Trump’s Handshake and His Fragile Masculinity

Much attention has been paid to Donald Trump's handshake, which is a childish action that seeks to establish dominance over the person being greeted. French President Emmanuel Macron famously turned the tables on him, quite on purpose, during the G7 summit. But Trump's handshake reveals so much about him. … [Read more...]

Greg Gianforte, Tribalism and Toxic Masculinity

In the aftermath of the violent assault of a reporter by now-Congressman Greg Gianforte, I think we can identify lessons to be learned about tribalism and toxic masculinity. Those, I believe, are the two driving forces behind the fact that he is being celebrated in some parts of the right rather than criticized. … [Read more...]

Let’s See Tucker Carlson Being a Hypocrite

The Shorenstein Center at Harvard did a study of media coverage of the 2016 election and found that both Trump and Clinton got extremely negative coverage. Tucker Carlson, who thinks only Trump got negative coverage, said the report was done by "political hacks posing as journalists." … [Read more...]

Tavris and Aronson Explain Cognitive Dissonance

Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson, authors of the amazing book Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me), have an article on the CSICOP website explaining cognitive dissonance theory and why it's one of the key ways that we undermine our own rationality. … [Read more...]

The Limitless Possibilities of Religious Rationalization

An 11-year old girl just a short distance from where I live was shot by a stray bullet that was apparently fired from a shooting range. Thankfully, she was hit in the shoulder and she's recovering after surgery and should be fine. But listen to her parents' bizarre rationalization of it: … [Read more...]

40% of Trump Supporters Will Accept a Lie Even When Shown the Proof

A pair of researchers just did a very interesting experiment involving the question of the size of Trump's inaugural crowd vs Obama's. It found that 40% of Trump supporters think that Trump's was bigger even when they are shown the proof that it wasn't. … [Read more...]

Hazing Rituals Display the Power of Tribalism

This is an article by Christopher Kavanagh, a DPhil candidate in anthropology at the University of Oxford, published in Aeon and shared here under a creative commons lesson. I think it reveals much about the power of tribalism. … [Read more...]

Hypocrisy and Tribalism in American Politics

Miri Mogilevsky has a very insightful post at Brute Reason in which she argues that many of the positions we attribute to hypocrisy on the part of conservatives and Trump supporters are not really hypocrisy, but are rather tribalism at work. I have a small quibble with that framing, but the substance of what she has to say is spot on. … [Read more...]

What Every Dictator Knows: Young Men are Natural Fanatics

I'm republishing this full article from Joe Herbert, emeritus professor of neuroscience at the Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair at the University of Cambridge, under a creative commons license. It's a very fascinating piece about why young men are natural fanatics and easily turned into a mob by demagogues. The reason: Testosterone, for the most part. … [Read more...]

How Macedonian Teens Spread Pro-Trump Lies

When I wrote my absurdly controversial post about the liberal political sites that should not be trusted, many people freaked out that I hadn't named similar conservative sites. Buzzfeed has an article about those and how many of them are run by teenagers in Macedonia who couldn't care less about the election. It's just about making money. … [Read more...]

Answering Criticisms of My Post About Crappy Liberal ‘News’ Sites

On Sunday I published a post entitled "Please stop sharing links to these sites" and all hell broke loose. As of this writing, it has almost 500 comments on it, most of them either completely missing the point or just outright dumb. This post will answer some of the most common responses. … [Read more...]

What Neuropsychology Tells Us About Trump’s Appeal

Cognitive neuroscientist Bobby Azarian has a column in Psychology Today that seeks to explain the seemingly unshakable appeal of Donald Trump for many on the right. Part of that explanation includes things I've talked about a lot in trying to explain it myself, but he adds a couple other elements I hadn't thought about. … [Read more...]