Mentals pt. 2/3

Is this even legal?

February 7, 2024

Spoiler: No.

Mental models till the very end

Serial-Position effect

We recall the start and end of things better. So, focus on these more if you’re creating content or, say, a presentation.

And it really seems to influence LLMs:

Licensing effect

Those who consider themselves virtuous worry less about their own behavior.

A good example are political radicals and, say, crusaders/conquistadores - doing something in the name (and we’re not even counting bandwagon effect and basic herd behaviour here) of places one in an sometimes near blindly-invincible position, moral-wise.

There’s a saying “all is fair in love and war”, or “война всё спишет” in Russian, conveying the meaning just nice IMO.

Preference falsification

If people are afraid to say what they really think, they will instead lie.

The opposite (and the solution?) is disinhibition/anonymity effect - people are more likely to tell truth and speak out if they are anonymous.


Let’s pick the worst/craziest of a group and highlight them, eh?

Seems like a particular case of outgroup homogeneity effect:

Moral pollution

Even being near something immoral is “dirty”.

Seems like a contemporary case of marking someone, or tattooing a symbol of shame, and a precursor to cancel culture. But is it effective and, most of all - just? Not so fast, (redneecks) cowboys.

Cosmic Shmuck principle

There are two kinds of people: those who sometimes worry about their moral compass/being an idiot-nut-moron-younameit, and the actual ones.


If you don’t wake up, once a month at least, and realize you have recently been acting like a Cosmic Schmuck again, then you will probably go on acting like a Cosmic Schmuck forever.

In other words, being THAT sure in one’s ways is a rather clear mark of being lost - blindly following a thought, lead, emotion, anything - is almost always detrimental. But yeah, if you’re a founder and had definitely found your PFF - go along!

In Zen something close to counteracting this is called Shoshin, or beginner’s mind.

Cynical genius illusion

Cynical people are widely seen as smarter, but sizable research suggests they actually tend to be dumber.

Okay, maybe I’ve overdone it with House and Holmes… But most of the time this can actually hold.

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BibTeX citation:
  author = {Kogan, Zakhar},
  title = {Mentals Pt. 2/3},
  date = {2024-02-07},
  url = {},
  langid = {en}
For attribution, please cite this work as:
Kogan, Zakhar. 2024. “Mentals Pt. 2/3.” February 7, 2024.