Motivated Reasoning

This TED talk helps explain why our State and Nations incarcerates so many people who are not guilty of the crime they were charged with.

Jurors have what she refers to as “motivated reasoning”. They want to believe that the police do not make arrests without probable cause. To believe otherwise gives them reason to be insecure. They will fear they might be arrested without probable cause. An arrest, even without a convictions, is extremely disrupting to one’s life, is embarrassing as others presume you did something wrong, and to defend yourself is very expensive. Jurors know that. So they have a motive for believing, via motivated reasoning (as well as a lot of propaganda in school and media) that police do not make arrests without probable cause.

What is probable cause? Well the ’cause’ is a crime. (ie; violation of a law that carries criminal penalties = fine and/or prison). And ‘probable’ means they ‘probably’ committed the crime. Thus; with the commission of the crime already probable, and the Jurors motivation to believe arrests are not made without probable cause, the unconscious desire of the Juror is find, even create, (with the eager aid of the prosecutor) the ‘reasons’ for a conviction. Motivated Reasoning.

Below is the link to the talk and some parts of the transrcipt.

Well, this is a case of what scientists call “motivated reasoning.” It’s this phenomenon in which our unconscious motivations, our desires and fears, shape the way we interpret information. Some information, some ideas, feel like our allies. We want them to win. We want to defend them. And other information or ideas are the enemy, and we want to shoot them down. So this is why I call motivated reasoning, “soldier mindset.”

 Our judgment is strongly influenced, unconsciously, by which side we want to win. And this is ubiquitous.This shapes how we think about our health, our relationships, how we decide how to vote, what we consider fair or ethical. What’s most scary to me about motivated reasoning or soldier mindset, is how unconscious it is. We can think we’re being objective and fair-minded and still wind up ruining the life of an innocent man.
Why you think you’re right — even if you’re wrong

 Julia Galef: filmed February 2016 at TEDxPSU

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