More Evidence that We Humans are Not Rational

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There is a growing body of research demonstrating that humans are far from the rational thinkers and decision makers that we would like us to believe we are. Research has shown, for example, that our mood even smells can alter how we perceive, interpret, and decide about people and situations. Despite our highly developed cerebral cortex, which is supposed to separate us from animals (along with our thumbs), when it comes to processing our world, we are still driven largely by hard-wired patterns that serve an evolutionary purpose (meaning they used to help us survive).

Exemplary of this new line of research, a recent study found that people were more likely to vote for physically attractive candidates when they are exposed to the idea of disease. The rationale is that attractiveness is associated with robust health and, evolutionarily speaking, having a healthy leader during times of disease will ensure the individual and collective survival of the tribe.

Unfortunately, as I plan to write about in a future blog post, what helped us survive in the past, often doesn’t help us survive–or thrive–in the present.

About Jim Taylor Ph.D.

Dr. Jim Taylor Dr. Jim Taylor received his Bachelor's degree from Middlebury College and earned his Master's degree and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Colorado. He is a former associate professor in the School of Psychology at Nova University in Ft. Lauderdale and in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at the University of Denver. He is currently an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco. Dr. Taylor is the author of 14 books and the lead editor of three textbooks, has published more than 750 articles in scholarly and popular publications, and has given more than 1000 workshops and presentations throughout North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Dr. Taylor blogs for psychologytoday.com, huffingtonpost.com, as well as on his own website . His posts have been read by millions. Dr. Taylor has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, ABC's World News This Weekend, Fox News Channel, and major television network affiliates around the U.S. He has participated in many radio shows. He has been interviewed for hundreds of articles that have appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world. To learn more, visit drjimtaylor.com .

1 COMMENT

  1. Howdy! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

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