The Fenwick Weavers’ Village

300px-UCBerkeleyCampus In a previous post, I had promised to tell a story if anyone wanted to hear it about how cognitive overload can be detrimental to persuasion. As it happens, Sambaran Mitra and Sridhar Rao (see the comments to the post “How to Tell a Big Lie: Assertion, Repetition and Contagion“), and others emailed me to tell the story. So here it is.
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The Gir

Moonlit treesBack during high school days, Jim Corbett was a favorite author. The other day I was going through my notebooks and came across this bit. I don’t recall which book it is from but I have read it so many times that I know this bit by heart. Read slowly and deliberately, it transports you to the Gir at night.
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How to Tell a Big Lie: Assertion, Repetition & Contagion

Those who wield great influence on humanity unfailingly understand some truth about the nature of human collectives. It could not be otherwise. They are able to hold power over the masses because they know — consciously or not — how to manipulate them.

Every individual is unique. Any and all of his mental and physical attributes may lie anywhere along the spectrum of human variations, not duplicated in its entirety in any other person. The individual person is idiosyncratic and unpredictable in his actions. But the masses behave entirely predictably. Humans are rational but only boundedly so. Psychologists who study group behavior have identified biases and systematic deviations from rational behavior. Those who rule the masses have necessarily to be experts in mass psychology.
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Happy 4th of July

Thomas JEfferson We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
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