Friday, July 13, 2018

Cognitive Bias and Decision Making

I was reading this article about Cognitive Bias and Gun Control. In it, the author discusses the emotional component surrounding this issue, and how it colors people's thinking about it. The author had been speaking to students in Canada, and asked them to raise their hands if they thought the USA was a dangerous place to visit.
About 80% of the students raised their hands. This is surprising to me because although I live and work in Canada and I’m a Canadian citizen, I grew up in the US; my family still lives there and I still think it’s a reasonably safe place to visit. Most students justified their answer by referring to school shootings, gun violence, and problems with American police. Importantly, none of these students had ever actually encountered violence in the US. They were thinking about it because it has been in the news. That were making a judgment on the basis of the available evidence about the likelihood of violence.
 So, when you think about the forces that shape people's ideas about issues, don't discount the impact that the media's saturation approach to the 'right' way to think about these concepts has on the minds of the viewers.

That's true of many of the contentious issues of our time. They bring up a concern, we respond with a logic-based reason why that is not a valid concern or a problem that has to be solved in just one, Leftist way.

They are not convinced. We naturally assume that this means that they are deliberately misunderstanding, or willfully ignoring the facts, and the underlying logic that supports them.

Or, maybe, they are just dumb. Or evil.

What else could account for the inability to change their thinking, given rational reasons why they should?



A non-Logical, non-linear, block to their thinking processes. Because to leap past that block is to violate their deepest self - the Id, as Freud called it (yes, I know he was a twisted fraud, but, his terms are part of the culture).

That part of the Self, that is most clearly seen in 2-year old children, who would rather suffer actual pain rather than change, because of how they FEEL. Who cannot reason their way through events, but must be emotionally engaged with the outcome.

Am I saying that ALL Leftists are immature?


But, it's fairly clear that most Leftists/Progressives/Liberals function on the FEELS side of the brain, rather than the THINKING part of it. That's why they make what they consider 'unarguable' statements:

  • That's a HURTFUL statement!
  • You have trampled on my feelings!
  • OMZ!!! Trump is LITERALLY Hitler!!!!!
No attempt to argue rationally or logically. Just raw appeal to emotion.

And, to be fair, with many people, that's a winning 'argument'.

It takes a LOT of cognitive dissonance to finally 'flip' someone that deeply into their closely held beliefs. You either have to overwhelm their bias with a lot of contrary evidence, or - try bypassing the appeals to logic with a certain type - the FEELS type.

In that case, what works?

You have to show (preferably with pictures - hits a different part of the brain) them victims of their policies - preferably Minorities, Women, Poor. After you have engaged their FEELS part of the brain, hit them with some evidence. If you use numbers, show them in graphical format (these are, generally, NOT math nerds).

Make these mini-appeals to non-logic short, punchy, and with only ONE talking point at a time. ONE link to an article that provides more detail. LiberalLogic101 (now on Facebook) shows how to do it.

Funny is good - don't waste time trying to picture HRC with devil's horns. Don't DIRECTLY beat up a hero - their eyes will glide right past that.

Instead, focus on a poignant picture of a kid, with a short statement about how their policy will hurt/has hurt that kid. And a link.

That's it.

Or, put a politician's words from two different dates, side-by-side, showing that the guy has no morals, but will say anything to get elected/stay in power. Or, compare a Conservative's words with a Progressive's on the same topic.

Don't be afraid to hit them over the head with the hypocrisy. Try to stay away from HRC, BC, Obama(s), or Trump. They all are polarizing, and no one can see them without having their emotional response block any new knowledge.

Some examples:

As you can see from my examples, you don't have to be an artist to make these. Just use Powerpoint to set up each meme as a slide, Save As... a jpeg (each slide will be under a folder), and Upload.

Use on FB, Twitter, Gab (on that platform, you're spreading the word to people who are likely to multiply your efforts), and Google Plus, to name just a few. If you want to, try Instagram and SnapChat - that will circulate these among the younger crowd.

1 comment:


Excellent thoughts; another example, specific to the whole Israel - Fakestinian debate, is to show examples of "Pallywood" and then how it's been dismissed.

E.g., the recent case of the guy on crutches who miraculously ran just fine. Or the guy in a wheelchair who had two different sets of "fatal" wounds. Or the instance of a screen grab from one of the Final Destination movies that was published in a newspaper.

In each instance, I've shown the propaganda... let people have the understandable reaction, then pulled back to show the real instance.

People get VERY angry when they realize they've been played.