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On the day of the general election, most of us will go to the polls thinking that we are making an informed choice based on a considered assessment of the candidates’ skills and policies. We will roll out arguments about why we are voting the way we are, convinced that we are exercising our democratic right with our wits about us.

But we will be deluding ourselves. Study after study has shown that our voting decisions are based not on rational deliberation, but on instinctive biases over which we have little control, such as whether or not we like a…

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