Performance-Generalization feedback effect

So I was busy complaining to my buds about how we spend so much time and effort thinking and talking about how NOT to use heuristics incorrectly, that we never get around to figuring out how to use them correctly. People are so afraid of being called out on a slippery slope informal fallacy that they forget slippery slopes are real and they happen all the time. Well, in the midst of complaining, Lorien and I came up with a perfect example of such a rule. It’s a generalized form of “venue bouncing” from PUA:

Bouncing a girl to multiple locations is a way of building comfort with her. Each location instills more memories, and the HB’s trust in the artist will grow from location to location (assuming a smooth transition and interesting conversation and activities take place at each location).

Bouncing a girl to different locations can create a time distortion, or the feeling of having known the artist for a long time, even though the HB and the PUA have only known each other for a few hours. As such, a smooth Bounce is crucial for establishing isolation and comfort, especially in the case of ONSs, ZNSs, or insta-dates that take place over a short period of time.

Bouncing also creates a precedence of the girl following the artist’s lead, which will make it easier for him to lead the girl back to his place later when going for the close.


I bounced the HB to a couple of different clubs, before we headed back to my place.

PUA Lingo

Tangent: it’s not surprising that PUAs have their own language, but an honest-to-goodness dictionary? Chateau Autiste indeed. Freaking thards, man, always ass peeing on all our nice things.

Generalization effect

Venue bouncing takes advantage of the generalization effect:

“I am comfortable with person X at location A.”
“I am comfortable with person X at location B.”
“I am comfortable with person X at location C.”
“I am comfortable with person X at location D.”

Our brains are lazy, and translate this into a form that is easier for us to handle and remember:

“I am comfortable with person X.”

See how that works? 99% of the original predictive utility, and now you don’t have to remember the truth values for all those individual cases. It’s a good thing. Instinct is not your enemy- thoughtlessness is. But instinct is more important than thought, and thoughtless instinct is way better than instinct-less thought if you have to pick one.

Performance bonus

Lorien says that when you’re learning music, one hour of performance is as good as five hours of practice. Actually he can’t remember the real number or where he got it from, so we’re just gonna run with this one.

Why is that? Well, I figure 80% of it is that you care a lot more about the quality of your music before, during, and after a performance. You focus harder during practice beforehand because you don’t want to get flustered in front of everybody and screw up, and you focus harder during the performance because everybody’s watching, and you focus harder during practice afterward because you’re thinking about all the little imperfections that your grandma probably didn’t even notice (but they still piss you off a little).

There’s also some generalization effect at work, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the venue. That’s why speech coaches will tell you to practice your speech in the location you’ll be giving it, if possible, or try to imagine yourself in the venue full of people. It’s hard to generalize on the spot, and it’s easy to do familiar things in familiar places.

There’s also an added strain because when you’re performing a large portion of your mind is devoted to projecting yourself into the audience and imagining what it must look and sound like to watch you perform. So you’re putting stronger demands on your brain by also emulating the brain of someone watching from outside.

Anyway, that’s all details. The long and short of it is that performing for an audience makes you better faster.

Compound returns

Why not combine the two effects to get stronger returns from both of them? Now we see the real genius behind this PUA practice, because this is exactly what they’re doing by bouncing around and performing in multiple locations.

Going back to the music example for a moment, let’s say that it would normally take 100 hours for you to master a particular song, at your current level of skill. If you do a one-hour rehearsal performance after practicing 80 hours, that cuts 5 hours off the total so you only have 15 left to mastery instead of 19. Let’s also say that practicing in different locations makes you better faster via the generalization effect- let’s say twice as fast.

Then performing for an hour in a new location means you get both effects and much more mastery per hour. I’m not going to say it’s 5 * 2 = 10 or something because it’s more complicated than that (remember that at least part of the 5 came from generalization effect to begin with), but the return will be strictly larger than either of them individually. I call this “compound” because the effects strengthen each other, even if we don’t actually have a formula to say how much.

Now let’s say you are going to perform this song in a certain concert hall. Then here is how you get the most efficient practice time:

Set up a rehearsal performance for as soon as your perfectionism will allow. You aren’t going to sound very good after 10 hours, but earlier is better and hopefully your grandma won’t mention it. Set up as many of these little rehearsals as your social circle will accommodate, with increasing levels of potential embarrassment as you get better. This is exactly the same as Vox’s advice to “Fail faster”. Bounce to different venues as often as possible so that the skill becomes a general instinct rather than a comfortable response to familiar stimuli. Last, you should regularly practice in the concert hall if you can. This is a concession to the generalization thing because you do actually want the stimuli of the concert hall to be familiar on the big day.

