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The Neuroscience and Psychology of Open Source

The Neuroscience and Psychology of Open Source

Healthy open source communities are vital to the success and growth of an open source project. Those with toxic, closed communities will find it more difficult to be innovative, to attract contributors (and in some cases, users), and to keep up with expanding technologies. Because people are complex, diverse creatures, ensuring that your community is healthy, vibrant, and welcoming can be challenging.

The good news is, science can help you understand how people think and why they act the way they do. Knowing the effect your words and actions have on your fellow community members can guide the way you interact with, and shape the communities in which you're a member.

In this talk, we will discuss cognitive biases such as negativity bias, rejection sensitivity, in-group favoritism, illusion of transparency, and impostor syndrome. We will also talk about the neural and chemical affects of feeling misunderstood and disrespected, social bonding, and tribalism.

You'll come away from this talk with a better understanding of yourself and your fellow humans, an increased feeling of empathy, and the knowledge to improve personal interactions and your communities.

Elizabeth Naramore

November 06, 2015

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  1. #58: Negativity Bias We have 5 times more neural networks

    dedicated to negative affect over positive affect.7
  2. #58: Negativity Bias “The fundamental difference between creating and problem

    solving is simple. In problem solving, we seek to make something we do not like go away. In creating, we seek to make what we truly care about exist.” - Peter Senge, Systems Scientist
  3. #26: Dunning-Kruger We aren’t very good at judging our own

    expertise.8 see also: impostor syndrome9
  4. #15: Confirmation Bias We see what we want to see

    and we focus on what jives with our beliefs.10,11
  5. #15: Confirmation Bias t Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex activates when irrelevant

    information should be filtered. Anterior Cingulate Cortex activates when something is very wrong.
  6. #107: Illusion of Transparency We overestimate the ability for others

    to know what’s in our head, and our ability to know what’s in theirs.12, 13
  7. #21: Curse of Knowledge The more we learn, the harder

    it is for us to empathize with beginners.14,15
  8. #100: False Consensus Effect We overestimate how much people agree

    with us, and we assume our beliefs, habits, and values are “normal.”16
  9. Rejection Sensitivity Overlapping areas of the brain become active when

    we experience physical pain and social rejection.18,19, 20
  10. In-Group Favoritism In-group favoritism (or out-group bias) refers to our

    tendency to give preference to those in our group, and have negative feelings toward those who are not.21
  11. In-Group Favoritism When we process information about in-group people versus

    out- group people, we use different parts of our brain.22
  12. Tribalism When we identify so heavily with one group, we

    are more loyal to them than other social groups (including friends or family).23
  13. Feeling Understood When we feel understood, the parts of our

    brain associated with reward and social connection become active.24
  14. Feeling Understood When we feel misunderstood, the parts of our

    brain associated with negative affect become active.24
  15. Belonging We are so driven to bond socially, when we

    change to fit the norms of our group, electrophysiological changes happen in our brains.25
  16. 5 Domains of SCARF SCARF helps us understand what motivates

    people in groups who are working toward a common goal.26
  17. 5 Domains of SCARF “The domains of SCARF all affect

    the extent to which a person feels threatened or rewarded in social settings, and therefore the extent to which a person is able to collaborate effectively with others.” 26
  18. Status Research suggests that the role status plays in our

    interpersonal group lies in a conscious and subconscious level.27
  19. Autonomy People need either a sense of power over others,

    or a sense of choice. If they have neither, dissatisfaction is the result.31
  20. Fairness The idea of “fairness” is emotional, not rational. It

    is affected by, and effects our moods and emotional state.32
  21. Fairness When something is “unfair,” we will show a strong

    activity in the emotional and empathetic hotspot of the brain.32
  22. Online Community Membership Lifecycle 1. Peripheral (Lurker) 2. Inbound (Novice)

    3. Insider (Regular) 4. Boundary (Leader) 5. Outbound (Elder)
  23. Resources for a Curious Mind 1.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases 2.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negativity_bias 3.http://www.rickhanson.net/how-your-brain-makes-you-easily-intimidated/ 4.http://www.carlsonschool.umn.edu/Assets/71516.pdf 5.http://hbr.org/2011/05/the-power-of-small-wins/ar/1

    6.http://journals.lww.com/academicmedicine/Fulltext/2012/09000/ Perspective___The_Negativity_Bias,_Medical.19.aspx 7.http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept11/vol69/ num01/Respect%E2%80%94Where-Do-We-Start%C2%A2.aspx 8.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning-Kruger_effect 9.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome 10.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias 11. http://www.wired.com/2009/12/fail_accept_defeat/all/
  24. Resources for a Curious Mind 12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusion_of_transparency 13. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103103000568 14.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_of_knowledge 15. http://www.gsigma.ufsc.br/~loss/download/km/Beyond-Knowledge %20Management.pdf 16. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_consensus_effect 17. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_rejection#Rejection_sensitivity 18. http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/v18/n11/full/mp201396a.html 19. http://www.scn.ucla.edu/pdf/Lieberman%20&%20Eisenberger %20(2008)%20Neuroleadership.pdf 20. http://socialrelations.psych.columbia.edu/images/stories/docs/ publications/(14)RS_Intimate_Relationships.pdf 21. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In-group_favoritism 22. http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/364/1521/1309 23. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribalism
  25. Resources for a Curious Mind 24. http://scan.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/02/14/scan.nst191.full? sid=41b7e2f1-9e94-41b2-9c14-e167d219ac76 25. http://scan.oxfordjournals.org/content/8/7/756.abstract

    26. http://www.davidrock.net/files/09_SCARF_in_2012_US.pdf 27. http://pages.uoregon.edu/sanjay/pubs/poweraccuracy.pdf 28. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2723053/ 29. https://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/98/3/405/ 30. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20565185 31. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21705519 32. http://jom.sagepub.com/content/37/1/248.abstract 33. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20822437 34. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_disinhibition_effect 35. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/1094931041291295 36. http://www.spring.org.uk/2007/05/busting-myth-93-of-communication- is.php