I proposed a discussion of politics and probabilities because I think it interesting to ponder how politicians use and voters respond to uncertainty.  I didn’t (have sufficient time to)  find the article(s) I recall reading in the economic literature about the brain’s response to risk.  But I include a few summaries of some here.  I am interested in the issue in general, but particularly in understanding this year’s potential voters’ response to visions of this risky world in forming their political preferences.  First is whether “risk” is understood (or measurable) in the sense of the probability of occurrence times the probable loss/gain should the event occur.  How do voters understand risk?  The first article looks at different concepts of probability which may be more informative and in fact implied in the political discourse.  The next is about a political analyst being “wrong” about Donald Trump’s nomination probability.  What does “wrong” mean in politics, policy outcomes (and weather!).  There have been studies that have looked at how parts of the brain react to risk, so attach a few short summaries, though none are what I wanted to find. 

Different concepts of probability:  http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2012/Klingprobability.html

Did Harry Enten “get it wrong.”  http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/590/choosing-wrong?act=2#play.  This whole bit is interesting but relevant part is “Poll Dance,” the relevant piece begining at about 39:00 in the whole episode.   When I heard this I immediately thought of including it as background material for Tuesday.  A few days later I found this followup: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/are-statistics-still-useful-in-politics1/

There have been fMRI studies on how risk affects different parts of the brain:  https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-03-31/neuroscience-is-cracking-the-code-for-handling-risk




Question: just as economics is looking to the brain to evaluate “the rational economic man,” should we be more understanding of why there may not be a “rational political voter?” Or what do both of those mean for our political discourse?