Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Motivated Reasoning

In his book "Kluge", Gary Marcus, Professor of Psychology at NYU, writes:

Our tendency to accept what we wish to believe (what we are motivated to believe) with much less scrutiny than what we don't want to believe is a bias known as "motivated reasoning", a kind of flip side to confirmation bias. Whereas confirmation bias is an automatic tendency to notice data that fit with our beliefs, motivated reasoning is the complementary tendency to scrutinize ideas more carefully if we don't like them than if we do.

Are the political elite better equiped to avoid such traps or can democracy do it better?

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