Why You’re Wrong

Ken AshfordRandom MusingsLeave a Comment

You're wrong because when you first got that idea in your head, it was full of misinformation.  Misinformation which, sadly, you became married to:

Once an idea enters your mind it's hard to get rid of it. Even after you've been proven wrong and know that you are, your brain is wired to stick with the original information. It even influences you subconsciously. This makes it exceptionally difficult to actually feel wrong even when you know you are.

Scientific American has the explanation of this phenomena:

Psychologists asked college stu­dents to read an account of an ac­cident involving a busload of elderly passengers. The students were then told that, actually, those on the bus were not elderly. For some students, the information ended there. Others were told the bus had in fact been transporting a college hockey team. And still others were warned about what psychologists call the continued influence of misinformation-that people tend to have a hard time ig­noring what they first heard, even if they know it is wrong-and that they should be extra vigilant about getting the story straight.

The study found that when the college students were warned about the continued influence of information they tended to make fewer inferences based on the old, incorrect "facts" they were given. But even then, misinformation existed, as there were still often lingering elements of the original story.

Presumably, this is why dictatorial regimes like to indoctrinate children at such early ages.  Because what people hear first, no matter how factually wrong it is, they are likely to insist on it as being true.  I'll bet that's also the philosophy behind the cozy relationship between Fox News and the GOP.