Friday, December 9, 2022

People appreciated pseudo-profound bullshit statements as equally "deep" even when their meaning was reversed

A framework for understanding reasoning errors: From fake news to climate change and beyond. Gordon Pennycook. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, December 8 2022.

Abstract: Humans have the capacity, but perhaps not always the willingness, for great intelligence. From global warming to the spread of misinformation and beyond, our species is facing several major challenges that are the result of the limits of our own reasoning and decision-making. So, why are we so prone to errors during reasoning? In this chapter, I will outline a framework for understanding reasoning errors that is based on a three-stage dual-process model of analytic engagement (intuition, metacognition, and reason). The model has two key implications: (1) That a mere lack of deliberation and analytic thinking is a primary source of errors and (2) That when deliberation is activated, it generally reduces errors (via questioning intuitions and integrating new information) and rarely increases errors (via rationalization and motivated reasoning). In support of these claims, I review research showing the extensive predictive validity of measures that index individual differences in analytic cognitive style—even beyond explicit errors per se. In particular, analytic thinking is not only predictive of skepticism about a wide range of epistemically suspect beliefs (paranormal, conspiratorial, COVID-19 misperceptions, pseudoscience and alternative medicines) as well as decreased susceptibility to bullshit, fake news, and misinformation, but also important differences in people's moral judgments and values as well as their religious beliefs (and disbeliefs). Furthermore, in some (but not all cases), there is evidence from experimental paradigms that support a causal role of analytic thinking in determining judgments, beliefs, and behaviors. The findings reviewed here provide some reason for optimism for the future: It may be possible to foster analytic thinking and therefore improve the quality of our decisions.

Keywords: Dual-process theoryIntuitionReasonMetacognitionBeliefsMoralityReligious beliefsClimate changeScience attitudesMisinformation

There is no distinct capacity for moral judgment, and , as a result, it is impossible for someone's "moral judgment faculty" to become selectively disabled

The disunity of moral judgment: Implications for the study of psychopathy. David Sackris. Philosophical Psychology, Dec 7 2022.

Abstract: Since the 18th century, one of the key features of diagnosed psychopaths has been “moral colorblindness” or an inability to form moral judgments. However, attempts at experimentally verifying this moral incapacity have been largely unsuccessful. After reviewing the centrality of “moral colorblindness” to the study and diagnosis of psychopathy, I argue that the reason that researchers have been unable to verify that diagnosed psychopaths have an inability to make moral judgments is because their research is premised on the assumption that there is a specific moral faculty of the brain, or specific “moral” emotions, and that this faculty or set of emotions can become “impaired”. I review recent research and argue that we have good reason to think that there is no such distinct capacity for moral judgment, and that, as a result, it is impossible for someone’s “moral judgment faculty” to become selectively disabled. I then discuss the implications of such a position on psychopathy research, the coherence of the disorder, and the moral responsibility of psychopaths.

Keywords: psychopathymoral judgmentmoral psychologymetaethicscognitive science

Ungated version: The disunity of moral judgment: Implications for the study of psychopathy. David Sackris. 2022.

Check also The disunity of moral judgment: Evidence and implications. David Sackris, Rasmus Rosenberg Larsen. Philosophical Psychology, Mar 28 2022.