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Fascinating Research Paper on Misinformation and Debiasing

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posted on May, 5 2014 @ 06:45 PM
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Hello ATS,

I have read many threads lately about paid shills, trolls, etc. I have been reading ATS threads for a couple years, and this type of thread seems to be more frequent lately.

As with online forums, live conversations or general assemblies seem to also become quickly "derailed" and turn into forums where the ignorant get more "time at the mic" than those who could truly contribute to the overall topic or discussion.

Many times it seems, people a prone to become incredibly agitated if they are not agreed with. Confirmation bias seems to be on the rise. Protests become quickly and completely diluted, so that their core message is lost. The pursuit of truth, seems to end frequently in dogmatic arguments instead of reasonable consensus.

This fascinates me. I have been trying to uncover the reason for this, and reading a lot on the subject, but still searching for answers. My working theory is that we have gotten so far away from regular assemblies, where the topics concerned matters local and regional that affect the whole, rather than the individual or few. I can dive deep on this theory, but will save that for another time.

What I want to share is this fascinating research paper that I came across. Besides being an interesting paper that covers confirmation bias, it has many great sources cited in the bibliography.

It's by Stephan Lewandowsky and Ullrich K. H. Ecker of the University of Western Australia and Colleen Seifert and Norbert Schwarz of the University of Michigan . It is 56 pages long, but reads easy. For some reason, they added an interesting info-graphic at the very last page, rather than the body of the report, so don't miss that. Here is a link to the report (straight to Michigan U file - not a commercial site):

Michigan U archive - Misinformation Paper

So how about it: have "tptb" finally reduced us to such a divisive state that we spend our time squabbling rather than paying attention to them? Is it just society, and the lack of collective ideas and ideology? Is it individualism realized? Are we only hearing more from the ignorant, and the more enlightened no longer choose to teach?

So many questions...The search continues!




posted on May, 5 2014 @ 06:53 PM
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I can sum it all up.

People are lazy, and look no further than a cursory glance at information.

They will not take the effort to dig deeper, so that when Corrective information is found, they never know, or care to associate it with the original piece of miss-information.


Its akin to the have a bad experience you tell 10 people, have a good one you wont tell anyone. People do not correct something unless its directly influences them negatively.

Same with miss-information, unless is blatantly effecting them, having the wrong information, its an up hill battle to correct.

Even when it does effect them, it has to be enough to justify the corrective effort.

Its lazy.

Confirmation bias stems from not wanting to rock the status quo.



posted on May, 5 2014 @ 07:08 PM
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I didn't read it either.


So how about it: have "tptb" finally reduced us to such a divisive state that we spend our time squabbling rather than paying attention to them? - See more at: www.abovetopsecret.com...

What isn't a distraction these days?

And surely by design.

I agree.

Now I'm off to stuff my face, watch TV, go to the game and a movie ,then church and finally a bar.

After I wake up, I'm going to come back here and squabble with complete strangers about how screwed up things are.



posted on May, 5 2014 @ 08:08 PM
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originally posted by: benrl
I can sum it all up.

People are lazy, and look no further than a cursory glance at information.






Precisely....

How many times have you seen a post on ATS where the poster didn't even bother to read the OP. They just read the headline and jumped in the discussion with no idea or care of what transpired in the previous posts.

It seems as if this is becoming more and more common. It makes the poster look really stupid but they don't care about that either. Drive by posting....

Particularly common in the political star and flag circle jerk festivals.
edit on 5-5-2014 by olaru12 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 5 2014 @ 08:15 PM
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good find.

I like the advertisement....FYI you can't drink grapefruit juice with this medicine....the fact is that within reason grapefruit juice is good for you. It does interfere with medicines though. They want us to assume that grapefruit juice is bad for us. If we drank a little more grapefruit in the first place instead of drinking Coke and other drinks containing high levels of fructose, we might not need their medicine.
edit on 5-5-2014 by rickymouse because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 5 2014 @ 08:30 PM
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originally posted by: olaru12


Precisely....

How many times have you seen a post on ATS where the poster didn't even bother to read the OP. They just read the headline and jumped in the discussion with no idea or care of what transpired in the previous posts.

It seems as if this is becoming more and more common. It makes the poster look really stupid but they don't care about that either. Drive by posting....

Particularly common in the political star and flag circle jerk festivals.


Well, if you take the example with the Listerine ads from the abstract in the paper in the OP.

It tends to fall in line with more complexity than that.

Its not just having Cursory information, its having positive confirmation that seems to trigger the response.

So if a positive sample set of data, like say Polls show X is in the lead, you are much more likely to take the data to heart and hold it as gospel IF that candidate is your favorite .

Even if polls show later, or the poll it self was false, people will still believe the first piece of information

And refuse to dispel the information once its there, because the effort would be too lazy to correct.


ETA:



Of course, this is after RE-reading the abstract again lol.
edit on 5-5-2014 by benrl because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 5 2014 @ 09:57 PM
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Yeah, I was reading this until it turned into a complete hit piece on climate skeptics.

Oh, and WMDs does not need an apostrophe to make it plural.
edit on 5-5-2014 by ketsuko because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 12:52 AM
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originally posted by: ketsuko
Yeah, I was reading this until it turned into a complete hit piece on climate skeptics.

Oh, and WMDs does not need an apostrophe to make it plural.

They have a picture for that:


One of the most valuable things I've learned is that people can be wrong about a great many things and still provide an amazing amount of value to a conversation. This paper is a good example of that.

Another thing I've learned is a lot of people show up to public discussions, lectures and gatherings not to learn but to push their own world view and demonstrate how much they know about a particular topic.

No one can be right all the time. I don't think the people writing this paper need to be correct on climate discussion to add value to the discussion.



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 08:34 AM
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a reply to: Arktos1

I stopped when they mixed up science and dogma. A couple of sentences in.



posted on May, 6 2014 @ 03:50 PM
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When I first read this, I thought the context of the examples were terrible as well. That is what made it so interesting. Could i read through it, without allowing my own bias to allow me to miss the real information? The concepts, outcomes, and methods all seem solid to me. It was a nice little challenge to to cull the minimum viable value from it.

I usually throw out the filler when I am reading a paper like this and focus on the numbers and facts. I would do the same thing back in school with math word problems : ) . For example instead of Mark and Jilly having each three 3 beans, they would instantly become 1 boy, 1 girl.

I assume that many will be turned off before reading further into the study, even though there are precious nuggets in there. The real gold is in the bibliography, where there are many references.




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