Leverage Research
Exploring the mind and society

Further Vistas in Introspection


The long road to mastery

The previous posts may have made introspection seem easy, as if there are just a few techniques and you can master it all after reading a couple posts and attending a workshop. This is not true. The mind is deep, and the road to introspective mastery is long.

To help us all along the way, Lippmann is releasing a draft of his book, Folding.

This is just a draft, not a finished work. And it is always difficult to teach introspection via a static text. Nevertheless, a bunch of us have found Folding extremely helpful. It covers a large number of introspective moves and describes the phenomenology exceptionally well. We have not found anything comparable.

Knowing beliefs and changing beliefs

What's next? If you get better and better at determining what you believe, what can you do with it? One inevitable discovery along the way is that your beliefs are weird. We've looked at the introspective reports of hundreds and hundreds of people, and a common theme is that people have some crazy stuff in their minds. What do you do with this? The natural thought is that after determining what you believe, the next step is to learn to change what you believe, so you can bring your actual beliefs into greater accordance with your endorsed beliefs.

Lippmann's book covers this as well, and builds up to Folding, which is one of the best belief change techniques we have encountered.

More to discover

After introspection, then what? We're still definitely working to figure out more things in this space.

  • Positive belief change. Everyone who introspects on their beliefs for a while starts finding really crazy stuff. People frequently find beliefs that seem to be making them less happy and less functional. Is there any way to help people change those beliefs?
  • Abstract theory questions. How does implicit content work? When you render implicit content explicit, does it change the content? What can you do with implicit content that you can't do with explicit content? This, and about a thousand other questions.
  • More introspection! We've gone some distance, but there's definitely more to figure out here.
Leverage Staff

Compilation piece, written or inspired by several researchers. Opinions expressed represent common views inside Leverage, not necessarily unanimity.

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