I'm interested in your ideas for such an app - how would you interact with it? The only ideas I come up with amount to window dressing on a journal.


My ideas for the interaction are not well formed. I'm more interested in what I could data mine. I imagine something like predictionbook, but miniaturized to daily situations. Maybe it could be a little like a game. You have a circle of friends and you make predictions about things. You're all at a restaurant together. Someone says they think the U.S. dollar has gone down in real value since leaving the gold standard. You use an iPhone app to state the claim and then people in your circle can add their predictions or something, and maybe someone can accept... (read more)

File Under "Keep Your Identity Small"

by Matt_Simpson 1 min read5th Apr 20128 comments


We know politics makes us stupid, but now there's evidence (pdf) that politics makes us less likely to consider things from another's point of view. From the abstract:

Replicating prior research, we found that participants who were outside during winter overestimated the extent to which other people were bothered by cold (Study 1), and participants who ate salty snacks without water thought other people were overly bothered by thirst (Study 2). However, in both studies, this effect evaporated when participants believed that the other people under consideration held opposing political views from their own. Participants who judged these dissimilar others were unaffected by their own strong visceral-drive states, a finding that highlights the power of dissimilarity in social judgment. Dissimilarity may thus represent a boundary condition for embodied cognition and inhibit an empathic understanding of shared out-group pain.

As Will Wilkinson notes:

Got that? We overestimate the extent to which others feel what we're feeling, unless they're on another team.

Now this isn't necessarily a negative effect - you might argue that it's bias correcting. But implicitly viewing them as so different that it's not even worth thinking about things from their perspective is scary in itself.