I’ve got a post up at Generation Bubble about the usefulness of such concepts as path dependency and status quo bias to conservatives. Like the placebo effect, which is apparently growing stronger, the strength of these other psychological effects are probably controlled by ideology—that is, their intensity can be manipulated by how ideas about them are repeated and ratified in the public sphere, ideas that become accepted as common sense, things that we fall back upon as natural explanations for phenomena, and natural ways to respond. These biases are real but perhaps not as inevitable as the way we report on them makes them out to be. And they are downright untrustworthy when deployed in reactionary argument.
A related thought: the rhetorical deployment of the findings of psychological research would seem to have an impact on the ongoing validity of those findings—our psychology may change in reaction to how certain aspects of it are abused in argument.
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