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Partisan Bias in Factual Beliefs About Politics

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

Bullock, et al., 2013:

In both experiments, all subjects were asked factual questions, but some were given financial incentives to answer correctly. In both experiments, we find that the incentives reduce partisan divergence substantially–on average, by about 55% and 60% across all of the questions for which partisan gaps appear when subjects are not incentivized. But offering an incentive for accurate responses will not deter cheerleading among those who are unsure of the correct factual response, because such people stand to gain little by forgoing it. In our second experiment, we therefore implement a treatment in which subjects were offered incentives both for correct responses and for admitting that they did not know the correct response. We find that partisan gaps are even smaller in this condition–about 80% smaller than for unincentivized responses. This finding suggests that partisan divergence is driven by both expressive behavior and by respondents’ knowledge that they do not actually know the correct answers.

(h/t Bryan Caplan http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2013/06/the_myth_of_the_8.html)

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2017 in religion

 

Study uncovers how brain damage increases religious fundamentalism

Research has found religious belief is associated with certain regions of the human brain, but there is still much to learn about how these areas influence religious belief. A new study in the journal Neuropsychologia found that lesions in a particular brain region tend to increase religious fundamentalism.

“Human beliefs, and in this case religious beliefs, are one of the cognitive and social knowledge stores that distinguish us from other species and are an indication of how evolution and cognitive/social processes influenced the development of the human brain,” Jordan Grafman of Northwestern University, the study’s corresponding author, told PsyPost.

Read more at PsyPost

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2017 in cognitive science, religion

 

Online purchase patterns show left-wingers and right-wingers read very different science books

Liberals were far more drawn to engineering, anthropology, and purer sciences like biology, astronomy or to a lesser extent physics. Conservatives were drawn more to applied disciplines such as medicine and law, and – in the highest association for the red tribe – climate science

Read more: https://digest.bps.org.uk/2017/06/06/online-purchase-patterns-show-left-wingers-and-right-wingers-read-very-different-science-books/

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2017 in economics/sociology

 

“Spiritual but not religious”: Cognition, schizotypy, and conversion in alternative beliefs

“Spiritual but not religious”: Cognition, schizotypy, and conversion in alternative beliefs

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001002771730135X
Abstract

The spiritual but not religious (SBNR) are a growing population in secularizing societies. Yet, we know little about the underlying psychology of this group or their belief profile. Based on an individual difference approach, we address this knowledge gap by comparing SBNR with religious and non-religious participants. In a sample of Americans (n = 1013), we find that the SBNR differ from non-religious and religious participants in a number of ways. SBNR participants are more likely to hold paranormal beliefs and to have an experiential relationship to the supernatural (e.g. have mystical experiences and feelings of universal connectedness), but are similar to religious participants in their profile of cognitive biases. SBNR participants score higher on measures of schizotypy than the religious or non-religious. Reported conversions from one group (religious, SBNR, or non-religious) to another since childhood corresponds with predictable differences in cognitive biases, with dualism predicting conversion to religion and schizotypy predicting conversion to SBNR.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2017 in cognitive science, religion

 

Study finds belief in aliens and religious belief share a similar psychological motivation


New research suggests that paranormal beliefs about extraterrestrial intelligence are linked to the need to find meaning in life. 

More at PsyPost

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2017 in cognitive science, religion

 

Creationist Baffled By The Existence Of Pee

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2016 in creationism, Funny

 

Children with Williams Syndrome don’t form racial stereotypes

WILLIAMS Syndrome (WS) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder caused by the deletion of about 28 genes from the long arm of chromosome 7. It is characterized by mild to moderate mental retardation and “elfin” facial features. Most strikingly, individuals with WS exhibit highly gregarious social behaviour: they approach strangers readily and indiscriminately, behaving as if…

Source: Children with Williams Syndrome don’t form racial stereotypes

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2016 in cognitive science

 
 
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