[ExI] Global Temperatures to Decrease

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Thu Apr 17 20:23:37 UTC 2008

This is hardly news, but it's not a bad pop summary of in-built 
cognitive limitations:


<We seek out information that reinforces our prejudices. One study 
presented listeners with static-filled recordings of speeches that 
they believed they were judging on persuasive power. Listeners could 
push a button to tweak the signal, reducing the static to make it 
easier to understand. When smokers heard a speech connecting tobacco 
with cancer, they didn't try to improve the clarity to hear it more 
easily. But they pushed the button to get a clearer version of a 
speech saying that there was no link between smoking and cancer. 
Nonsmokers were the exact opposite.

This resistance to information that doesn't mesh with our 
preconceived beliefs afflicts both liberals and conservatives, but a 
raft of studies shows that it is a particular problem with 
conservatives. For example, when voters receive mailings offering 
them free pamphlets on various political topics, liberals show some 
interest in getting conservative views. In contrast, conservatives 
seek only those pamphlets that echo their own views.

Likewise, liberal blogs overwhelmingly link to other liberal blogs or 
news sources. But with conservative blogs, the tendency is much more 
pronounced; it is almost a sealed universe.>

Damien Broderick

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