Why you can’t handle the truth: the psychology of belief

The political sharks and their remora-like pundits are already circling in anticipation of next year’s elections. Some observers complain that modern campaign speeches, advertising and debates have little substance — lots of big teeth barred in smiles or grimaces, but very little bite. But it may be that substance doesn’t matter as much as we’d like to think.A recent study in the Journal of Risk Research indicates that facts aren’t likely to sways us towards one viewpoint or another — instead, we humans go with our gut and rationalize around contradictory evidence. If the researchers are right, then the winning candidates will be the ones who speak to people’s emotions and not their brains.

In the current issue of Mother Jones, author and science journalist Chris Mooney looks at why charts and graphs are less persuasive than old fashioned charisma. Need to Know sat down with Mooney to discuss how our emotions are influencing our politics.

 
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Comments

  • hector

    xxxxxxxxx

  • cgp

    Sick arrogance

  • http://twitter.com/notexactlyhuman Magistrate Apeman

    Brilliant segment.

  • Anonymous

    Could explain the DIVORCE RATE!

  • Jefazos

    right on! Can reasoning be motivated by some ideal and “pure” FACT? Let’s imagine Star Trek’s Spock (no, I’m not a trekky). Is his motivated reasoning flawed? In the real world, I think we could use that kind of belief system. Evidence, uh … (duh?) counts.

  • Anonymous

    The end of the 13th bak’tun and the various doomsday cults are like apples and discarded shoes. This “report” refuses to disclose #thetruth. Additionally I have yet to see any notes that have been downloaded from anyone’s blogs.

    Too soon, guys. Too soon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Mathwig/100002966917784 Mike Mathwig

    Americans Anonymous Steps:
    The first two; 1. we admited we were powerless over our place of birth– and that our lives had become unmanageable. 2. Came to belive that a power greater than a corportion could restore us to sanity.