Want to seem more authentic? Use politically incorrect language.
Politically incorrect speakers seem less calculated and more "real," according to the authors of a new Berkeley study.
- The study involved nearly 5,000 participants across nine experiments, which found that both liberals and conservatives viewed politically incorrect speakers as more authentic.
- The results also suggest that political incorrectness can offend liberals and conservatives — it just depends on the issue.
- About 80 percent of Americans believe political correctness is a problem in the U.S., according to a 2018 study.
Speaking in a politically correct manner might help you to avoid offending people. It might lower your chances of making waves at work. But one thing political correctness won't help you with, according to new research, is appearing authentic to others, on both sides of the aisle.
The findings — which come from researchers at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business and are set to be published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology — suggest that using politically incorrect language like "illegal" versus "undocumented" immigrants makes a speaker come off as more authentic and less persuadable by others.
"The cost of political incorrectness is that the speaker seems less warm, but they also appear less strategic and more 'real,'" Juliana Schroeder, co-author of the paper, told Haas Newsroom. "The result may be that people may feel less hesitant in following politically incorrect leaders because they appear more committed to their beliefs."
The forthcoming study involves some 5,000 participants across nine studies, in which political correctness is defined as "using language or behavior to seem sensitive to others' feelings, especially those others who seem socially disadvantaged." In addition to other tasks in the experiments, all participants were asked about their ideological backgrounds.
The results suggest that liberals and conservatives are about equally likely to get offended by political incorrectness. But it varies by subject matter: Calling poor white people "white trash," for example, is more likely to offend conservatives than liberals.
"Political incorrectness is frequently applied toward groups that liberals tend to feel more sympathy toward, such as immigrants or LGBTQ individuals, so liberals tend to view it negatively and conservatives tend to think it's authentic," Michael Rosenblum, the lead author of the paper, told Haas Newsroom. "But we found that the opposite can be true when such language is applied to groups that conservatives feel sympathy for — like using words such as 'Bible thumper' or 'redneck.'"
But the perception that politically-incorrect people are relatively hard to persuade didn't seem to hold up. In one experiment, the researchers asked 500 pairs of people to have an online debate about funding for historically black churches, a topic that had about a 50–50 split among the participants, with no significant support along racial, ideological or religious lines. The researchers instructed one of the participants to use either politically correct or politically incorrect language with their debate partner.
After, participants were more likely to say they were effectively persuasive in the debate when their partners were politically correct. However, the results showed no significant difference in which group was more easily persuaded, suggesting it's a good idea to be skeptical about initial perceptions about the persuadability of people based on political correctness.
The study also revealed two other findings:
- Participants tended to think they could better predict the opinions of politically incorrect speakers, because they believed in the speaker's convictions.
- Though ditching the morally coded language of political correctness seems to help people appear more authentic, the results also indicated that people tend to think that speakers who use politically incorrect language are older.
Most Americans think political correctness is problem
A 2018 study found that 80 percent of the American general population believe that "political correctness is a problem" in the U.S. The responses varied by group, with devoted conservatives reporting the highest level of agreement (97 percent) and progressive activists the lowest (30 percent). But in general, the majority of people in nearly every group – moderates, liberals and conservatives, and a majority of people in every racial group – agreed that political correctness is a problem.
As one 40-year-old American Indian in Oklahoma told the researchers:
"It seems like every day you wake up something has changed. . . Do you say Jew? Or Jewish? Is it a black guy? African-American? … You are on your toes because you never know what to say. So political correctness in that sense is scary."
What would happen if you tripled the US population? Join Matthew Yglesias and Charles Duhigg at 1pm ET on Monday, September 28.
The idea of 'absolute time' is an illusion. Physics and subjective experience reveal why.
- Since Einstein posited his theory of general relativity, we've understood that gravity has the power to warp space and time.
- This "time dilation" effect occurs even at small levels.
- Outside of physics, we experience distortions in how we perceive time — sometimes to a startling extent.
