Here are today's must-reads:
Have you ever wondered why people are persuaded by outright lies during political campaigns? And why lies tend to "stick" even after they're debunked by facts? Some new research sheds light on why this happens, at least in terms of people's thought processes, if not their underlying emotional drives.
It's a major phenomena: Prior to the 2012 election campaign, the most glaring lies in the political arena were that Obama is a Muslim and that global warming is a big hoax. For example, a Pew Research poll found that 30 percent of all Republicans described the president as Muslim. And others, such as Sen. James Inhofe have regularly called climate change "the greatest hoax" of all. And recently, Rep. Paul Broun -- who sits on the House Science Committee, ironically -- argued that evolution and the big bang are "lies from hell."
Currently, as the presidential campaign went into high gear after Labor Day, both sides regularly accuse each other of engaging in outright lies and extreme exaggeration about their positions and "facts," while insisting on the truthfulness of their own. Media outlets such as the Washington Post, the New York Times and NPR have been providing fact-checking analyses about statements from President Obama and Gov. Romney as a means to restore some degree of truth.
Lies tend to stick in people's minds, and can sway the outcome of elections, as well as public opinion in many arenas. So, what happens within our minds and emotions that make us receptive to lies, and then resistant to information that exposes the truth? A study led by Stephan Lewandowsky of the University of Western Australia explains part of what may happen. The researchers found that "Weighing the plausibility and the source of a message is cognitively more difficult than simply accepting that the message is true -- it requires additional motivational and cognitive resources."
The players at Table 25 fought first over the choice of pawns. Doug Herold, a forty-four-year-old real estate appraiser, settled on the car. The player across from him, a shark-eyed IT recruiter named Billy, opted for the ship and took a pull from a can of Coors. The shoe was taken by a goateed toxic-tort litigator named Eric, who periodically distracted himself from the game on a BlackBerry so that he “could get billable hours out of this.” The dog was taken by a doughy computer technician named Trevis, who had driven from Canton, Ohio, as a “good deed” to help the National Kidney Foundation, sponsor of the 25th Annual Corporate Monopoly Tournament, which is held each year in the lobby of the U.S. Steel Tower in downtown Pittsburgh. On hand for the event, which had attracted 112 players, divided into twenty-eight tables of four, were the Pittsburgh Steelers’ mascot, Steely McBeam, who hopped around the lobby grunting and huzzahing with a giant foam I beam under his arm; three referees dressed in stripes, with whistles around their necks; and a sleepy-looking man, attired in a long judges’ robe and carrying a two-foot-long oaken gavel, who was in fact a civil-court judge for Allegheny County donating his time “to make sure these people follow the rules.”
I had spoken the night before with Doug, who won the previous year’s tournament, about his strategy for victory. “Well, last year I managed to get Boardwalk and Park Place, and then everybody landed on them,” he explained, chalking his success up to dumb luck. “What you have to do,” he said, “is get a monopoly, any monopoly, as quickly as you can.” I asked him if he knew the secret history of the game. He confessed that he did not.
Texting and instant messaging make it easier to navigate our social lives, but they are also turning us into ill-mannered flakes. Not long ago, the only way to break a social engagement, outside of blowing off someone completely, was to do it in person or on the phone. An effusive apology was expected, or at least the appearance of contrition.
But now, when our fingers tap our way out of social obligations, the barriers to canceling have been lowered. Not feeling up for going out? Have better plans? Just type a note on the fly (“Sorry can’t make it tonight”) and hit send.
And don’t worry about giving advance notice. The later, the better. After all, bailing on dinner via text message doesn’t feel as disrespectful as standing up someone, or as embarrassing.
New Yorkers with social-driven ambitions and hyper schedules seem to be especially prone to this. And it is practically endemic among those in their 20s and younger, who were raised in the age of instant chatter.
These are some of the other things I've been tweeting about today:
- "Why Won't Mitt Romney Go on Any Late Night Shows?" http://pjblack.me/Q1ffXG
- good question: "What are an Artist’s Metrics for Success in the Digital Age?" http://pjblack.me/PYK4fD
- a reporter's memoir of what it's like to tell the truth about today's china: "Me and My Censor" http://pjblack.me/RYZxsC
- "Former executioners share their misgivings about death penalty" http://pjblack.me/RYZz3R
- is our smartphone helping us be rude?: "sry gotta bail mayb nxt tme: Let Your Smartphone Deliver the Bad News" http://pjblack.me/RcnLy2
- a bizarre law in japan sees the police raiding clubs for the crime of dancing: "Japan: no dancing please" http://pjblack.me/RcjKcM
- "Street View and Beyond: Google’s Influence on Photography" http://pjblack.me/RcjnyW
- "Sleep and insomnia: Longform collects stories about lucid dreaming, night terrors, and sleep deprivation" http://pjblack.me/RcjeLM
- a christmas censorship row: "Santa's pipe put out in new edition of children's classic" http://pjblack.me/TJFBJ4
- the antimonopolist history of the world’s most popular board game: "Monopoly Is Theft" http://pjblack.me/PWNLlQ
- from the @NewYorker: "It's Genre Fiction. Not That There's Anything Wrong With It!" http://pjblack.me/PWNwr9
- mmm tasty: "World’s Most Expensive Coffee Is Made from Elephant Dung" http://pjblack.me/PWNlfg
- "The Internet Archive's ten petabyte celebration" http://pjblack.me/R9Uvry
- from the @awl: "Also the Whole 'Watergate Thing' Would Have Been a Nice Series of Tweets" http://pjblack.me/R9TIXG
- this is fascinating: "Why You're Likely to Believe Political Lies" http://pjblack.me/R9ymK7
- "Lawyers struggle to take commercial advantage of social media" http://pjblack.me/PWoFDK
- a woman reflects on the virtues and limits of online dating: "Diary: Online Dating" http://pjblack.me/PWooAP
- "State of the Species: Does success spell doom for Homo sapiens?" http://pjblack.me/PWnLHh
- "How Zite Thrives Inside CNN's Old Media Empire" http://pjblack.me/PWlZ9d
- "Art.sy And The Myth Of The Online Art Market" http://pjblack.me/R9d9jo
- "Google is many things -- but not an illegal monopoly" argues ryan radia http://pjblack.me/PWmsYX
- "Moore’s law: About to fail or ticking along nicely?" http://pjblack.me/PWlUCm
- "Why Do Children Think Covering Their Eyes Makes Them Invisible?" asks @popsciau http://pjblack.me/PWjzHE
- "How Supap Kirtsaeng’s Textbooks Idea Led to Supreme Court" http://pjblack.me/R989er #lwb486
- "15 Companies Getting Back Into The Businesses They Killed" http://pjblack.me/PWiI9J
- "How PSY Went From Viral Video To American Pop Sensation With Help From Scooter Braun" http://pjblack.me/RcEzoA
- "It Would Take 80 Days to Watch All of the Campaign Ads Aired in Ohio Last Month" http://pjblack.me/PWCYrR
- "Microsoft Zune: How one of the biggest flops in tech history helped revive a great American tech company" http://pjblack.me/R9s11d
- a reporter spends a winter in cuba and takes a look at life in a post-fidel era: "Cuba's New Now" http://pjblack.me/R9h0gm
- this seems an appropriate link for fluffy: "Why Are Mean People So Good Looking?" http://pjblack.me/RYZA7J
- "Newspoll: 50-50" reports the @pollbludger http://pjblack.me/RdpXp0 #auspol
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And you can get my latest links anytime on my Rebelmouse social media front page.