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After hearing the excellent lecture by Angela Belcher yesterday, I decided that the topical lectures around lunch time would probably be the best place to hear some hard science. Real hard science sessions are hard to find amongst the many revolving around policy issues one way or another. So I attended the lecture by Nobel Prize winner for Economics 2002, Daniel Kahneman. The topic of his lecture was The Architecture of the Mind.

Before the lecture started, my colleague Bennie Mols made the interesting observation that many Nobel Prize winners in any field tend to end up doing research in cognitive sciences. Apparently this is considered the final frontier for these clever minds to conquer.

Our hope of a great lecture soon ended in dispair as Kahneman made a complete fool of himself by presenting “theories” that are as old as he is, failing to present causal models or the doubtfulness of control experiments in the research he labelled as “absolutely convincing” and giving us an overview of the field that might have been current if he had delivered it in the eighties. Research in cognitive science has certainly progressed, just not by his contribution as far as I can judge from his lecture. He has shown that the architecture of the mind is not crafted to unlimited wisdom by a Nobel Prize.