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Extremist Brains Perform Poorly at Complex Mental Tasks, Study Reveals

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  • Extremist Brains Perform Poorly at Complex Mental Tasks, Study Reveals

    Following on from the thread dealing with Islamic and RW Violence this is an interesting article and study.

    https://www.sciencealert.com/extremi...riment-reveals

    "People with extremist views aren't only identified by their political, religious, or social beliefs, according to new research.

    Those ideological convictions run deep, scientists say – so deep, in fact, that they can be recognised in a 'psychological signature' of cognitive traits and aptitudes that typifies the thinking patterns of the extremist mind.

    "There appear to be hidden similarities in the minds of those most willing to take extreme measures to support their ideological doctrines," explains psychologist Leor Zmigrod from the University of Cambridge.

    "This psychological signature is novel and should inspire further research on the effect of dogmatism on perceptual decision-making processes," she and colleagues write in their newly published study.

    Moreover, it's possible those psychological patterns could be what compels some individuals to adopt strong or radical ideological positions in the first instance, the researchers suggest.

    "Subtle difficulties with complex mental processing may subconsciously push people towards extreme doctrines that provide clearer, more defined explanations of the world, making them susceptible to toxic forms of dogmatic and authoritarian ideologies," Zmigrod says.

    However, the tests didn't only spotlight the traits of extremist thinking – other kinds of ideological beliefs also revealed the shape of their psychological signatures.

    Participants who showed dogmatic thinking were slower to accumulate evidence in speeded decision-making tasks, the researchers found, but were also more impulsive and prone to taking ethical risks.

    Individuals who were politically conservative showed reduced strategic information processing, heightened response caution in perceptual decision-making paradigms, and displayed an aversion to social risk-taking.

    In contrast, participants with liberal beliefs were more likely to adopt faster and less precise perceptual strategies, displaying less caution in cognitive tasks.

    Similarly to the conservative group, people with religious views reflected heightened caution and reduced strategic information processing in the cognitive domain, along with enhanced agreeableness, risk perception and aversion to social risk-taking.

    "Our research shows our brains hold clues – subtle metaphors, perhaps – for the ideologies we choose to live by and the beliefs we rigidly stick to," Zmigrod explains.

    "If our mind tends to react to stimuli with caution, it may also be attracted by cautious and conservative ideologies. If we struggle to process and plan complex action sequences, we may be drawn to more extreme ideologies that simplify the world and our role within it."

    Of course, the results here are open to a fair degree of interpretation, and there are limitations to what relatively small psychological studies like this can tell us without further replication involving larger samples.

    Nonetheless, the methodology here could lay the groundwork for future psychological tests that may be able to identify individuals at risk of radicalisation and adopting extremist beliefs – as well as suggesting what kind of thinking shields others from the same.



    The caveat notwithstanding, the article's suggestion that the methodology could lay the groundwork for any future psychological studies to help identify individuals [particularly the young] at risk of future radicalisation could prove very useful.
    Last edited by Hypatia_Alexandria; 03-03-2021, 04:34 AM.
    "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

  • #2
    Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
    Following on from the thread dealing with Islamic and RW Violence this is an interesting article and study.

    https://www.sciencealert.com/extremi...riment-reveals

    "People with extremist views aren't only identified by their political, religious, or social beliefs, according to new research.

    Those ideological convictions run deep, scientists say – so deep, in fact, that they can be recognised in a 'psychological signature' of cognitive traits and aptitudes that typifies the thinking patterns of the extremist mind.

    "There appear to be hidden similarities in the minds of those most willing to take extreme measures to support their ideological doctrines," explains psychologist Leor Zmigrod from the University of Cambridge.

    "This psychological signature is novel and should inspire further research on the effect of dogmatism on perceptual decision-making processes," she and colleagues write in their newly published study.

    Moreover, it's possible those psychological patterns could be what compels some individuals to adopt strong or radical ideological positions in the first instance, the researchers suggest.

