Saturday, July 21, 2007
COGNITIVE DISSONANCE AND PRESIDENT BUSH
On Science Friday July 20, 2007, in the second hour, Joe Palca interviewed Elliot Aronson, one of the co-authors of a book called "Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)" on cognitive dissonance which seems to me to explain, if not justify, how President Bush can, among other things, authorize torture while at the same time denying that the U.S. uses torture. Although the author uses Bush and Iraq as his first examples of CD, I think the more telling example is that of the prosecutor who continues to insist on the guilt of a person who has been in jail for 20 years even though DNA evidence now proves that the person is innocent. (I have read before how eye witnesses are unable to believe that they were mistaken in their identification even when there is irrefutable proof that they were.) Bush and his supporters are guilty of exactly that kind of thinking but on a global level. They have unleashed so much horror, they are incapable of believing that they could have been mistaken in doing so.