Slapped By the Little Man

Imagine that there is a little man who follows you around everywhere. He seems pleasant and you get along fairly well. Though he has one quirk—he is particular about what sorts of things you take time to notice. For example, the little man likes Ford trucks. His father had one, and his grandfather. They are simply the best. When you say that they are the best, or maybe you spot a magazine article about how great they are—the little man gives you a Twinkie. This is not so bad—in fact you might find yourself looking for more articles praising Fords. 

On the other hand, this quirk has a dark side. One day you see a tv show talking about some way in which Chevy trucks are superior. You might be mildly curious and suggest that maybe you weren't as right as you 'SLAP'—the little man back-hands you. You are confused and can't quite remember why they thought Chevy's were better. A few moments later you are handed another Twinkie when you nod your head and smile at a Ford commercial. 

Eventually you would learn to effectively avoid anything that resembled support of Chevys and chase down things that told you Ford was the best. You might gravitate toward certain news stations that tell good news about Fords and Bad news about Chevys.

We all have this little man with us at all times—slapping us and giving us Twinkies. It's called confirmation bias. Our brain experiences cognitive pain when it sees information that undermines our perspective and pleasure when it finds information that assures us we are correct. The brain is not wired to be logical, it is wired to not change its perspective. We like to think that we are logical, but every time we actually consider evidence that undermines our perspective, it is a fight to see it. It's a fight because a) we don't want to be slapped and b) we want a Twinkie.   

Sad for us, but for those interested in leaning back toward objective thinking there is a tell. If you are actually considering the evidence objectively, it will hurt. If you are actually processing information about Chevys in an objective way, then the little man will be slapping you incessantly.

No pain, no objective thought.