Non-Smoking Man

Cognitive Bias

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Most, if not all, of us, have a trade, occupation or profession (or are retired from one) - Im wondering whether some of us have experienced within that institution a built in cognitive bias unthinkingly carried forward by members.

Im reminded of the fashionable sociological studies put out by the Glasgow Media Group in the years I was reading Sociology and Philosophy at Lancaster which theorised that 'The News', expounding neutrality and a 'balanced' approach to news broadcasts, were actually biased towards the Establishment and 'Capital'. (i, myself, as chairperson of the Sociology Society invited a member of a similar Media Group to give a talk about their book 'Bad News' which I think tackled coverage of issues surrounding the Miners Strike etc, and theories of 'Ideology' in general.)

Well, as a few of you know, I have spent 50 years in and out of the betting and horse racing world, as a manager, punter, 'jobber' (placing bets from 'faces') and advisor to a jockeys' agent, and I know that TV journalists covering racing have a 5 or 6 'bullet' agenda for reporting racing events. For example their reporting has to be 'informative', 'interesting', 'exciting'. But there is no mention of 'accurate', or 'scientific' (not much hope there I grant you..). In the course of their duties there are usually 2 broadcasters covering the video replay of each race in a review and it is clear to me (having watched endless examples) they have been briefed to take out of the race or pinpoint positive aspects of horses as pointers to the future, and not negative ones. (If a horse portrays negative behaviour like 'hanging' or 'shirking a duel' it is underplayed.) The reason is that they musn't offend the owners and trainers of the horses whom they have to keep onside for future interviews. Not to mention, the need not to upset the viewers whose numbers go towards the status of the channel or show , on which, in turn, all important advertising revenue depends

The ITV racing team have recently won a BAFTA for their racing coverage and they have done this by blatantly and ostensibly adopting attractive magazine type features, showbiz guests and an attractive presenting team. It doesnt seem to matter that they cant pick a winner to save their lives, nor analyse a race using accepted professional concepts and standards. Their jobs are not on the line when it comes to doing what they should be doing and that is picking good bets. What I am saying is that Racing broadcasting has adopted media values and not cognitive ones, and sacrificed analysis for popularity and economic standing. In that respect they display institutionalised bias.

Jack NSM

Edited by Non-Smoking Man
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9 hours ago, uzzy said:

i should hasten to add to this-  on a recent trip to a wammers house where we tried two pairs of speakers in excellent surroundings (and hospitality) we all noted how the speaker playing improved remarkably when the other pair was removed from the room.  Yes you guessed it, the speaker not being played had cones vibrating in sympathy which affected the sound.   

Hence why I keep harping on about comparing in a dem room is great for narrowing choices but you need to dem at home, ideally, before buying.  When demoing at home remember to remove the speakers not playing from the room.  At home you do not need to keep A B sampling - just live with one pair for half hour or more then swap them over and play all the stuff you played before again.  If you can have them for long enough then to live with one pair for a day and do the same again the following day.  if the difference is so small you are having difficulty choosing then put off the purchase, save more money and then try again with more expensive alternatives. 

This latter part actually applies to any change - if the difference is so small you are having difficulty choosing - shelve it for now and try again when funds allow.

This is a well known issue and a certain scottish gentleman made quite a big thing about it back in the 80s.

A dealer friend had a simple remedy for this, he used to fit wire links to short out the input terminals (bass terminals on bi-wire designs) on the back of any loudspeakers not being used, this is very effective.

Try it for yourself, take any unconnected passive speaker and gently move the bass cone in and out with your fingers, note how easy the cone moves. Now short out the input terminals and repeat. The difference is not small!

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57 minutes ago, Fourlegs said:

Did you out the three plane accelerometer on the cones of the unused speakers or just on the cabinet? I suspect the latter.

If you are saying that there is nil effect due to having unused speakers in the same room then you are with the same breath also saying that acoustic room treatment cannot work and I doubt that you are saying that.

As you yourself say, "Hi-If is full of these unsubstantiated old wives tales."  QED.

I have no idea about Keith's methodology but bass cones can be 'felt' to vibrate sympathetically, it varies speaker to speaker but is quite obvious in some cases.

As to how audible these effects are I couldn't say.

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Super Wammer
8 hours ago, Headcoat said:

Edit: just read the post above saying how hi fi journos couldn't reliably identify speakers in a blind test either, that would suggest perhaps there is some sort of issue with blind testing... given we're all likely to be in agreement that speakers can and do sound different...

I think the way it was told was that they all reckoned they could tell a certain brand easily. When I came to it, they could hear differences, but couldn’t reliably identify any particular brand or model, despite being certain beforehand that they could. 

So, I might say I could identify my ATC if demoed versus KEF, B&W and Spendor, but in practice it’d be well nigh impossible!

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Super Wammer
8 minutes ago, MGTOW said:

I have no idea about Keith's methodology but bass cones can be 'felt' to vibrate sympathetically, it varies speaker to speaker but is quite obvious in some cases.

As to how audible these effects are I couldn't say.

That’s what I was thinking too.  Obviously the presence of other speakers make a difference, shorted or not, but I’ve not personally experienced it making such a profound difference as to mask the essential differences between the speakers being compared.  

As uzzy say, one still needs a home demo, preferably, and the room differences (between dealer’s room and home) are surely massively more different than between another pair of speakers sitting nearby or not. 

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31 minutes ago, Nopiano said:

I think the way it was told was that they all reckoned they could tell a certain brand easily. When I came to it, they could hear differences, but couldn’t reliably identify any particular brand or model, despite being certain beforehand that they could. 

So, I might say I could identify my ATC if demoed versus KEF, B&W and Spendor, but in practice it’d be well nigh impossible!

This is essentially correct.

