Why We Believe Misinformation
Smear campaigns work because people are more likely to believe misinformation about someone they see as different from themselves, sometimes even blatant lies.
We are often surrounded by bogus claims about other people—especially in the context of political elections. But why do we sometimes believe blatant misinformation? A new study from the University of Arizona suggests that our gullibility can be triggered by subtle reminders of how we are different from the person in question. During the months before and after the 2008 presidential election, psychologist Spee Kosloff and his colleagues asked predominantly white, non-Muslim students to evaluate smears about both candidates. They found that cues about social differences, such as age or race, were enough to get many participants to buy into false allegations against a candidate.
Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.
- Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
- At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
We take fewer mental pictures per second.
- Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
- In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
- The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
It's not just a case of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
- A new study suggests children who endure trauma grow up to be adults with more empathy than others.
- The effect is not universal, however. Only one kind of empathy was greatly effected.
It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?
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