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Global Optimum

Apr 9, 2019

This episode features:

-What proportion of effective altruists decrease their involvement over time?

-Why do people decrease their involvement with effective altruism?

-Why effective altruist values are particularly vulnerable to drift

-Should you expect your values to get better or worse over time?

-Should you try to prevent value drift?

-How you can use nudges and commitment devices to prevent value drift

-How the “foot-in-the-door” phenomenon might push you towards doing good now, even if your impact is small

-Should you choose effective altruist projects based on selfish considerations?


Full transcript



Apply Psychology:

Cross, K. P. (1977). Not can, but will college teaching be improved?. New Directions for Higher Education, 1977(17), 1-15.

Freedman, J. L., & Fraser, S. C. (1966). Compliance without pressure: the foot-in-the-door technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4(2), 195.

Quoidbach, J., Gilbert, D. T., & Wilson, T. D. (2013). The end of history illusion. Science, 339(6115), 96-98.

Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C. R. (2009). Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness. Penguin.

Van Gestel, L. C., Kroese, F. M., & De Ridder, D. T. D. (2018). Nudging at the checkout counter–A longitudinal study of the effect of a food repositioning nudge on healthy food choice. Psychology & Health, 33(6), 800-809.

EA Survey 2018 Series: Community Demographics & Characteristics 

Empirical data on value drift

Concrete Ways to Reduce Risks of Value Drift 

Check This Rec: 

Wrangham, R. (2019). The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution. Pantheon.