Misinformation: Psychological Science Shows Why It Sticks and How to Fix It

Discussion in 'Education, Research and Inside Reports' started by Incredulicide, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. Incredulicide Member

    The main reason that misinformation is sticky, according to the researchers, is that rejecting information actually requires cognitive effort. Weighing the plausibility and the source of a message is cognitively more difficult than simply accepting that the message is true – it requires additional motivational and cognitive resources. If the topic isn’t very important to you or you have other things on your mind, misinformation is more likely to take hold.

    And when we do take the time to thoughtfully evaluate incoming information, there are only a few features that we are likely to pay attention to: Does the information fit with other things I believe in? Does it make a coherent story with what I already know? Does it come from a credible source? Do others believe it?

    Misinformation is especially sticky when it conforms to our preexisting political, religious, or social point of view. Because of this, ideology and personal worldviews can be especially difficult obstacles to overcome.

    Even worse, efforts to retract misinformation often backfire, paradoxically amplifying the effect of the erroneous belief.

    “This persistence of misinformation has fairly alarming implications in a democracy because people may base decisions on information that, at some level, they know to be false,” says Lewandowsky.
    “At an individual level, misinformation about health issues—for example, unwarranted fears regarding vaccinations or unwarranted trust in alternative medicine—can do a lot of damage. At a societal level, persistent misinformation about political issues can create considerable harm. On a global scale, misinformation about climate change is currently delaying mitigative action.”

    Though misinformation may be difficult to correct, all is not lost. According to Lewandowsky, “psychological science has the potential to counteract all those harms by educating people and communicators about the power of misinformation and how to meet it.”
    In their report, Lewandowsky and colleagues offer some strategies for setting the record straight.
    • Provide people with a narrative that replaces the gap left by false information
    • Focus on the facts you want to highlight, rather than the myths
    • Make sure that the information you want people to take away is simple and brief
    • Consider your audience and the beliefs they are likely to hold
    • Strengthen your message through repetition
    Research has shown that attempts at “debiasing” can be effective in the real world when based on these evidence-based strategies.
    The report, “Misinformation and its Correction: Continued Influence and Successful Debiasing,” is published in the September issue of Psychological Science in the Public Interest and is written by Stephan Lewandowsky and Ullrich Ecker of the University of Western Australia, Colleen Seifert and Norbert Schwarz of the University of Michigan, and John Cook of the University of Queensland and the University of Western Australia.
    The report also features a commentary written by Edward Maibach of George Mason University.
    The full report and the accompanying commentary are available free online.
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  2. WMAnon Member

  3. Anonymous Member

  4. WMAnon Member

    Either those links were added after the fact or I need to stop reading this site when I'm sleepy.
  5. Anonymous Member

    What are we to do with the chiropractors? Their heads are filled with misinformation which then becomes a part of their identity. Rejection of that misinformation, for them, means losing a part of who they are, and perhaps their livelihoods.

    We continue to make more of them all the time, thanks in part to generous Federal grants to their schools and student loan repayment programs. And they have worked to established other "doctor" colleagues --naturopaths and doctors of oriental medicine. And they have now their own allied health professionals, thanks to Andrew Weil in Arizona and his "nutritionist" program.

    This bizarro medical community now has its own system of dodgy laboratories. Just yesterday I read lab results on a new patient for phenotypic testing of liver enzymes. Although this is scientifically valid, no clinical validity has yet been established. So it is quacky. But only a paranoid doctor like me is going to notice. That means pretty much no one will notice.

    And the chiropractors are forming their own clinical trials companies. So good luck, humans, sorting fact from fiction within medicine over the next generation or so.
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  6. Anonymous Member

    Was that an actual question or just an excuse to yell about chiropractors?
  7. Anonymous Member

    I don't care what they say about misinformation, I still believe the Xenu story is true.
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  8. Incredulicide Member

    The links were already there, I just made them blue when I saw your inability to notice them.
  9. Anonymous Member

    also homeopaths.
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  10. Anonymous Member

    It was a serious question although I don't expect an answer here.

    Scientology and chiropractic are intimately connected. You guys aren't going to defeat the cult without giving that connection some thought.
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  11. Paroxetine Samurai Moderator

    Please enlighten us about this connection because chiropractic practices have been around since the 1890s.... Long before LRH was around. If anything: Scientology borrowed from Chiropractic doctors, not the other way around.

    Also: Not all Chiropractic doctors sell woo. Some just pop bones/joints to fix legitimate problems (sciatica, spine compression, etc.).
  12. Anonymous Member

    Well, based on the article I would start somewhere around here:

    Chiropractic treatments have been shown to be effective in alleviating certain types of pain, especially associated with the back and spine. Unfortunately, many chiropractors insist on continuing to treat their practice as something distinct from modern medicine, and exempt from the standards of evidence based medicine. It would be of the utmost benefit to the general public if the body of chiropractic practitioners and educators chose to work together with medical doctors and researchers to correctly identify what aspects of their practice are valuable additions to current standard medical treatments. The current climate of distrust of medical doctors and insistence on unproven theory does nothing to advance the general good. Where we stand now, chiropractors may mistakenly attempt to treat disorders that their practice is unable to properly treat, and medical doctors may dissuade patients from seeking chiropractic care when medically appropriate.

    As with all complementary and alternative medicines, the best way forward is for both sides to submit to rigorous testing to properly identify what works, even if what works may not initially make sense, and to use this information to create a well-rounded medical model that accommodates the needs of all patients.

