Voter preparation manual

February 20, 2012 | By | Reply More

I had posted on this Psyblog list before: “Why We do Dumb or Irrational Things: 10 Brilliant Social Psychology Studies.” I re-read it this morning. It would seem to be a good article for all people to read before voting. It’s important for each of us to know how our brains work before assuming that we are voting with “free will.” We often act on the basis of invisible social pressures. It’s not a good idea to simply declare that we are “rational” without examining these (and many other) vulnerabilities and biases. Here are the studies summarized in the Psyblog article:

  1. The Halo Effect: When Your Own Mind is a Mystery
  2. How and Why We Lie to Ourselves: Cognitive Dissonance
  3. War, Peace and the Role of Power in Sherif’s Robbers Cave Experiment
  4. Our Dark Hearts: The Stanford Prison Experiment
  5. Just Following Orders? Stanley Milgram’s Obedience Experiment
  6. Why We All Stink as Intuitive Psychologists: The False Consensus Bias
  7. Why Groups and Prejudices Form So Easily: Social Identity Theory
  8. How to Avoid a Bad Bargain: Don’t Threaten
  9. Why We Don’t Help Others: Bystander Apathy
  10. I Can’t Believe My Eyes: Conforming to the Norm

Category: cognitive biases, Ingroup/Outgroup, 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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