Back to reality

Now, try not to sperg out too much about this because there’s a lot of stuff I haven’t mentioned. For instance, just practicing is good, but you also have to reflect on your practice too to get the full benefits. That doesn’t fit into this little model. And sometimes it’s okay to practice in a comfortable location and not worry so much because otherwise you’ll start hating the whole thing and that’s not helpful. Also not in the model. So just take the concept and add it to your bag of tricks, and pull it out when you’re plateauing because you’re feeling too comfortable to improve.

In this, it is like the PUA concept. Bouncing venues is always a great idea, except when it’s not. You’ll never be free from the need to apply judgment to the particular situation. At the same time, if your rifle jams in a warzone you don’t want to be the marine who didn’t practice taking it apart and putting it back together blindfolded.

Well that post had lots of tangents and imperfections. Oh well, PUBLISH.


About Aeoli Pera

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25 Responses to Performance-Generalization feedback effect

  1. Edenist whackjob says:

    Real performance also speeds up the OODA cycle by telling you what works in real life. You get experiential feedback on what you should be focusing on and an instinctive boost to the will to ruthlessly prioritize and stop being a keyboard jockey (because you get a limbic sense of what it means to win the girl). See for instance the Wehrmacht, they probably learned a crap ton during the Blitzkrieg. (This holds more true for fields where there isn’t “perfect information” already, like there is with guitar playing).

    • Edenist whackjob says:

      What I mean by “perfect information”: you CAN learn to play guitar by yourself, it just might go slower. You cannot learn to fully fight war by just reading old German manuals.

      Guitar player == operating a tank
      Being a rock star == executing the Blitzkrieg

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      This is why expert intuition is only dependable when the expert is predicting something familiar. It’s familiarity that builds on pre-existing instincts that produces intuition.

      Anyway even doctors, who are supposed to be smart, can’t be trusted to reason beyond the tips of their fingers. Rational thought is just not available to most folks.

      • Edenist whackjob says:

        One pondering I often have is where doctors rank compared to me. Society would say they rank over programmers, and they certainly do spend a lot of time in school. But, when you see them in the field, you sometimes wonder how smart they really are…

        • Aeoli Pera says:

          The word “programmer” is looser than “doctor”, but if you restrict yourself to hackers in the proper sense I expect they’d come out on top in general IQ terms. However there’s a big split in types of ability (hackers tend to ADD and specialization, doctors tend to broad memorization), and doctors are extremely conscientious, to the tune of maybe +2 SD average. So I think it’s reasonable to say the comparison isn’t justified because it’s apples and oranges.

      • Edenist whackjob says:

        “So I think it’s reasonable to say the comparison isn’t justified because it’s apples and oranges.”

        Dangit, how can I collect status then?

        I will say this: the doctors here always seem to ask what your occupation is, and they do seem to get impressed when I say I am a self-employed IT consultant doing software development.

        • Aeoli Pera says:

          >I will say this: the doctors here always seem to ask what your occupation is

          I was gonna say this is obvious status whoring, but then I realized they probably don’t have anything else to talk about.

          Explains how they’re impressed. In their extremely regimented world, you might as well be saying that you live off the land. They’re probably imagining you wearing a bear pelt.

  2. Aeoli Pera says:

    >Which is why googling things sucks.

    Yes, precisely.

    >Also explains the massive temporal in the Amud strain.

    Maybe. I haven’t read your links yet.

  3. Edenist whackjob says:

    Maybe it can be said about doctors that:

    – They tend to be upper-tier neurotypicals in smarts, so 120-130
    – They are conscientious. It’s not that easy to graduate from med school
    – They have some degree of pattern-recognition ability, otherwise they could not put together a diagnosis
    – They have low associative horizon, otherwise they would go bonkers and start correlating more and reading fringe sites (“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.” as HPL put it)
    – They tend to have something I call “monolithic concept-formation”, which is a trait I often see in neurotypicals. It’s a bit hard to explain, but essentially it means they are unwilling to reduce things beyond the level which they have been taught. They see concepts as hewn in stone, not something malleable. I guess there is some MBTI term for this.
    – I would think they are not visual thinkers
    – They seem to write at a upper neurotypical levels, but they are not independent thinkers. They merely report on findings from the perspective of rule-sets they’ve already learned using the most bureaucratic language they can learn. See every synopsis in every study for the same kinda thing. Reading psychatrists in the media, I am often struck at how obvious and trite they sound, although they do manage to make it sound fancy by interjecting some expensive words. Really, you mean to say that the killer had isolated himself from society, suffered from an inferiority complex, and was constructing his own parallell reality? Gee, I guess that is something of a surprise to an NT.

