Monday, August 06, 2007

My Two Selves

This article by Shankar Vedantam outlines research on our two selves. He leads off with the paradoxes, including that of Sen. Vitter with prostitutes at the same time he was pushing bills on abstinence.
Studies have found that, for some reason, an enormous mental gulf separates "cold" emotional states from "hot" emotional states. When we are not hungry or thirsty or sexually aroused, we find it difficult to understand what effects those factors can have on our behavior. Similarly, when we are excited or angry, it is difficult to think about the consequences of our behavior -- outcomes that are glaringly obvious when we are in a cold emotional state.
Rings true for me. Even though my addictions in life have dwindled, get between me and my Starbucks and I'm pure emotion. I often think the same applies for sports and politics--we become irrationally attached to our team, our positions, and can't apply reason. I know the Redskins won't reach the Super Bowl this year, but I'll still believe. I know George W. is a worthy person (but I immediately ask: "worthy of what?") I hope I'm mostly "cold" on this blog.

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