Conservatives more susceptible than liberals to believing political falsehoods, a new U.S. study finds. A main driver is the glut of right-leaning misinformation in the media and information environment, results showed.
By - geoff199
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I like listening to both left and right leaning media. That way I get all the misinformation.
I really hate how hard and time consuming it is to find truthful/factual information. Like why is it even a thing to spread lies? Messed up.
Edit: I know why the lies are spread (agendas, greed, money, etc. etc) I’m just baffled that people choose that over a clean conscience.
People spread lies because it benefits them, which means unfortunately that will never stop. The only way to combat that is by teaching people how to see through them.
But critical thinking skills impair fear based domination techniques.
It's worse than that. Teaching people to think critically and independently actually prevents this same group from operating very effectively as a cohesive force for change in society. Blind faith of the flock is unfortunately a powerful tool for social change and it's very difficult to a group of independent thinkers to collectively complete on the same playing field.
You're correct, but only when you take critical thinking to the extreme. Critical thinking is very effective, it's not efficient though when taken to a large scale or when the problem has a lot of nuances. Critical thinking is also an objective way of thinking and doesn't work when you use subjective based data.
Societal structures are based upon both objective and subjective points, such as facts and morals respectively. You can objectively analyze someone's moral structure, but unless you take into account their subjective reasoning, you won't fully understand their morals. You can subjectively choose to believe that certain facts are true or false, but without objectively analyzing the data as a whole, your conclusion may be completely incorrect or irrational.
In essence, critical thinking is part of the way you understand the world around you and is essential for you to function within and keep society functioning in a beneficial manner.
Let me meticulously poke holes in your theory so that I can undermine the consensus and leave us all paralyzed by the subtle but powerful skepticism of critical inquiry and the resulting indecision. After all, I derive a great deal of my own satisfaction from the smug feeling of superiority I get from correcting others.
It's harder to blame yourself than it is to blame the bogeymen
Lying for personal or political gain should simply be a jailable offense. First amendment has lots of exceptions. That should be one of them.
The crazy thing about what you stated is that the conservative agenda doesn’t actually benefit the vast majority of those that support it, they are just being swindled and tricked into believing that it does. In reality, their political ideology in practice makes life worse for them just the same as for everyone else
fcc used to require that all major tv networks provide fair coverage for all issues. meaning every view presented needs to be complimented with the alternative view. this can be updated to for all media organization regardless of the medium they operate on.
this was done away by reagan after he loaded the fcc commissions with his cronies who eliminated this doctrine after the republicans failed to get it nullified through the courts.
so all the us needs is for biden to assign an additional fcc commissioner or wait for one of the 2 republican commissioner's terms to end. the earliest this will happen in june 30 2023.
The fairness doctrine was applied to over-the-air broadcast television and radio because spectrum is a limited, somewhat scarce resource that the FCC was trying to allocate in a way that benefitted the public good. This circumvented any freedom of speech concern. There's no such limitation in the case of cable or internet news, so a similar attempt there would likely be found unconstitutional.
And yet when they started taking about censoring cable after Janet Jackson popped a tit out on camera, questions about constitutionality got swept under the rug.
Reminds me of something I heard today from the 451 audiobook on my commute.
"If you don't want a man unhappy politically, don't give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the Government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it."
I know people who spread lies just because they can, not even getting any benefits from them.
> Like why is it even a thing to spread lies?
50% propaganda and 50% populist shilling
Disclaimer: persentages pulled out of ass
You forgot the most important 50%, ad impressions
83% of all facts are made up on the spot.
84% you charlatan.
And 15% of all people know that.
>I really hate how hard and time consuming it is to find truthful/factual information.
When the Fauci emails were released I tried my damnedest to find sources on it. If it wasn't a bot spewing nonsense, or a twitter user with the intelligence of a bag of dried figs typing in all caps, it was a "news" website spewing the same five decontextualised points over, and over, and over again like they had all copied each other's homework.
Finally contacted a friend over in the states who was a PolSci major at University who knows where to go for this kind of thing -- lo and behold, once I actually had the information it became evident that the emails were nothing to write home about. Scientist changes opinion over time as new information comes in; *shocker*.
Sadly, people wont do what I did and just take the Twitter bots hook, line and sinker. Since Brexit I've learned not to trust anything in the media outside of some select sources; it's even more depressing to think about misinformation when government documents from both the UK and EU institutions are released to the public free of charge. Just search for them on the Europa website or UK Gov Library and voila.
