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Thread: Why Facts Donít Change Our Minds

  1. #1
    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    16th September 2007
    Maine, USA. The way life should be.

    Default Why Facts Donít Change Our Minds

    Elizabeth Kolbert
    February 19, 2017

    New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason.

    In 1975, researchers at Stanford invited a group of undergraduates to take part in a study about suicide. They were presented with pairs of suicide notes. In each pair, one note had been composed by a random individual, the other by a person who had subsequently taken his own life. The students were then asked to distinguish between the genuine notes and the fake ones.
    Some students discovered that they had a genius for the task. Out of twenty-five pairs of notes, they correctly identified the real one twenty-four times. Others discovered that they were hopeless. They identified the real note in only ten instances.

    As is often the case with psychological studies, the whole setup was a put-on. Though half the notes were indeed genuineótheyíd been obtained from the Los Angeles County coronerís officeóthe scores were fictitious. The students whoíd been told they were almost always right were, on average, no more discerning than those who had been told they were mostly wrong.

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  2. #2
    Moderator Julieanne's Avatar
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    18th April 2011
    Roleystone, Western Australia

    Default Re: Why Facts Donít Change Our Minds

    I found this out for myself years ago. I used to think if I presented the facts it would change someone's mind. How wrong I was! But I still feel tempted sometimes and fall into the trap of explaining. Total waste of time.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Mr. Wizard's Avatar
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    25th October 2011
    East coast, USA

    Default Re: Why Facts Donít Change Our Minds

    As a daily reader here at HH, the one thing I'm constantly reminded of is how nutritional information continues to change, challenging what I thought I knew. I love this about nutrition, and I love the challenge of keeping up with the latest information. This is the problem with most adults..."they don't keep up." They've stopped learning. They don't know what they don't know. So, they continue to see the world through their old knowledge. If the new information does not agree with their old knowledge, it is dismissed. They only accept new information if it confirms what they think they already know. This is called "confirmation bias." And, that is why so many of us will never accept new information, unless it confirms what we already think we know.

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