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Thread: Fact or fiction - how to tell. Programmed to believe

  1. #1
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Fact or fiction - how to tell. Programmed to believe

    The research reported in this article https://www.csmonitor.com/Science/20...src=newsletter has answered some of my questions about why some people believe what seems unbelievable or some cannot see another's viewpoint. It impacts our news, our shopping choices and our lifestyle choices as well.

    Some quotes:
    A series of experiments, led by psychologist Daniel Gilbert, that distracted participants while asking them to identify sets of true and false sentences found that the distraction interfered with the participants’ ability to identify the false statements, but not the true ones...
    Dr. Gilbert proposed a different model of believing, one consistent with that of Descartes’s rival, the Dutch philosopher Baruch (Benedict) Spinoza, who proposed that comprehending an idea and believing it to be true are actually the same process. Rejecting an idea, Spinoza said, requires an additional step that uses up additional mental resources.

    Put another way, a belief is like an automatic email newsletter: you have to go out of your way to figure out how to unsubscribe...

    “Most of the time, most humans are trying to tell each other things that are true and useful to them,” says Gus Cooney a researcher at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., who studies the psychology of conversations. Dr. Cooney says he suspects that this was even more true in our distant evolutionary past, when humans lived in small, stable groups and there was no advertising...

    In the modern world, however, our natural credulity can be hacked. “The problem comes when we when we take that rule that's useful in one domain and then we misapply in a domain where people are trying to intentionally mislead us,” says Cooney.

    The top three most common hacks, exploited by politicians for centuries, are repetition, repetition, and repetition. The more times we hear an assertion, say psychologists, the less effort it takes to wrap our minds around it, and humans, for some reason, confuse that ease with truthfulness.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Thanks, razz. This explains a lot about our current fractured society:

    "...The top three most common hacks, exploited by politicians for centuries, are repetition, repetition, and repetition. The more times we hear an assertion, say psychologists, the less effort it takes to wrap our minds around it, and humans, for some reason, confuse that ease with truthfulness."

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    Andy Andrew's book How to Kill 11 million people explains this...lie, lie, lie, repeat. there was more to it, but I can't not share this book with people.

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    If I got emails from an unknown person or company, I always unsubscribe.

  5. #5
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Interesting article, and I do find the premise to be true, from what I know about marketing. In marketing you have to have one message. One. And then hammer it home. That's why jingles and slogans are SO effective.

    And what makes re-training our brains for new beliefs so difficult is the support we get from our peers and our communities for maintaining the old ones . When we risk alienating our social support system by examining a truth and uncovering it, how likely are we to do that?

    I remember when my daughter became vegetarian, she thought all she had to do was "educate" people. In her video class she put together a very graphic video of a slaughterhouse which she thought would obviously make people think twice about eating meat.

    Instead, the teacher yelled at her and told her to turn it off. It was pretty traumatic for her actually, to learn that beliefs go far beyond reason.


    ETA: this is why I love the Buddhist saying "If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him." And Thich Nhat Hanh's first of the 14 Mindfulness Trainings:

    Aware of the suffering created by fanaticism and intolerance, we are determined not to be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. We are committed to seeing the Buddhist teachings as guiding means that help us develop our understanding and compassion. They are not doctrines to fight, kill, or die for. We understand that fanaticism in its many forms is the result of perceiving things in a dualistic and discriminative manner. We will train ourselves to look at everything with openness and the insight of interbeing in order to transform dogmatism and violence in ourselves and in the world.
    Last edited by catherine; 6-20-18 at 9:39am.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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