What it boils down to is this: telling hurtful truths is a terrible way to get elected, so when a party's platform is full of things that they can't possibly tell the truth about, the only option is to lie.
Corporations and media outlets lie to us about more than politics.
Serious newsrooms are still serious about journalism. And, newspapers more clearly separate news from editorial and ad content.
Any serious newspaper has a somewhat balanced biases. Yes, including the Gray Lady (NYT) and the Paywall (WSJ).
>One of the major issues identified in the study was that these widely shared truths and falsehoods have different implications for liberals and conservatives.
Two-thirds (65%) of the high-engagement true statements were characterized as benefiting liberals, while only 10% of accurate claims were considered beneficial to conservatives. On the other side, 46% of falsehoods were rated as advantageous to conservatives, compared to 23% of false claims benefiting liberals.
This "Falsehoods were rated advantageous" may played a significant role in the results since they're twice likely to give advantage to Conservatives than liberals
People see what they want to see.
Man I wish I understand 2/3 of that quote. God Im dumb.
I don't understand half of this half as well as I should like and I like less than half of this half as well as it deserves.
Ha. Just started reading yesterday for the first time
edit: it’s a lotr reference, I just started reading lotr
Man, for someone whose literacy is literally only a day old, you're rocking it! Your fluency is outrageous!
Oh man. I wish I could erase certain points of my memory, like reading lotr, and experience it again fresh. I love that trilogy. I reread it every couple of years and even my 9th reread was still enjoyable.
Unexpected LoTR reference.
> God Im dumb.
You're not dumb, you're just out of practice. Just take it apart one sentence at a time. If you get confused google (bing, yahoo, whatever) any words or phrases by themselves so that you can get what the words mean separately. Then put it all back together.
It's a skill like any other. It's annoying and hard at first and then gets easier as you do it more.
You got this!
i use old.reddit and i went to the new site just to see if i have a free award that i could give to you. claimed it and went back to this tab but then gave the award to the parent comment. /u/pee_ess_too might not be dumb but i am i guess.
that's really sweet and I appreciate the effort. You're also not dumb, you're just out of practice.
We need more people like you.
You're so sweet and amazing for being so encouraging!
About 2/3s of the true info was pro liberal, only 10% pro conservative; conversely almost half of the false info was pro conservative, and about a quarter pro liberal
Damn thx! That's way easier.
I agree, and I'm highly surprised to have scrolled this far and have not seen anyone mention this line near the top:
>“Both liberals and conservatives tend to make errors that are influenced by what is good for their side,” said Kelly Garrett, co-author of the study and professor of communication at The Ohio State University.
>“But the deck is stacked against conservatives because there is so much more misinformation that supports conservative positions. As a result, conservatives are more often led astray.”
Look, I'd say I'm fairly left leaning, but I've seen articles like this a dozen times that always have shakey methodology and get blown out of proportion. In this case, the writers of the study even mention that average Joes on both sides of the aisles fall prey to confirmation bias, and I'm left wondering if they were ever told how sensationalist the article title would be since it seems misleading.
When better run tests are run, it's almost always found that conservatives and liberals alike are -gasp!- human and therefor prone to confirmation bias. And if you saw this title and instantly thought "I'd buy that" and looked no deeper, that's part of the problem.
The real takeaway from this article should be that, while people across the spectrum are susceptible to confirmation bias, the people in power and starting these stories on the right tend to have a looser commitment to the truth, which is still an important finding.
I've worked with Kelly Garrett and Robert Bond and I can say from personal experience that they both do rigorous work. Dr. Garrett kind of intimidates me with how intense he is about everything being in order. Misinformation in media is his shtick and this isn't a one-off phenomenon he's located. Of course people from all across the political spectrum are prone to cognitive biases, and none of his work that I'm aware of says otherwise. The point is that we can find a difference in central tendency.
Nothing you said was wrong, but it's worth noting that there have been other studies and examples which show that conservatives are significantly less likely to fact check a political statement.
That doesn't mean liberals are immune to confirmation bias. And a lot of studies don't control for the degree of falsehood. Ie...."50% of gun owners will be shot in their lifetime" vs "6.03% of gun owners will experience a firearms related injury".
