Friday, August 05, 2016

On human psychology: Why facts don’t matter to Trump’s supporters

By David Ignatius Opinion writer August 4 at 7:34 PM, WashPost

How did Donald Trump win the Republican nomination, despite clear evidence that he had misrepresented or falsified key issues throughout the campaign? Social scientists have some intriguing explanations for why people persist in misjudgments despite strong contrary evidence.

Trump is a vivid and, to his critics, a frightening present-day illustration of this perception problem. But it has been studied carefully by researchers for more than 30 years. Basically, the studies show that attempts to refute false information often backfire and lead people to hold on to their misperceptions even more strongly.

This literature about misperception was lucidly summarized by Christopher Graves, the global chairman of Ogilvy Public Relations, in a February 2015 article in the Harvard Business Review, months before Trump surfaced as a candidate. Graves is now writing a book about his research at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy.

Graves’s article examined the puzzle of why nearly one-third of U.S. parents believe that childhood vaccines cause autism, despite overwhelming medical evidence that there’s no such link. In such cases, he noted, “arguing the facts doesn’t help — in fact, it makes the situation worse.” The reason is that people tend to accept arguments that confirm their views and discount facts that challenge what they believe.

(More here.)


Blogger Tom Koch said...

I applaud VV’s efforts to help educate voters on Trump rump and the disregard for the facts by his supporters and - have to ask – where is the balance? If VV really cared about educating supporters, why was there no mention of queen Hillary has earning a 4 Pinocchios (WashPo) for her repeated insistence that FBI Directory Comey said her answers were truthful? Trust is essential to a functioning democracy, surely American can do better than to allow the Clinton slime back into our White House.

7:29 AM  

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