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A cognitive scientist explains why humans are so susceptible to fake news and misinformation

By Nieman Lab

"We might like to think of our memory as an archivist that carefully preserves events, but sometimes it's more like a storytellerRead full story

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  • Do you have a narrative in your mind that makes you more susceptible to fake news? Apparently, we all do. We fall for fake news because we're trying to maintain a consistent story, instead of an accurate record.

    Don't make your decision to accept or reject information based on whether it fits your own storyline. Instead, be open to new facts and willing to revise your narrative.

  • Matt Walters
    Matt WaltersFounding Partner at MissionLab Inc

    There is no single source of truth in this world, whether it is our memories or otherwise. Careful study has allowed us to realize this, and those paying attention have exploited it. We must always be crafting our narratives. What society needs is a commitment to values such as transparency and humility to ensure that the narratives we are developing are best for our collective good. Until we have that, we will simply be trading narratives in a constant power play against each other, losing individual battles but fighting to win the war.

  • Are you susceptible to fake news? It turns out most of us are. Only a small amount of fake news is sufficient to affect the outcome of elections or the nature of conversations. So how do you protect yourself from fake news? Nice tips from this article on how to minimize the effects using scientific methods of query. But the key lesson I take from the article is that it is harder to change people’s minds by fact checking after they have been repeatably subjected to fake news. The best approach may

    Are you susceptible to fake news? It turns out most of us are. Only a small amount of fake news is sufficient to affect the outcome of elections or the nature of conversations. So how do you protect yourself from fake news? Nice tips from this article on how to minimize the effects using scientific methods of query. But the key lesson I take from the article is that it is harder to change people’s minds by fact checking after they have been repeatably subjected to fake news. The best approach may lie in sharing information from diverse sources and engaging with people with diverse ideologies.

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