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Ethics

: Dispatches from the Culture Wars

Strange Use of Cognitive Dissonance Findings

By Ed Brayton

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Joe Keohane of the Boston Globe makes a strange argument using studies about cognitive dissonance theory. First, the study:

Maybe not. Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It's this: Facts don't necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.
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Full post as published by Dispatches from the Culture Wars on July 19, 2010 (boomark / email).

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