Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pluralistic Ignorance - SA March 2013

Pluralistic Ignorance ... a psychological principle in which individual members of a group do not believe something but mistakenly believe everyone else in the group believe it. When no one speaks up, it produces a spiral of silence that can lead to everything from binge drinking on college campuses, massive doping scandals to enforcement of rigid ideologies. This is why totalitarian and theocratic leaders restrict speech and enforce an ideology. The way to break this spiral of silence is to speak out in knowledge. When enough people break the "omerta rule" - the code of silence, the individuals in the group are strengthened in their ability to speak freely and learn the truth and break bonds of repression.

Interesting material and we can see how it plays out in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, some religious institutions, and in ideological plays from the wing nuts of the political spectrum.

Other topics discussed in SA this month:

  • Getting to the bottom - we did not always have toilet paper
  • DNA - threat to civil liberty or making our country safer?
  • Poxviruses - smallpox is gone but viral cousins are staging a comeback
  • Orange Juice devastation - invasive insect, the Asian citrus psyllid carrying HLB (Huanglongbing) is devastating orange groves across the world
  • The Origins of human creativity - exhibited 3.4 million years ago but dramatically accelerated 40,000 years ago
  • Expensive organs - as our brains got bigger (20% of energy consumption) our guts got smaller and we became less prolific
  • A democracy depends on an electorate of critical thinkers