Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

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

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

How Your Brain Tricks You Into Believing Fake News

Great article, includes some tips in how to spot fake news.

How Your Brain Tricks You Into Believing Fake News

KATY STEINMETZ | August 9, 2018 | Time Magazine

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January 5, 2019 Posted by | decision making, news, politics | , , , , | 2 Comments

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

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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

Why People Can’t Agree on Basic Facts

If there is an emotion involved in acquiring a belief, there is a much lower chance of changing it, even if it is a false belief.  And the excitement of getting a new social media  message seems to be a perfect way to cement information, true or not.  Think about it — do you have false beliefs that cannot be corrected by data?

Neuroscientist Tali Sharot has been investigating what determines whether someone can be persuaded by an argument. You can read about it in her book, The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others, or check out this article for a taste of what you can do to avoid getting stuck with false beliefs:

Why People Can’t Agree on Basic Facts

By TALI SHAROT | September 19, 2017 | Time magazine

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January 20, 2018 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, emotions, neuroscience | , , | Leave a comment

How to Choose Wisely

Advice column by the author of the book You May Also Like: Taste in An Age of Endless Choice.

How to Choose Wisely

From Yelping to dating, there’s a better way.

By Tom Vanderbilt | Sept. 7, 2017 | Nautilus

December 16, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, decision making | , | Leave a comment

Your Smartphone Controls Your Mind

Apps are designed to maximize the amount of time you spend on them — even if that is wasting your precious time.  Tristan Harris explains in his TED talk:

How a handful of tech companies control billions of minds every day

And check out this article to see what he is planning to do about it:

Smartphones Are Weapons of Mass Manipulation, and This Guy Is Declaring War on Them

October 19, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, psychology | , , , , | Leave a comment

How our biases divide us

This article explains the cognitive biases that are at work to divide “us” and “them”.  Since meditation weakens the power of these biases, the hope is that the more we meditate the more we can unite.  Even if the meditation part seems a bit far fetched, the description of the biases is very useful.

How Mindfulness Meditation Can Save America

Robert Wright | 10.08.17 | Wired

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October 10, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

She’ll Text Me, She’ll Text Me Not

Did you know uncertainty leads to romantic attraction?  For more on that and other juicy psychological tidbits relating to texting read comedian Aziz Ansari’s funny article:

She’ll Text Me, She’ll Text Me Not

The science of waiting in modern courtship.

 

September 19, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, psychology | , , | Leave a comment