Power of Political Story in Educating Our Own Old Brains

12 06 2008

From JJ’s long and probably annoying comment in a diverse homeschool parent discussion dubbed, “A Re-Defining Moment”:

Spunky, I’m glad you brought that up, particularly in this context of whether words and rhetoric are “empty” without “substantive evidence.”

Refuting political attacks, rumors and even outright lies would logically seem to be a matter of substantive evidence, yet cognitive scientists are proving it’s really not. It’s power of story. And even as I say this and you might believe me, we both will continue to rationalize our own beliefs as strongly evidence-based even when they’re not. There IS substantive evidence for that as the way our minds really work — and that we won’t actually accept that evidence even as we think we do.

I’m one of the biggest champs of thinking and reason and research around, but I’m learning that my own brain doesn’t always tell me what it’s thinking. 🙂

Even as we research the facts to repeatedly reject an untrue rumor or “story” we are embedding it in our brains’ data bank about “reality.” These mechanisms are in FACT mostly unconscious and that’s the substantive evidence I find most enlightening to my own politics, both educational and presidential. 🙂

Language whether from blogs, ads, speeches or polls isn’t ever just what it seems.

Repeatedly calling a candidate “an empty suit” for example — is that in itself empty rhetoric of no consequence or does it influence our reasoning and therefore our actions? Read the rest of this entry »

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