How do you know that: “the £350M a week for the NHS… didn’t really play a significant role in swaying voters. It was a symbol for sovereignty, and that concept is a matter of emotion, not fact.”?

Several polls after the referendum suggested that was the case, and persisting with it was a deliberate tactic according to the leaders of the Leave campaign.

I think you’re on shaky ground attributing self-centred bias to politicians who are experts in manipulating bias.

Yes, perhaps Chuka Ummuna was using a rhetorical device. But it’s not because one is expert in manipulating biases that one stops being prone to them — even Daniel Kahneman openly and wistfully admits he’s as much under their spell as anyone.

Arguably politicians, certainly conviction politicians, would be even more vulnerable to self-centred bias: the last thing you want in a politician is the ability to appreciate things from the opposition’s side.

If a TV breaks, many of us don’t know how to fix it.
If the EU breaks, many of us don’t know how to fit it.

Both things are hugely complex. It’s not just a matter of me “choosing not to acquire the info” — in effect it’s “Information to which we have no access” because it’s incomprehensible — and therefore us voters are ripe for exploitation.

I think this is precisely where the issue lies: some people, particularly on the Remain side, played the logical, rational card, and failed to appreciate to what extent people had no interest in that approach. What some wanted is — to paraphrase the League of Gentlemen — simply local laws for local people. If you have a deep mistrust of the continentals, feel no affinity with them whatsoever, are profoundly nationalist, that kind of thing, you’re really not interested in non-tariff trade barriers, or passporting for the financial institutions in the City.

It is especially those who resort to logical, factual arguments who are prone to the self-centred bias, since they feel they have the objective truth on their side. “Surely you cannot be in favour of GDP being 6% lower than it otherwise would be, just because you want to keep the Poles and the Czechs out — that would cost you £4,000 per year! Are you stupid or what?” Well, for some people that is all stuff and nonsense, and all they want is indeed keeping the Poles and the Czechs out.

(from your follow-up comment) & surely
“Information to which we have no access”
is not “irrelevant to our decision-making: there is no way that it could influence us”.
Information to which we have no access does influence us — as we act in its absence?
Especially when a small group of others do have access to that information, and use it to manipulate us?
Please forgive my faulty arguments!have no access does influence us — as we act in its absence?

What I mean is that when you are faced with a decision you can only use information you know, or can know (if you choose to take the necessary steps to learn it). For example, if you couldn’t have known that the driver of the coach would have a heart attack and drive his vehicle into a ravine, you would have been unable to choose not to take that coach trip on that basis.

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Accidental behavioural economist in search of wisdom. Uses insights from (behavioural) economics in organization development. On Twitter as @koenfucius

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