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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Correcting Misinformation, or "How to adversely define your opponent"

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Author Topic: Correcting Misinformation, or "How to adversely define your opponent"
Kent
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From a blog I frequent Though this blog is typically dealing with Mormon issues, the entire content of the post is a summary of an article in the Skeptical Inquirer entitled "Difficulty in Debunking Myths Rooted in the Way the Mind Works," by Shankar Vedantam. Interesting excerpts:

quote:
The conventional reponse to myths and urban legends is to counter bad information with accurate information. But the new pyscological studies show that denials and clarifications, for all their intuitive appeal, can paradoxically contribute to the resiliency of popular myths.
quote:
The brain uses subconcious ‘rules of thumb’ that can bias it into thinking that false information is true….. Long-term memories… are the most susceptible to the bias of thinking that well-recalled false information is true.
quote:
Research also shows that “once an idea has been implanted in people’s minds, it can be difficult to dislodge. Denials inherently require repeating the bad information, which may be one reason they can paradoxically reinforce it.” Repetition, it seems, may be a key culprit to the problem. The more the information is repeated, the more accessible it becomes in the brain as one of the “rules of thumb” that is easily recalled as being “true” because the brain remembers that many of the things we recall quickly and easily are true.

“…someone trying to manipulate public opinion can take advantage of this aspect of brain functioning. In politics and elsewhere, this means that whoever makes the first assertion about something has a large advantage over everyone who denies it later.”

quote:
What about not saying anything? Is it better not to respond with a denial or rebuttal? This doesn’t help either. At least one study printed in a peer-reviewed psychology journal “found that when accusations or assertions are met with silence, they are more likely to feel true.”

Vedantam closes with this: “Mythbusters, in other words, have the odds against them.”



[ February 25, 2008, 05:20 PM: Message edited by: Kent ]

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Wayward Son
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And I always thought that the first liar didn't stand a chance. [Frown]
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Jesse
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When someone told me as a kid that Audery Hepburn was Katherine Hepburns adopted daughter, I believed it. When I saw and Audery Hepburn biography on A&E a couple years ago, I had to check three websites before considering it confirmed that this was just a myth.

It's true. We require higher standards for disproof than for proof.

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kenmeer livermaile
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And they had similar facial bone structures, too, and both were beautiful in that gamin way.
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LoverOfJoy
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Paradoxically, the more I told women the truth (that I'm extremely handsome) the less they believed me! Go figure!
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LoverOfJoy
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No, really. I'm EXTEMELY handsome. Honest.
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LoverOfJoy
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I dare someone to deny that I'm extremely handsome. [Big Grin]

(I AM extremely handsome, by the way)

[ February 25, 2008, 09:46 PM: Message edited by: LoverOfJoy ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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You are a gorgeous babe.
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Chael
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This is true--and very annoying. Example: before entering college, I never had the slightest problem telling the difference between "effect" and "affect." They were separate words, right? What's the big deal?

Somewhere around the fourth time a teacher in a college English class warned his students not to mix them up, I started to get muddled. Darn college English classes!

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Chael
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Also, is it just me, or is LoverOfJoy really handsome?
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kenmeer livermaile
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If you like pretty boys...
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Chael
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Now now, Kenmeer. Didn't say he was /pretty/ handsome, now did he? He could be geeky! Or rugged! The 'handsome' is the important part, coupled with 'extremely'.
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