Cognitive loading…

“Eight, five, seven, five, three-oh…”

“Twelve! Four! Two! Twenty-six!”

“Eight, five, seven, five, um… Five…”

“Pony! Squirrel! Potato! Potato! Potato!”

“Eight, five, uh… Eight. Five. SEVEN. Eight five seven five three oh…”

“Eight, five seven, five three oh two.”

“Got it! I’ll call you tomorrow.”

This is what cognitive loading looks like, even if it’s kind of a ham-fisted example. This was highlighted recently in an article that described a study on the difficulty of correcting misinformation, even when the facts are known. While it’s not an especially ‘deep’ article, it is useful in that it illustrates once again how the human mind, in doing pretty much what it’s supposed to do, manages to completely screw everything up while allowing us to think we’ve actually got it all figured out.

Meanwhile, we’re sitting around another week waiting on the GOP to decide if they’ll accrue more ill-will from their base for accepting revenue increases versus the prospect of being saddled with responsibility for shutting down the Federal Government in the middle of a recession. Nor is it merely the fact that the CBO can’t make their numbers add based on cuts alone; the whole notion that revenues should be named as “tax increases” in the first place bears no relationship to reality, since we’re talking about tax breaks that were provided as a temporary stimulus ages ago.

The real question is simply if there are enough on the GOP side who want to cash out at the end of this session, which seems unlikely. A global banking collapse has obvious and immediate short-term implications. Anyone who wanted to throw in their hat and go to work down on KStreet in 2012 might not feel the pinch, but 1) you’d want to be damned sure K-Street was GOP/Tea Party friendly, still and B) that there was a pretty good plan to pull SOMETHING out of the toilet of a double-dip recession, since the consensus seems to be that the real problem following the last banking meltdown is there isn’t anything cool enough left to steal; that’s why Citi and co. haven’t been doing much but buying bonds and each other.

But then these guys are the same ones whose base reads their paystub, sees FICA/SoSec./Etc. and reads the total figure into a lump sum that they read as “TAXES” which either goes up or down. Sometimes it seems big enough to buy a nice TV, certainly you could get one with two…

And we wonder how Michelle Bachman’s plan to solve the jobs crisis by shooting undocumented gays from a moving plane with incandescent light bulbs manages to appeal to someone who reasons even as well as Joe Sixpack. Slowly but surely, we’re figuring out how we’re becoming Eloi and Morlocks…

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  • Comments (3)
    • jane
    • July 16th, 2011


      • Max Bell
      • July 16th, 2011


      Good times, no?

        • Chester Emerson
        • July 25th, 2011

        They certainly are interesting. And here I thought I was going to die of boredom.

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