It is possible, perhaps even likely, that the level of vitriol we’ve seen in the 2016 election cycle will repeat for many years ahead. The culprit is a well-studied psychological phenomena called the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which basically shows that many people often overestimate their degree of knowledge about the world, leading them to false conclusions that are then in turn impervious to further information and logic. In politics it’s a form of epistemic closure, and it is central to understanding the rise of populists like Trump. Politicians can take advantage when voters are confident in their limited knowledge, opening the door for a “aperspectival madness” and a post-truth media landscape. Especially in a time when every voter can select their information sources with confirmation bias, there is no obvious countervailing force that will push back on the Dunning-Kruger Effect becoming more prevalent.
On Your Radar:
Expect more polarization in coming years due to the Dunning-Kruger effect and the ongoing fragmentation of the average citizen’s media diet.