Yes, when I originally wrote the above post I was thinking of precisely PredictonBook, except that it would be crucial that it comes in an app form and almost surely to get a lot of users it has to interface with at least Facebook. I'm not aware that PredictionBook has an app, but I'll check into it. If a donor was looking to donate money to develop such an app, probably PredictionBook is the right place to go and not SIAI as I had suggested before.

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.