What transforms reasonable people into an angry mob? Why are we so eager to dismiss those who disagree with us as inherently evil? These are questions which Jonathan Haidt has spent his career trying to answer. One of the world’s most influential social psychologists and a member of Persuasion’s Board of Advisors, he argues that a lot of recent cultural shifts are encouraging emotional fragility rather than resilience. A professor of ethical leadership at NYU’s Stern School of Business, Haidt seeks to employ moral psychology to promote dialogue rather than division.
In this week’s episode of The Good Fight, Yascha Mounk sits down with Jonathan Haidt to discuss psychological differences between the left and the right, the human tendency to discriminate in favor of the in-group, and how to build a less tribal culture and country.
What happens when moral beliefs collide with documented evidence? For many people, it means doubling down on whichever compliments their worldview.
The authors offer two models for this system of rationalization. In the first model, moral concerns shift the correct criteria for making judgments—for instance, by lowering the amount of hard evidence deemed sufficient to justify a particular belief. “Morality changes how much evidence [people] consider to be required to hold [a particular] belief in an evidentially-sound way,” the authors write.
Update: Most of what’s below was posted January 2019. Since then, the boy in the left of the image filed defamation lawsuits against several news agencies and a few of them have settled. Here are a couple of articles about those lawsuits and their resolution. This topic also fits well with the new course concepts around knowledge and knower, knowledge and technology, and knowledge and politics.
CNN Settles Lawsuit Brought by Covington Catholic Student Nicholas Sandmann (1/7/2020)
Numerous national media outlets painted Sandmann and his classmates as menacing — and in some cases racist — after an edited video emerged of Sandmann smiling, inches away from the face of Nathan Phillips, an elderly Native American man, while attending the March for Life on the National Mall. A more complete video of the encounter, which emerged later, showed that Phillips had approached the Covington students and begun drumming in their faces, prompting them to respond with school chants.
And another from 7/24/2020
Interesting situation from a TOK perspective. Below is a collection of articles about the topic. They raise a lot of interesting questions about how we acquire knowledge and the relationships among the various ways of knowing. It also lends itself to ask about the primacy of some WOKs over others.
TOK Day 31 (daily student worksheet)
What’s also interesting is how impactful the image was. The image seemed to be a perfect representation of how many people view the current moment in the United States. It fit perfectly into prior assumptions about the world and spoke to a deeper truth. Interpreting and explaining this image!and fitting it into preexisting mental schema seemed pretty easy.
Once more and more videos started to emerge and the greater context became known, there were some interesting developments. Some people Continue reading “The “Smirk seen ’round the world” Updated 7/28/2020″
The problem of users sharing links without reading them is not new. A 2016 study from computer scientists at Columbia University and Microsoft found that 59% of links posted on Twitter are never clicked.
Twitter’s solution is not to ban such retweets, but to inject “friction” into the process, in order to try to nudge some users into rethinking their actions on the social network. It is an approach the company has been taking more frequently recently, in an attempt to improve “platform health” without facing accusations of censorship.
Do the diversity or implicit bias training programs used by companies and institutions like Starbucks and the Oakland Police Department help reduce bias?
I’m at the moment very skeptical about most of what’s offered under the label of implicit bias training, because the methods being used have not been tested scientifically to indicate that they are effective. And they’re using it without trying to assess whether the training they do is achieving the desired results.
I see most implicit bias training as window dressing that looks good both internally to an organization and externally, as if you’re concerned and trying to do something. But it can be deployed without actually achieving anything, which makes it in fact counterproductive. After 10 years of doing this stuff and nobody reporting data, I think the logical conclusion is that if it was working, we would have heard about it.
The article summarizes what Mitra spoke about in his TED talk (linked below). This tells us a lot about the role technology can play in education along with the role of intrinsic motivation and self guided learning. Our recent foray into remote learning calls into question a lot of our assumptions about education.
One group in Rajasthan, he said, learnt how to record and play music on the computer within four hours of it arriving in their village.
“At the end of it we concluded that groups of children can learn to use computers on their own irrespective of who or where they are,” he said.
This idea of a gullible, pliable populace is, of course, nothing new. Voltaire said, “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”. But no, says Mercier, Voltaire had it backwards: “It is wanting to commit atrocities that makes you believe absurdities”…
If someone says Obama is a Muslim, their primary reason may be to indicate that they are a member of the group of people who co-ordinate around that statement. When a social belief and a true belief are in conflict, Klintman says, people will opt for the belief that best signals their social identity – even if it means lying to themselves…
Such a “belief” – being largely performative – rarely translates into action. It remains what Mercier calls a reflective belief, with no consequences on one’s behaviour, as opposed to an intuitive belief, which guides decisions and actions.