Activism is essential, but it can’t be all we do
A classic old psychology study presented participants with a fictional character named Linda, an unmarried, 31-year-old university student, who was politically outspoken and who’d participated in anti-nuclear marches. Which of the following, they were asked, was more likely: that Linda worked as a bank cashier – or that Linda worked as a bank cashier and was active in the feminist movement?
Logically, it has to be the former. It simply can’t be more probable that anybody is two things, rather than that they’re only one of those two things. But the overwhelming majority of people chose the latter. The two facts just feel more true in conjunction; they tell a more convincing story. Not a highly convincing one, these days, admittedly (whoever heard of doing your banking by interacting with another human being?) but it’s still the most plausible option, thanks to the extra detail.