Both are false, but one is obviously "more false". I'd bet most people would have to at least Google to confirm the second statement, while the first is simply common sense.
Maybe it takes less misinformation to make liberals complacent than it does to keep conservatives rage-fueled 24/7.
A podcaster I love was drawn from his far right upbringing into the political left by being on the debate team. He noticed how difficult it was to argue for anything he’d be raised to believe.
I was watching a show about con artistry, and I will always remember part of the con, was placing an ad in the paper for suckers, but the ad was carefully worded to seem a little fake. This would weed out smart people who might uncover the scam halfway through. Luring to your side people who believe falsehoods by feeding them obvious falsehoods is a hell of a way to build a political party.
I’m a conservative and I believe this therefore it must be false?
>Conservatives also showed a stronger “truth bias,” meaning that they were more likely to say that all the claims they were asked about were true. “That’s a problem because some of the claims were outlandish – there should have been no ambiguity about whether they were true or not,” he said.
I find that part interesting. Basically, "I saw it on TV / social media - it must be true".
I have a hard time convincing my mom that just because someone wrote something on a website doesn't mean it's "official." Anyone can write whatever nonsense they want and it can be presented on a professional looking site, but that doesn't mean it has any basis in reality.
Medium is particularly terrible for this because at first glance it looks like any other news site, but it's full of crank blogs.
Something from Medium could be interesting and well-supported or a pile of conspiracy nonsense wrapped in pseudo-scientific terminology, and unless one is interested in really delving into it it's hard to tell.
Medium itself is just another social media site. It’s like a subreddit that is text post only
It was founded by Evan Williams who also founded twitter. He saw how no real conversation is possible on twitter and wanted a social media platform that allows for nuance. Im not sure he succeeded.
I think it was made with good intentions but not enough reflection on the conditions that create the hellscape that is all social media.
> He saw how no real conversation is possible on twitter and wanted a social media platform that allows for nuance. Im not sure he succeeded.
It definitely allows for nuance. People lacking in nuance is the issue, and no open-to-everyone platform's going to fix that.
This is the real issue. Social media is just a canvas for humanity, and yelling at a canvas for the paint it has on it isn’t constructive.
Medium is awesome for a lot of scientific topics. I regularly read about machine learning topics on Medium to get me started on areas I want to delve into.
You know that's a fair summary. Might supplement by saying rich text modem-- you know different fonts and pictures allowed. But a site of text posts is fitting enough description.
Haha yeah that's why I always do my top 8 things to check for when writing Medium articles to not appear like conspiracy nonsense, sign up for my email list now and get my free course on how to make money publishing conspiracies on Medium.
My mom, "I can't quite explain why I believe this, have your father tell you." Da fuq
It’s funny that I remember from when I was a kid that all the adults telling me “don’t believe everything on the internet”, “always double check your sources, doubly so if it’s online” and always had to follow up with book sources whenever possible. This is not to suggest that a random book is any more authoritative then online but it’s kinda strange to see it on the other foot
That's so true. Even with adults I've grown up trusting. It kinda freaks me out, honestly. It makes me wonder if this is an age thing. Am I going to be doing this too in 20 years? What can I do too make sure I don't do this?
Remaining conscious about your internal bias to accept information that appeals to your existing views is probably the most surefire way to ensure that you don't do this yourself. However, just the fact that you are concerned about it says a lot :)
One very simple concept: always remain curious. Curiosity is hard to maintain into adulthood, but cultivating a curious mindset is an awesome way to explore misinformation and truth, as well as remain a lifelong learner.
I also try to practice appropriate pessimism.
Trying to poke holes or play devil's advocate is a good way to gauge another person's objectivity on a subject, even if you indeed agree with them.
So many Boomers won't trust Wikipedia but believe everything their cousin posts on Facebook.
The weird part with not trusting Wikipedia is that they can just click on the cite at the bottom to go to the source.
That's because a big difference in the moral philosophies of liberals and conservatives is that conservatives put more trust into "good people" than in expertise and evidence. That's part of why conservatives are more susceptible to propaganda and misinformation, they are way more likely to unquestioningly believe something a family member or their pastor or their favorite TV/Radio personality told them than a liberal is.
If you've got any computer skills, it's really easy to spin up a web server. Buy a domain for $12/year and put whatever outlandish thing you want on your server. Or just pay the extra $10 and have a hosting company take care of serving up your lies.
