Yet another example of how irrational we are

The gist of a recent study, and there are more than just this one, is that people form strong opinions about others based on their faces—their shapes, prominent features, eyebrows, etc.

An article about the study, which is behind a paywall, can be found here: Impressions shaped by facial appearance foster biased decisions.

The authors of the study suggest a few ways to mitigate the facial effect, but admit that “more research will be needed.”

I doubt there is much anyone can do to mitigate the face effect, the lying-sack-of-shit-effect, the phony-persona-effect, the self-deceiving-fake-personality-effect, or any of other ways that people fool themselves and others.

Similarly, ideologies have not fixed the problems of bad government and never will.

In my view there is only one thing we humans can do to ensure that we get good leaders in society, honest workers at all levels, and real friends—develop accurate brain scans that can test for conscious lies and psychopathy.

Technology like that could be used to do more harm than good. But it could also do a lot of good. Any system of government will work if government officials are all honest. The same is true for education systems, businesses, science, and many other endeavors with significant social ramifications. If the people in those systems are all verifiably honest and verifiably well-meaning, the efficiency of society will increase tenfold if not more. Trust among the population will increase apace and most of us (save the psychopaths and scam artists) will be greatly relieved knowing that members of Congress really are upholding their oaths, teachers really do have their students’ best interests in mind, scientists really do believe their data, police really are there to protect and serve.

I don’t see any other way to raise ourselves out of the mire of deceit, error, mistrust, cruelty, and usury that has characterized all human societies for all time. Nothing changes in our minds when we change systems and ideologies. On the scale of society, only technology changes us.

(On the scale of the individual, change can happen due to personal and interpersonal effort.)

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