Nick Byrd’s Blog

New paper: “Your Health vs. My Liberty”

How might messaging, reasoning, and philosophical beliefs predict people’s responses to pandemics? Michał Białek and I started wondering about this a few months ago. So we ran some experiments to find out. Our pre-registered hypothesis was wrong, but the other findings were really interesting. Before I get to the findings, consider making some predictions: ask yourself how you expect the following variables to correlate with compliance (or non-compliance) with public health officials’ recommendations such as mask-wearing and sheltering in place:

  • Flatten the curve graphs: Related to compliance? More or less compliance?
  • Reflective reasoning: Related to compliance? More or less compliance?
  • Mathematical competence: Related to compliance? More or less compliance?
  • Economic conservatism: Related to compliance? More or less compliance?
  • Social conservatism: Related to compliance? More or less compliance?
  • Libertarianism: Related to compliance? More or less compliance?
  • Effective altruism: Related to compliance? More or less compliance?
  • Utilitarian sacrificial harm: Related to compliance? More or less compliance?
  • Belief in God: Related to compliance? More or less compliance?
  • Religiosity: Related to compliance? More or less compliance?
  • Compatibism about free will: Related to compliance? More or less compliance?
  • Identifying as White: Related to compliance? More or less compliance?
  • Identifying as a man: Related to compliance? More or less compliance?
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The Base Rate Fallacy

Who is more likely to be killed by a police officer in the United States: a white person or a black person? You might think, “Police kill more white people than black people in the US. So it’s the white person.” That answer contains a fallacy: the base rate fallacy. This post explains the fallacy, provides some examples, and suggests how to avoid it.

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Anders Ericsson (1947-2020)

My colleagues and I are deeply saddened about the unexpected passing of Anders Ericsson on June 17. Dr. Ericsson was not only a massive figure in psychology, philosophy, performance, and beyond but—in my experience—an outstanding person.

Standout Memories

There is much to say about Anders. I can speak only to the past few years—and only a slice of it. Nonetheless, that slice of Anders is rich. Indulge me just three stories.

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Upon Reflection Podcast, Ep. 4: Online Conferences’ History, Methods, and Benefits

In this episode of Upon Reflection, I explain how academics should conference better. More accurately, I read my chapter, “Online Conferences: Some History, Methods, and Benefits” from Right Research: Modelling Sustainable Research Practices in the Anthropocene. This chapter reviews some history of online academic conferencing going back to the 1970s, explain the potential advantages of online conferences, report quantitative and qualitative results from three online conferences, and urge scholars to consider how they can contribute to a more sustainable, inclusive, and emergency resilient academy by replicating these online conferences.

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On Whether Reflection Is A Skill

In my last post, I considered whether reflective reasoning is a virtue. One possibility was that reflection cannot be a virtue. However, if reflection is not a virtue, then we need another account of why many people value reflection. One such account might be that reflection is a skill. In this post, I’ll briefly consider some reasons for and against thinking that reflection is a skill.

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How to Record Professional-Quality Conference Presentations

A timely guest post by Katlyn Proctor


Recording a conference presentation is helpful for many reasons, from wanting to share the presentation with others to having it simply to look back on and refer to. Having a high-quality recording is therefore essential and needs to be done right the first time. There are different ways you can record conference presentations depending on the quality needed, what it will be used for, and whether your conferences are in-person or wholly online. This post will cover the basics to get you started.

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