Feb

1

Harvard psychologist, Steven Pinker, wrote in a recent issue of Time magazine (The Mystery of Consciousness):

… Take the famous cognitive-dissonance experiments. When an experimenter got people to endure electric shocks in a sham experiment on learning, those who were given a good rationale ("It will help scientists understand learning") rated the shocks as more painful than the ones given a feeble rationale ("We're curious.") Presumably, it's because the second group would have felt foolish to have suffered for no good reason. Yet when these people were asked why they agreed to be shocked, they offered bogus reasons of their own in all sincerity, like "I used to mess around with radios and got used to electric shocks." …

One sees echoes of this in the macroeconomic analyst or trader who manipulates incoming information to fit a preexisting view/position.


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