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Study shows people with extremist views ‘have poorer working memory and slower "perceptual strategies”’.

MsDiz

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Interesting study and a few write ups about it. Not sure if CEPS is the right place for this but there does tend to be a lot of people with extremist views so thought it would of interest.

The guardians coverage:

Science Daily:

And of course the actual study:
 

MsDiz

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Legit question: how do we define extremist views?
The government in UK define it as “the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”.

Not sure where you’re from but this is a great article on extremism.

 

Psycho_Logic

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I would replace word extremism with fundamentalism or dogmatism, and it is obvious why people who hold that type of views would have poorer memory and slower "perceptual strategies". Simply not working out your brain/mind/thought muscles would lead to atrophy of those faculties. If I don't think on really big set of essential questions than scope of my thinking is severely reduced. Thus leading to overall decline of faculties needed for rational and critical thinking. If most of "my" thoughts and beliefs can be found in one book than I have no need for good memory - I can simply open the book. So it makes perfect sense generally. Now I have to go and actually read the studies and not play a smart ass. 🤣
 

Cheshire_Kat

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I would replace word extremism with fundamentalism or dogmatism, and it is obvious why people who hold that type of views would have poorer memory and slower "perceptual strategies". Simply not working out your brain/mind/thought muscles would lead to atrophy of those faculties. If I don't think on really big set of essential questions than scope of my thinking is severely reduced. Thus leading to overall decline of faculties needed for rational and critical thinking. If most of "my" thoughts and beliefs can be found in one book than I have no need for good memory - I can simply open the book. So it makes perfect sense generally. Now I have to go and actually read the studies and not play a smart ass. 🤣

Centrists can be dogmatic too...

Extremism is an expression of how one relates to "the bell curve" of political position, not an absolute term because any given belief is not attached to any political position permanently.

As a concrete example let's consider "Freedom of Speech". During the 1960's freedom of speech was very much a left leaning belief. People protested in Berkley (and other places) to further the ability for individuals to have the right to say whatever they felt. Now it is quite the opposite with the left "shutting down the platform" of opponents.

It's descriptive of any current political relative position or any time period, not a set of particular ideologies. Both extremes do, however, tend to discard the concepts outside their current belief set, while centrists tend to be somewhat more open to discussion and compromise.
 
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Psycho_Logic

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Centrists can be dogmatic too..
I agree. Every point in the political spectrum can be rigid to a grater or lesser extent. More one is prone to abolish their critical thinking and just propagate what "authority" says, the more chance for dogmatism there is. To be truthful, it is much easier and less brain taxing to have somebody else to think for yourself. That's why dogmatic thinking can be found anywhere on the political spectrum. But I will abstain from commenting further until I read the study. I don't want to derail a thread. :)
 

thujone

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“Individuals or brains that struggle to process and plan complex action sequences may be more drawn to extreme ideologies, or authoritarian ideologies that simplify the world,” she said.

...

In some cognitive tasks, participants were asked to respond as quickly and as accurately as possible. People who leant towards the politically conservative tended to go for the slow and steady strategy, while political liberals took a slightly more fast and furious, less precise approach.

“It’s fascinating, because conservatism is almost a synonym for caution,” she said. “We’re seeing that – at the very basic neuropsychological level – individuals who are politically conservative … simply treat every stimuli that they encounter with caution.”

The “psychological signature” for extremism across the board was a blend of conservative and dogmatic psychologies, the researchers said.

This is the sort of "science" that was once used to justify eugenics.
 

Burnt Offerings

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A key finding was that people with extremist attitudes tended to think about the world in black and white terms

That was my favorite part ;) Falled into the "scientists discover that water is wet" category...

Interesting article though. I tend to be skeptical of stuff that runs along the lines of, "the people I'm opposed to politically have something biologically amiss with them that explains their detrimental mindset" but it's definitely an interesting topic of discussion I think, why people hold extremist views. And then there's the whole question regarding definitions, of what is and isn't considered an "extremist belief", as has already been brought up...
 

MsDiz

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Honestly, the extremism definition is interesting but let’s not let the thread get too derailed. Although I will look at what the study defined it as and let you guys know.
 

