Lack of control and the war on minds
Humans who feel a lack of control look for patterns more actively than people who feel in control. A lack of control can make you see patterns where none exist. Illusions are the result. That's what the scientists show: Lacking Control Increases Illusory Pattern Perception. This article appears in the latest issue of Science, and enjoys coverage, like here on NPR, or in the BBC news.
I couldn't think of a more unwelcome time to highlight human shortcomings with regard to rational thinking.
Amidst the economic turmoil, in a world that French Prime Minister François Fillon describes as "sitting on the edge of an abyss", we shouldn't be told to question our judgement. Cautioning people can only lead them to stay home. By staying home, we're giving politicians our silent consent to interfere with the economy. We shouldn't question our judgement and reign ourselves in, just because humans look for patterns. Minds are beautiful. We should question the information that influences our judgement. Scaremongering politicians should be questioned!
If rationality is the goal, then the only useful news would be to encourage individuals, including their illusions, because a free mind is most likely to exhibit good judgement. Negative information causes feelings of waning control, and is used deliberately to manipulate opinion. Not our response to bad news should be questioned, but rather the perceptions of information makers, the politicians, who usher our world away from free markets and toward an evil growth of government.
That's the thing that is bad. Our minds are all right.