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Psychologists have tested a "vaccine" from fake news
Material posted: Publication date: 26-01-2017
The results of sociological surveys conducted worldwide show that while most people are aware of global warming, not all of them believe that it really is the place to be. This is because, in addition to the scientifically proven fact in the media is leaking a lot of dubious conclusions, with no clear justification. High politicization of the issue further aggravates the situation. A similar problem applies to many other vital issues today.

An international team of psychologists from the University of Cambridge, Yale University and George Mason University decided to approach the question of the influence of false information on the opinions of people from an unexpected quarter. Scientists thought that such a successful method, such as vaccination, or rather its basic principle, it can be good for psychology.

In other words, they decided that if a person is to give a small amount of false information, thus "making a vaccine", he has "desensitized" to misinformation, and in future it will be able to weed out the outright lies and base their opinions on proven facts.

To manufacture a "vaccine", the study's lead author, Dr. sander van der Linden (Sander van der Linden) and his colleagues looked for the most convincing false statements about the current climatic changes that have been replicated in different parts of the Internet had a significant impact on public opinion.

The "winner" was recognized as the statement that among scientists there is no consensus about global warming. This statement, in particular, apply with a light hand of the Oregon Global Warming Petition Project. On the organization's website States that 31 thousand American scientists have signed a petition that there is no compelling evidence that carbon dioxide emissions due to human activities will lead to climate change.

In contrast to this outright deception psychologists have used credible the assertion that 97% of scientists accept anthropogenic factor is one of the main causes of climate change.

Armed with all the necessary researchers conducted an experiment disguised on the online platform Amazon Mechanical Turk, which was attended by over 2,000 people from the United States in different age, education, gender and political views. This platform allows "customers" to attract people to perform certain tasks for a fee.

In the first part of experiments different groups of participants offered or false information in the form of a screenshot from a page of the petition, truthful or in the form of a pie chart, or sequentially first true, then false. Throughout the experiment, people were asked to rate their level of confidence in the existence of the consensus, i.e. consensus among scientists about climate change.

In the first case, the level of trust fell by an average of 9% in the second – has increased by 20%. Psychologists were surprised to find that consistently presents the truth and a lie is almost neutralized each other, and the respondents changed by no more than 0.5%.

"It's unpleasant to realize that misinformation is so strong in our society, says Linden in a press release Cambridge. — People's opinion on climate change is not strong enough. They know that the debate continues, but don't always know what to believe. Conflicting reports constantly return them back to the starting point".

In the next step two groups of respondents psychologists "made" two different "vaccinations" of misinformation. The first was of a General nature. Participants previously reported that some politically motivated organizations use tactics to mislead the public and claim that among scholars of much controversy. "Vaccine" for the second group were narrowly directed against a questionable petition. Respondents pointed to the fact that some of the signatures belong to, for example, Charles Darwin or musical group Spice Girls, and that less than 1% of all signatories have experience in the field of the Sciences of climate.

For all "vaccinated" participants about the true message after do not cause any damage to the opinion. In the first group, assuming the existence of consensus among scientists has increased on average by 6.5% and in the second group by 13%.

Interestingly, the "vaccination" worked only on people who were initially inclined to believe that the consensus in the scientific community has long been achieved. But the majority of respondents who prefer to believe in various "conspiracy theories", and remained unconvinced.

Detailed results of an unusual study and the authors ' conclusions can be found by reading the articlepublished in the journal Global Challenges.

We also note that the problem of misinformation in the media is as old as the world, and hardly anyone ever be able to cope 100%. But each person has a choice what to believe and how to build your opinion on the proven facts or on emotional reasoning today without any decent justification.


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