This episode of YANSS came along at a crucial time for me. I’ve been struggling with lesser traits.
I love the idea of the “out self” and how we align our internal compass to what we project outwardly. This isn’t just about politics. We all exhibit the most inexplicable tribalism that doesn’t have much meaning or benefit. I know I do. I pick a favorite computing platform. A preferred text editor. My phone. My favorite movies. Pretty much anything. Then I feel compelled to defend that decision by criticizing different choices.
There are some great studies in this episode that reveal how arbitrary we are. We pick a side even when we don’t think we do. We pick a side, often when we don’t even want to. It’s in our genes to have group loyalty because our tribe was our life.
Just knowing about motivated reasoning is a small step toward being a better modern human.
Kunda asserts that accuracy goals delay the process of coming to a premature conclusion, in that accuracy goals increase both the quantity and quality of processing—particularly in leading to more complex inferential cognitive processing procedures. When researchers manipulated test subjects motivation to be accurate by informing them that the target task was highly important or that they would be expected to defend their judgments, it was found that subjects utilized deeper processing, and that there was less biasing of information.
It’s exhausting to analyze every opinion I have. I don’t like Microsoft Windows. But why don’t I like it? Some opinions are not worthy of the effort. But, when I feel an “us verses them” position develop it’s healthy to dig into that a little bit.