A recurrent theme: human mental habits do not perceive reality accurately.
Here on Huffington Post is a huge circular graph, a Cognitive Bias Codex, grouped into four quadrants and 20 ‘buckets’. Here’s a link to an enlarged version of the graph.
From the HP article:
“You look at this overwhelming array of cognitive biases and distortions, and realize how there are so many things that come between us and objective reality,” Manoogian told The Huffington Post. “One of the most overwhelming things to me that came out of this project is humility.”
And via another Facebook post, here’s an essay by the creator of that chart: You are almost definitely not living in reality because your brain doesn’t want you to, with a breakdown of his categories and links to Wikipedia explanations.
Somewhere in here, surely, is an explanation for Donald Trump.
And certainly for the common perception that the world, and the US is so much worse off than before. Nicholas Kristof had a good column the other day, The Best News You Don’t Know:
The world is a mess, with billions of people locked in inescapable cycles of war, famine and poverty, with more children than ever perishing from hunger, disease and violence.
That’s about the only thing Americans agree on; we’re polarized about all else. But several polls have found that about 9 out of 10 Americans believe that global poverty has worsened or stayed the same over the last 20 years.
Fortunately, the one point Americans agree on is dead wrong.