I’ve read before about some theories that go a bit like rational argument serves more to reinforce ones pre-existing beliefs. This article is neat in how it sort of “tribalizes” rational argumentation.
The article explains its point premised on how memory retrieval works but I think its explanation is incomplete in such a way that it leads to a conclusion, which might be a little broad or misleading.
The process it describes for memory retrieval is that, what is available for reasoning is just what has been filtered through an emotional response (I’m paraphrasing but I think that’s essentially it). I don’t see any mention that all memory retrieval is triggered from emotional response. If not all memory retrieval is initiated from an emotional response, then it’s not impossible for some memory retrieval to be triggered by something else. In other words, I don’t think the article is 100% convincing that we always reason from an emotionally influenced stance but it sort of implies that or glosses over alternatives.
If the article is correct then the public would be better served if government bodies referred to Plato and Socrates, and engaged in dialectic conversations rather than debate to develop good policy. Because it would seem, as many people observe, there’s deadlock between increasingly polarized sides in debates and the article would lead us to believe that that is unlikely to change significantly through debate.
Whether the article is correct 100% of the time or not, it reminds me that my understanding (and probably most people’s) of the emotional influence on the rational, is nowhere near as good as it could be. If it was, I guess politics would probably less polarized.