    "Subtle difficulties with complex mental processing may subconsciously push people towards extreme doctrines that provide clearer, more defined explanations of the world, making them susceptible to toxic forms of dogmatic and authoritarian ideologies," Zmigrod says.

    However, the tests didn't only spotlight the traits of extremist thinking – other kinds of ideological beliefs also revealed the shape of their psychological signatures.

    Participants who showed dogmatic thinking were slower to accumulate evidence in speeded decision-making tasks, the researchers found, but were also more impulsive and prone to taking ethical risks.

    Individuals who were politically conservative showed reduced strategic information processing, heightened response caution in perceptual decision-making paradigms, and displayed an aversion to social risk-taking.

    In contrast, participants with liberal beliefs were more likely to adopt faster and less precise perceptual strategies, displaying less caution in cognitive tasks.

    Similarly to the conservative group, people with religious views reflected heightened caution and reduced strategic information processing in the cognitive domain, along with enhanced agreeableness, risk perception and aversion to social risk-taking.

    "Our research shows our brains hold clues – subtle metaphors, perhaps – for the ideologies we choose to live by and the beliefs we rigidly stick to," Zmigrod explains.

    "If our mind tends to react to stimuli with caution, it may also be attracted by cautious and conservative ideologies. If we struggle to process and plan complex action sequences, we may be drawn to more extreme ideologies that simplify the world and our role within it."

    Of course, the results here are open to a fair degree of interpretation, and there are limitations to what relatively small psychological studies like this can tell us without further replication involving larger samples.

    Nonetheless, the methodology here could lay the groundwork for future psychological tests that may be able to identify individuals at risk of radicalisation and adopting extremist beliefs – as well as suggesting what kind of thinking shields others from the same.



    The caveat notwithstanding, the article's suggestion that the methodology could lay the groundwork for any future psychological studies to help identify individuals [particularly the young] at risk of future radicalisation could prove very useful.
    There's alot I see going on here that makes me worried.

    First, their measurement of ideological extremism, isn't. It's at best a measurement of extreme conservatism. Their survey doesn't capture left-wing extremism. However, to be fair their actual paper is better at wording it than the articles you link to.

    Technically they looked at a very large number of variables, on a small number of people. 344 people sounds like alot, but it really isn't. When we do credit modeling, we use a customer base of over 100,000 individuals. Even then we worry that there might be over-fitting going on and take steps to reduce it. The more variables you look at, the more people you need to give you a robust model.

    In addition, especially in psychology, there is a very real danger of p-hacking, which is combing through your data to find something that sticks out, then doing analysis on that. This is also known as HARKing. (Hypothesizing After Results are Known).
    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs...7957pspr0203_4

    HARKing is bad because statistically 1 out of every 20 independent variables will show up as significant after the fact just by random chance. However, using those random pops isn't bad, if you use it to point future statistical tests. What's bad is combing the data, for the pops, then acting as if they were part of the experiment all along. Looking at the paper, this is what has happened here.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post

      Their survey doesn't capture left-wing extremism.
      There is no reason why the tests cannot be used for religious and/or LW extremism. If it could be used to identify teens being radicalised for religious purposes [e.g. militant Islam] it could prove very useful.

      Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post
      However, to be fair their actual paper is better at wording it than the articles you link to.

      Technically they looked at a very large number of variables, on a small number of people. 344 people sounds like alot, but it really isn't. When we do credit modeling, we use a customer base of over 100,000 individuals. Even then we worry that there might be over-fitting going on and take steps to reduce it. The more variables you look at, the more people you need to give you a robust model.

      In addition, especially in psychology, there is a very real danger of p-hacking, which is combing through your data to find something that sticks out, then doing analysis on that. This is also known as HARKing. (Hypothesizing After Results are Known).
      https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs...7957pspr0203_4

      HARKing is bad because statistically 1 out of every 20 independent variables will show up as significant after the fact just by random chance. However, using those random pops isn't bad, if you use it to point future statistical tests. What's bad is combing the data, for the pops, then acting as if they were part of the experiment all along. Looking at the paper, this is what has happened here.
      Initially I was going to quote from the paper itself but that might have deterred some subscribers.

