Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

Why Poverty Is Like a Disease

Inequality hurts us all — and this article explains why. Make sure you read it to the end.

“….escape from poverty is a matter of chance, and not a matter of merit.”

” The reality is that when you’re poor, if you make one mistake, you’re done. Everything becomes a sudden-death gamble.”

Why Poverty Is Like a Disease

Emerging science is putting the lie to American meritocracy

Christian H. Cooper | Nautilus | April, 2017

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February 12, 2019 Posted by | behaviour, economics, politics, sociology | , , , , | Leave a comment

Your stressed mind gets better at processing bad news…

…and this can be used to manipulate you.

How your mind, under stress, gets better at processing bad news

Tali Sharot | 15 May 2018 | aeon

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January 5, 2019 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, evolutionary psychology, news, politics, psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

Your vote is manipulated without your knowledge

It’s not just the fake news; politicians can take advantage of your instincts to influence your vote without your knowledge.  The advice:

“If you’re scared to be manipulated, learn. The more you learn, the more firm and stable your attitudes are, and the more difficult it is for someone to convince you otherwise.”

Intelligent Machines

The “neuropolitics” consultants who hack voters’ brains

These experts say they can divine political preferences you can’t express from signals you don’t know you’re producing.

by Elizabeth Svoboda | August 16, 2018 | MIT Technology Review

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January 5, 2019 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Tribalism is preventing us from making informed decisions

Article from The Economist describes recent experiments that shed light on how humans stick to beliefs despite all evidence to the contrary.

The partisan brain: What psychology experiments tell you about why people deny facts

The Economist | Dec 8th 2018

Many of us will pay money to avoid points of view that differ from our own

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January 1, 2019 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, evolutionary psychology, politics, psychology | , | Leave a comment

The surprising reason people change their minds

No comment needed.

The surprising reason people change their minds

We usually believe that our opinions are stubborn and fixed. But new research shows that our views, even on politics, are changing all the time – just not for the reasons you’d expect.

Claudia Hammond | BBC Future | 22 June 2018

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June 23, 2018 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making | | Leave a comment

How to change emotions with a word

Great article from The Economist on how to reduce (or increase) tension with grammar.

How to change emotions with a word

Science looks at the subtleties of semiotics

The Economist | May 3, 2018

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June 6, 2018 Posted by | anthropology, behaviour, emotions, psychology | , , | Leave a comment

How “us” and “them” leads to genocide

Interview with biologist Robert Sapolsky,  (link below), to point out at how the “us” and “them” attitude can lead to problems. IMHO, his book Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst, is a must-read eye-opener.

The Biology of the Modern Political Divide

Robert Sapolsky reveals the biological basis for our most unfortunate traits—and insists change is possible.

 

 

March 22, 2018 Posted by | anthropology, behaviour, brain, politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Stop Being a Control Freak

Even though I didn’t think I was a control freak, this article was very helpful in both me coming to realize that I just might have a bit of control freak in me, and, most importantly, how I can deal with it.

How to Stop Being a Control Freak

The desire for control is a form of perfectionism, and we can alleviate it by learning to embrace uncertainty.

February 22, 2018 Posted by | behaviour, psychology | , | Leave a comment

Why we love tyrants

I’ve always wondered how some leaders can sway people to do things rational thought would exclude, for example how Hitler managed to convince ordinary Germans that Jews must be exterminated.  Would I fall for such a message?  Have I?

The article below looks at the psychology used in these type of speeches. It seems to boil down to three steps:

  1.  We are mightily suffering:  _____________,
  2.  and that is the fault of ____________, who is our enemy.
  3.  The magic solution to this is ___________.

It’s scary how something this simple can work so well.  And it’s even scarier how it is being used today.

Why we love tyrants

Psychoanalysis explains how authoritarians energise the hatred, self-pity and delusion while promising heaven on Earth

David Livingstone Smith | aeon | 

February 16, 2018 Posted by | behaviour, history, psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

How to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

Good advice from Time Magazine. Might be worth getting the author’s book (Fitter Faster: The Smart Way to Get in Shape in Just Minutes a Day, by Robert J. Davis and Brad Kolowich, Jr.) to get into more details.

7 Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

By ROBERT J. DAVIS | January 19, 2018

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February 8, 2018 Posted by | behaviour, fitness, health | , | Leave a comment