It’s been noticeably quiet over here at TheScientificParent.org since Wednesday morning. That wasn’t by design. Our usual cadre of subject matter experts all declined to speak on the record about the results of last Tuesday’s presidential election and the resulting protests. The over arching concern from most was this: ‘emotions are so high right now, no matter what I say people will hear what they want to hear and it won’t help.’
What we know from decades of research is that echo chambers and confirmation bias lead people to be less informed and to make poorer decisions. Recent research has also pointed out that we intentionally create these echo chambers on social media when we selectively friend/unfriend/follow people and media outlets based on their political beliefs (and that’s more concerning when you consider that 62% of Americans report getting some from social media).
Anecdotally, since election night I have seen this phenomenon in practice with friends and colleagues self-reporting that they have unfriended, blocked or unfollowed someone because of their political beliefs. While doing this feels good at the time it only serves to create or amplify the volume in an echo chamber not only for the person doing the unfriending, but for the person being unfriended.
So here’s the thing, we’re not going to talk about the election here. I want to keep the lines of communication open and we agree with the social workers and political scientists we spoke to last week who felt that anything said will likely be interpreted as bias for or against President Elect Trump. I also know that this decision will be viewed as political and privileged itself. If something arises in the political or policy landscape that we think we’re in a unique position to add value to the conversation we will happily join in, but for now we’re going to stay politics free here.