With that kind of investment, you can host thousands of lie per hot chip.
Bold of you to assume my webserver isn't already full of hot chip and lie
And where do I charge phone?
On the server stack between the Takis and the sink
Girls after 1993 are salivating
Especially the most recent winners of conservative media intern pageants.
Or, you can just inspect element and alter webpages, then take a screenshot and share it.
If you have the skills to host your own server, you can probably figure out how to use one of the many free services out there. I mean like Netlify or GitHub Pages, not garbage like 000host-free-web-not-spam-really-this-time.co
There was a time when our parents used to tell us, "Not everything to see on tv is real." Oh how the turn tables.
I've heard of studies where sleight of hand was used to trick participants into believing they made one decision when they actually made the opposite decision, and they came up with reasonable explanations on the spot. I can't find the research since my Google search results keep bringing up studies on judicial decisions, but it's out there somewhere (unless I'm a victim of the same effect that I made up non-existent research for).
Buy some ridiculously targeted ad space on Facebook and leave her some ominous messages
Do what I did: enrol your parents in left-leaning Facebook news groups next time you fix their phone/computer. You’ll be amazed at how their conversation and opinions change for the better.
Do you have any ones to suggest that aren't left enough for them to notice, but left enough to help push them out of their news bubble?
Depends on how right wing they are now... I'd say just give them articles from the Guardian newspaper to start...
Check out Michael Smerconish online. He does a daily newsletter with links to articles deliberately chosen for balance.
"Listen son, mother and I have decided it would be best for the family for us to become catpeople and move into an paleo-anarchist commune that only feeds on what we find in the wild and the bodies of Silicon Valley nouveau riche start-up tech bros and if you try to talk us out of it you're literally no better than Leopold II."
I wonder how it breaks down in terms of age groups. People that grew up with the internet, vs people that didn't. If that has an impact on "instinct" in these situations.
I did not grow up with the internet and I do not believe that what I read on the internet it true. I don't think that is a thing. We had The National Enquirer and stuff, we grew up knowing not to believe everything you see in print and that carries right over.
I'd like to see this replicated, along with statistics on the age of the participants, and perhaps data on how certainty on whether something os true or false changes based on who is reporting it as well.
Do conservatives/liberals find something more trustworthy based on if it is from firstnamelastname.blog.com or newscorp.com, or the same level? How does this split between actually true or false statements and if the reader is conservative/liberal?
I'm not sure how to word that, but hopefully you catch my point.
Ya but everyone knew what the national enquirer was and had dumb stuff like “Bat Boy” and very obvious fake info. If you present something as legitimate in appearance and doesn’t already have a reputation, many will believe it and then those people send it to other equally gullible people and the BS grows and merges with the other BS out there and becomes a BS echo chamber. It started festering in older generations with chain emails then FB came along and amplified it into the monster it is today.
Are you insinuating that Bat Boy isn’t real?! I may need to reevaluate some things then.
Correct Bat Boy is fake, but Hillary Clinton did adopt an alien baby. That’s why you gotta do your research, let me compile some YouTube videos for you to watch.
What even is "official"? I go into this with conspiracy theorist who talk about the "official" story as if the government is putting out news directly instead of multiple independent media outlets coming the the same conclusion based on facts they are gathering.
Part of the problem is that there's a whole ecosystem of "news" sources that will basically lie about what the government is doing or saying, and most people don't bother to actually read the primary source (legislation, press release, whatever). So they legitimately think they're upset about the "official story" when they're actually worked up about a lie specifically crafted to outrage them.
Been reading Carl Sagan’s “a demon haunted world”... it’s so relevant considering it was written in the mid to late 90s... yet it perfectly predicts the trend if misinformation and pseudo science
Sagan was dead on with everything. His quote about the future of the US is startling and disturbing.
I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness...
The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance
Omg his book is the best! I love it! It shows how this problem isn’t new, and people 100 years ago would believe what they WANT to believe, in spite of evidence.
There was another study semi-related that found that conservatives cared *who* provided them the information. If they trusted the person / group, the information must also be true.
They’re not evaluating information, they evaluate sources, and they care far more that the source aligns with their preconceived beliefs than any other metric.
