Sunday, October 26, 2014

Catering to the amygdala.........................

      "These days, we are saturated with information.  We have millions of news outlets competing for our mind share.  And how do they compete?  By vying for the amygdala's attention.  The old newspaper saw "If it bleeds, it leads" works because the first stop that all incoming information encounters is an organ already primed to look for danger.  We're feeding a fiend.  Pick up the Washington Post and compare the number of positive to negative stories.  If your experiment goes anything like mine, you'll find that over 90 percent of the articles are pessimistic.  Quite simply, good news doesn't catch our attention.  Bad news sells because the amygdala is always looking for something to fear."

     "Compounding this, our early warning system evolved in an era of immediacy, when threats were of the tiger-in-the-bush variety.  Things have changed since.  Many of today's dangers are probabilistic - the economy might nose-dive, there could be a terrorist attack - and the amygdala can't tell the difference.  Worse, the system is also designed not to shut off until the potential danger has vanished completely.  Add in an impossible-to-avoid media continuously scaring us in an attempt to capture market share, and you have a brain convinced that it's living in a state of siege - a state that's especially troubling, as New York University's Dr. Marc Siegel explains in his book False Alarm:  The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear, because nothing could be further from the truth:  Statistically, the industrialized world has never been safer."

-Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler,   Abundance:  The Future Is Better Than You Think

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