The tests were really only semi-blind, that is the listeners new the identity of the speakers in the test and were totally confident that the 'better' more highly regarded speakers would easily see off the 'lesser' models.

During the tests, which were done blind and level matched, the listeners could hear differences but found it hard to form reliable preferences and virtually impossible to correctly identify the speakers being listened to. Even listeners whose 'favourite' speakers were involved could not reliably identify them. Sobering!

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2 hours ago, PuritéAudio said:

Hi-If is full of these unsubstantiated old wives tales.

Yeah but the bit about cable being directional is right isn't it :sofa:

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Anecdotal. I'm pondering a new phono stage. I've also jusy bought a Loki to eq. My hearing ain't good, moderate loss at both ends of spectrum. The eq is to drop the mids off to adjust for this hearing loss. I also like bass and find some recordings push the mids too high in pursuit of detail, this is umpleasant to me. 

Due to what I can only term audio nervosa my mind can lock to a kind of acute listening state. With new kit (eq) and the notion of buying a new phono pre I would expect to find it plays tricks and focus on that sepcific mid range frequency I refer to above.

Listening last night, both tired and somewhat locked into the acute listening state, I found almost everything difficult to enjoy, often even thinking there was mid-exaggeration despite me tweaking the eq down in that range.

Then I read the speaker cable length anecdote. Bam. Almost immediately the mid flipped back, I began to enjoy the music and get in the groove. 

On the other hand, I've finally hooked up the two pairs of speakers to the same amp: one in kitchen/dining room and the other in the living room; simply walk between the rooms to hear the difference speakers and room can make. The living room is reasonably furnished: wooden floors but rugs; sofas; book and recors shelfs. The kitchen/dining room is sparsely furnished: tiled floor, huge room with high ceilings, lots of tall windows; a reflective nightmare.

The difference is singinificant, much much brighter, harsher and almost hollow in the kitchen/diner. I'm working on getting the lovely lady to allow a large rug under the dining room table, speakers are ten foot up on shelf above said table.

If anyone knows of small to medium sized bookshelf speakers that might negate such a horrible acoustice room then fire away. I'm using Revolver R16s for now, which aren't exactly bright or revealing.

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3 hours ago, PuritéAudio said:

You used to retail hi-fi didn’t you Uzzy?

Two things, I have measured with a three plane accelerometer ‘spare’ loudspeakers in a room and there was very little vibration even with music playing extremely loudly through the ‘main’ pair, nowhere near enough to cause audible resonance secondly your aural memory only lasts a few seconds so you wouldn’t remember the old sound by the time you had removed the speakers and installed the second pair.

Well it just goes to show - if you do not believe me ask Flash and Fourlegs and the other chap when we realised that having the two pairs of speakers in the room was affecting the sound.  No cognitive bias - we all noticed the difference.   It was so pronounced that we didn't have to fool ourselves.  As to aural memory lasting a few seconds .. that may be true where items sound relatively similar but where there is a major difference I am convinced you retain it.  Also I remember my wife's and daughter's and son's voices and how they sound and I notice when they sound different (colds etc.).

If you try something and do a swap out - and cannot remember if it sounds better or worse than the next pair you listen to then you have reached the conclusion that there is not enough difference to make a change.  So many box change for the same or little improvement.

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7 hours ago, Non-Smoking Man said:

Most, if not all, of us, have a trade, occupation or profession (or are retired from one) - Im wondering whether some of us have experienced within that institution a built in cognitive bias unthinkingly carried forward by members.

Im reminded of the fashionable sociological studies put out by the Glasgow Media Group in the years I was reading Sociology and Philosophy at Lancaster which theorised that 'The News', expounding neutrality and a 'balanced' approach to news broadcasts, were actually biased towards the Establishment and 'Capital'. (i, myself, as chairperson of the Sociology Society invited a member of a similar Media Group to give a talk about their book 'Bad News' which I think tackled coverage of issues surrounding the Miners Strike etc, and theories of 'Ideology' in general.)

Well, as a few of you know, I have spent 50 years in and out of the betting and horse racing world, as a manager, punter, 'jobber' (placing bets from 'faces') and advisor to a jockeys' agent, and I know that TV journalists covering racing have a 5 or 6 'bullet' agenda for reporting racing events. For example their reporting has to be 'informative', 'interesting', 'exciting'. But there is no mention of 'accurate', or 'scientific' (not much hope there I grant you..). In the course of their duties there are usually 2 broadcasters covering the video replay of each race in a review and it is clear to me (having watched endless examples) they have been briefed to take out of the race or pinpoint positive aspects of horses as pointers to the future, and not negative ones. (If a horse portrays negative behaviour like 'hanging' or 'shirking a duel' it is underplayed.) The reason is that they musn't offend the owners and trainers of the horses whom they have to keep onside for future interviews. Not to mention, the need not to upset the viewers whose numbers go towards the status of the channel or show , on which, in turn, all important advertising revenue depends

The Channel 4 racing team have recently won a BAFTA for their racing coverage and they have done this by blatantly and ostensibly adopting attractive magazine type features, showbiz guests and an attractive presenting team. It doesnt seem to matter that they cant pick a winner to save their lives, nor analyse a race using accepted professional concepts and standards. Their jobs are not on the line when it comes to doing what they should be doing and that is picking good bets. What I am saying is that Racing broadcasting has adopted media values and not cognitive ones, and sacrificed analysis for popularity and economic standing. In that respect they display institutionalised bias.

Jack NSM

The way this thread is going, I'm afraid you're better of starting a new one that is less open to (mis)interpretation. Also, maybe the '2 channel' section wasn't the best place to put it?

As for horse racing possibly being scientific, the results should have to be reproducable and that would make it a lot less attractive for both audiences and gamblers.

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