Friday, January 11, 2013

Israeli behavioral research

From David:  "There is a tendency I've noticed for some Zionist Jewish Israelis to be fascinated by silly "behavioral sciences" that claim to a profound understanding of human behavior in terms of individual choices, rather than political power and dominance. That finds them much favor in American universities. The underlying assumption is that "average" people can be better manipulated by those who claim to understand human behavior, rather than simply encouraging them to seek the truth about how society really works. This of course is consistent with an Israeli and American culture that is in denial about politics, and would rather focus on being clever while avoiding . Thus David Brooks refers to Eldar Shafir at Princeton, who served in the Israeli Defense Forces from 1977-1980. I would claim that this area of research is largely a fraud; whatever contributions it makes are trivial; but it is of value to those in power."