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  • In 2013, a team of researchers held a math test.

  • The exam was administered to over 1,100 American adults,

  • and designed, in part, to test their ability to evaluate sets of data.

  • Hidden among these math problems were two almost identical questions.

  • Both problems used the same difficult data set,

  • and each had one objectively correct answer.

  • The first asked about the correlation between rashes and a new skin cream.

  • The second asked about the correlation between crime rates and gun control legislation.

  • Participants with strong math skills

  • were much more likely to get the first question correct.

  • But despite being mathematically identical,

  • the results for the second question looked totally different.

  • Here, math skills weren't the best predictor

  • of which participants answered correctly.

  • Instead, another variable the researchers had been tracking came into play:

  • political identity.

  • Participants whose political beliefs aligned

  • with a correct interpretation of the data

  • were far more likely to answer the problem right.

  • Even the study's top mathematicians

  • were 45% more likely to get the second question wrong

  • when the correct answer challenged their political beliefs.

  • What is it about politics that inspires this kind of illogical error?

  • Can someone's political identity actually affect their ability

  • to process information?

  • The answer lies in a cognitive phenomenon

  • that has become increasingly visible in public life: partisanship.

  • While it's often invoked in the context of politics,

  • partisanship is more broadly defined as a strong preference or bias

  • towards any particular group or idea.

  • Our political, ethnic, religious, and national identities

  • are all different forms of partisanship.

  • Of course, identifying with social groups

  • is an essential and healthy part of human life.

  • Our sense of self is defined not only by who we are as individuals,

  • but also by the groups we belong to.

  • As a result, we're strongly motivated to defend our group identities,

  • protecting both our sense of self and our social communities.

  • But this becomes a problem when the group's beliefs

  • are at odds with reality.

  • Imagine watching your favorite sports team commit a serious foul.

  • You know that's against the rules,

  • but your fellow fans think it's totally acceptable.

  • The tension between these two incompatible thoughts

  • is called cognitive dissonance,

  • and most people are driven to resolve this uncomfortable state of limbo.

  • You might start to blame the referee, complain that the other team started it,

  • or even convince yourself there was no foul in the first place.

  • In a case like this,

  • people are often more motivated to maintain a positive relationship

  • with their group than perceive the world accurately.

  • This behavior is especially dangerous in politics.

  • On an individual scale,

  • allegiance to a party allows people to create a political identity

  • and support policies they agree with.

  • But partisan-based cognitive dissonance can lead people to reject evidence

  • that's inconsistent with the party line or discredits party leaders.

  • And when entire groups of people revise the facts in service of partisan beliefs,

  • it can lead to policies that aren't grounded in truth or reason.

  • This problem isn't new

  • political identities have been around for centuries.

  • But studies show that partisan polarization

  • has increased dramatically in the last few decades.

  • One theory explaining this increase

  • is the trend towards clustering geographically in like-minded communities.

  • Another is the growing tendency to rely on partisan news

  • or social media bubbles.

  • These often act like echo chambers,

  • delivering news and ideas from people with similar views.

  • Fortunately, cognitive scientists have uncovered some strategies

  • for resisting this distortion filter.

  • One is to remember that you're probably more biased than you think.

  • So when you encounter new information,

  • make a deliberate effort to push through your initial intuition

  • and evaluate it analytically.

  • In your own groups, try to make fact-checking and questioning assumptions

  • a valued part of the culture.

  • Warning people that they might have been presented with misinformation

  • can also help.

  • And when you're trying to persuade someone else,

  • affirming their values and framing the issue in their language

  • can help make people more receptive.

  • We still have a long way to go before solving the problem of partisanship.

  • But hopefully, these tools can help keep us better informed,

  • and capable of making evidence-based decisions about our shared reality.

In 2013, a team of researchers held a math test.

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B1 中級

党派性の心理学 - ジェイ・ヴァン・バベル (The psychology of partisanship - Jay Van Bavel)

  • 57 2
    Seraya に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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