How Your Brain Decides Without You

“We form our beliefs based on what comes to us from the world through the window of perception, but then those beliefs act like a lens, focusing on what they want to see. In a New York University psychology laboratory earlier this year, a group of subjects watched a 45-second video clip of a violent struggle between a police officer and an unarmed civilian.3 It was ambiguous as to whether the officer, in trying to handcuff the person resisting arrest, behaved improperly. Before seeing the video, the subjects were asked to express how much identification they felt with police officers as a group. The subjects, whose eye movements were being discretely monitored, were then asked to assign culpability. Not surprisingly, people who identified less strongly with police were more likely to call for stronger punishment. But that was only for people who often looked at the police officer during the video. For those who did not look as much at the officer, their punishment decision was the same whether they identified with police or not…”

http://nautil.us/issue/19/illusions/how-your-brain-decides-without-you

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