Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

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

Social media filter bubbles may not exist

It’s depressing to hear how rather than spreading ideas and views, the internet polarized people more — fault social media for feeding news that reinforces existing beliefs.  A new study has brought to light that this is not entirely true: we shoud be blaming old people and cable news instead.

Social media “filter bubbles” aren’t actually a thing, research suggests

Noah Kulwin | Apr 14, 2017 | Vice News

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April 17, 2017 Posted by | information, politics | , | Leave a comment

Beware of fake think tanks

It’s not just fake news you have to watch for, but also fake think tanks.  This article explains how they manage to fool people.

Fake Think Tanks Fuel Fake News—And the President’s Tweets

| 01.24.17 | Wired

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April 5, 2017 Posted by | information, politics | , , | Leave a comment

Why Trump gets away with lying

If you look at lying more closely, you can categorize them into three types: black lies (selfish ones), white lies (motivated by empathy) and blue lies (the Trump kind), which are lies that bond a group together.

And if you examine yourself carefully, you’ll probably find that you believed a few blue lies yourself.

How the Science of “Blue Lies” May Explain Trump’s Support

They’re a very particular form of deception that can build solidarity within groups

Jeremy Adam Smith | March 24, 2017 | Scientific American

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March 29, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, politics, psychology | , , , , | Leave a comment

How Trump screws with your mind

Emily Dreyfuss, Wired magazine editor, has a couple of illuminating articles on how President Trump screws with your mind for his own benefit. He’s not the only one to do so, so it’s in your interest to find out how and what to do about it.

The Cognitive Bias President Trump Understands Better Than You

Want to Make a Lie Seem True? Say It Again. And Again. And Again

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February 18, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

How you vote depends on how you perceive honesty

What does honesty mean to you?

  1. An honest person will say what they think and believe
  2. An honest person will say factually accurate things

If you picked 1, you will probably vote Trump; 2, Clinton. The article below from ClearerThinking.org explains.

A major difference between Clinton and Trump voters: how they perceive honesty

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November 3, 2016 Posted by | behaviour, politics, psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Gloom Trumps Glad

Michael Shermer’s article makes several excellent points to remember at election time.

For one, we react to the bad news more than the good, because

“… in our evolutionary past there was an asymmetry of payoffs in which the fitness cost of overreacting to a threat was less than the fitness cost of underreacting. The world was more dangerous in our evolutionary past, so it paid to be risk-averse and highly sensitive to threats, and if things were good, then the status quo was worth maintaining…”

And politicians’ messages boil down to

““once upon a time things were bad, and now they’re good thanks to our party” or “once upon a time things were good, but now they’re bad thanks to the other party.””

Worth a read.

Why Gloom Trumps Glad

Michael Shermer | November 2016

November 2, 2016 Posted by | behaviour, evolutionary psychology, politics, psychology, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Yes, I’d lie to you

Scary. Really scary. A must-read.

Yes, I’d lie to you

Dishonesty in politics is nothing new; but the manner in which some politicians now lie, and the havoc they may wreak by doing so, are worrying

The Economist | Sep 10th 2016

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October 9, 2016 Posted by | information, politics, sociology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Political Candidates Know If You’re Neurotic

Just like advertising, politics is becoming more targeted to the individual: exploiting all your traits and weaknesses to get you to buy into their product/candidate. It’s a scary direction. (Make sure to watch the video on the source page)

How Political Candidates Know If You’re Neurotic

The latest data-driven campaign pitches target you based on your personality, not just your demographics. But does such profiling work?

David Talbot  | April 15, 2016 | MIT Technology Review

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July 31, 2016 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, politics, psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

The Secret Origins of the Tea Party

Eye-opening article based on Jeff Nesbitt’s book, Poison Tea: How Big Oil and Big Tobacco Invented the Tea Party and Captured the GOP.

The Secret Origins of the Tea Party

How Big Oil and Big Tobacco partnered with the Koch brothers to take over the GOP

By Jeff Nesbit | April 5, 2016 |Time

April 6, 2016 Posted by | politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The New Mind Control

… or why I am suddenly more confident in predicting a Hillary win.

The New Mind Control

The internet has spawned subtle forms of influence that can flip elections and manipulate everything we say, think and do

By Robert Epstein | Edited by Pam Weintraub | 18 February, 2016 | Aeon

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February 19, 2016 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, politics, psychology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment