Yet the same behavioural psychologists also have a rich literature on “confirmation bias”, meaning the way in which such new events are quickly adapted to fit old preconceptions. Rioting in London, to a Labour voter, may look like what you get when too many youth clubs are closed. Seen through Conservative eyes, a feeble police response may be to blame.
It turns out it is the most educated among us who are most susceptible to this way of thinking. Watts is especially critical of this, seeing it as a flaw that “impedes our ability to resolve disputes, from petty disagreements over domestic duties to long-running political conflicts”.