Why Your Brain Is A Surprising Threat To Democracy.

Why Your Brain Is A Surprising Threat To Democracy.


Welcome Tweedesters, In this video, I will
use university research papers to show how your brain is biased to certain beliefs, regardless
of what facts are presented. There are two leading theories of human belief
revision— desirability bias and confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the tendency to search
for, interpret, favour, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs
or hypotheses while desirability bias is a bias toward a belief we want to be true and
contends that individuals assign greater weight to information that is desirable versus undesirable. Understanding how individuals revise their
political beliefs has important implications for society. In a London University Study, linked in the
description, the university researchers experimentally separated the predictions of the two theories
in the context of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Participants indicated who they desired to
win, and who they believed would win the election. They were then presented with evidence that
was either consistent or inconsistent with their desires or beliefs, they again indicated
who they believed would win. The researchers observed a robust desirability
bias—individuals updated their beliefs more if the evidence was consistent vs. inconsistent
with their desired outcome. This bias was independent of whether the evidence
was consistent or inconsistent with their prior beliefs. In contrast, they found limited evidence of
an independent confirmation bias in belief updating. This finding fits well with growing evidence
that in multiple domains, people are more likely to believe good news than bad news. If people tell you that you are smarter or
better-looking than you think, you might well think, “They’re probably right!” – but
if you hear that you are not quite as brilliant or as beautiful as you thought, you might
respond, “What do they know?” According to other research done at Harvard
and London university, again linked in the description. People are frequently exposed to competing
evidence about climate change. The researchers examined how new information
alters people’s beliefs. They found that people who doubt that man-­‐made
climate change is occurring, and who do not favor an international agreement to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions, show a form of asymmetrical updating: They change their beliefs in response
to unexpected good news (suggesting that average temperature rise is likely to be less than
previously thought) and fail to change their beliefs in response to unexpected bad news
(suggesting that average temperature rise is likely to be greater than previously thought). By contrast, people who strongly believe that
man-­‐made climate change is occurring, and who favor an international agreement,
show the opposite asymmetry: They change their beliefs far more in response to unexpected
bad news (suggesting that average temperature rise is likely to be greater than previously
thought) than in response to unexpected good news (suggesting that average temperature
rise is likely to be smaller than previously thought). The results suggest that exposure to varied
scientific evidence about climate change may increase polarization within a population
due to asymmetrical updating. The researchers explored the implications
of their findings for how people will update their beliefs upon receiving new evidence
about climate change, and also for other beliefs relevant to politics and law. Their findings have implications for how people
will update their beliefs about climate change in particular, and also for
beliefs about science, politics, and law more generally. If people receive new information about climate
change (as is inevitable), and if it is highly variable (as is predictable), we should expect
to see greater polarization. Those most concerned about climate change
will be more likely to revise their estimates upwards upon receiving bad news than those
who are least concerned.Those who are least concerned about climate change will be more
likely to revise their estimates downwards upon receiving good news than those who are
most concerned. For democratic self-government, desirability
bias is a major problem. For one thing, it makes learning a lot less
likely. For another, some people deplore news that
other people love — which means that whenever citizens receive conflicting information,
they can become highly polarized, even if they’re not living in echo chambers. For anyone who hopes to persuade people, there
is a clear lesson: Try to find a way to get people to want to agree with you, or at least
not to want to disagree with you. The good news is that on many political issues,
most people don’t have an emotional stake in any particular set of facts – for example,
the number of deaths on the highways, the rate of diabetes, or whether nanotechnology
creates serious environmental risks. But when emotions are running high, people’s
receptivity to new information often depends on whether it pleases them. There is often a curious distinction between
what the scientific community and the general population believe to be true of dire scientific
issues, and this skepticism tends to vary markedly across groups. For instance, in the case of climate change,
Republicans aka conservatives are especially skeptical of the relevant science, particularly
when they are compared with Democrats aka liberals. What causes such radical group differences? Researchers Troy H. Campbell and Aaron C.
Kay from Duke university in the U.S.A suggest, as have previous accounts, that this phenomenon
is often motivated. However, the source of this motivation is
not necessarily an aversion to the problem, per se, but an aversion to the solutions associated
with the problem. This difference in underlying process holds
important implications for understanding, predicting,
and influencing motivated skepticism. In 4 studies, linked in the description, they
tested this solution aversion explanation for why people are often so divided over evidence
and why this divide often occurs so saliently across political party lines. Studies 1, 2, and 3— using correlational
and experimental methodologies— demonstrated that Republicans’ increased skepticism toward
environmental sciences may be partly attributable to a conflict between specific ideological
values and the most popularly discussed environmental solutions. Study 4 found that, in a different domain
(crime), those holding a more liberal ideology (support for gun control) also show skepticism
motivated by solution aversion. “The goal was to test, in a scientifically
controlled manner, the question: Does the desirability of a solution affect beliefs
in the existence of the associated problem? In other words, does what we call ‘solution
aversion’ exist?” Campbell said. “We found the answer is yes. And we found it occurs in response to some
of the most common solutions for popularly discussed problems.” For climate change, the researchers conducted
an experiment to examine why more Republicans than Democrats seem to deny its existence,
despite strong scientific evidence that supports it. One explanation, they found, may have more
to do with conservatives’ general opposition to the most popular solution — increasing
government regulation — than with any difference in fear of the climate change problem itself,
as some have proposed. “Recognizing this effect is helpful because
it allows researchers to predict not just what problems people will deny, but who will
likely deny each problem,” said co-author Aaron Kay. “The more threatening a solution is to a
person, the more likely that person is to deny the problem.” The researchers found liberal-leaning individuals
exhibited a similar aversion to solutions they viewed as politically undesirable in
an experiment involving violent home break-ins. When the proposed solution called for looser
versus tighter gun-control laws, those with more liberal gun-control ideologies were more
likely to downplay the frequency of violent home break-ins. “We should not just view some people or group
as anti-science, anti-fact or hyper-scared of any problems,” Kay said. “Instead, we should understand that certain
problems have particular solutions that threaten some people and groups more than others. When we realize this, we understand those
who deny the problem more and we improve our ability to better communicate with them.”Campbell
added that solution aversion can help explain why political divides become so divisive and
intractable. “We argue that the political divide over many
issues is just that, it’s political,” Campbell said. “These divides are not explained by just one
party being more anti-science, but the fact that in general people deny facts that threaten
their ideologies, left, right or center.”The researchers noted there are additional factors
that can influence how people see the policy implications of science. Additional research using larger samples and
more specific methods would provide an even clearer picture, they said. I highly recommend that you read the research
articles linked in the description box for more information and the methods used. If you liked this video please give a like
and a subscribe.

3 Comments on "Why Your Brain Is A Surprising Threat To Democracy."


  1. Let me know down in the comments if you think you are or aren't open to challenging your beliefs.

    Reply

  2. The problem is not just that people deny the fact to suit their ideologies, the problem is that people think that reality is the excuse to impose themselves on others. Gun laws for example, people want to keep their guns because they are responsible owners and they think they have the right to protect themselves, which they do, while people who want tighter control thinks that every one with a gun is dangerous and should have them all taken away when in reality its that it's too easy for any nutcase to buy a gun.

    My point is reality is no excuse to impose on my life, and I dont waste my time arguing what the reality is just to convince someone they dont have the right to restrict what I do.

    Reply

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