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New research suggests that misinformed people rarely change their minds when presented with facts

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posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 08:50 PM
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Hey ATS, I came across this article and thought that it was perfect material for ATS.




New research suggests that misinformed people rarely change their minds when presented with the facts -- and often become even more attached to their beliefs. The finding raises questions about a key principle of a strong democracy: that a well-informed electorate is best.

We'd like to believe that most of what we know is accurate and that if presented with facts to prove we're wrong, we would sheepishly accept the truth and change our views accordingly.

A new body of research out of the University of Michigan suggests that's not what happens, that we base our opinions on beliefs and when presented with contradictory facts, we adhere to our original belief even more strongly.

The phenomenon is called backfire, and it plays an especially important role in how we shape and solidify our beliefs on immigration, the president's place of birth, welfare and other highly partisan issues.

www.npr.org...

Many people complain about how hard it is to change someones views on certain subjects even with facts. This goes on at ATS and everyday life daily and if this research is correct that will probably never change. There are just some people that are not concerned with facts if they do not adhere to their ideologies.


[edit on 22-7-2010 by TV_Nation]




posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 09:04 PM
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reply to post by TV_Nation
 


Wonder how many hundreds of thousands of dollars they spent to figure this out ?

They could have come to the same conclusion by reading ATS for about a month .

And , saved the money they spent on this 'study' .

GEEZUS.


ETA : Although , if ATSers , myself included , would remember this , it would make for a more civil atmosphere at times .

And stewie rocks .

[edit on 22-7-2010 by okbmd]



posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 09:14 PM
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OMG, I can't, you talk about low-picking fruit, it's as bad as "uneducated means teaparty". It's too general to accept.

I'll give into it this as far to say... Fox News viewer


edit: cheap keyboard

[edit on Thu July 22nd, 2010 by damwel]



posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 09:23 PM
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That makes sense. Frankly, on topics not directly related to their day-to-day activities, most people just want to be able to decide what to believe and express, and not worry about it.

That same indifference caused by almost arbitrary decision in initial fact-finding, leads to resistance when confronted with additional information that individuals are now 'required' to review.

"Tell me what is, and then leave me alone to focus on what's important" is the mantra that enables the mainstream media. A delivery of facts, with consistent ease of believability paramount, displacing truthful accuracy.

In fact, continuous ease of believability is hard to come by, too. Sit back and buy in to an interpretation, and most likely you will be "leveraged" to believe an incrementally targeted worldview, in line with a particular agenda. This may or may not be comfortable, but if it is to be broadly successful, it will be mostly tolerable at each stage of the buy-in. The channeling of the angst and indecision at any stage is useful too, of course.

That's why so many libertarians are now anti-immigration, for example.



[edit on July 22nd 2010 by Ian McLean]



posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 09:24 PM
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Originally posted by TV_Nation
Hey ATS, I came across this article and thought that it was perfect material for ATS.




New research suggests that misinformed people rarely change their minds when presented with the facts -- and often become even more attached to their beliefs. The finding raises questions about a key principle of a strong democracy: that a well-informed electorate is best.

We'd like to believe that most of what we know is accurate and that if presented with facts to prove we're wrong, we would sheepishly accept the truth and change our views accordingly.

A new body of research out of the University of Michigan suggests that's not what happens, that we base our opinions on beliefs and when presented with contradictory facts, we adhere to our original belief even more strongly.

The phenomenon is called backfire, and it plays an especially important role in how we shape and solidify our beliefs on immigration, the president's place of birth, welfare and other highly partisan issues.

www.npr.org...

Many people complain about how hard it is to change someones views on certain subjects even with facts. This goes on at ATS and everyday life daily and if this research is correct that will probably never change. There are just some people that are not concerned with facts if they do not adhere to their ideologies.



I smell propaganda.It has a distinctive smell.

"The phenomenon is called backfire, and it plays an especially important role in how we shape and solidify our beliefs on immigration, the president's place of birth, welfare and other highly partisan issues."

Funny how they use those examples. Did someone release Obama's Long Form Birth Certificate? No?


"There are just some people that are not concerned with facts if they do not adhere to their ideologies."


Blatantly false. Most people presented with indisputable facts will accept it as correct. The problem with this is that the media nor the liberal universities doing these studies will present the unvarnished facts.



posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 09:44 PM
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reply to post by TV_Nation
 


This is why significant change is hard. Politics, Economics, Education, etc. are all rooted in tradition that provide control systems.

If we agree that fact=truth than I would argue that no facts have been presented on immigration, the president's place of birth or welfare in the last several years. The MSM simply reports a directed opinion to garner support.



posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 10:31 PM
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Originally posted by ohioriver

Blatantly false. Most people presented with indisputable facts will accept it as correct. The problem with this is that the media nor the liberal universities doing these studies will present the unvarnished facts.


