Stephen Fry Identifies the Cognitive Biases That Make Trump Tick

Months after the election, much of the electorate is still trying to figure out what makes Trump/Trumpism tick. Everyone has a theory--frankly too many theories to rehearse right here. But we'll give you the take of Stephen Fry, a regular presence on our site.

In the animated clip above from Pindex, Fry attributes the Trump's political ascendance and style to three cognitive biases, or three deviations from rational judgment, which lead people to draw illogical conclusions about other people or situations. They are, as follows:

At minimum, Fry's primer offers a quick introduction to the world of cognitive biases and their social impact. At most, it makes some sense of America's unexpected detour into Trumpism. I suspect that Fry's speculations only scratch the surface of a much more complicated answer--an answer that historians can sort out in the decades to come. And Fry's solutions--the ways he suggests combatting these cognitive biases--will need some more expert analysis too.

For anyone interested, the video below highlights 12 cognitive biases we regularly encounter in our daily lives:

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Related Content:

Stephen Fry Launches Pindex, a “Pinterest for Education”

Stephen Fry: What I Wish I Knew When I Was 18

John Cleese on How “Stupid People Have No Idea How Stupid They Are” (a.k.a. the Dunning-Kruger Effect)

Stephen Fry Narrates 4 Philosophy Animations On the Question: How to Create a Just Society?

The Psychology That Leads People to Vote for Extremists & Autocrats: The Theory of Cognitive Closure

Daniel Dennett Presents Seven Tools For Critical Thinking

Free Online Philosophy Courses 


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  • Scarlett says:

    *yawn* Cognitive biases are possibly interesting (not really) but more tired and predictable slagging on the President isn’t in the least. Arty-farty people all over the world should be glad Hillary Clinton didn’t win the election. Things would be vastly different for y’all in particular if she had won.

  • Jim Swayze says:

    Must politics infect *everything*? You’d think an arts and culture site would give one at least the tiniest of breaks from the constant onslaught. Disappointing to see this on here.

  • Tony C says:

    It is interesting since the original video this site links to is called “12 Cognitive Biases Explained – How to Think Better and More Logically Removing Bias.” No mention of Trump or any other politician. This was an editorial addition by Open Culture. It would have been more applicable to name it “Stephen Fry Identifies the Cognitive Biases That Make PEOPLE Tick.”

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