Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cognitive Dissonance, Cognitive Shmissonance

On this past Thursday's show, I had as my guests two psychologists, Brittany Liu and Pete Ditto, from the University California-Irvine, to discuss the results of a study they had conducted that was being touted by liberal bloggers as proof that conservatives "lie to themselves" to justify their already existing beliefs. You can check out the original article that was being shared on my Facebook for the story:

Study: Conservatives More Likely To Make Up Facts In Order to Justify Their Beliefs

I was interested in the study, and how you measure something like that, so they agreed to come on the show and explain their testing, information-gathering, scoring, methodology, etc. 

During our conversation, we discussed how both conservatives and liberals engage in this behavior, and how liberals were, paradoxically, using the study as evidence to support their already existing beliefs, which was proving the point of the study. Wheels within wheels, My Friends. Wheels within wheels.

Anyway, Brittany gave me a few addresses online so I could share the study and some other information with all of you, so, finally, here they are, in no particular order:

Moral Coherence Blog

Brittany Liu's website

Pete Ditto's website

According to Brittany, there's a link to the study on the blog and on both of their websites, so if you don't want to go through a politically-biased site to get to the study, you can go through them.

There is also a group Brittany Liu started on Facebook called Moral Coherence that you should go and Like, if you want to join in on some conversations about the topic. The stated definition of Moral Coherence is "...a term my graduate advisor (Pete Ditto) and I came up with to describe the tendency for people (especially partisans) to fit factual beliefs about science and evidence to their moral world-view."

In our highly-partisan society, it's easy to see where the dangers of this kind of thinking come into play: otherwise intelligent, rational people ignore factual data and actually alter the perceived benefit-to-cost ratio away from reality to support their stances, and nothing gets accomplished. 

Sound like any Congress we know?

The show itself was informative and fun, but I'm kind of fascinated by understanding what makes people think and do the things they do. If you'd like to listen to that show, follow the link at the top of this blog that says "Thursday's show."

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