    See, I gave them a new narrative (we all need to work together because the current conflict is bad for patients), focused on the fact to highlight (all medicine should be subject to rigorous scientific testing), pandered to their current biases without confirming a falsehood (chiropractic works for back pain), and repeated the take away several times. I also made the utmost attempt to look neutral even though most chiropractic theory is the purest of bullshits.
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  13. Clusterdux Member

    I don't like this article at all. It seems more like a guide to brainwash then to tell the truth effectively.

    Magical thinking and crafty lies conveniently fills all gaps. Truth often has rough edges that may not get resolved ever/soon.

    Yes, like advertising and propaganda. right. Repeat the same same easy to understand message over and over and over again.

    Truth is always true. Lies need to be adapted to the target audience.

    What I think you actually want to do is:
    - Highlight the inconsistency of the lies.
    - Remind people that they are inclined to magical thinking by nature.
    - Use older, similar, disproven lies as example
    - Mention the placebo effect.
    - Mention logical fallacies the lies is based on (like Argument from Authority)
    - Remind people that there arn't easy answers for everything.
    - Offer knowledge on the subject.
    - Invite real debate/questions.

    The only thing that helps is making people more cynical and more self knowledgeable. Else all you do is steer people form one myth to the other.
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  14. Anonymous Member

    Scientology has made a large block of the chiropractic profession its personal army. Many chiropractors use admin tech in their offices. Many promote the CCHR and organize letter writing campaigns to further Scientology's anti-pharma, pro-health fraud agenda. And many sell "neutraceuticals" from Scientologist owned companies from their offices.

    We could start a list of Scientology-chiropractic links, but that would take time.

    Recently I looked at Meredith Berk's Facebook page after her name came up in a thread here. I must have seen 20 chiropractic entities at least, just from a quick glance.
  15. Anonymous Member

  16. Anonymous Member

  17. Paroxetine Samurai Moderator

    Although that is true: There is some Chiropractors that haven't even heard of Scientology, much less it's fail. Also, according to the link I put in from the JAMA, there is some scientific merit to at least part of their practice. (The spinal realignment stuff, not the Scientology-Approved bullshit)

    Problem is: If we were to discuss the history of Chiropractic, the fact still remains that Chiropractic Medicine came before Scientology. Also there is a strong possibility that Scientology borrowed some of the Chiropractic techniques to help form itself and its front companies. Maybe that is why the two are intertwined so much...

    Now, while we are still on the subject and you seem to be knowledgeable: I am curious about a couple Chiropractors. Any way to see if they have the Scientology mark on their foreheads?
  18. Anonymous Member

    It isn't on their foreheads. You have to look at their asses where their wallets used to be.
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  19. Paroxetine Samurai Moderator

    Well, it was kinda obvious with L Ron by looking at him:

  20. snippy Member

    Thank you for the link to this article and starting this discussion. It is really three/four discussions rolled into one.
    1. Chiropractors and Dentists frequently end up sucked into Scientology. (How or why does this happen when these two groups are supposedly educated? etc.)
    2. How does one effectively debunk bad science in the short term. (for fanatics)
    3. How does one effectively debunk bad science in the short term. (for non-fanatics)
    4. How does one help people to think critically in the long term.
    # 2, #3, and #4 require different approaches, IMO, and is most likely impossible with the heavily indoctrinated. Asking people to throw out the beliefs of their core community is something that strikes a chord with evolution's hard wiring in our brains that directly connects group alliances with survival. Social bonding is more powerful than reason in the primitive part of the brain. Challenging peoples beliefs, either true beliefs or false beliefs, challenges their alliances and often registers as a threat to their survival. Any process that asks someone to reconsider their [false] beliefs can shut down cold, if we don't recognize (in a compassionate way) when there may be a subconscious perception that survival is being threatened.
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  21. snippy Member

    A beautiful Spinalator


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  22. Anonymous Member

    Chiropractic works about as well as massage, physical therapy, ibuprofen, or rest. But chiropractic adjustments of the neck come with some risk of trauma to the basilar arteries and is not worth the risk.

    There is no "spinal realaignment" going on when chiropractors are pushing on your back, unless you are seeing a very sadistic chiropractor.

    A number of dentists, podiatrists, veterinarians, and other allied health professionals have been sucked in through Scientology management companies. But chiropractic is unique because it is sectarian. In science, there are no sects.

    Ask if they believe in subluxations or a mystical life force that can be influenced by adjustments. If they say, "That's what I was taught, but I later learned that subluxations don't exist. I can help your back feel better anyway," then they are fine.

    If the chiros try to sell you some vitamins, or try to cure your asthma, or say something about the drugging of our children, then I would not want to hang out with them, personally. They might be Scientologists, but they might not be. Still, they probably network with CCHR people who might want to make my life miserable if they hear that I'm speaking out against woo.
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  23. Anonymous Member

    The "freedom" to be defrauded is not actually freedom.
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  24. Paroxetine Samurai Moderator

    The reason I ask is because somebody I hold dear uses Chiropractic for her back. More specifically: Spinal decompression for severe sciatica. Her grandfather is also a Chiropractor and, as far as I can tell, hasn't sold us Scientology or any kind of woo. (I don't use one, but have gone with her to see her grandfather to do this).

    That in no way, shape, or form is meant to discredit your statement but does cause me to wonder if she is buying into woo.
  25. Anonymous Member

    Sciatica is a bitch and if the chiropractor helps your friend feel better, I see no problem.

    It is okay to like certain treatments or experiences. You can say, "My back was killing me but Dr. X really helped me feel better." It's the leap from personal testimonial to health policy recommendation that needs scrutiny.
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