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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Adept at Ignoring Facts

A study finds that Democrats and Republicans are both adept at Ignoring Facts. Not only that, they get a mental rush while they do it.

    The test subjects on both sides of the political aisle reached totally biased conclusions by ignoring information that could not rationally be discounted, Westen and his colleagues say.
    Then, with their minds made up, brain activity ceased in the areas that deal with negative emotions such as disgust. But activity spiked in the circuits involved in reward, a response similar to what addicts experience when they get a fix, Westen explained.
    The study points to a total lack of reason in political decision-making.


via /.

That fits nicely with a study (pdf), linked-to by a Slashdot poster, which notes:

  1. Your brain uncritically accepts the first information it gets in any new
    subject area as correct, whether it is or not.
  2. Subsequent information that is in keeping with the information already
    present in your brain is uncritically accepted as correct, whether it is or
  3. A new item that is contradictory to the information present in your brain is
    automatically rejected as incorrect, whether it is or not.
  4. Your brain considers every item that is compatible with the majority of its
    information in a given subject area to be correct and every item that is
    contradictory to its information to be incorrect. As a result, the brain has no
    internal way to know which items of its information are correct
    representations of the real world and which are not.
  5. Your brain has no way to know whether or not it has all the information
    required to respond appropriately to a given stimulus.
  6. Unless your brain has additional information to the contrary, it interprets
    similar items as being identical.
  7. Your brain cannot measure anything directly. All measurements must be
    made by comparison against an appropriate standard, which is often done
  8. Your brain continues to interpret the external world as it was when the last
    sensory signal about a given subject area was received. As a result, the
    brain is not aware that some of its formerly correct information is now

Stupid brains.

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