Repeated statements receive higher truth ratings than new statements, a phenomenon called the illusory truth effect… Repetition makes statements easier to process (i.e., fluent) relative to new statements, leading people to the (sometimes) false conclusion that they are more truthful… Indeed, illusory truth effects arise even without prior exposure—people rate statements presented in high-contrast (i.e., easy-to-read) fonts as “true” more often than those presented in low-contrast fonts.
When the news media focused one summer about shark attacks, people became a little more scared of the ocean due to the increasing danger. Except… The number of attacks had not gone up. The prominence of them had.
There is a police officer who goes to the coffee shop nearest home. The first time I saw him, he looked me up and down and dismissed me. In that time, I held my breath. See, as a large man with brown skin I knew about many, many instances of people who look like me getting killed when in contact with police officers. It was all over the news, Facebook, and Twitter.
I have previously mentioned how seeing political things that agree with our ideologies are strengthened WHETHER OR NOT THEY ARE TRUE makes no difference to their effect. See, we are not wired to find truth. We are wired to find agreement.
This is what makes Facebook and Twitter so dangerous. We find those who agree and bolster those sensibilities. We cull from our attention those who challenge us. We share things from these sources without reading them and without verifying anything from them. And… That is dangerous. Especially because the most extremes of either side are pushing fake “news” on us.
Steps I have taken to combat this tendency:
- Do not share things I have not read and searched for more background information.
- Actively block very biased news sources not the friend. My goal is to eliminate the bullshit curation in favor of better information.
- Read or listen to conversations to understand. I do reply to anyone involved because that would put me in the mindset of making them agree with me instead of learning from someone different.
- Read books with differing view points to understand.