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Monday, May 15, 2017

Did you ever wonder how someone makes up their mind? Others and George Lakoff

It's now May of 2020 and we are collectively in the middle of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  I have not updated or edited this collection.  I should.  Perhaps soon.  I have been thinking about this blog entry from May of 2017.  There is more to the story ... a few more insights.

Did you ever wonder how someone makes up their mind?  How they then become so resolute in what they "believe" to be the real truth or fact?

Over the past several years, especially since Scott Walker was elected governor of our state, I have been among the wandering wonderers.  Pragmatically people had beliefs, that although I felt were wrong, they held those beliefs nonetheless.  How does one go about affecting beliefs or changing a person's mind let alone a group?  So I kept the question in my mind and passively went about creating a record, in a blog, collecting facts over time to see if I could find "facts" that changed my mind or to say more accurately, refined my thoughts.

Along the way I collected so many stories from different people and disciplines that were independently interesting.  As I collected those stories it seemed they were only related to some small part of my question.

Many things were mulled over and then I encountered the following which I posted in January, 2012. My interest stemmed from curiosity about "Behavioral Economics".  The use of the word "moral" in the title also intrigued me since the politics of many to the right seem to believe they have "a better moral compass" than others.

TED : Dan Ariely - Our buggy moral code - explains ENRON, Politics

A month later I encountered from many sources, how at least one "social psychologist" had concluded from research that liberals did not like to see "animals or people harmed" but conservatives "ranked loyalty to the tribe" first among their values.  He added that these were tendencies and otherwise liberals and conservatives were not so different.  This was added to the blog in March, 2012.

MSNBC, CSPAN, TED, PBS - Moyers -How do Liberals & Conservatives View World - Haidt

Among other first collected stories another came from this TED talk and my subsequent reading of Kahneman's book Thinking, Fast and Slow.  He is a Nobel winner in Economics but professionally a psychologist. I learned we are neither rationale nor conscious, and rather easily biased by clever people. It slowly has sunk in and there were even a few guideposts about what clever people do to influence or at least get you to a point where you are more likely to listen and perhaps adopt or become more inflexible in your beliefs.  I put my blog entry out in September, 2012.

Added 03/13/2018

Think Politics - TED - Kahneman - Riddle: Experience vs Memory

The following blog entry was posted in December, 2013.  As a "sign-post" telling us where we were and where we are going. I have not encountered any story that better describe the differences in "political philosophy" between liberals and conservatives;  sort of whether they know it or not

Market Economy versus Market Society: Inequality and Civic Decisions - TED - Michael Sandel

September, 2015 - Two Hour Episode - PBS

A story of an optimistic man, biologist, originator of the field of "socialbiology"  and has changed our world view and the view of evolution and the human condition.  "We are a dysfunctional species.  ... [We have] Paleolithic emotions, we have medieval institutions, and on top of all that we have developed God like technology ... ... I have been a happy man in a terrible century."

E.O. Wilson of Ants and Men

October- November, 2015 - Six Episodes on PBS

David Eagleman (book and series) brings home conclusively how we are basically unconscious creatures.  Sad illustrations of how children deprived of nurture will never recover a normal life or intellect if the are deprived for the first 2-3 years of their life.

He also presents compelling insight as to how we are manipulated and genocide continues in our time.

The Brain - David Eagleman

This blog entry from January, 2016, is the product of a long study that began before 2011 by UW Professor Katherine Cramer.  The re-election of Scot Walker and the pending 2016 Presidential election brought the research into the fore.

Walker crafted messaging to exploit perceived differences that in reality did not exist.
“You’ve got a world driven by Madison, and a world driven by everybody else out across the majority of the rest of the state of Wisconsin,” said Walker on Wednesday at a capitol press conference. (April 7, 2011)
"The Politics of Resentment" = Scott Walker's political rise == rural resentment against the "liberal elite"

You need a toolkit and we often forget to be persuasive by listening and being creative ... from July, 2016 blog entry.
Psychology has a golden rule: If I am warm, you are usually warm. If I am hostile, you are too. But what happens if you flip the script and meet hostility with warmth? It's called "non-complementary behavior" — a mouthful, but a powerful concept, and very hard to execute. Alix and Hanna examine three attempts to pull it off: during a robbery, a terrorism crisis and a dating dry spell.
NPR: Invisibilia: Flip The Script > Dealing With Hostility, Anger, Confrontation - The Opposite

From the blog in March, 2017 about cognitive dissonance and why "you won't change your mind."
“A man with a conviction is a hard man to change,” Festinger, Henry Riecken, and Stanley Schacter wrote in When Prophecy Fails, their 1957 book about this study. “Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point … Suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: what will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before.” ...
This Article Won’t Change Your Mind - The Atlantic

In May, 2017, I read this story and in many ways it motivated me to put this collection of stories together.  It will not be that "last story" by any means but it is rather like a capstone event.  In retrospect I feel many of the previous stories contained the same elements but like the "progressives" and the "conservatives" I could not see nor hear those elements.  Why could I not understand the points made by George Lakoff?  Perhaps I just had to "take the journey".

Perhaps his "clues" in how to operationalize your "hearing aid" was most important.  His message is not so seemingly obtuse as his field of study, Cognitive Science and Linguistics.

...Lakoff’s message is simple, but it is couched in the language of cognitive linguistics and neuroscience. The problem is that political candidates rely on pollsters and PR people, not linguists or neuroscientists. So when Lakoff repeatedly says that “voters don’t vote their self-interest, they vote their values,” progressive politicians continually ignore him. His ideas don’t fit in with their worldview, so they can’t hear him.
But a worldview is exactly what Lakoff is talking about. “Ideas don’t float in the air, they live in your neuro-circuitry,” Lakoff said. Each time ideas in our neural circuits are activated, they get stronger. And over time, complexes of neural circuits create a frame through which we view the world. “The problem is, that frame is unconscious,” Lakoff said. “You aren’t aware of it because you don’t have access to your neural circuits.” So what happens when you hear facts that don’t fit in your worldview is that you can’t process them: you might ignore them, or reject or attack them, or literally not hear them. 
... Our thoughts are chemical in nature, and occur within the confines of a physical body: we are not 100 percent rational beings.
So if you are going to craft a message that can reach people who disagree with you, you have to understand their subconscious worldview. Lakoff calls this worldview a “frame,” and claims that Republicans have done a much better job with framing over the past 30 or 40 years. Republicans understand the narrative that governs many people in this country, and they target their message directly to that worldview. Democrats, on the other hand, ignore the worldview and focus instead on rationality, facts and policies. 
... Lakoff gave a talk recently at the Center for Right-Wing Studies and pointed out that students who become Democratic operatives tend to study political studies and statistics and demographics in college. “Students who lean Republican study marketing. “And that’s his point,” Rosenthal said. “It’s a very different way of thinking.” 
The rest of the story, if you read it, will either be an "ah ha" moment or something you "just can't believe".

Berkeley author George Lakoff says, ‘Don’t underestimate Trump’

WI 1848 Forward: How someone makes up their mind?  Others & George Lakoff - Radical #Conservatives vs #Progressives - #Kahneman #Ariely #Haidt #EOWilson et al

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