2021 Apr 6, 8:11pm
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Many have discovered an argument hack. They don’t need to argue that something is false. They just need to show that it’s associated with low status. The converse is also true: You don’t need to argue that something is true. You just need to show that it’s associated with high status. And when low status people express the truth, it sometimes becomes high status to lie. ...The idea is that there are two paths, or two “routes,” to persuading others. The first type, termed the “central” route, comes from careful and thoughtful consideration of the messages we hear. When the central route is engaged, we actively evaluate the information presented, and try to discern whether or not it’s true.When the “peripheral” route is engaged, we pay more attention to cues apart from the actual information or content or the message. For example, we might evaluate someone’s argument based on how attractive they are or where they were educated, without considering the actual merits of their message.When we accept a message through the peripheral route, we tend to be more passive than when we accept a message through the central route. Unfortunately, the peripheral route is more prevalent because we are exposed to an increasingly large amount of information.The renowned psychologists Susan Fiske and Shelley Taylor have characterized humans as “cognitive misers.” They write, “People are limited in their capacity to process information, so they take shortcuts whenever they can.”We are lazy creatures who try to expend as little mental energy as possible.And people are typically less motivated to scrutinize a message if the source is considered to be an expert. We interpret the message through the peripheral route.This is one reason why media outlets often appoint experts who mirror their political values. ...But why does this matter? Because by understanding how and why we come to hold our beliefs, we can better understand ourselves and guard against manipulation. ...In short, people have a mechanism in their minds. It stops them from saying something that could lower their status, even if it’s true. And it propels them to say something that could increase their status, even if it’s false. ...Furthermore, knowing that we could lose status if we don’t believe in something causes us to be more likely to believe in it to guard against that loss. Considerations of what happens to our own reputation guides our beliefs, leading us to adopt a popular view to preserve or enhance our social positions. We implicitly ask ourselves, “What are the social consequences of holding (or not holding) this belief?”But our reputation isn’t the only thing that matters when considering what to believe. Equally important is the reputation of others. Returning to the peripheral route of persuasion, we decide whether to believe something not only if lots of people believe it, but also if the proponent of the belief is a prestigious person. If lots of people believe something, our likelihood of believing it increases. And if a high-status person believes something, we are more prone to believing it, too. ...People in general favor mimicking prestigious people compared to ordinary people. This is why elites have an outsized effect on culture, and why it is important to scrutinize their ideas and opinions. ...... people across the world view media figures as more prestigious than respected members of their local communities. People on screen appear to be attractive, wealthy, popular, and powerful. Barkow writes, “All over the world, children are learning not from members of their own community but from media figures whom they perceive as prestigious… local prestige is debased.” As this phenomenon continues to grow, the opinions and actions of the globally-prestigious carry even more influence. ...Which brings us to a question: Who is most susceptible to manipulation via peripheral persuasion? It might seem intuitive to believe that people with less education are more manipulable. But research suggests this may not be true.High-status people are more preoccupied with how others view them. ...Students and graduates of top universities are more prone to myside bias. ......researchers have found that university-educated people were two to three times more likely than high school graduates to say they supported the Communist Party. White-collar professional workers were likewise two to three times more supportive of communist ideology, relative to farm laborers and semi-skilled workers.Patterns within the US today are consistent with these historical patterns. ...They found that highly educated people are the most concerned about losing their jobs or missing out on job opportunities because of their political views. Twenty-five percent of those with a high school education or less are afraid of getting fired or hurting their employment prospects because of their political views, compared with 34 percent of college graduates and an astounding 44 percent of people with a postgraduate degree. ...In the 1950s, at the height of McCarthyism, 13.4 percent of Americans reported that “felt less free to speak their mind than they used to.” In 1987, the figure had reached 20 percent. By 2019, 40 percent of Americans reported that they did not feel free to speak their minds. ...The increase is especially pronounced among the educated class. The researchers report, “It is also noteworthy and perhaps unexpected that those who engage in self-censorship are not those with limited political resources… self-censorship is most common among those with the highest levels of education… This finding suggests a social learning process, with those with more education being more cognizant of social norms that discourage the expression of one’s views.”Highly-educated people appear to be the most likely to express things they don’t necessarily believe for fear of losing their jobs or their reputation. Within the upper class, the true believers set the pace, and those who are loss-averse about their social positions go along with it. ...More sobering, though, is that higher education was consistently related to less positive views of other people. In their paper they write, “to understand people’s feelings, behaviors, and social relationships, it is of key importance to know which general view they hold about others… the better people are educated, the less positive their other-perceptions are.”So affluent people care the most about status, believe they have little power, are afraid of losing their jobs and reputation, and have less favorable views of others.In short, opinions can confer status regardless of their truth value. And the individuals most likely to express certain opinions in order to preserve or enhance their status are also those who are already on the upper rungs of the social ladder.
I only temper my comments1. out of etiquette in groups2. to not offend a female
Thanks. It kinda blew me away too. It's a bit long, but makes amazingly good and useful points about elite self-indoctrination and conformity.Today I was getting in trouble at work for rightfully pointing out the good doctor's comments in this video:https://patrick.net/post/1338647?offset=80#comment-1743550 But I was polite about it in spite of the vitriol directed against me. All I wanted was to be able to make my points.Lol, what are they going to do, fire me? I have only 7 work days left until retirement.
Highly-educated people appear to be the most likely to express things they don’t necessarily believe for fear of losing their jobs or their reputation.
Patrick saysHighly-educated people appear to be the most likely to express things they don’t necessarily believe for fear of losing their jobs or their reputation. I think highly educated people are simply more gullible, not that they are unconsciously trying to attain "status"."Highly educated" people mostly learn from "experts" and as a result, they HAVE to be gullible in order to assimilate the information as people wouldn't waste their time getting a degree that they think is entirely bullshit.
IMO, the really smart people, those with wide understanding, are those who forge their own paths. We used to have lots of them. They were entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs wear many hats and deal with many problems on a daily basis. Problems ranging from finances to planning and implementing new services to forecasting.
7 days? Bravo, sir! I'm right behind ya. Targeting Jun 30.
"Highly educated" people mostly learn from "experts" and as a result, they HAVE to be gullible in order to assimilate the information as people wouldn't waste their time getting a degree that they think is entirely bullshit.
Note how conformity and self censorship goes straight up with "education". It makes sense. Education is about obedience and accepting what you're told is true, not questioning the teacher.
rocketjoe79 says7 days? Bravo, sir! I'm right behind ya. Targeting Jun 30. Happy to hear that, @rocketjoe79
richwicks says"Highly educated" people mostly learn from "experts" and as a result, they HAVE to be gullible in order to assimilate the information as people wouldn't waste their time getting a degree that they think is entirely bullshit. Right, I think there's something to this.Maybe everything.Note how conformity and self censorship goes straight up with "education". It makes sense. Education is about obedience and accepting what you're told is true, not questioning the teacher.