Posts tagged with ‘psychology’
Via Pacific Standard:
Writing in the journal Political Psychology, a research team led byJennifer Brundidge of the University of Texas at Austin reports left- and right-wing bloggers communicate with their readers in very different ways.
In short, it finds liberals use more complex arguments, acknowledging different points of view before asserting the (alleged) superiority of their own. Conservatives, in contrast, use simpler arguments and are less likely to concede there are any other reasonable viewpoints…
…[Blogs] were analyzed in several ways, including for their use of emotional language and, most importantly, their “integrative complexity.” That term refers to the extent to which they consider events and issues from multiple perspectives.
Blogs analyzed included those such as Breitbart, Red State, and The Blaze (conservative); and Crooks and Liars, Talking Points Memo, and Daily Kos (liberal).
As Pacific Standard notes: “A large amount of psychological research has found conservatives are less tolerant of ambiguity than liberals, so it makes sense that their blogs are less willing to acknowledge gray areas.”
Time Magazine reports on a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that took 13 years to survey 1.6 million people 48 US states (Alaska and Hawaii didn’t have enough respondents) about their personality:
As its name implies, the survey measures personality along five different spectra, with the Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism labels forming a handy acronym: OCEAN.
Each of those categories is defined by more-specific personality descriptors, such as curiosity and a preference for novelty (openness); self-discipline and dependability (conscientiousness); sociability and gregariousness (extroversion); compassion and cooperativeness (agreeableness); and anxiety and anger (neuroticism). The inventory gets at the precise mix of those qualities in any one person by asking subjects to respond on a 1-to-5 scale, from strongly disagree to strongly agree, with 44 statements including, “I see myself as someone who can be tense,” or “can be reserved,” or “has an active imagination,” or “is talkative.” There turned out to be a whole lot of Americans willing to sit still for that kind of in-depth prying, from a low of 3,166 in Wyoming (a huge sample group for a small state) to a high of 177,085 in California.
Researchers then broke the country down into three macro regions based on the results, which were categorized into “temperamental and uninhibited” (New England and the Mid-Atlantic), “friendly and conventional” (the South and Midwest) and “relaxed and creative” (the West Coast, Rocky Mountains and Sun Belt).
Read more about it here, see the map and take a ten question quiz that’ll tell you where you fit in the best.
Ryan Tate in an article for WIRED, “The Personal Television Revolution is Horrifying—and Brilliant”.
I thought — hoped, really — that I was worrying too much about new technology, so I called Patricia Greenfield, Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. I asked: Do tech-savvy people in healthy relationships (like, say, me) really need to worry that customized media and mobile devices will undermine our connections with others?
“I think you should worry,” Greenfield told me.
Stephen Colbert, The Word, June 24, 2013.
FJP: Colbert essentially speaks of cognitive dissonance—the distressing state we experience when we’re faced with opinions that don’t fit with what we already believe. If interested in what this has to do with news consumption, we recommend reading Dean Miller’s chapter (entitled Literacy after the Front Page) in Page One, the companion book to the (somewhat glorifying) documentary about the NY Times. Miller is the director of the Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University. Here’s an excerpt:
Merely teaching people how to find reliable information is inadequate if they can’t open their minds to new information. Advances in neuroscience have documented the fragility of memory, the suggestibility of perception and the extent to which our own biases can prevent us from hearing or remembering discomfiting facts, much less seeking them out. The more we learn about these reactions to cognitive dissonance, the clearer it becomes that if we don’t challenge Americans about what they believe—and how they reach conclusions—they’ll never know what they don’t know.
R. Kelly Garrett and Brian E. Weeks, The Promise and Peril of Real-Time Corrections to Political Misperceptions (PDF).
Yesterday I published an article, Can Robots Tell the Truth?, that explores the Washington Post’s attempt to harness an algorithm that could conduct real-time fact checking on political speeches.
Today, Kelly and Brian forwarded this paper of theirs. It’s part of a larger project out of Ohio State University’s School of Communications called “Misperceptions in an Internet Era”. Their Twitter handle is @FalseBeliefNews.
So, if you take their findings and rewrite my headline, you’d end up with something along the lines of, “Who Cares if Robots Can Tell the Truth Because it’s not Going to Change Anyone’s Mind Anyway”.
Which is discouraging. — Michael.
— Amanda Hess, Slate. How Men’s Magazines Sell Masculinity to Young, Low-Income Men.
…It usually happened on the road when he was sleeping in strange beds, and came about more often than not when he hadn’t had sex in a while not even with himself. So what he did, was doing perhaps, was masturbate his sentences. Was that what he was doing? Jerk them around to best advantage. Too often when he woke after hours of sleep-ridden revision, exhausted from prolonged creative effort, only the worst versions of the sentences awoke with him. His memory, he had to remind himself, traveled poorly in the night.
— Jonathan Baumbach, The New York Times. The Night Writer.
Correcting misinformation, however, isn’t as simple as presenting people with true facts. When someone reads views from the other side, they will create counterarguments that support their initial viewpoint, bolstering their belief of the misinformation. Retracting information does not appear to be very effective either. Lewandowsky and colleagues published two papers in 2011 that showed a retraction, at best, halved the number of individuals who believed misinformation.
— Scientific American, Diss Information: Is There a Way to Stop Popular Falsehoods from Morphing into “Facts”?
What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions”. In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.
Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.
An hour-long, 1998 talk by Postman on technology and society is available on YouTube (irony noted).