Hennessy's View

Domine, non sum dignus

How Psychological Biases Make Good Government Unlikely

Answer this question on paper without looking up the answer: Q: Which kills more people: guns or diabetes? Here’s what your brain is doing. It’s searching your memory for mentions of the keywords: “guns,” “diabetes,” and “kill.” For most of us, one of the variables—guns or diabetes—carries a significantly heavier emotional weighting than the other. A paid-up-for-life member of the NRA might attach powerful positive emotions to “guns.” The parent of a child who died of complications of diabetes will attach high negative emotions to “diabetes. Read more →

How Rational Is Your Vote?

Ask a real partisan—someone with a Ron Paul or Ed Martin sticker on his car–why he supports that candidate. You’ll get a lot of rational reasons. Then challenge just one of those reasons, and what do you get? More reason? No, you get raw emotions. That’s because the emotional mind—the part of the brain designed for survival—exerts far more influence over our thinking that most people are willing to admit. Read more →