      Are you [wearing your statistician's hat] disputing the findings or the methodology? Or both?
      "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
        There is no reason why the tests cannot be used for religious and/or LW extremism. If it could be used to identify teens being radicalised for religious purposes [e.g. militant Islam] it could prove very useful.
        The test itself has a problem in that it was asking about agreeing/disagreeing with conservative ideology. The survey wouldn't actually capture LW extremists, and therefore we have no idea if there is a correlation there.


        Initially I was going to quote from the paper itself but that might have deterred some subscribers.

        Are you [wearing your statistician's hat] disputing the findings or the methodology? Or both?
        What I brought up is the same thing the authors brought up. It's dangerous to draw too many conclusions from their sample size or their methodology. More research is needed. It's dangerous to draw conclusions from this sort of data. Since you didn't design your test to capture it, it's likely that you are measuring noise that has popped high. What you have to do is then conduct tests and research designed to isolate that spike, and test whether it really was noise, or actually points towardsa real outcome.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
          Following on from the thread dealing with Islamic and RW Violence this is an interesting article and study.

          https://www.sciencealert.com/extremi...riment-reveals

          [I]
          "People with extremist views aren't only identified by their political, religious, or social beliefs, according to new research.


          So they finally have an explanation for Liberalism. Good to know.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post
            The test itself has a problem in that it was asking about agreeing/disagreeing with conservative ideology. The survey wouldn't actually capture LW extremists, and therefore we have no idea if there is a correlation there.
            Oh now I take your point.


            Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post

            What I brought up is the same thing the authors brought up. It's dangerous to draw too many conclusions from their sample size or their methodology. More research is needed. It's dangerous to draw conclusions from this sort of data. Since you didn't design your test to capture it, it's likely that you are measuring noise that has popped high. What you have to do is then conduct tests and research designed to isolate that spike, and test whether it really was noise, or actually points towardsa real outcome.
            On those comments I think we both agree.

            "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
              Oh now I take your point.


              On those comments I think we both agree.
              Yeah. It's like noting the color of clothes worn during the SAT and finding that high scorers wore pink. You can conclude that high scorer's wear pink. Without actually doing a test to isolate that effect, you could be missing out on the fact that the test you measured was during breast cancer awareness month.

              Comment


              • #8
                There's a lot of smoke here but very little fire. It mostly boils down to: People who have trouble thinking analytically tend to make decisions based on emotion. We all know this already.

                Here's a good example: https://theologyweb.com/campus/forum...99#post1243599

                I would add that these same people have a greater tendency to believe what others tell them (if it fits with their already-formed worldview). I've fallen for this at times; everything needs to be considered on its own merits.
                Last edited by Ronson; 03-03-2021, 07:42 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post
                  The test itself has a problem in that it was asking about agreeing/disagreeing with conservative ideology. The survey wouldn't actually capture LW extremists, and therefore we have no idea if there is a correlation there.




                  What I brought up is the same thing the authors brought up. It's dangerous to draw too many conclusions from their sample size or their methodology. More research is needed. It's dangerous to draw conclusions from this sort of data. Since you didn't design your test to capture it, it's likely that you are measuring noise that has popped high. What you have to do is then conduct tests and research designed to isolate that spike, and test whether it really was noise, or actually points towardsa real outcome.
                  Yeah looking through the study, then mention conservatism but don't even mention liberalism at all. So they were being biased from the get go. Not a fair comparison. I do agree that actual extreme ideologues whether religious or atheist, liberal or conservative seem to fit particular mindsets that to me seem both gullible and obstinate. They tend to filter out anything that doesn't fit their world view while allowing in everything that does fit it without question. You have people like antivaxxers who accept nonsense like government planting tracking chips in vaccines while ignoring any data that there is no way to even make such a chip or power it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sparko View Post