I would not say it is blatantly false because I have experienced this type of thing first hand. I have a buddy who can not be proved wrong. He just will not change his views no matter how hard I try to present him with solid evidence.

This is how our conversations (arguments) usually go.




posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 10:31 PM
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reply to post by TV_Nation
 


when i read your thread title, i laughed out loud. because it IS TRUE.

in fact, i just now threw in the towel in a discussion that was a textbook example of this phenomenon.

i know this, and so i rarely endeavor to begin the futile effort of trying to change someone else's mind. but still, this is a discussion forum, so what can i say???




posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 10:38 PM
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Backfire. So now it has a name. Cool.

The headline on the story in the OP: In Politics, Sometimes The Facts Don't Matter.

Well, I don't know about this. The facts always matter. Some people (maybe most people?) choose to disregard facts or not dig for them. Maybe they simply don't have a foundation for understanding something or maybe they just have the time or see the importance of something, and so they trust that someone who knows will do the right thing. The people who take advantage of this situation are the ones that facts really don't matter to.

As for misinformed people rarely changing their minds, I think that goes more to HOW they got misinformed and by WHOM.How much saturation we get and how much trust and faith we put into someone probably has a direct correlation to how tenaciously we hold onto what they have told us.



posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 10:48 PM
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I change my mind all the time...so I guess I am not misinformed lol. I do find truth in this, as I live in the South and people here never change their minds. I just happen to think they are misinformed, but now I have researched proof!



posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 10:51 PM
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Very, very true - they must be speaking of my family!



posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 11:18 PM
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Fact defined:


1. Knowledge or information based on real occurrences: an account based on fact; a blur of fact and fancy.

2. a. Something demonstrated to exist or known to have existed: Genetic engineering is now a fact. That Chaucer was a real person is an undisputed fact.
b. A real occurrence; an event: had to prove the facts of the case. c. Something believed to be true or real: a document laced with mistaken facts.

3. A thing that has been done, especially a crime: an accessory before the fact.

4. Law The aspect of a case at law comprising events determined by evidence: The jury made a finding of fact.


“There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.”

~Maya Angelou~

Knowledge defined:


1. The state or fact of knowing.

2. Familiarity, awareness, or understanding gained through experience or study.

3. The sum or range of what has been perceived, discovered, or learned.

4. Learning; erudition: teachers of great knowledge.

5. Specific information about something.

6. Carnal knowledge.


“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge - myth is more potent than history - dreams are more powerful than facts - hope always triumphs over experience - laughter is the cure for grief - love is stronger than death”

~Robert Fulghum~

Circular definitions


A circular definition is one that assumes a prior understanding of the term being defined. By using the term(s) being defined as a part of the definition, a circular definition provides no new or useful information; either the audience already knows the meaning of the term(s), or the definition is deficient in including the term(s) to be defined in the definition itself.


Why facts are facts, and that is a fact!

“Facts are many, but the truth is one.”

~Rabindranath Tagore~

Tautology defined:


1.
a. Needless repetition of the same sense in different words; redundancy.
b. An instance of such repetition.

2. Logic An empty or vacuous statement composed of simpler statements in a fashion that makes it logically true whether the simpler statements are factually true or false; for example, the statement Either it will rain tomorrow or it will not rain tomorrow.


“Don't confuse facts with reality.”

~Robert D. Ballard quotes~

Reality defined:


1. The quality or state of being actual or true.

2. One, such as a person, an entity, or an event, that is actual: "the weight of history and political realities" (Benno C. Schmidt, Jr.)

3. The totality of all things possessing actuality, existence, or essence. 4. That which exists objectively and in fact: Your observations do not seem to be about reality.


“Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable”

~Dr. Laurence J. Peter~

Actual definition:


1. Existing and not merely potential or possible. See Synonyms at real1.

2. Being, existing, or acting at the present moment; current.

3. Based on fact: an actual account of the accident.


“It is the spirit of the age to believe that any fact, no matter how suspect, is superior to any imaginative exercise, no matter how true”

~Gore Vidal~

Truth defined:


1. Conformity to fact or actuality.

2. A statement proven to be or accepted as true.

3. Sincerity; integrity.

4. Fidelity to an original or standard.

5. a. Reality; actuality.
b. often Truth That which is considered to be the supreme reality and to have the ultimate meaning and value of existence.


“The truth is more important than the facts.”

~Frank Lloyd Wright~

True defined:


1. a. Consistent with fact or reality; not false or erroneous. See Synonyms at real1. See Usage Note at fact.
b. Truthful.