Which is why when Trump turned on Fox after the election there was a bit of shock. While ultimately he pushed a huge amount of gullible people to trust OAN/Newsmax there were definitely people who were truly torn about where they get their misinformation from since they completely trusted trump and Fox.
must have felt like mom and dad getting a divorce
What's really funny is that the FoX crowd simply started picking and choosing which anchors they trusted from the network and all of the ones they hated were the only actual news people while they still loved the opinion hour cooks like Hannity and Carlson.
That's why their first reaction to new information that doesn't align with their beliefs is to start attacking the person providing it/calling them names/etc
It's because conservatism is by definition hierarchical. Conservatives don't consider the world in terms of absolute truth or morality, only "does this reinforce or threaten my power structure?" If it reinforces their power structure, they support it. The notion of fact doesn't enter into it.
Yeah this is what they are all about at the heart of it all. There is a caste system and they have their place two rungs from the bottom and they will die before they let somebody lower than them elevate themselves.
I don’t think they’re really evaluating the source. They’re evaluating how the source makes them feel.
You are correct. Its an ideological purity test, not a fact based one.
They should try to do a study about admitting you're wrong. A lot of those people have such fragile egos and an inflated sense of pride that never admitting you were ever wrong seems like where they put up most of their effort
Ive wondered this for a while, but I think anyone who was attracted to Trumps narcissistic personality might be at least slightly narcissistic themselves and thus, like him, find it practically impossible to admit they were wrong.
Doubling down is a big problem.
I always say their motto is "If that's the right answer I would have thought of it the first time"
A venn diagram comparing the two would definitely be interesting, but it probably won't be surprising.
A Venn Diagram of Conservatives and People Believing Political Falsehoods:
My brother is convinced that 100% of the conspiracists' "plandemic" became true so far.
I am very confused as I sit here in my authoritarian North American regime, scanning my vaccines passport to post this opinion, with the economy in shamble, protected only by my gold and my guns.
"I saw it on TV and it confirms what I want to think, it must be true"
This seems to have turned into a politically sub instead of a science one.
This subreddit has been a political subreddit for years now.
This website has been a political website for years now.
Nowadays all news should be researched. So much bias, cannot believe most at face value.
News has become a very specialized clicky business, incomparable with pre social media times, unfortunately
News has become entertainment. That's one of the many ways companies avoid lawsuits. "We aren't a news company, we're an entertainment company" commonly gets spoken.
More than ever people can look up info at the tip of their fingers, and just don't
But where would you find that info? When I research any given topic I can generate stories that say opposite things. It's a problem that we haven't been able to deal with.
You have to then research the source of information and determine whether it's trustworthy or not. After some time you come to recognize trustworthy sources, and can simply look for what those source are saying. Always make sure you read more than one source, three or so if possible, unless you really want to dig in deep. It's not super difficult, but it does require some level of effort.
There is an alarming amount of people making comments to me claiming that you literally can't find a good source of information anywhere considering this is a science subreddit.
The real issue is that, for someone who's totally out of the loop, it's incredibly difficult to know what is and isn't good information. You don't know which publications are reputable and which are not. You don't know which politicians are likely to have somewhat flexible relationships with the truth. You don't know which political events are significant and which aren't.
You can't just dive in. It takes _months_ of working out who's who, what they stand for, what's relevant, who you can trust, what sources you can trust, what any of it means, before you can really start to grasp things. Most political headlines are absolutely meaningless in a vacuum - to someone who doesn't have that knowledge and context that comes from following it all. It's easy for us to just say "oh, well newspaper _X_ is obviously trustworthy, and journal _Y_ is great for non-editorialised stuff, and channel _Z_ is good for getting an alternative perspective but take what they say with a grain of salt," because we are already familiar with those sources, and with the stories, and with the language we need to filter through. But for someone new to politics, how can _they_ know that those sources are trustworthy? They often aren't in a position themselves to validate the information.
This is a large part of why social media can be so problematic. Someone comes along with a long, well-written post that claims to neatly summarise everything, and for the people who don't have the knowledge/context, it seems great - _finally someone has explained it in a way that makes sense!_ - while someone who's more in the know might say, "yes, but this thing is only because of this thing, which was caused by this person, and it's unfair to blame this event on these people when actually it's all just correlative". With other topics, this might not be so bad because stories tend to be less convoluted and more self-contained but, with politics, there can be a lot of context and nuance, and how things are presented can wildly change the interpretation. It means that very reductive takes are both appealing to those who don't follow too closely _and_ likely to be the more dangerous takes. People would rather be told, "it's such and such's fault," rather than having to accept that it's more complicated than they can understand.
