The focus on misinformation leads to a profound misunderstanding of why people believe and act on bad information

((For link to the original article, click here)) The misinformation panic In the aftermath of Brexit and Trump’s 2016 presidential victory, the commentariat scrambled for explanations of these surprising and—to many—distressing events. One story that quickly won widespread acceptance appealed to misinformation. In this narrative, democracies were breaking under the weight of an explosion of … Continue reading The focus on misinformation leads to a profound misunderstanding of why people believe and act on bad information

To communicate scientific research, we need to confront motivated ignorance

((For link to original article, click here)) Successful decision-making within a democracy depends on an informed electorate. It is both depressing and alarming, then, that studies of political knowledge among the general population reveal a consistent lesson: The public is often ignorant and misinformed when it comes to basic matters of fact and issues of scientific … Continue reading To communicate scientific research, we need to confront motivated ignorance

Socially Adaptive Minds

Any attempt to understand human psychology must reconcile two characteristics of our species: the extraordinarily adaptive character of human intelligence in some contexts, and the conspicuous manifestations of stupidity and irrationality in others. On the one hand, human beings are remarkable. Not morally or aesthetically remarkable, but remarkable from a quasi-engineering perspective. With astonishing energetic … Continue reading Socially Adaptive Minds

Bayes Mania, Just-So Stories, and the Irrational Mind

In a recent article and then blog post I put forward a challenge to highly influential (e.g. here and here) hierarchical Bayesian models of psychosis in computational psychiatry. Phil Corlett—one of the most prominent champions of such models—has offered a compelling response to this challenge. What follows is partly an elaboration and defence of the claims … Continue reading Bayes Mania, Just-So Stories, and the Irrational Mind