Friday, January 13, 2017

Mental Horsepower

In an earlier post I wrote about problems with asking people with limited mental horsepower to embrace "agency".

After thinking about it for a while, I decided that cultural issues were at least as important as limitations in innate mental ability.

A sentence so dry that it squeaks
"People in prison usually lack a robust mechanism for discounting future probabilities and calculating appropriate Net Present Values."

Some sub-cultures seem to produce young adults who are very practiced at self-denial and the delay of gratification.

Other sub-cultures seem to produce young adults who are unable to conceptualize future-time.
This picture is so cool I had to wedge it in.  Image from Daily Mail
I would be very interested in learning what activities foster "...robust mechanism(s) for discounting future probabilities and calculating appropriate Net Present Values."

I suspect learning complex skills like a musical instrument, sports that reward conditioning, and gardening where the person must plan in advance are some of those activities.

I also suspect that some board games (Monopoly, chess), card games (Poker, Rummy) also reward being able to think forward in time and a willingness to make strategic sacrifices.

Video Games
I would be very interested to know if there are any video games that also foster delaying gratification. 

I would also be interested in knowing how popular they are compared to those games that pander to the ADHD traits that we were all born with.

All comments naming the "good video games" will be much appreciated.  I have zero expertise in that area.

Rule-of-72 vs calculated.  Years on horizontal axis.  Rate of return to double money.

I am not knocking folks with clinically diagnosed ADHD.  Many are very successful.  They know how to run calculators and spread sheets and businesses.  There are people with clinically diagnosed ADHD who successfully negotiated medical schools and passed their boards.  They memorized the Rule of 72 and use it.  Many also know handy little tidbits like ten doublings is a thousand (actually 1024) and twenty doublings is million (1,048,575...but who is counting)

That demonstrates that some sub-cultures are able to overcome "real" ADHD.  That makes excuses like, "All boys are like that.", or "That is normal." all the more hollow.

None of us are born with the concept of "time" implanted in our heads.  None of us are born knowing how to direct our attention.  My beef is that large segments of society are not training the ADHD we are all born with out of their children.  That is the sub-culture that is populating the prisons and struggling to create vibrant economies in their communities.

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