Psychology for gamers

The daily blog of behavioral and cognitive economics

How to Win at Rock-Paper-Scissors

“No washing dishes for me tonight.” Beat my sister at a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors (RPS). I was 10 years old and RPS was our “go to” game of fate to decide all kinds of important issues. Little did I know that RPS was not a game of chance, but a strategic system with a strong psychological foundation. RPS probably dates back to the Han Dynasty in China (206 BC – 220AD). The game, known as “sansukumi-ken” in Japan (hand, three-way, deadlock), has used fingers and hands to represent a variety of different symbols in addition to rock, paper, and scissors, including slugs, poisonous centipedes, frogs, hunters. By the 20th century, RPS spread to the west. English names such as roshambo, ick-ack-ock, ching-chang-walla, or stone-paper-scissors have also been used. ….[READ]

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Brian D. Earp: The Meaning of Life in the Context of a Shared Planet

Excellence Reporter

*1O6A0376 (1)What is the meaning of life?

I don’t think life has any one meaning — nor do I think that the meanings of life are “out there” to be discovered, like a hitherto unknown galaxy, or some new species of beetle (let’s say). Instead, I think we create life’s meanings, each of us, by deciding on our values in the context of a shared planet (which means co-existence with other sentient beings, whose well-being is as important as our own).

My hunch is that our status as evolved primates places certain limits on the kinds of values (and social arrangements, and norms, and institutions) that are likeliest to be consistent with our flourishing as a species; but there’s room for variation, too. At the end of the day, I can get on board with anyone who sees meaning in trying to leave the world better than they found it —…

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David Webb: What We Choose to Think Determines the Meaning of Life

Excellence Reporter

David Webb Profile pictureWhat is the meaning of life?

As someone who loves ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ by the late great Douglas Adams, I must confess that the answer “forty-two” immediately sprang to mind when considering the great question “Of Life, the Universe and Everything.” I’m pleased that it did though because it served as a great reminder that you need to know what the question actually is, in order to know what the answer means! And for me this age-old question designed to make you think, is actually about just that — thinking! In particular, the realization that what we choose to think about in life ultimately determines the meaning we give it.

We all construct a life of meaning through our thinking; however, for many people this does not equate to a meaningful life in the general sense of the term i.e. a life full of purpose, personal fulfillment…

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Evolution of Consciousness: Witness Self

Jessica Davidson

The stage after Ego is a radical shift in the evolution of consciousness. From this moment on, you’ll never be the same again. Once you’ve tasted the open space and peace of the Witness, the ego feels even more claustrophobic.

The ego is a set of ideas and concepts: the idea that you are who you think you are, that you’re in control of your life, that you’re the same person today as you were yesterday, and will be tomorrow. When we transcend the ego we’re letting go of these ideas.

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The benefits of Exercise on Mental Wellbeing



In recent years there has been substantial psychological research on the benefits of exercise for mental well being. Exercise is even used as a prescription in GP surgeries and in the mental health sector. Action For Happiness, a movement founded in 2010 by Richard Layard (a key player in the current NHS mental health IAPT initiative for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) and others, with the Dalai Lama as their patron, found scientific evidence pointing to five steps that we can take to improve our mental wellbeing. One of these steps is about being active. Exercising is found to be a key element for happier living. There is scientific proof of the links between regular exercise and improvement in levels of depression and anxiety. Studies show that exercise increases levels of serotonin in the brain, one of the chemicals responsible for the ‘feel good factor’, as described by the Mental…

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