background preloader

The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science

The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science
Illustration: Jonathon Rosen "A MAN WITH A CONVICTION is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point." So wrote the celebrated Stanford University psychologist Leon Festinger (PDF), in a passage that might have been referring to climate change denial—the persistent rejection, on the part of so many Americans today, of what we know about global warming and its human causes. Festinger and several of his colleagues had infiltrated the Seekers, a small Chicago-area cult whose members thought they were communicating with aliens—including one, "Sananda," who they believed was the astral incarnation of Jesus Christ. Through her, the aliens had given the precise date of an Earth-rending cataclysm: December 21, 1954. Festinger and his team were with the cult when the prophecy failed. Read also: the truth about Climategate.At first, the group struggled for an explanation.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney

Related:  Distorted ThinkingTOKThought Brigade

Top 10 Common Faults In Human Thought Humans The human mind is a wonderful thing. Cognition, the act or process of thinking, enables us to process vast amounts of information quickly. For example, every time your eyes are open, you brain is constantly being bombarded with stimuli. You may be consciously thinking about one specific thing, but you brain is processing thousands of subconscious ideas. Unfortunately, our cognition is not perfect, and there are certain judgment errors that we are prone to making, known in the field of psychology as cognitive biases.

"Pro-American" History Textbooks Hurt Native Americans  I teach Native American Studies and virtually none of my university students has had any education whatsoever in the history of this country's treatment of the 10 million or so people who lived here before Europeans arrived. They generally believe that the continent was more or less wide-open and that the few people who were here aided the Pilgrims with a harvest fest and then after a few skirmishes with settlers complied with their destiny as the vanishing Indian. The Texas State Board of Education wants to reinforce this knowledge gap, forcing Texas high schoolers to learn a sanitized version of U.S. history in the name of being "pro-American." The Texas board recently voted to allow state-defined curriculum for the Advanced Placement History Exam to trump that of the federally-defined curriculum on which the exam will be based in order to sidestep aspects of U.S. history they find distasteful.

Generalised problems kill startups It’s crazy how often I hear founders say ‘I think the problem we’re really solving is X’. Hang on a second… You ‘think’? The surprising thing is that if you forgot temporarily why you started your business, you’re not alone. Beautycheck - social perception Do attractive people have any advantages? Are they treated better than less attractive? Is it important to look good on an application photo? According to our investigations the answer to these questions is yes.

What does a doodle do? It boosts your memory and concentration You know you're bored when you start shading in the squares of your notebook. Apparently it's a habit that could be helping you to concentrate. In a neat little experiment, Jackie Andrade asked forty participants to listen to a monotone two and a half minute phone message about arrangements for a party. They were told the message would be dull, that there was no need to memorise it, but that they should write down the names of the people who would be able to attend the party.

Inattentional blindness Also known as perceptual blindness, inattentive blindness results from a lack of attention that is not associated with vision defects or deficits, as an individual fails to perceive an unexpected stimulus in plain sight. When it becomes impossible to attend to all the stimuli in a given situation, a temporary “blindness” effect can occur, as individuals fail to see unexpected but often salient objects or stimuli.[1] The term was coined by Arien Mack and Irvin Rock in 1992 and was used as the title of their book of the same name, published by MIT press in 1998,[2] in which they describe the discovery of the phenomenon and include a collection of procedures used in describing it.[3] A famous study that demonstrated inattentional blindness asked participants whether or not they noticed a gorilla walking through the scene of a visual task they had been given.[1] Research on inattentional blindness suggests that the phenomenon can occur in any individual, independent of cognitive deficits.

This Columbus Day, Seeking the Real History of Native Americans  A Q&A with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States. By Mark Trecka CHICAGO -- When Howard Zinn published A People's History of the United States in 1980, historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz told Zinn that he had largely failed to include the narratives of Native Americans. Zinn replied that it was up to Dunbar-Ortiz to write that book. Tapping our powers of persuasion Most psychologists will read this “Questionnaire” with Robert Cialdini, PhD. That may or may not be true, but according to Cialdini, that statement is powerfully persuasive because we tend to go along with our peers. Cialdini, who retired last year from a teaching and research position at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz., is a renowned expert in the science of swaying. In his seminal book on the topic, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” (Quill, 1984), he went undercover to learn the tricks mastered by used-car dealers and Fortune 500 executives alike, bringing persuasion research to psychology’s forefront.

Brain Parts Function The brain is the most complex organ in the body. It is the organ that allows us to think, have emotions, move, and even dream. Given this complexity, it should not be surprising that there are many ways to separate the parts of the brain. Brain parts can be separated on the basis of what they look like to the naked eye, under a microscope, or by what certain brain parts do.

Related:  Psychologie et écologie