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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Politics of Misinformation

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Here's a very interesting article about the cognitive dissonance surrounding politics. I've been convinced of this for a while, but it's very interesting to see hard science on it. People choose their beliefs and then cherry-pick facts and information to support those beliefs. The more your self-concept is wrapped up in those beliefs, the more likely it is that not only will you not change your beliefs, but contradictory evidence actually makes your belief stronger:

But a series of new experiments show that misinformation can exercise a ghostly influence on people's minds after it has been debunked -- even among people who recognize it as misinformation. In some cases, correcting misinformation serves to increase the power of bad information.
h/t to The Frontal Cortex