Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I found confirmation for my monarchist bias!

I'm reading a review of a book called Mistakes Were Made, But Not By Me. It's about cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias, and the other ways our brains deal with it when we encounter information that doesn't fit with what we already know/believe/wish.

Neuroscientists have recently shown that these biases in thinking are built into the very way the brain processes information - all brains, regardless of their owners’ political affiliations. For example, in a study of people who were being monitored by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) wile they were trying to process dissonant or consonant information about George Bush or John Kerry, [researchers] found that the reasoning areas of the brain virtually shut down when participants were confronted with dissonant information and the emotion circuits of the brain lit up happily when consonance was restored. These mechanisms provide a neurological basis for the observation that once our minds are made up, it is hard to change them.

The more I learn about the way voters' brains work, the less enamoured of democracy I become.

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