Monday, July 10, 2017

How Much Effort Would Trump Have To Exert To Stop Lying? Would It Even Be Possible... Even With Intense Psychiatric Treatment?


Ted Lieu tweeted this old article by Alice Park in Time Magazine today, The Fascinating Reason Why Liars Keep On Lying. I can't read Ted's mind and I don't claim I can ascribe motivation to his actions on Twitter but... I'd put up money that he had a certain Señor Trumpanzee in mind when he tweeted-- possibly Paul Ryan as well. I certainly read Park's piece with Trump, Ryan and the post-truth GOP in mind. "Once a liar, always a liar, the old saying goes," wrote Park. "Turns out there’s some scientific truth to that: researchers have tracked down how the brain makes lying easier as the untruths build up, providing some biological evidence for why small lies often balloon into ever larger ones."
In a study published in Nature Neuroscience, Tali Sharot from the department of experimental psychology at University College London and her colleagues devised a clever study to test people’s dishonest tendencies while scanning their brains in an fMRI machine. The 80 people in the study were shown pennies in a glass jar and given different incentives to guide whether they lied or told the truth to a fellow partner about how much money was contained in the jar. In some conditions, both the participant and the partner benefited if the participant lied; in others, just the participant benefited from his fib, or just the partner benefited (with no cost to either). In another set of scenarios, either the participant or partner benefited, but at the expense of the other if the participant lied. In each case, Sharot documented the changes in the people’s brains as they made their decisions.

They found that when people were dishonest, activity in a part of the brain called the amygdala-- the hub of emotional processing and arousal-- changed. With each scenario, the more dishonestly the participant advised his partner, the less activated the amygdala was on the fMRI. That may be because lying triggers emotional arousal and activates the amygdala, but with each additional lie, the arousal and conflict of telling an untruth diminishes, making it easier to lie.

Sharot also found that the amygdala became less active mostly when people lied to benefit themselves. In other words, self-interest seems to fuel dishonesty.

“Part of the emotional arousal we see when people lie is because of the conflict between how people see themselves and their actions,” Sharot said during a briefing discussing the results. “So I lie for self-benefit, but at the same time it doesn’t fit the way I want to view myself, which is as an honest person. It’s possible that we learn from the arousal signal...with less emotional arousal, perhaps I’m less likely to see the act as incongruent with my own self perception.”

The researchers were even able to map out how each lie led to less amygdala activation and found that the decrease could predict how much the person’s dishonesty would escalate in the next trial. Biology seems to back up the warnings parents give to their kids: that one lie just leads to another.
Trump's amygdala is probably as shriveled and dysfunctional as his dick. We contacted our old friend, best-selling author, distinguished cognitive psychologist, neuroscientist and nationally recognized expert on bullshit, Dan Levitin. He told us that "there are many reasons that people lie. There are noble lies, to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, and other noble lies to avoid endangering people (the police might lie about their position if they’re trying to free hostages). Sometimes we lie to save face (“I didn’t break the lamp, mom, Dougie did”) or to make ourselves look more important than we are (“I invented the internet”). Some of us lie with the express intent to deceive so that we can have the upper hand in a business deal. And then there are people who don’t actually lie, but just make stuff up, what Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt in his book of the same title called 'bullshit.'

"Bullshitters are actually more dangerous than liars in many cases because they have a reckless disregard for the truth. Think about it: a liar respects the truth. He has to know what the truth is, and surgically, carefully, insert a lie at just the right spot in the edifice of information in order to mislead. But the bullshitter just says whatever thought comes in his mind, flip-flops, and has no respect for the way in which facts are gathered or verified, no respect for experts, and no appreciation for the fact that people may know things that he doesn’t. 'Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.' Yes they did! Lots of people knew-- people who are, um, actually in healthcare or in government agencies that have to do with health care. But again, the bullshitter can’t imagine that other people know things because he has no conception of how people come to know things-- through serious, rational information gathering, education, and systematic observation. There is nothing systematic about the way Trump absorbs or disseminates information. I met him six years ago, a week before the White House correspondent’s dinner that led to his decision to run for President. My impression at the time was of someone who had no interest in facts and an insufficient attention span to process details. A big picture guy, whose picture would change with the tides, the winds, or whatever whim caught that short little span of attention."

By the way, please send this video by Australian journalist Chris Uhlmann to everyone you know who has an attention span of at least 3 minutes. It's the best Trump take-down I've heard in at least a few weeks-- and it goes right to the heart of the danger he poses to our country:

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At 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He couldn't do it. He doesn't want to stop. And he doesn't know enough about much to even tell a lie.

Mostly he's just a braggart. Born on third and thinks he hit a triple... kind of thing.

The CEO caste has been selected precisely for their ability to lie without conscience (our employees are our no. 1 resource... shit like that). Used car salesmen like trump are the worst. The richest ones spend their lives lying, cheating and in response getting their asses kissed by everyone.

the worst of the worst.

At 3:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Iraq invasion (#2, that is) was predicated on a documented total of 935 lies readily available in the public record and assembled into a data base available as of Jan 2008.
It is linked here:

As with Nixon and Viet Nam, CIA chief Pappy Bush ("Plan B" under G Ford) and St Ron the Demented with Iran/contra, the lies flow without deterrent or consequence. So, to the extent they help maintain power, they continue. (I omit WJ "I did not have sex with that woman" Clinton because it was such a characteristically skillful Clinton "dynasty"/Dem party political suicide effort. Not for WJC himself, of course, but for Gore ... and, thus, the entire country under the Cheney-Bush terror.)

You're going to get as far with the incessant psychiatric assessment of His Hairness as was accomplished with the same for GW Bush, the founder of the American "Proud and Aggressive Ignorance" movement.

In anticipation of an obviously brewing new line of Dem hysteria, note: the 25th Amendment puts the issue of replacing a president deemed unable to carry out his/her duties entirely into the hands of the President him-/herself (?!?), VP, cabinet and congress. So this is as plausible a way to deal effectively with His Hairness as is the yearning for impeachment.

Given the remote possibility of ridding the country of HH to get Pence: the country would ONLY gain vicious & virulent Christo-fascism in exchange for the loss of early a.m. tweets that (strangely to be sure) finally deliver on the many, previous, broken promises of government transparency.

John Puma


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