Sunday, February 11, 2018

Genius scientists determine stupid people are more vulnerable to fake news

Genius scientists determine people of low cognitive ability are more vulnerable to fake news

So they proved scientifically that stupid people are stupid! Will scientific wonders never cease?

Actually, it's a little more complicated than I have suggested. They proved that when fake news is debunked, the debunked story is more likely to continue influencing the beliefs of people with lower cognitive ability.

I found this more interesting, if equally obvious:

"Other research is shedding light on the mechanisms underlying the effects of misinformation. Repeating a false claim increases its believability, giving it an air of what Stephen Colbert famously called “truthiness.” Known as the illusion of truth effect, this phenomenon was first demonstrated in the laboratory by Hasher and her colleagues. On each of three days, subjects listened to plausible-sounding statements and rated each on whether they thought it was true. Half of the statements were in fact true, such as Australia is approximately equal in area to the continental United States, whereas the other half were false, such as Zachary Taylor was the first president to die in office (it was William Henry Harrison). Some of the statements were repeated across days, whereas others were presented only once. The results showed that the average truth rating increased from day to day for the repeated statements, but remained constant for the non-repeated statements, indicating that subjects mistook familiarity for verity."

Or in other words, the more you repeat a lie, the more likely are people to believe it.


  1. Fortunately, this would only work in shithole countries and not 'Murica.

  2. One of the founders of Behavioral economics, psychologist Daniel Kahneman, I believe along with his research partner of many years Amos Tversky, showed this many years ago that repeatedly hearing something makes people more likely to believe it.

    Rather than familiarity breeding contempt, familiarity build trust.

    Daniel Kaheneman wrote about this and many other things in his (semi) famous book "Thinking, Fast and Slow."

    1. Hmm...hearing things repeatedly. Like Russia collusion?

    2. More like Trump constantly repeating 'fake news.'

    3. Thinking it can't or shouldn't go both ways is intellectually dishonest and you know it.

    4. I don't know what you are referring to. I didn't make a political comment here, either way.

      If you believe that the Trump's collusion with Russia is just 'fake news' then you clearly have low cognitive ability.

    5. "Hmm...hearing things repeatedly. Like Russia collusion?"

      Actually the opposite. People believing Trump's repeated claim of "no collusion," when his son already admitted that he took a meeting with people representing "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump" who promised info that would help them defeat Hillary. (In other words, he actually full-out confessed to collusion, and yet Trump's repeated "no collusion" still persuades some people, which is absolutely astounding, and proof that those scientists are completely correct.)

  3. That aside, all people including me and you, are subject to the same cognitive biases. One way to catch this particular biases is to check out our beliefs to the actual existing facts rather than what we believe are the facts.

    In the case you mentioned, there are already proven claims of the Trump campaign and collusion with Russia. What doesn't yet exist is evidence of the quid pro quo, though what it is is obvious (repealing or not enforcing the Magnitsky Act.)