Why the wiring of our brains makes it hard to stop climate change

… Humans aren’t well wired to act on complex statistical risks. We care a lot more about the tangible present than the distant future. Many of us do that to the extreme — what behavioral scientists call hyperbolic discounting — which makes it particularly hard to grapple with something like […] Read more »

Who Falls for Fake News? The Roles of Analytic Thinking, Motivated Reasoning, Political Ideology, and Bullshit Receptivity

Inaccurate beliefs pose a threat to democracy and fake news represents a particularly egregious and direct avenue by which inaccurate beliefs have been propagated via social media. Here we investigate the cognitive psychological profile of individuals who fall prey to fake news. CONT. Gordon Pennycook & David G. Rand, Yale […] Read more »

Confidence Boomed After the Election. The Economy Hasn’t.

After Donald J. Trump won the presidential election, Americans’ optimism about the economic future soared. But midway through the year, that optimism has not translated into concrete economic gains. This seeming contradiction exposes a reality about the role of psychology in economics — or more specifically, how psychology is connected […] Read more »

What makes populist leaders tick? Here are 3 things we’ve learned.

… For decades, most political theories tended to assume that people were rational, which suggested that it didn’t much matter exactly who held power. Of course, psychologists have known for a long time that this assumption wasn’t always true, but it was difficult to study top decision-makers to draw general […] Read more »

You’re Not Going to Change Your Mind

… It recently struck us that confirmation bias is often conflated with “telling people what they want to hear,” which is actually a distinct phenomenon known as desirability bias, or the tendency to credit information you want to believe. … So we decided to conduct an experiment that would isolate […] Read more »

21st-century propaganda: A guide to interpreting and confronting the dark arts of persuasion

… The belief, or rather hope, that humankind is ultimately rational has gripped Western politics at least since Descartes, and inspired such 19th-century optimists as Thomas Jefferson and John Stuart Mill. “Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe,” Jefferson famously wrote. But in […] Read more »