So yes, having good sources of information is very important to prevent that reductionism and any mis/disinformation. But it's important to realise that even _knowing_ what is and isn't a good source of information has a rather large barrier to entry, and really takes active engagement over a period of time to build up the knowledge and context required to sort through it all.
It is still difficult though and very time consuming. Searches are prioritized by clickbait articles so you have to dig deeper in most cases.
That is also a problem since many people don't seem to have the skills (or the desire) to discern between real news, entertainment, and straight up propaganda.
It doesn't do any good to research the news for accuracy if the people hearing the news reject any source that disagrees with what they beliefs.
Every reputable source has verified that the most recent election was fare and accurate but that makes no difference if you're a Republican.
At the same time the "recount" in Arizona will be believed by Republicans because it will find the result they want, never mind it will be nonsense.
Or if the news source only reports on the facts they want to get across. Correct facts can still produce misleading conclusions. This can be compounded by simplifying the wording of the information.
See their entire reporting on the Mueller Report
I read the word research and immediately remembered all the people I once had any respect for using the phrase "do your own research" in regards to the effectiveness of chloroquine which, in their mind meant watching YouTube...
It's pretty sad that the word "research" has become diluted to whatever comes back googling and YouTube. Forget peer reviewed anything.
The most annoying part is that the recount in AZ won't find anything, but they will consider that evidence of fraud.
Oh come on. I'm sure they'll claim they found some of those pesky bamboo fibers somewhere. Plus there's no reason to believe that Cyber Ninjas hasn't already defaced the ballots so there's no way to determine what they say is true. The whole stop the steal is obviously a farce, but this "audit" just takes the cake for it's stupidity and ridiculous amount of ineptitude.
Agreed. I also reference this site’s charts looking at media sources historical trends. The methodology and sources are all out in the open so it’s easy to see how the results were achieved.
One of the really valuable things about that chart is that it also shows reliability, so it attempts to show whether the source is actually mainly accurate, even if it is left or right. leaning. It's kind of a good roadmap for arguing with people on the other side, because often you can point to sources on their side of the political spectrum to demonstrate some fact, so long as that source is a reliable one and the fact actually is accurate. The Hill and the news side of the WSJ are both really pretty great conservative but reliable sources.
I feel like this could be easily construed to illustrate the opposite. Depends on which newspaper I want to run the article on.
>“But the deck is stacked against conservatives because there is so much more misinformation that supports conservative positions. As a result, conservatives are more often led astray.”
Seems like a great way to gaslight people. Create a bunch of fake bs, circulate it, then point at people who share it.
That literally sounds like people exposed to more misinformation are more susceptible and not the conclusion of the headline. Just more non-science in /r/science.
This sub is more political agenda than anything else.
Yay politics in science...
Why is it that this is the only kind of post I see from this sub?
The overwhelming percentage of Reddit is 20-30 year old white liberals living in metropolitan cities
Hmmm....another one for the mythical r/politicalscience sub
>Overall, both liberals and conservatives were more likely to believe stories that favored their sides - whether they were true or not.
>\-the actual article itself
The comments down here are infuriatingly smug and exactly what the problem is; the study literally showed that the people snarkily commenting on here are still *more likely to believe falsehoods if it fits their beliefs.*
This is bad, full stop. This is nothing to celebrate, this is something to fix.
What I want to know is, and it's an IMPORTANT characteristic, is how each side reacts when they learn that the stories they believed in were in fact not true.
I think that's the more important thing to be able to admit mistakes since there's so much misinformation out there we're all bound to get our stories wrong at some point.
Excellent question, and I do have an answer for that (i.e. a scientific source).
Brace yourself though, the findings are a bit... grim.
*(quick edit: source, Jonas De Keersmaecker, Department of Developmental, Personality and Social Psychology, Ghent University, Belgium)*
The tldr is that it's fairly difficult for people to admit their mistakes when its literally proven to them that what they believe is misinformation, and even harder still if the individual has what would be considered lower cognitive ability.
That's really sad. The capacity for growth and to admit you are wrong is a core component to integrity and the human experience IMO.
