Take A Test of Political (and other) Biases

It’s much easy for our brains to process things that are congruent, that is when things make sense because they’re related to each other.

For example say the following words:

RED
BLUE
PURPLE
BROWN
YELLOW
GREEN
GRAY
ORANGE

Now try this but do NOT read the word, instead say the color of the word:

RED
BLUE
PURPLE
BROWN
YELLOW
GREEN
GRAY
ORANGE

Didn’t that take longer? This effect is called the Stroop Effect. Most of us have been trained and ingrained that reading something has priority over other ways of getting facts. So we have difficulty with this task since it doesn’t make sense to our brain to ignore the word in favor of the color of the word. This in turn leads to longer time to answer the implicit question of what’s the color. The time difference to process what makes sense to us verses what doesn’t allows us to test for biases. Continue reading

Ryan Speech Fact Checking from Business Community

I found the Business Insider checking Ryan’s speech one of the more interesting fact checks. Particularly their take on the S&P downgrade of the USA’s credit rating. Concerning the downgrade S&P stated:

Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act. Key macroeconomic assumptions in the base case scenario include trend real GDP growth of 3% and consumer price inflation near 2% annually over the decade.

An interesting question is why Republicans would bring this up in their own convention. I’d expect this much more at the Democratic convention.

Political Humor (& truth) At Its Best

I think the political party that best represents me is that of Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert. And one of the best stump speeches I’ve heard from them is below:        

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Paul Ryan’s Misleading GOP Convention Speech
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

Thoughtful. Funny. Sad. Paradoxical. I love the turbulent ambiguity of it all.

Ann Barnhardt:This Person Doesn’t Look Like A President!

Sign on I-70 just outside Ft Riley.

Sign on I-70 just outside Ft Riley.

Going to and from Denver on I-70 we see this sign (going eastbound)  just outside to Ft Riley. I find this a likely example of Republican cognition. It also seems to be put up by a person who doesn’t understand what Marxism is or who wants to throw a scary term around for her own reasons. It was so interesting I had to take the exit and take a picture.

I Don’t Need No Stink’n Driver’s License!

These words were uttered by one mad patron at the Wyoming State Law Library. He’d gotten a ticket for not having such a license and had come to the library to read where in the Constitution it said he needed one. What could my wife do as a librarian but sit him down with a copy of the constitution to read?

And these folks can vote too.

Republican Cognition

Sign on I-70 just outside Ft Riley.

Sign on I-70 just outside Ft Riley.

It has long interested me how people choose their political party or group. It has never made much sense to me. For instance, it’s likely the same person who identifies themselves as pro-life would also be more likely to identify themselves as supporting the death penalty, certainly an anti-life policy. How is this possible?

It seemed there was little that tied the person’s political platform together in a logical way. Forget the cerebral cortex; it seemed to be based on deeper brain function. It might be like color blindness I reasoned. Hardly perceptible to the person with it, or those observing that person. Yet fundamentally framing their world and what they believe about it.

We are now entering a brave new world where we can begin to understand this as a science. For instance, recent studies show that Republican Voters Know GOP Candidates When They See Them (original article here). What the researchers found was that Republican voters were more influenced by facial stereotypes than Democratic voters. The research didn’t identify what it was that people keyed off of, except women and ethnic minorities were viewed as less likely to be Democrats.

UPDATE 6 Sep 2012: Check out my blog post Ann Barnhardt:This Person Doesn’t Look Like A President! for an example of this.