Semantron 23 Summer 2023


disproportionately favouring wealthier regions is notably concerning, and brings into question the ability of a state to uphold an equitable democracy, given that wealthy citizens are effectively afforded additional voting power by their wealth.

Of greater consideration, and of extraordinary consequence, was the effect partisan beliefs had on likelihood of recall. If legislators held partisan political beliefs towards the policy which they were implementing, then the correlation coefficient was at 0.426 for likelihood of recall. This is problematic in that, if apparently impartial legislators consistently remember beliefs which they are politically inclined towards in a form of confirmation bias, it is likely that these beliefs will be disproportionately represented in the legislation which they publish, and as such be biased towards the beliefs of a potentially minority group. Furthermore, this limits the integrity of democracy, in that, if voters’ beliefs become limited in relevance, (unless these views are shared by the legislators) they are likely to be underrepresented, and not reflect the preferences of the voter base. However, there is a very large caveat to this. Simply because regional and preference cannot be directly recalled, this does not automatically qualify non-memorable information as ignored, nor does it suggest that policy will be formed with only a third of the relevant population in mind. Primarily, legislators by no mean act solely based on what they can remember, but instead are provided with copious amounts of information in briefings and have significant third-party support in creating well balanced approaches designed to represent all relevant opinions. Although, in practice, it admittedly remains likely that some, if not most of this copious information will go unused, the likelihood that the legislature presents a direct reflection of the views of Miler’s political elite remains considerably low. Moreover, it is significant that, although not necessarily the case on an aggregated national level, a local legislative body will generally be elected by the public on the basis on their perspectives on these controversial issues, and as such a partisan bias can be viewed as a positive trope of representative democracy rather than a perversion of it. In fact, a politically partisan workplace is neither unusual nor unexpected, as elaborated by (Kempf, 2021). She instead offers that the nature of geographic concentration of a group of high-skilled workers makes it likely that there will be a strong political partisanship among workers, given the prevalence of geographic partisanship, particularly in such a polarized country as America. Therefore, it would be wholly unfair to attribute memorability of partisan information solely to a confirmation bias, which would suggest that legislators disproportionately favour information and policy because they believe in it. Instead, it is perhaps more feasible that the geographic proximity to the areas of partisan concentration may instead result in increased exposure to the information, and as such becomes better ingrained, rather than any bias. On balance, although initially a partisan bias in memory may appear wholly significant, notably there are other external factors involved, that cannot, or have not, been further reduced by a linear regression, 18 such as the discussed geographical causes. 19 Moreover, this can be extended as a general principle towards the use of heuristics by elites, with perhaps too much weight being given to the biases in memory. Memory, although important, is not the defining factor in how decisions are made, and policies implemented, with written documentation, briefings, and discussion offering a reminder of

18 Hand, D. (2016). Measurement: A Very Short Introduction . Oxford University Press. 19 Kempf, E. et al. (Host). (2021, December 16). The Political Polarization of Corporate America [Audio]. University of Chicago: Simplecast.


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