Friday, June 10, 2005

Democracy: An Exercise in Rationality, or Is It?

From SciAm: Lose the Election? Looks May Be to Blame
Split second judgments about a politician's competence can predict an election's outcome better than chance alone, a new study reveals. The results indicate that superficial inferences can contribute to voting choices, a process hoped to be rational and deliberative.

Heuristics are your istics too.

Why do campaigns lack substance? Because substance has no bearing on who gets the votes, that's why.

The study does mention that this research could lead to election reform that reduces the effect of these "System 1" processes to make elections more based on rationality and longer term "System 2" processes... I wonder what sort of reform could possibly do that?

"Understanding the nature and origins of appearance biases has real world value, not the least of which may be identifying electoral reforms that could increase the likelihood of electing the most qualified leaders rather than those who simply look the part."


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