Permalink to BEST OF THE WEB: How the MEAN psychologists got us to comply with coronavirus restrictions

BEST OF THE WEB: How the MEAN psychologists got us to comply with coronavirus restrictions

Introduction The British public's widespread compliance with the Government's draconian diktats has arguably been the most remarkable aspect of the coronavirus crisis. The unprecedented restrictions on our basic freedoms - in the form of lockdowns, travel bans and mandatory mask wearing - have been passively accepted by the large majority of people. Despite the lack of evidence for effectiveness of these extreme measures, and the growing recognition of their negative consequences, it seems most of us continue to submit to the ongoing restrictions on our lives. Why have we witnessed such capitulation? A major contributor to the mass obedience of the British people is likely to have been the activities of government-employed psychologists working as part of the 'Behavioural Insights Team' (BIT). After outlining the structure and stated remit of the BIT, I will describe the strategies deployed by this...

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Permalink to Tactics: The psychology behind the Trump-Biden debate interruptions

Tactics: The psychology behind the Trump-Biden debate interruptions

The real psychological power of interrupting may lie in the way that it disrupts the other person's thought patterns. So, when US President Donald Trump interrupted Joe Biden in the two debates, there was a lot more going on beneath the surface than simple rudeness. The US Commission on Presidential Debates muted the microphones of President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden during portions of their second and final televised encounter on October 22, in order to prevent the candidates from interrupting each other. The panel's decision followed the widespread negative audience reaction to Trump's extensive interruptions in the first debate on September 29. But there is a powerful hidden psychology behind the tactic of interjecting and interrupting. Could these two experienced campaigners - and Trump especially - have used it to their advantage in an attempt to...

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Permalink to SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: Our Place in the Cosmos, and Why the New Atheists Are Wrong

SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: Our Place in the Cosmos, and Why the New Atheists Are Wrong

Today on MindMatters, Harrison and Adam use one of David Ray Griffin's recent books as a jumping-off point to bring together many threads from previous episodes. What is our place in the cosmos? What can the study of nature tell us about ourselves, and about the cosmic mind? From the smallest bits of 'matter' and energy, to animals, minds, and meaning, we tie together our previous discussions with Ken Pedersen, John Buchanan, James Carpenter, along with ideas from Gurdjieff, Ibn Arabi, Stoicism, Jordan Peterson and more, to attempt an initial answer to the question. Along the way we discuss the merits of the anthropic principle and 'fine-tuning', the self-destructing arguments of the new atheists, one of Rupert Sheldrake's coolest ideas, and why importance is perhaps the most important thing for philosophy. Running Time: 00:58:44 Download: MP3 — 53.8 MB ...

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Permalink to Chimps pare down their social circle in later years

Chimps pare down their social circle in later years

There is more that comes with older age than greying hair and wrinkled skin. When humans reach their later years, they favour more established friends and their social circle is pared down. Now, for what appears to be the first time, scientists have seen the same behaviour in another species. More than two decades of observations of chimpanzees reveal that older males choose to hang out with their long-term friends at the expense of other relationships. "What we've shown is that chimpanzees and humans share the same pattern of social ageing," said Zarin Machanda, a primatologist at Tufts University in Massachusetts. "We know that as humans age, their social networks shrink but their social bonds grow stronger, and we see the same thing here in chimpanzees." ...

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