    • Edenist whackjob says:

      “Pop corn knowledge” is a term I heard somewhere when I was a kid. You pick up a piece of information here, and another there, but you never connect it into a worldview. You have all of these bits of disparate pieces of information, but never a coherent whole that can be queried and prodded to produce new knowledge.

      I was more neurotypical as a kid, and yes, I did have more of the pop corn style of knowledge-acqusition. But of course, I hit the semantic wall at 20 (Bruce Charlton has written about this) and knowledge actually started to *mean something*

      It would be tempting to connect pop corn thinking to the fox (as in Isaiah Berlin’s fox/hedgehog idea) but I think that is speaking about a different kind of thing. A fox is not a pop corn-head, merely someone with idiosyncratic interests who doesn’t particularly desire to connect everything. Think of Koanic as a hedgehog and Tex as being more foxish.

      • Aeoli Pera says:

        Well when you have Tex’s or Heaviside’s IQ you’re going to look like a fox to mortals because it seems to us like you’ve read EVERY BOOK.

        I was much more NT myself as a kid, although looking back everybody knew I was “different” and it was a running gag.

        I think what you’re talking about is just a developmental phase that all thals go through. We start out like information sponges with imaginations, then we get into concept porn in our late teens and early twenties. Often this is accompanied by The Crash. Maybe we even bring this on ourselves because we need that shot of anxiety to move to the next stage. This fits with the way I imagine the male rite of passage working in that society.

      • Edenist whackjob says:

        I’ll add to that that Thals seem to get oneitis in their teens, and be scarred for life if it unrequited.

      • Edenist whackjob says:

        “Well when you have Tex’s or Heaviside’s IQ you’re going to look like a fox to mortals because it seems to us like you’ve read EVERY BOOK.”

        What I mean: Tex writes about programming one day, dinosaurs the next, melons the third, so on. The underlying theme is his personality. A hedgehog would find some grand idea to tie it all together.

        • Aeoli Pera says:

          Oh, okay. Maybe this is why MTs and MMs care so much about “personas” and “themes” and such.

          Da blergh shall now be an edenic face-reading blog for anime analysis! That was a joke but actually you could probably monetize that :-P.

      • Heaviside says:

        Sometimes it’s not about IQ, sometimes it’s about incredible marketing capability.

      • Koanic says:

        “I’ll add to that that Thals seem to get oneitis in their teens, and be scarred for life if it unrequited.”

        Happened, so PUA self cauterized. I’ll make my own scars thank you very much.

      • Edenist whackjob says:

        “Happened, so PUA self cauterized. I’ll make my own scars thank you very much.”

        Aye, I did the same. That means you give up your emotional depth, though. I sometimes wonder if my disassociative mental state was hastened by the deadening of emotions.

      • Edenist whackjob says:

        “That means you give up your emotional depth, though.”

        What I mean by this: I could never write a love song for a chick, it just strikes me as sappy and beta. Is this because I’ve seen the light in these matters, or is it because I did just that as a 19-year old and was brutally crushed? Probably a bit of both. Having the non-flat affect to be able to write music is pretty cool, though. Working on getting it back.

      • koanic says:

        Nah just made sure the giving was under control and the eyes clear. Still capable of love with one worthy.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      Oh okay, we came to pretty much the same conclusions re: doctors. Except this, this is interesting:

      >They tend to have something I call “monolithic concept-formation”, which is a trait I often see in neurotypicals. It’s a bit hard to explain, but essentially it means they are unwilling to reduce things beyond the level which they have been taught. They see concepts as hewn in stone, not something malleable. I guess there is some MBTI term for this.

      None that I know of, but TEM might know one. But I know what you’re talking about, it’s the same attitude as when people say “Why are you analyzing something beautiful like a rainbow?” Silly, we analyze it *because* it’s beautiful.

      I think the idea is that you only analyze something if you MUST because you want to get something like a degree or a paycheck or sex. But analysis apparently does act as a mood-leveler for NTs.

      • Edenist whackjob says:

        Yeah, they see it as annoying when you analyze things. They might do it in philosophy class, but they see it as inherently contrived, all analysis is overanalysis. Whereas whackjobs like us see the monolithic concept as a lie.

        I suspect there is something to be said here about neuroanatomy, but I lack the knowledge.

        • Aeoli Pera says:

          I suspect it’s just introversion-extraversion. Analysis to them is like dancing is to us. One takes you completely out of the world, and the other puts you completely in it.

  4. Pingback: Daily Linkage – October 27, 2015 | The Dark Enlightenment

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