Samir’s Selection 05/20/2014 (p.m.)

  • Brendan Nyhan, a professor of political science at Dartmouth…the backfire effectIf factual correction is ineffective, how can you make people change their misperceptions? The 2014 vaccine study was part of a series of experiments designed to answer the question.Stephan Lewandowsky, a psychologist at the University of Bristol Not all errors are created equal. Not all false information goes on to become a false belief-that is, a more lasting state of incorrect knowledge-and not all false beliefs are difficult to correct…When there’s no immediate threat to our understanding of the world, we change our beliefs. It’s when that change contradicts something we’ve long held as important that problems occur. In those scenarios, attempts at correction can indeed be tricky.Kelly Garrett and Brian Weeks the only people who had changed their views were those who were ideologically predisposed to disbelieve the fact in question. If someone held a contrary attitude, the correction not only didn’t work-it made the subject more distrustful of the source… If information doesn’t square with someone’s prior beliefs, he discards the beliefs if they’re weak and discards the information if the beliefs are strong…. strongly held beliefs continued to influence judgment, despite correction attempts-even with a supposedly conscious awareness of what was happening…False beliefs, it turns out, have little to do with one’s stated political affiliations and far more to do with self-identity: What kind of person am I, and what kind of person do I want to be? All ideologies are similarly affected…the Dartmouth team approached false-belief correction from a self-affirmation angle… when people feel their sense of self threatened by the outside world, they are strongly motivated to correct the misperception, be it by reasoning away the inconsistency or by modifying their behavior…stereotype threatan exercise in self-affirmation: either write down or say aloud positive moments from your past that reaffirm your sense of self and are related to the threat in question…Could recalling a time when you felt good about yourself make you more broad-minded about highly politicized issues, like the Iraq surge or global warming? As it turns out, it would. On all issues, attitudes became more accurate with self-affirmation, and remained just as inaccurate without…It’s only after ideology is put to the side that a message itself can change, so that it becomes decoupled from notions of self-perception.

    tags: evidence belief faith truth logic decision choice error rationality irrationality psychology behaviouraleconomics persuasion communication rhetoric

  • The quality and speed of our information filters have been improving steadily for a few centuries, and have been improving extraordinarily quickly for the last two decades, and yet our sense of being overloaded with information is stronger than ever…

    Better filters don’t mitigate information overload; they intensify it…

    Information overload actually takes two forms, which I’ll call situational overload and ambient overload…

    Situational overload is the needle-in-the-haystack problem: You need a particular piece of information – in order to answer a question of one sort or another – and that piece of information is buried in a bunch of other pieces of information. The challenge is to pinpoint the required information, to extract the needle from the haystack, and to do it as quickly as possible… Situational overload is not the problem.

    Ambient overload doesn’t involve needles in haystacks. It involves haystack-sized piles of needles. We experience ambient overload when we’re surrounded by so much information that is of immediate interest to us that we feel overwhelmed by the neverending pressure of trying to keep up with it all. We keep clicking links, keep hitting the refresh key, keep opening new tabs, keep checking email in-boxes and RSS feeds and Facebook notifications, keep scanning Amazon and Netflix recommendations – and yet the pile of interesting information never shrinks. The cause of situational overload is too much noise. The cause of ambient overload is too much signal…

    The real source of information overload, at least of the ambient sort, is the stuff we like, the stuff we want. And as filters get better, that’s exactly the stuff we get more of…

    As today’s filters improve, they expand the information we feel compelled to take notice of… And precisely because the information is of interest to us, we feel pressure to attend to it. As a result, our sense of overload increases. This is not an indictment of modern filters. They’re doing precisely what we want them to do: find interesting information and make it visible to us. But it does mean that if we believe that improving the workings of filters will save us from information overload, we’re going to be very disappointed.

    tags: information informationoverload NicholasCarr ClayShirky 2011 filter problem analysis data

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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