December Flower

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It's a fun read.

I've often thought that I just can't talk to a Nazi or Punk about anything significant.
It's always back to their severly limited world view.

We have a bunch of Nazis and extreme Lefts here, and I've always wondered if it's a cognitive thing.
Really don't want to be mean to anyone here, but I have never ever met anyone I'd consider smart that has extremist views,
and trust me: this is Germany, they're everywhere, especially the Punks

Really silly, because I always thought it's a brainwashing thing, well maybe it still is
 

Cream Gravy?

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this is Germany, they're everywhere, especially the Punks
What are 'punks' in Deutschland? To me the word implies entitled teenagers I have to scare away when they're playing loud music, smoking weed in front of my apartment, and I'm like... FFS, go smoke somewhere smart and leave my ears in peace!
 

December Flower

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What are 'punks' in Deutschland? To me the word implies entitled teenagers I have to scare away when they're playing loud music, smoking weed in front of my apartment, and I'm like... FFS, go smoke somewhere smart and leave my ears in peace!
It's a bit more than that, because the Nazis and the Punks keep attacking each other.
2 of my Punk friends were personally stabbed (one on the street by some random dude and the other one was followed home, and they broke in and tried to kill him, only barely survived)
They do fucking insane shit to each other, and that kinda holds them in this game longer than their teenage years, I suppose. Not sure.
But most are 30 or older. Well, they're Punks, it's not really a difference where they're from. They bum around, drink booze, smoke bad weed, listen to noise and throw rocks at Nazis.

Edit: The Nazis are the really weird thing though. One of the Naziguys I met was Czekoslovakian but all "Sieg Heil!" and shit, really dark skin for a European. And I looked at him and couldn't stop laughing, man. I'm as Aryan as it gets and even I hate Germany xD You just know these extremists wouldn't even understand it if you told them what irony was.
 
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thujone

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Would love for you to expand on your comment a bit if you can.

You can jump down any number of rabbit holes along this trajectory starting from the Wikipedia entry for eugenics.

Or, you could just look directly at what's happening in China right now with the Uighurs. This is only just now starting to be condemned in the West as an ongoing genocide (IIRC it was Amnesty International that uncovered forced sterilization is occurring).

China's official justification is that the "vocational training centers" exist to combat extremism.

I'd wager you could even take this Guardian article, replace every instance of politically conservative with Uighur and end up with something that comes hazardously close to sounding like CCP's official justification for locking Uighurs up in camps.

The scary thing is that I actually believe many Western liberals are perfectly OK with sending conservatives to camps to be sterilized, especially given how convinced many seem to be that Trump was decidedly evil and likewise anyone who voted for him was a Nazi.

It's OK to kill evil Nazis, isn't it? I mean, only the really evil ones are going to be sterilized, most are just going to get re-educated rehabilitated, right?
 

MsDiz

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You can jump down any number of rabbit holes along this trajectory starting from the Wikipedia entry for eugenics.

Or, you could just look directly at what's happening in China right now with the Uighurs. This is only just now starting to be condemned in the West as an ongoing genocide (IIRC it was Amnesty International that uncovered forced sterilization is occurring).

China's official justification is that the "vocational training centers" exist to combat extremism.

I'd wager you could even take this Guardian article, replace every instance of politically conservative with Uighur and end up with something that comes hazardously close to sounding like CCP's official justification for locking Uighurs up in camps.

The scary thing is that I actually believe many Western liberals are perfectly OK with sending conservatives to camps to be sterilized, especially given how convinced many seem to be that Trump was decidedly evil and likewise anyone who voted for him was a Nazi.

It's OK to kill evil Nazis, isn't it? I mean, only the really evil ones are going to be sterilized, most are just going to get re-educated rehabilitated, right?
Ah.... I can see now.

Thanks, that was informative.
 

Deru

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The scary thing is that I actually believe many Western liberals are perfectly OK with sending conservatives to camps to be sterilized, especially given how convinced many seem to be that Trump was decidedly evil and likewise anyone who voted for him was a Nazi.

This seems a bit... extreme. I can't say I've ever once wanted to send conservatives to camps to be sterilized.
 
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