                    Yeah looking through the study, then mention conservatism but don't even mention liberalism at all. So they were being biased from the get go. Not a fair comparison. I do agree that actual extreme ideologues whether religious or atheist, liberal or conservative seem to fit particular mindsets that to me seem both gullible and obstinate. They tend to filter out anything that doesn't fit their world view while allowing in everything that does fit it without question. You have people like antivaxxers who accept nonsense like government planting tracking chips in vaccines while ignoring any data that there is no way to even make such a chip or power it.
                    From the study:

                    Marsch, LA and R.A.P.). L.Z. was supported by the Gates Cambridge Trust Scholarship
                    “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

                    -Ghandi (Disputed)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
                      Following on from the thread dealing with Islamic and RW Violence this is an interesting article and study.

                      https://www.sciencealert.com/extremi...riment-reveals

                      "People with extremist views aren't only identified by their political, religious, or social beliefs, according to new research.

                      Those ideological convictions run deep, scientists say – so deep, in fact, that they can be recognised in a 'psychological signature' of cognitive traits and aptitudes that typifies the thinking patterns of the extremist mind.

                      "There appear to be hidden similarities in the minds of those most willing to take extreme measures to support their ideological doctrines," explains psychologist Leor Zmigrod from the University of Cambridge.

                      "This psychological signature is novel and should inspire further research on the effect of dogmatism on perceptual decision-making processes," she and colleagues write in their newly published study.

                      Moreover, it's possible those psychological patterns could be what compels some individuals to adopt strong or radical ideological positions in the first instance, the researchers suggest.

                      "Subtle difficulties with complex mental processing may subconsciously push people towards extreme doctrines that provide clearer, more defined explanations of the world, making them susceptible to toxic forms of dogmatic and authoritarian ideologies," Zmigrod says.

                      However, the tests didn't only spotlight the traits of extremist thinking – other kinds of ideological beliefs also revealed the shape of their psychological signatures.

                      Participants who showed dogmatic thinking were slower to accumulate evidence in speeded decision-making tasks, the researchers found, but were also more impulsive and prone to taking ethical risks.

                      Individuals who were politically conservative showed reduced strategic information processing, heightened response caution in perceptual decision-making paradigms, and displayed an aversion to social risk-taking.

                      In contrast, participants with liberal beliefs were more likely to adopt faster and less precise perceptual strategies, displaying less caution in cognitive tasks.

                      Similarly to the conservative group, people with religious views reflected heightened caution and reduced strategic information processing in the cognitive domain, along with enhanced agreeableness, risk perception and aversion to social risk-taking.

                      "Our research shows our brains hold clues – subtle metaphors, perhaps – for the ideologies we choose to live by and the beliefs we rigidly stick to," Zmigrod explains.

                      "If our mind tends to react to stimuli with caution, it may also be attracted by cautious and conservative ideologies. If we struggle to process and plan complex action sequences, we may be drawn to more extreme ideologies that simplify the world and our role within it."

                      Of course, the results here are open to a fair degree of interpretation, and there are limitations to what relatively small psychological studies like this can tell us without further replication involving larger samples.

                      Nonetheless, the methodology here could lay the groundwork for future psychological tests that may be able to identify individuals at risk of radicalisation and adopting extremist beliefs – as well as suggesting what kind of thinking shields others from the same.



                      The caveat notwithstanding, the article's suggestion that the methodology could lay the groundwork for any future psychological studies to help identify individuals [particularly the young] at risk of future radicalisation could prove very useful.
                      The proper scientific conclusion to be drawn is, "Crazy libtards construct studies in such a way that normal, sane people -- i.e. 'conservatives' -- are adjudged bizarre."
                      Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

                      Beige Nationalist.

                      "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

                      Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by NorrinRadd View Post

                        The proper scientific conclusion to be drawn is, "Crazy libtards construct studies in such a way that normal, sane people -- i.e. 'conservatives' -- are adjudged bizarre."
                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7GHFuWsmX0
                        "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
                          https://fivethirtyeight.com/features...h-of-liberals/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            "Dr Freud will see you now".
                            "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" Attrib. Seneca 4 BCE - 65 CE

                            Comment

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