Physics without time<p>In his book "The Order of Time," Italian theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli suggests that our perception of time — our sense that time is forever flowing forward — could be a highly subjective projection. After all, when you look at reality on the smallest scale (using equations of quantum gravity, at least), time vanishes.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"If I observe the microscopic state of things," writes Rovelli, "then the difference between past and future vanishes … in the elementary grammar of things, there is no distinction between 'cause' and 'effect.'"</p><p>So, why do we perceive time as flowing <em>forward</em>? Rovelli notes that, although time disappears on extremely small scales, we still obviously perceive events occur sequentially in reality. In other words, we observe entropy: Order changing into disorder; an egg cracking and getting scrambled.</p><p>Rovelli says key aspects of time are described by the second law of thermodynamics, which states that heat always passes from hot to cold. This is a one-way street. For example, an ice cube melts into a hot cup of tea, never the reverse. Rovelli suggests a similar phenomenon might explain why we're only able to perceive the past and not the future.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Any time the future is definitely distinguishable from the past, there is something like heat involved," Rovelli wrote for the <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/ce6ef7b8-429a-11e8-93cf-67ac3a6482fd" target="_blank"><em>Financial Times</em></a>. "Thermodynamics traces the direction of time to something called the 'low entropy of the past', a still mysterious phenomenon on which discussions rage."</p>
The strange subjectivity of time<p>Time moves differently atop a mountain than it does on a beach. But you don't need to travel any distance at all to experience strange distortions in your perception of time. In moments of life-or-death fear, for example, your brain would release large amounts of adrenaline, which would speed up your internal clock, causing you to perceive the outside world as moving slowly.<br></p><p>Another common distortion occurs when we focus our attention in particular ways.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"If you're thinking about how time is <em>currently</em> passing by, the biggest factor influencing your time perception is attention," Aaron Sackett, associate professor of marketing at the University of St. Thomas, told <em><a href="https://gizmodo.com/why-does-time-slow-down-and-speed-up-1840133782" target="_blank">Gizmodo</a></em>.<em> "</em>The more attention you give to the passage of time, the slower it tends to go. As you become distracted from time's passing—perhaps by something interesting happening nearby, or a good daydreaming session—you're more likely to lose track of time, giving you the feeling that it's slipping by more quickly than before. "Time flies when you're having fun," they say, but really, it's more like "time flies when you're thinking about other things." That's why time will also often fly by when you're definitely <em>not</em> having fun—like when you're having a heated argument or are terrified about an upcoming presentation."</p><p>One of the most mysterious ways people experience time-perception distortions is through psychedelic drugs. In an interview with <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/apr/14/carlo-rovelli-exploding-commonsense-notions-order-of-time-interview" target="_blank"><em>The Guardian</em></a>, Rovelli described a time he experimented with LSD.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It was an extraordinarily strong experience that touched me also intellectually," he said. "Among the strange phenomena was the sense of time stopping. Things were happening in my mind but the clock was not going ahead; the flow of time was not passing any more. It was a total subversion of the structure of reality."<br></p><p>It seems few scientists or philosophers believe time is completely an illusion.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"What we call <em>time</em> is a rich, stratified concept; it has many layers," Rovelli told <em><a href="https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.4.20190219a/full/" target="_blank">Physics Today</a>.</em> "Some of time's layers apply only at limited scales within limited domains. This does not make them illusions."</p>What <em>is</em> an illusion is the idea that time flows at an absolute rate. The river of time might be flowing forever forward, but it moves at different speeds, between people, and even within your own mind.
Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live.
Having been exposed to mavericks in the French culinary world at a young age, three-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn made it her mission to cook in a way that is not only delicious and elegant, but also expressive, memorable, and true to her experience.
Controversial physics theory says reality around us behaves like a computer neural network.
- Physicist proposes that the universe behaves like an artificial neural network.
- The scientist's new paper seeks to reconcile classical physics and quantum mechanics.
- The theory claims that natural selection produces both atoms and "observers".
Vanchurin interview:<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="539759cbfd8fcd5b6ebf14a3b597b3f9"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bmyRy2-UhEE?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Vanchurin on “Hidden Phenomena”:<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="18886ffd5e5840bb19d4494212f88d82"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2NDVdNwsHCo?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>Vitaly Vanchurin speaking at the 6th International FQXi Conference, "Mind Matters: Intelligence and Agency in the Physical World." The Foundational Questions...
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