We need to teach the value in trying to prove yourself wrong, instead of proving yourself right. A lot of my beliefs growing up got shattered when I started to look at why they may be wrong instead of just defending them because they were "mine." I feel like there are a lot of adults that never reach that perspective
I know I could see outside of my bias better. It gets a little discouraging to see few people putting in the same effort to improve especially in communication.
I don't know exactly where it comes from, but it's definitely rampant in online communication where people will knee jerk argue with you and get hostile over nothing. Even among people I think I have pretty close ideological similarities to. It's almost pathological.
It's very strange when somebody becomes dead set on turning a conversation into an argument rather than reaching any sort of understanding.
I've tried to take a step back myself when ever I can and approach things by asking myself "Is communicating this way going to have the outcome I want?" try and apply some stoicism. I'm not always great at it and I definitely have a lot of room to grow.
I'm sick of getting wound up and losing my head about really meaningless stuff. How I react is totally under my control, but my stupid brain doesn't always remember that.
I feel you dude. It's a journey of constant learning. I find things like exercise and meditation really help with keeping the brain in a present and fluid state.
Regular exercise has definitely done wonders for my mental health. Need to set some time aside for meditation though, maybe between sets heh.
Use the exercise as meditation. Turn the music down and focus on your breath and body control, centering your mind on the task and nothing else. It's not exactly meditation, but you'll get some of the same benefits (and it'll help prepare your brain for when you do try meditation).
Schooling has reinforced the notion that being wrong is bad. Whether it’s getting a poor grade or being laughed at by classmates, we often stigmatize being incorrect as a failure.
A lot of people just get older without ever really maturing emotionally.
The problem is that you are what you believe. Your perspective on the world is at the core of your identity. Therefore, acknowledging that your beliefs may be wrong is an attack on your very identity.
Changing what you believe is changing who you are, and that's one of the hardest things for any human being to do, conservative or progressive.
You can even see this in how we express things: we don't say "your belief is wrong", we say "YOU are wrong".
I still think much of that is an approach problem. People are capable of changing their minds, but it takes a level of tact and politeness that isn't coming easily in the era of standardized internet sass.
Fun as it is to be a dickhead on the internet, it feels like too many people are jonesing for a gotcha, and that mindset just makes it harder to accept it when you were the one who got got.
There were three important findings:
* It reaffirms confirmation bias: we chose to believe the facts that look good to us.
* During the study period, there was an over-abundance of popular false claims with a pro-conservative bias (in the USA).
* Conservatives in the study had a bigger "truth bias", a tendency to rate all claims as true.
The second and third point are problematic together - and points towards a different problem than the first.
Personally I distrust anyone to give me information if they align 100% with some pre-existing party line, since that means they're just parroting stuff.
Confirmation bias is rough because, as far as I understand, even if you are aware of it, it still affects you. I'm not sure how to get around that one.
Isn’t that the rational thing, though? If I read two stories, one saying “Earth is actually flat” and the other saying “Earth actually round”, I am going to believe the second one and not the first because it fits everything I know about the world. This is how you SHOULD interpret new evidence; does it confirm or contradict everything I have learned before this?
This is what is known in Bayes Theorem as [prior probability](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prior_probability)... you take the new evidence, combine it with your previous knowledge, and determine if you need to change your conclusion or not.
Now, of course some people have incorrect prior knowledge, but that isn’t a problem with their reasoning about new information.
>In sum, American conservatives in the early 21st century are uniquely likely to hold political misperceptions.
>-the actual article itself
The study repeatedly mentions that certain effects were shown to be stronger among conservatives than liberals. The fact that one group is more likely than the other to exhibit certain behaviors is an explicit finding of this study.
"But if more of the factually accurate stories were labeled political – benefiting either liberal or conservative positions – liberals became better than conservatives at distinguishing true from false statements."
This is the more important part though. Conservatives more often fail to recognize true from false regarding political stories. This has very serious consequences. No one here would claim that liberals don't suffer from this by the way. It just happens at a greater rate with conservatives...
Right bad left good, it’s science!
The less you know the more you believe.
How feasible is it to replicate this study or similar studies on propensity for a certain political group to display a certain behavior? My spidey sense is telling me this study is inherently subjective.
>Conservatives and liberals were equally good at detecting truths and falsehoods when most true stories were labeled politically neutral.
