Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

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

First impressions count

Fascinating article on how humans judge competence based on facial features, and how that affects politics. For example, in one study judgments of who appeared more competent  predicted about 70% of elections.  The article is an excerpt from the author’s new book, Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions (2017).

First impressions count

Alexander Todorov  | 30 May, 2017 | Aeon

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June 11, 2017 Posted by | brain, decision making, politics | , , , , | 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

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