Cognitive Biases and Violence

Thinking is a complex process that depends on a number of aspects, including the way people acquire information and process it. Due to the differences in individuals’ mentalities and perspectives on particular issues, one fact or act can have different interpretations. However, the majority of them result from the utilization of a certain logic that is used to formulate conclusions and impact various actions. Nevertheless, in some cases, there are critical mistakes in thinking that affect people, known as cognitive biases. They can result in the formation of erroneous vision or poor decision-making. In policy, this sort of fallacies can have a drastic impact on outcomes and promote the emergence of violent cases.

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Cognitive biases are critical if to speak about policymaking and the way information is processed in this sphere. It occurs when a politician utilizes data available to him/her and interprets it regarding the environment or problems existing at the moment. However, being a unique part of the body, the brain can try to simplify the information that is available at the moment to make a person act and increase the speed of making decisions.

In policy, it becomes dangerous because of the multi-dimensional character of all issues and the impossibility of their simplification (Chase 15). For instance, from a biased point of view, the problem of overpopulation or illegal migration can be solved by the forced movement of communities. It might result in the outburst of political violence because of the inability to consider all elements of the problem, such as humanism and people’s needs.

The close relation between cognitive biases and violence can be demonstrated using Kaczynski’s case. Being a brilliant and talented individual, he graduated from Harvard, acquired a doctoral degree in mathematics, and worked at the University of Michigan. However, he soon decided to move to a remote cabin near Lincoln because of the pressure of society and witnessed the destruction of nature near his living which impacted his worldview significantly (Chase 12).

His idea was that the industrial world limited people’s freedom, and the dominance of technologies created a “sick society, hostile to human potential” (Chase 8). Violence did not play a critical role in his manifest; however, it was a necessary measure to attract people’s attention to the problem and make society think about it (Kaczynski 6). In such a way, a case of cognitive bias can be observed as terrorism corrupted his logical ideas and resulted in imprisonment and disregard of this problem.

The given case sparked public outcry because of the acts of terrorism and many victims of Unabomber. At the same time, the media tried to emphasize the extreme loner image of Kaczynski and his mental problems. One of the possible reasons for this attitude is the fact that mass media is under the strict control of large organizations that are integrated with the contemporary society and system against which Kaczynski tried to struggle (Kaczynski 11). For this reason, it was critical to present him as a loner to avoid the emergence of his adherers and debates about the Manifest.

Altogether, cognitive biases might result in the emergence of violent behaviors and numerous victims. Kaczynski’s case shows that even some logical ideas and concepts can be corrupted by fallacies in thinking and precondition undesired and aggressive acts. Trying to resist the system, he selected terrorism to attract the attention to his ideas. However, being an erroneous conclusion, it did not help Kaczynski to achieve his goal.

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Works Cited

Chase, Alston. “Harvard and the Making of the Unabomber.” The Atlantic, 2000, pp. 1-39.

Kaczynski, Theodore. “Industrial Society and Its Future.Hache, 1995, pp. 1-32. Web.

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StudyCorgi. "Cognitive Biases and Violence." June 15, 2021.


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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Cognitive Biases and Violence'. 15 June.

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