We may not always be aware of it, but we all practice deliberate ignorance. In other words, we consciously choose not to seek or use information. This is as true for individuals as it is, for example, for organizations, welfare economics, and law. But where exactly does deliberate ignorance play a role? And when is it a blessing, when a curse? In our feature, we present examples and consider possible implications.

Deliberate ignorance or when we (should) choose not to know

We may not always be aware of it, but we all practice deliberate ignorance. In other words, we consciously choose not to seek or use information. This is as true for individuals as it is, for example, for organizations, welfare economics, and law. But where exactly does deliberate ignorance play a role? And when is it a blessing, when a curse? In our feature, we present examples and consider possible implications.

Measures to contain the Corona pandemic are the subject of politically charged debate and tend to polarize segments of the population. But how exactly do politicization and social mobilization affect the incidence of infection? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development have examined this question using the USA as an example. The findings were published in Applied Network Science.

Polarization and mobilization on social media affect infection figures

Measures to contain the Corona pandemic are the subject of politically charged debate and tend to polarize segments of the population. But how exactly do politicization and social mobilization affect the incidence of infection? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development have examined this question using the USA as an example. The findings were published in Applied Network Science.

Human decision-making depends on the flexible processing of complex information, but how the brain may adapt processing to momentary task demands has remained unclear. In a new study researchers have now outlined several crucial neural processes revealing that our brain networks may rapidly and flexibly shift from a rhythmic to a “noisy” state when the need to process more information increases.

How does the brain flexibly process complex  information?

Human decision-making depends on the flexible processing of complex information, but how the brain may adapt processing to momentary task demands has remained unclear. 
In a new study researchers have now outlined several crucial neural processes revealing that our brain networks may rapidly and flexibly shift from a rhythmic to a “noisy” state when the need to process more information increases.

The brain’s neural activity is irregular, changing from one moment to the next. To date, this apparent “noise” has been thought to be due to random natural variations or measurement error. However, researchers have shown that this neural variability may provide a unique window into brain function.

How the “noise” in our brain influences our behavior

The brain’s neural activity is irregular, changing from one moment to the next. To date, this apparent “noise” has been thought to be due to random natural variations or measurement error. However, researchers have shown that this neural variability may provide a unique window into brain function.

The online world is largely driven by the logic of the attention economy: Users’ attention is a precious currency, and online environments are designed to capture and steer that attention. How can users respond to these challenges of the digital age and how might the design of the online world be improved? A team of researchers has addressed these questions from the perspective of behavioral science.

Citizens versus the Internet: How can we protect ourselves against manipulation, fake news, and other digital challenges?

The online world is largely driven by the logic of the attention economy: Users’ attention is a precious currency, and online environments are designed to capture and steer that attention. How can users respond to these challenges of the digital age and how might the design of the online world be improved? A team of researchers has addressed these questions from the perspective of behavioral science.

Citizens of East Germany wanted to use music and lyrical forms to propagate hopes, desires, and visions of socialist Germany’s future and to influence the coming generation on an emotional level. Writing of the GDR as a “modern time regime”, Juliane Brauer tells the story of a promised future and the results of its failure to be realized. The certainty and belief in progress that characterized the beginnings were replaced with mistrust and disappointment over shattered dreams.

Feeling Time - How the GDR Sang its Future. A History of Emotions

Citizens of East Germany wanted to use music and lyrical forms to propagate hopes, desires, and visions of socialist Germany’s future and to influence the coming generation on an emotional level. Writing of the GDR as a “modern time regime”, Juliane Brauer tells the story of a promised future and the results of its failure to be realized. The certainty and belief in progress that characterized the beginnings were replaced with mistrust and disappointment over shattered dreams.

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The Max Planck Institute for Human Development is dedicated to the study of human development and educational processes across the lifespan and historical time. Researchers from diverse disciplines—including psychology, sociology, history, computer and information science, medicine, mathematics, and economics—work together on interdisciplinary projects. An overview of all research centers and groups can be found here.

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Are you looking for a specific contact? Some 350 people from over 30 countries work at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. The institute comprises four research centers, three Max Planck Research Groups, one Emmy Noether Group, one Lise Meitner Research Group, and several service departments. The contact details of all staff members are listed here.

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News

News

Polarization and mobilization on social media affect infection figures

May 04, 2021

Measures to contain the Corona pandemic are the subject of politically charged debate and tend to polarize segments of ...

How does the brain flexibly process complex information?

April 29, 2021

Human decision-making depends on the flexible processing of complex information, but how the brain may adapt ...

Can you win against automation?

March 16, 2021

We live in a world where robots increasingly build our cars, algorithms trade stocks and computers translate texts ...

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The Max Planck Institute for Human Development is committed to promoting equal opportunities for women and men. We take both organizational and personnel measures to facilitate the reconciliation of work and family life and to promote women’s careers. Our aim is to ensure a positive environment that promotes and supports excellence.

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The MPI for Human Development provides several working opportunities for Predocs.
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