Our Evolutionary Instincts Are Turning Us Into Chicken Littles In This Modern World
Our brains are wired for survival in a time that didn't include the vast wealth of information now available to us -- and it's making us more scared of the world than we need to be. Meanwhile, researchers find some more bad news on political partisanship.
The Wall Street Journal:
The World Isn’t As Bad As Your Wired Brain Tells You
Ever wonder why people’s perception of the incidence of crime, terrorism, kidnapping and other violent acts is often much higher than the reality? Why the U.S. is becoming a low-trust society? Why Americans are collectively in a funk? A big part of the answer, according to experts in social science, psychology and computer science, is that the biases that were once useful to our primitive forebears have become—like the craving for sweet foods—detriments in our modern world. Instincts that may once have saved us from real dangers have now, thanks to global instantaneous communication, turned us all into Chicken Littles. (Mims, 8/31)
Los Angeles Times:
Caught In A Political Echo Chamber? Listening To The Opposition Can Make Partisanship Even Worse
Dwelling in a political echo chamber — where you only encounter people who agree with you — is hardly conducive to a healthy democracy. But it turns out that broadening your horizons by perusing opposing points of view on social media may just make the partisan divide worse. That’s the depressing result of an unusual experiment involving 909 Democrats and 751 Republicans who spend a lot of time on Twitter. (Kaplan, 8/31)