Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Theory of mind versus a logic of collective actions => opinion dynamics in votes

lets assume there's two kinds of people, and they are about to vote on something

now there's a big campaign about that something and a lot of people give away their likely voting intentions.

lets say some people tend to vote in a way that benefits most people
lets say the other people tend to vote in a way that benefits themselves.

now how does each kind of person interpret which way they should vote?
well, it depends what they think of other people -
if they think the people saying vote x are people that vote to benefit themselves, and they think they are not people of that kind, then they might think they should vote not-x.
if they think people who vote x are people who vote to benefit most people, then maybe they should vote like those people whether they are the same kind, or not.

but now lets assume that the theory-of-mind is correlated with the kind of person and (for the sake of argument) that people that vote to benefit most people are more likely to have a better theory-of-mind (think: empathy if you like).

now the people that vote to please themselves mostly have less of a theory of mind. ironically, they will assume people of "the other kind) are voting to benefit themselves and so will vote against them, even thought this will be voting against their own best interests.

so lets call one bunch of people "metropolitan liberal elite", the other bunch of people "old poorly educated post-industrial poor", and make the vote about "brexit" in the UK.

now you see why the outcome went the way it did, AND how hard it is to have any useful discussion about it afterwards.

should not be too hard to verify this....