I see a lot of comments implying that conservatives are worse at evaluating truthfulness. They aren't. The implication of the study is that the media is the issue. However, as the study itself says:
>Over a 6-month period, spanning January through June 2019, we used **a social media monitoring service**
The method of filtering the stories presented to participants is not fully clear. And the balance of who the stories are supposed to benefit not maintained:
>Two-thirds (65%) of the high-engagement true statements were characterized as benefiting liberals, while only 10% of accurate claims were considered beneficial to conservatives.
This seems to suggest that the stories are not balanced enough to present both liberals and conservatives with an equal task. Of course, it's adjusted per given numbers and evaluations, but the balance itself is important for best results.
By the way, the kind of a statement that was marked as neutral they used?
>At a Black History Month reception last month, President Trump raised
his fist in support of the Black Power movement and said it was time for
all Americans to join the fight against white nationalism
r/politicalscience pls rename it finally
Full Study: [https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/23/eabf1234](https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/23/eabf1234)
>The idea that U.S. conservatives are uniquely likely to hold misperceptions is widespread but has not been systematically assessed. Research has focused on beliefs about narrow sets of claims never intended to capture the richness of the political information environment. Furthermore, factors contributing to this performance gap remain unclear. We generated an unique longitudinal dataset combining social media engagement data and a 12-wave panel study of Americans’ political knowledge about high-profile news over 6 months. Results confirm that conservatives have lower sensitivity than liberals, performing worse at distinguishing truths and falsehoods. This is partially explained by the fact that the most widely shared falsehoods tend to promote conservative positions, while corresponding truths typically favor liberals. The problem is exacerbated by liberals’ tendency to experience bigger improvements in sensitivity than conservatives as the proportion of partisan news increases. These results underscore the importance of reducing the supply of right-leaning misinformation.
I think this study may have a bit of a bias to it. According to the article, the researchers themselves identified the statements and whether or not they were true. Their data then showed that both liberals and conservatives have confirmation bias. But it also demonstrated that much of the conservative/liberal difference is due to a difference in how often statements that supported the subjects position were true/false. Even though they had a separate sample group identify the political leaning of the statement, they may have selected statements in a biased manner. They said themselves that the true statements they selected trended towards liberal viewpoints, and the false ones towards conservative viewpoints.
They should have had artificial non-political statements to mitigate their own bias and to remove confirmation bias. Alternatively, they could have presented an equal number of right/left leaning statements, with equal compositions of true statements, to measure a more objective comparison of the strength of confirmation bias on both sides.
This study seems to have tried to get the results from both options at once. This caused them to fail to get proper results from either.
Would love to read what stories they portrayed as “true” and which stories as “false” in the study for the “viral political stories”. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the last year is that often the truth is actually in a gray area for anything to do with political stories. Tough to determine what is “true” and “false” anymore unless it was a verifiable outrageous claim (Biden is a lizard man or something).
That link has the page where you can download their supplementary material for the study. The PDF link I Downloaded and it has the questions they asked people
The neutral example doesn’t seem so neutral. The Queen won’t meet with Trump seems like a snub against Trump not a neutral false statement.
This was the methodology used for favorability:
"Five Democrats and five Republicans rated each statement twice, once for its impact on each of the two major parties. Workers assigned a score between -5 to 5, and including 0, with higher scores denoting more favorable influence on their impression of the party being evaluated. We computed the average net favorability (Democrat minus Republican) for each statement separately for Democratic and Republican workers. Averages net scores among Democrats ranged from -4.4 to 8.4 (M = 2.24, SD = 2.59), while among Republicans average net scores ranged from -7.6 to 5.2 (M = -1.18, SD = 2.69). In other words, workers tended to see statements as benefiting their own party more, on average.
We trichotomized the average scores for each group: values great than or equal to 1 are treated as favoring Democrats, values less than or equal to -1 as favoring Republicans, and values between -1 and 1 are treated as neutral. If both parties agreed that the statement favored one side more, or if one party labeled the statement as favoring a party and the other said it was neutral, we labeled the statement with the favored party. If both parties agree that the statement was neutral or if they assigned opposing favorability, then we labeled the statement as neutral. "
So an argument could be made they need more people to get whether a statement was truly neutral, as 10 people isnt that many. Its also possible both sides rated that as unfavorable/favorable to their party. Eg Dems saw it is the Queen snubbing Trump, And Reps Saw it as Trumps such a strong leader the Queen cant deal with him.