Tag Archives: politics

Our Brains Automatically Process Opinions We Agree With As If They Are Facts

As an old man who is often puzzled by popular trends this study proved very enlightening. I had put a lot of my confusion off to a generational gap. I make no pretense of understanding many of the Millennials’ traits. But it seems that I was stumped by a  truth relevant to all generations not just the younger one.

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Summary: A new study reveals we quickly process opinions we agree with as facts, even if the opinion is non-factual.

In this post-truth world of alternative facts, there is understandable interest in the psychology behind why people are generally so wedded to their opinions and why it is so difficult to change minds.

We already know a lot about the deliberate mental processes that people engage in to protect their world view, from seeking out confirmatory evidence (the “confirmation bias“) to questioning the methods used to marshal contradictory evidence (the scientific impotence excuse).

Now a team led by Michael Gilead at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev report in Social Psychological and Personality Science that they have found evidence of rapid and involuntarily mental processes that kick-in whenever we encounter opinions we agree with, similar to the processes previously described for how we respond to basic facts.

The researchers write that “their demonstration of such a knee-jerk acceptance of opinions may help explain people’s remarkable ability to remain entrenched in their convictions.” Continue reading

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Why people are discounting what they read in mainstream media

I don’t plan to do a lot of writing about politics or the mainstream media, but as a former member of it, I am appalled at the quality of the information the media is attempting to shove down the public’s throat.  I wrote about CNBC Chief Washington Correspondent, John Harwood previously.

A headline in the Washington Post Opinion page by stated  Trump is being handed a great economy. What happens when it goes south? As if the economy declining after the new president takes office is a foregone conclusion.

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Here are some of the details I am aware of on the present state of the economy. I bet you know others from your own experience …

Lowest labor participation rate since 1970s which makes the current unemployment rate much higher than is being reported

Almost 95 million Americans have left the labor force

Many Americans forced to work two part time jobs to make ends meet

In a Treasury Department poll of 50,000 people, less than half said they could raise $400 cash in a week if needed for an emergency

Worst recovery since the 1940s

Lowest home ownership rate in 51  years.

Almost 13 million MORE Americans on food stamps than when Obama was elected

Over 43 million Americans living in poverty

One in 5 families without someone in the workforce

Obama put the country into more debt than all previous presidents combined

Suicide rate among middle aged men in the Rust Belt is up

40 % of student debt is in arrears – $1.3 trillion

This is what the Washington Post calls a great economy. How much farther south can this economy go? Is it any wonder that the mainstream media is losing credibility and readership?

As a matter of fact, the Dow Jones Industrial average gained around 2400 points this year, of which 1400 came after the November 8 Presidential Election. So, clearly, investors feel differently than the Washington Post about the future prospects for the economy.

Happy New Year!

Tony

 

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Filed under mainstream media, politics, Washington Post

Stop Letting Your Feelings Color Your Thoughts

In view of the upcoming elections, I thought this was a particularly timely post. Whether you want to trumpet the Donald or pillory Hillary, there are some worthwhile ideas here.

thoughts

 

Tony

Our Better Health

Imagine getting into a political discussion with someone who is highly passionate about their beliefs. If the conversation is a good one, those beliefs will likely, at some point, come under question. If their emotional PH is high enough, they’ll interpret that as not only their ideas being threatened, but their identities too. Soon, you’re not having a conversation anymore, but a back-and-forth defense match. It’s not about listening, it’s about being right. You reach for over-generalizations, they argue with singular, personal anecdotes, you make sweeping assumptions, cite studies you read once-upon-a-time, their faces widen with bewilderment at how you cannot possibly see what’s so logical and self-evident to them.

This is a really common example of what happens when people allow their emotions to color their thoughts.

Being passionate is fine. Feeling a lot is fine. But when you lose your ability to differentiate what you feel from what…

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Filed under dealing with stress, emotions, relaxation, stress

The Dark Side of Laws Banning Soft Drinks

Everyone knows that Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to cap soda servings at restaurants at 16 ounces was halted by the New York Supreme Court last week.

I have written numerous posts on the evils of soft drinks, both sugary and diet (chemical-laden). But, I think that people have to right to make up their own minds and if they want to drink these concoctions they should be able to despite the fact that the drinks are a major cause of the obesity problem plaguing this country.

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This blog back in June came out against the ban. I have an entire page of posts on What’s Wrong With Soft Drinks?.

So, clearly I have mixed feelings about it, I oppose the drinks but support the rights of individuals to drink them.

I was very disappointed to learn that other opposition to the ban resulted not from concern about individual rights, but from generous gifts by the soft drink industry, Coca-Cola.

The NAACP joined the opposition to the ban, despite the fact the the obesity rate for African-Americans in New York City is higher than the city average. The New York Times said that “minority neighborhoods would be among the key beneficiaries of a rule that would limit the sale of super-size, calorie-laden beverages.”

Coca-Cola donated $100,000 to the NAACP as recently as December. Ironically, it was for Project H.E.L.P., (Healthy Eating, Lifestyle Change and Physical Activity), a program dedicated to promoting active and healthy living.

The Hispanic Federation also lists Coke as a donor. In February 2012, its president, Lillian Rodriguez Lopez, left the nonprofit group to become director of Latin Affairs at Coke.

It seems really disappointing to see these minority groups taking gifts from the soft drink industry and then supporting the industry in a situation that is clearly harmful to their members.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest CSPI, the soda industry’s generosity includes groups representing doctors, dentists, dieticians, anti-hunger advocates and others.

Sad to see this money possibly standing in the way of the war on obesity.

Tony

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Filed under Coca-Cola, diabetes, diet soda, fast food, fat kids, NAACP, soft drinks, water, Weight