“My-side bias” makes it difficult for us to see the logic in arguments we disagree with

"Our results show why debates about controversial issues often seem so futile," the researchers said.

A supporter of Democratic healthcare reforms (L), argues with a reform opponent before a Town Hall meeting held by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on August 11, 2009 in Alhambra, California. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

In what feels like an increasingly polarised world, trying to convince the "other side" to see things differently often feels futile. Psychology has done a great job outlining some of the reasons why, including showing that, regardless of political leanings, most people are highly motivated to protect their existing views.

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Whatever you think, you don’t necessarily know your own mind

People think that stereotypes are true but also that it is not acceptable to admit this and therefore say they are false. Moreover, they say this to themselves too, in inner speech.

A man looks at the Love Forever room during a preview of the Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum February 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Do you think racial stereotypes are false? Are you sure? I’m not asking if you’re sure whether or not the stereotypes are false, but if you’re sure whether or not you think that they are. That might seem like a strange question. We all know what we think, don’t we?

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How to Filter Nonsense from Your Newsfeed—and Your Life

Your brain stops at the most comforting thought. The truth is somewhere beyond that. Using scientific skepticism as a guide, astrophysicist Lawrence Krauss outlines the questions that critical thinkers ask themselves.

Strange answers aren’t inherently wrong, and satisfying answers aren’t inherently right, says Lawrence Krauss in this critical thinking crash course. The astrophysicist explains how principles of scientific skepticism can be applied beyond the laboratory; it can be a filter for the nonsense and misinformation we encounter each and every day. Here, he establishes a handful of core questions that critical thinkers ask themselves, which can be used to challenge your misconceptions and sense of comfort, question inconsistency, and think past your brain's evolved biases. Piece by piece, you can systematically remove nonsense from your life. Lawrence Krauss' most recent book is The Greatest Story Ever Told -- So Far: Why Are We Here?

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Plato Would Have Laughed at Our Era's Faith In Rationalism

How did our world come to be ruled by a view of human nature that contradicts the testimony of much of history, and the bulk of the arts, and your daily experience? Mathoholics are to blame. 

Illustration by Julia Suits, The New Yorker cartoonist & author of The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions

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