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Posts Tagged ‘psychology of climate denierism’

Does this face look bovvered?

BPSDB Sometimes it takes a cartoon character to help understand a cartoon.

Recently I was introduced to the comic character Lauren Cooper,  a fictitious character created and performed by British comedic actress Catherine Tate.

While I enjoyed the comedy I was also struck by how much Lauren’s conflict dynamic mimicked that of many climate change Deniers.

Divorced of its’ normal context I found I was able to get much more analytical about what might actually be going on psychologically for the individual Denier. Possibly much more interesting, I was led to ask myself  “Why do I like Lauren even though she is a caricature of annoying people who make my life difficult?” and of course, what clues are there for how to deal effectively with Deniers?

Lauren Cooper, climate change Denier?

Lauren is an aggressive, obnoxious, poorly educated, self-absorbed, lower class 15 year old. Naturally her success as a comic character is because she parodies behaviour that we recognize; good comedians have to be keen observers of human behaviour.

No, Lauren is not a climate change Denier (I doubt she would even know what that meant), but she is interesting in that her argumentative dynamic uses the same basic pattern as the Deniers. Relative to everyday life Lauren is an outrageous, over the top caricature. Compared to some of the more familiar Deniers she is pretty average.

A Lauren Cooper sketch follows the same basic formula. First Lauren is caught out having done something “well bad” (ie stupid) and her mates remark on it. Often she will baldly deny it even happened at all despite the obvious fact that it did.

At some point she will attack the questioner with a Gish Gallop of shifting goal posts and red herrings that completely ignore the original issue “Are you disrespecting me? are you saying my mother is a prostitute? are you saying I’m stupid? are you saying my father is a wino? are you saying I’m a pikie?

Always she will express her total indifference to what others think or have to say by repeatedly asking “Am I bovvered?”

At no time will she ever admit to any error, acknowledge the validity any criticism, nor will she respond to what the other person is actually saying (on the rare occasions that she even detects that they are saying anything).

Sound familiar?

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BPSDB

FABIAN:  If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.

SIR TOBY BELCH : His very genius hath taken the infection of the device, man.

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It is a perverse fact that often the sheer idiocy of many of the climate change Denier arguments works in their favour.

This is above and beyond the usual reasons some people find ways to believe the climate change Denier deceptions.

I am not referring to the hard core Deniers who write the blogs and spam legitimate climate sites with absurd claims, obvious frauds and largely irrelevant rants. This cadre are & will be the 10% of the population that will never be convinced even as their homes burst into flame.

My concern is the section of the general public who are “in denial” rather than being “Deniers” per se. They are our target for education, but to do that we need to understand why they are in denial and why the lies work on them.

  • Information Deficit
  • Psychology of Denial
    • Motivated reasoning
    • Groupthink
    • Future discounting & the neurotic paradox
    • Belief retention
    • Inferred justification
    • The bigger the lie
  • Beware this boy
  • Links of interest

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