Thomas Szanto / The ‘Collaborative Spiraling of Irrationality’ in Times of ‘Alternative Facts’

Thomas Szanto, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at CFS, on collaborative irrationality, self-deception and emotion regulation biases

In times of ‘post-truth’, when ‘alternative facts’ circulate widely not just on social media but even in the most elite political arenas, one may wonder about the nature of practical and theoretical irrationality and self-deception.

How can one believe that two propositions A and B are contradictory or incompatible, have sufficient evidence or reason to believe A, indeed acknowledge those evidences and reasons as warranting one’s belief in A, and yet, believe B? Moreover, how can two or more people collaboratively engage and in such forms of self-deception and thus reinforce each other’s irrational tendencies? And what role do emotions and emotion regulation (i.e. strategies to select and adjust the situations of affective import, or modulate our attention and behavioural responses to them) play here?

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Thomas Szanto / Time to be Proud of Us – Time to Hate Them

Photo1-150x150[1]Week after week, we are bombarded with news about nationalist elections (e.g., Austria, Denmark, Hungary, Poland), total political insulation and outright racist rhetoric in electorate campaigns (Brexit, Trump, etc.), destroyed Roma camps and deported immigrants (Italy, France, Slovakia, etc.), not to mention homophobic, political, ethnic or religiously inspired terrorism (Orlando, Istanbul, Middle East, etc.).

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Thomas Szanto / SHARE: A New Marie-Curie Research Grant at the CFS

Thomas Szanto, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at CFS, has just started his research project

Thomas SzantoAfter two wonderful and productive years as a Postdoc at the CFS, where I have worked within the framework of the VELUX-Foundation project “Empathy and Interpersonal Understanding”, I am absolutely delighted that I could extend my stay at this excellent research environment—and, not least, in this truly amazing city that has become so dear to me!—for another two years. I have just started my new Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship project SHARE: “Shared Emotions, Group Membership, and Empathy“. Let me briefly explain what SHARE is about:

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