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Brainworks – your wiring under discussions

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Interesting article in New Scientist – We’re all guilty of flawed thinking because our brains evolved to win others round to our point of view – whether or not our reasoning is logical

And it cites the following examples:-

HAVE you ever, against your better judgement, nurtured a belief in the paranormal? Or do you believe that gifted rock singers are more likely to die at the age of 27? Maybe you just have the sneaking suspicion that you are smarter, funnier and more attractive than the next person.

If you buy into any of these beliefs, you are probably suffering from confirmation bias – the mind’s tendency to pick and choose information to support our preconceptions, while ignoring a wealth of evidence to the contrary. Consider the idea that rock stars die at 27 – a fallacy that crops up time and again in the media. Once you have heard of the “27 club“, it is easy to cite a handful of examples that fit the bill – Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse – while forgetting the countless other musicians who survived their excesses past the age of 30.

So,  research points to the fact that we end up making decisions that look rational, rather than making genuinely rational decisions.

Now here is something to ponder about if you are an Obama fan you will hate this book but if you hate Obama you will love this book.

“Barack Obama went to Harvard and became an educated fool “ Bobby Rush.

 

I have to give a controversial example, I am not talking politics!

All a Conspiracy?

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We often read about conspiracy theories which one could define as a projection of fiction into some event (sic). There are some albeit few studies which seeks to uncover what distinguish ‘ believers’ from ‘non-believers’ – a kind of psychological profile if you want.

 

It does seem that it helps people gain some measure of understanding / control over an unpredictable world (Applied Cognitive Psychology).

 

The following characteristics are mentioned:- taking a cynical stance toward politics, mistrusting authority (WHO DOES NOT?) , endorsing democratic practices, feeling generally suspicious toward others and displaying an inquisitive, imaginative outlook.  One of the authors of the study calls it “selective skepticism.”

 

But what I find so interesting is that believers are highly doubtful about information from the government or other sources they consider suspect (not that I blame them ) BUT without criticism, believers accept any source that supports their preconceived views. Jumping to conclusions based on limited evidence.

 

It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do the bad things.

Terry Pratchett, Jingo