiquitous phenomenon in human willpower, called hyperbolic discounting, in which our preferences change depending on how immediate or distant the choice is.

George and Julia discuss why hyperbolic discounting exists, and how it can be modeled as a negotiation between your current self and your future selves. In the process they explore some of the benefits and risks of this "intertemporal bargaining" approach to willpower, and how it relates to philosophical thought experiments such as the Prisoner's Dilemma and Kavka's Toxin.

George's Pick: "The Strategy of Conflict" by Thomas C. Schelling

George's Other Pick: "Inside Out"

Podcast edited by Brent Silk


Full Transcripts 


Reader Comments (4)

Mr. Ainslie's argument for the superiority of exponential over hyperbolic discounting does not hold water, in my opinion. I've posted a detailed critique of it here:
May 4, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterkjo
For the most part I enjoyed this. However, his statements regarding alcoholism were way off the mark. Unfortunately that's the case with medical science, they have a complete misunderstanding of true alcoholism and, unfortunately, are doing more harm than good.
May 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDon
From an evolutionary point of view, an earlier reward can make more sense than even a hyperbolicly larger later reward since due to predators, disease, famine, and other threats an organism might not survive long enough to benefit from the later reward.
December 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJameson
Kryptonite at c^
It's sort of difficult to wade throughout this stuff: why can't we have classes here on this website? Isn't the internet just a universal school toward transcencsiations? (with added accoutre.mints) I can't see how intell.i.e.gence can surpass tine, turn, shape, Quantum Transfiguration...

Here's what I propose: after listening to moderator and guest and posting comments, why not add SIDEBAR Be REFERENCE:
'THEN' add any supposition or statement you wish to input; though only one* criteria is that what you suppose has something in context with light...
Cyd Charisse (1945) Ziegfeld Follies [Here's to the Girls]
DO YOU SEE WHAT i MEAN????????????????????
The Multiplication Multiverse | Infinite Series (*.*)4:36)~).(~INFINITE.IMPROBABILITY.ISSUES

There are over 300 million people in the United States and only 11 are posting on this website; we have to change this reality!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Michael S. Schneider - Ancient mathematics - YouTube
(What is spectral-enfeyent [Exo-Endo] photo-tropic mass for a black hole's density?)

The Myth of the Birth of the Hero Index - Sacred Texts

Key Assumptions of the Transcension Hypothesis: Do Advanced Civilizations Leave Our Universe?

5:15 PM
February 12, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterN.J.

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