2. Real; genuine. See Synonyms at authentic.

3. Reliable; accurate: a true prophecy.

4. Faithful, as to a friend, vow, or cause; loyal. See Synonyms at faithful.

5. Sincerely felt or expressed; unfeigned: true grief.

6. Fundamental; essential: his true motive.

7. Rightful; legitimate: the true heir.

8. Exactly conforming to a rule, standard, or pattern: trying to sing true B.

9. Accurately shaped or fitted: a true wheel.

10. Accurately placed, delivered, or thrown.

11. Quick and exact in sensing and responding.

12. Determined with reference to the earth's axis, not the magnetic poles: true north.

13. Conforming to the definitive criteria of a natural group; typical: The horseshoe crab is not a true crab.

14. Narrowly particularized; highly specific: spoke of probity in the truest sense of the word.

15. Computer Science Indicating one of two possible values taken by a variable in Boolean logic or a binary device.




Let's review; what are facts? Facts are knowledge or information based in reality.

What is reality? The quality or state of being actual or true.

What is true? That which is consistent with fact or reality.

What is tautology? Needless repetition of the same sense using different words.

What is a fact? A fact is a fact, and that is a fact!

“Facts do not 'speak for themselves', they are read in the light of theory”

~Stephen J. Gould~



posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 11:22 PM
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I find that there are people who refuse to look at the world in any other way then black and white. This does not have anything to do with their level of intelligence or education level it just how they view the world. There was a sociologist who coined the term happy robots for these people. Personally I am a huge fans of the grey



posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 11:40 PM
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I believe this to be true... however it is also my belief that there is another dimension to this they didn't include.

I think it depends on how you DELIVER the factual material to the misinformed person. If you are rude and belittle them insulting them and their intelligence screaming "NONSENSE YOU DELUSIONAL FANTASY SEEKING CHILD!" and / or laugh at them or joke at the person's expense... the backfiring will occur more often. If you do it in a respectful manner I think more people who are being conned will see the light. You can see this in topics all over ATS.



posted on Jul, 22 2010 @ 11:54 PM
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Well duh. You really think we needed to research that? I thought it was obvious.



posted on Jul, 23 2010 @ 01:01 AM
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Then I'm not like most people. I went from a Libertarian Socialist to a Minarchist. I also went from an atheist to a christian.



posted on Jul, 23 2010 @ 01:10 AM
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reply to post by 547000
 



Your one of a kind. Too bad there aren't more like you and me. (:



posted on Jul, 23 2010 @ 01:27 AM
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So bloody true. Creationism, anyone?



posted on Jul, 23 2010 @ 03:27 AM
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reply to post by TV_Nation
 


Good thread. Made one simular to it a while back. It's in my signature *Denying Ignorance and the Mind's Tendency to Reinforce it*. But what they allude to is an old idea, schema theory.

[edit on 23-7-2010 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on Jul, 23 2010 @ 04:50 AM
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Thank you for the OP.

My first reaction was that this wasn't breaking science. The underlying idea is called cognitive dissonance, and it's been very well accepted among psychologists for decades.

In the interview with Brendan Nyhan, who did the recent research with Jason Reifler, this is acknowledged. The interviewer, Neal Conan, describes the situation,


CONAN: This is a phenomenon described as backfire. You say it's a natural defense mechanism to avoid cognitive dissonance.

And Nyhan agrees with the characterization,


Mr. NYHAN: That's right. You know, it's hard, it's threatening to us to admit that things we believe are wrong... And so what we think happens is that the way people, you know, try to resolve this in some cases is to, you know, buttress that belief that they initially held, and, you know, there's a long line of research showing results like this.

So, there doesn't seem to be any controversy that the novelty would be in the application of a long-established idea to new concerns, rather than any fundamentally new idea. Which is great, but it is good to know what we're talking about.

I can't agree with the conclusion,


... We'd like to believe that most of what we know is accurate and that if presented with facts to prove we're wrong, we would sheepishly accept the truth and change our views accordingly.

But in the actual example (alleged, and subsequently shown probably to be misreported, criminal incidents during illegal immigration), it is very hard to believe that the facts in question were the basis of the underlying belief (that illegal immigration is undesirable).

Rather, these nasty incident stories were clearly "supporting arguments," peripheral to the main concern. They are "talking points," not premises of any formal deliberative procedure.

The encounter with facts can be very subtle and the reaction nuanced. Even in the NPR piece, the "new facts" were that while these specific incidents and summary statistics were misreported, events like what was reported are commonplace. Just not these particular ones.

Hmm. The specifics were wrong, but the basic gist was factually correct. That's hardly a reason to expect someone to change their overall view about anything.

There are also many other problems that crop up in real-life claims to present rebuttal facts. If the source of the new information is an opponent, I might wonder about its reliability. Sometimes the new information is "negative," as in "I can't verify this or that." Well, that's not necessarily convincing; after all, OJ never did locate the "real killers"... etc.

As to trying to apply this to ATS arguments... about religion? I'll worry about the impact of facts on core religious concerns as soon as anybody comes up with the first hard fact that has anything to do with the almost inherently unverifiable things people say they believe.

Politics? UFO's? Ghost stories? These things have a lot in common in religion, I think.





[edit on 23-7-2010 by eight bits]



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