The Truth Hurts: People acting like lawyers rather than scientists

June 18, 2011 | By | Reply More

When emotion takes hold, humans tend to act like lawyers, furiously working to justify their beliefs, cherry picking their evidence. This tends to be exacerbated by the echo-chamber of the internet media, but this tendency existed long before modern times. Chis Mooney suggests that we are wired this way, because we have evolved to act quickly. The following PBS video uses the examples of global warming and the purported end of the world to explore the way many people are wired:

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

I agree with many of the points made in the above video, but I there is also a well-documented social component to “motivated reasoning.” If trusted others are believing X, you will be tempted to do likewise.

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Category: Psychology Cognition

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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