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Psycological Analysis of Trump's Support

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  • Part 1: The Dunning-Kruger Effect May Help Explain Trump's SupportA new study suggests some people grossly overestimate their political knowledge.
  • Part 2: A Complete Psychological Analysis of Trump's Support
  • Science can help us make sense of the president's political invincibility.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

 

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Part 1: The Dunning-Kruger Effect May Help Explain Trump's Support

A new study suggests some people grossly overestimate their political knowledge.

Bobby Azarian, Psychology Today

Aug 22,2018 | In the past, some prominent psychologists have explained President Donald Trump’s unwavering support by alluding to a well-established psychological phenomenon known as the “Dunning-Kruger effect.” The effect is a type of cognitive bias, where people with little expertise or ability assume they have superior expertise or ability. This overestimation occurs as a result of the fact that they don’t have enough knowledge to know they don’t have enough knowledge. This simple but loopy concept has been demonstrated dozens of times in well-controlled psychology studies and in a variety of contexts. However, until now, the effect had not been studied in one of the most obvious and important realms—political knowledge.

A new study published in the journal PoliticalPsychology, carried out by the political scientist Ian Anson at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, not only found that the Dunning-Kruger effect applies to politics, it also appears to be exacerbated when partisan identities are made more salient. In other words, those who score low on political knowledge tend to overestimate their expertise even more when greater emphasis is placed on political affiliation.

Bobby Azarian is a cognitive neuroscientist affiliated with George Mason University and a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the Atlantic, the New York Times, BBC Future, Scientific American, Slate, the Huffington Post, Quartz, and others. His research has been published in journals such as Cognition & Emotion and Human Brain Mapping.

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Part 2: A Complete Psychological Analysis of Trump's Support


Science can help us make sense of the president's political invincibility.

Bobby Azarian, Psychology Today

Dec 27,2018 | Whether we want to or not, we must try to understand the Donald Trump phenomenon, as it has completely swept the nation and also fiercely divided it. What is most baffling about it all is Trump’s apparent political invincibility. As he himself said even before he won the presidential election, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” Unfortunately for the American people, this wild-sounding claim appears to be truer than not. It should also motivate us to explore the science underlying such peculiar human behavior, so we can learn from it, and potentially inoculate against it.

In all fairness, we should recognize that lying is sadly not uncommon for politicians on both sides of the political aisle, but the frequency and magnitude of the current president’s lies should have us all wondering why they haven’t destroyed his political career, and instead perhaps strengthened it. Similarly, we should be asking why his inflammatory rhetoric and numerous scandals haven’t sunk him. We are talking about a man who was caught on tape saying, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy.” Politically surviving that video is not normal, or anything close to it, and such a revelation would likely have been the end of Barack Obama or George Bush had it surfaced weeks before the election.

Bobby Azarian is a cognitive neuroscientist affiliated with George Mason University and a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the Atlantic, the New York Times, BBC Future, Scientific American, Slate, the Huffington Post, Quartz, and others. His research has been published in journals such as Cognition & Emotion and Human Brain Mapping.

Full story …


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