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Which clippings match 'Extremism' keyword pg.1 of 1
15 AUGUST 2017

Cognitive closure and the price of certainty

"during times of fear and anxiety — like, for example, right now — everybody’s need for closure increases. We tend to make judgments more quickly, regardless of the facts. We’re also drawn to leaders who are decisive and paint solutions in simple terms. After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Dr. Kruglanski and his team of researchers found that as the color-coded terrorism threat system increased, support for President George W. Bush went up accordingly. The more uncertain our world seems, the more we compensate by seeking out certainty."

(Daniele Anastasion, 1 November 2016, The New York Times)

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TAGS

2016 • alt-right • ambiguityappeal to emotion • Arie Kruglanski • be vigilant • binary thinking • cognitive closure • cognitive flexibilitycolour codingcomplex problem-solvingcomplexityconfused and disorientedconservatism • conservative thought • contradictory perspectivescritical thinking • Daniele Anastasion • decision-making capabilitiesdestabilised perceptionDonald Trump • Eric Strauss • exploiting fearsextremismfear mongeringfound to be true by manygaslightingGeorge W Bushgullibilityliberal tolerancemainstream medianationalism • need for certainty • need for closure • New York TimesOp-Docsperceptions of reality • personal agency • polarised politics • post-truth worldrhetorical fearscare tacticsscaremongeringSeptember 11 attacksshort documentarysimple evaluationssocial psychologysound judgmentspreading of fear • terrorism threat system • terrorist threat • times of fear and anxiety • truth • uncertain world • uncertainty • uncertainty avoidance

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
27 NOVEMBER 2010

Republic.com: individual experience causing social fragmentation?

"MIT technology specialist Nicholas Negroponte prophecies the emergence of 'the Daily Me'––a communications package that is personally designed, with each component fully chosen in advance [4]. Many of us are applauding these developments, which obviously increase individual convenience and entertainment. But in the midst of the applause, we should insist on asking some questions. How will the increasing power of private control affect democracy? How will the Internet, the new forms of television, and the explosion of communications options alter the capacity of citizens to govern themselves? What are the social preconditions for a well–functioning system of democratic deliberation, or for individual freedom itself? ...

A large part of my aim is to explore what makes for a well–functioning system of free expression. Above all, I urge that in a diverse society, such a system requires far more than restraints on government censorship and respect for individual choices. For the last decades, this has been the preoccupation of American law and politics, and indeed the law and politics of many other nations as well, including, for example, Germany, France, England, and Israel. Censorship is indeed a threat to democracy and freedom. But an exclusive focus on government censorship produces serious blind spots. In particular, a well–functioning system of free expression must meet two distinctive requirements.

First, people should be exposed to materials that they would not have chosen in advance. Unplanned, unanticipated encounters are central to democracy itself. Such encounters often involve topics and points of view that people have not sought out and perhaps find quite irritating. They are important partly to ensure against fragmentation and extremism, which are predictable outcomes of any situation in which like–minded people speak only with themselves. I do not suggest that government should force people to see things that they wish to avoid. But I do contend that in a democracy deserving the name, people often come across views and topics that they have not specifically selected.

Second, many or most citizens should have a range of common experiences. Without shared experiences, a heterogeneous society will have a much more difficult time in addressing social problems. People may even find it hard to understand one another. Common experiences, emphatically including the common experiences made possible by the media, provide a form of social glue. A system of communications that radically diminishes the number of such experiences will create a number of problems, not least because of the increase in social fragmentation.

As preconditions for a well–functioning democracy, these requirements hold in any large nation. They are especially important in a heterogeneous nation, one that faces an occasional risk of fragmentation. They have all the more importance as each nation becomes increasingly global and each citizen becomes, to a greater or lesser degree, a 'citizen of the world."

(Cass Sunstein, 2002)

Sunstein, C. (2002). "The Daily Me". Republic.com, Princeton University Press.

Fig.1 San Liu (2004) 'Narcissism' webshots.com.

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TAGS

1995 • being digital • Cass Sunsteincensorship • citizen of the world • citizenshipcommon experiences • communications technologies • consumer choiceconveniencecultural signalsdemocracy • democratic deliberation • democratic participation • democratic society • digital culturediversityemerging technologiesempathyextremismfilter • Fishwrap • fragmentationfree expressionfreedomfreedom of speechglobalisation • government censorship • heterogeneity • heterogeneous society • individual choiceindividual experienceindividual freedomindividualisminformation in context • international relations • Internetisolationmedia consumptionMITnarcissismnew forms of televisionNicholas Negroponteparticipationpersonalisation • political philosophy • power • Princeton University Press • private control • Republic.com • shared experiencesocial changesocial constructionismsocial fragmentationsocial gluesocial interactionthe Daily Me

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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