False Beliefs Persist, Even After Instant Online Corrections

It seems like a great idea: Provide instant corrections to web-surfers when they run across obviously false information on the Internet.

But a new study suggests that this type of tool may not be a panacea for dispelling inaccurate beliefs, particularly among people who already want to believe the falsehood.

"Real-time corrections do have some positive effect, but it is mostly with people who were predisposed to reject the false claim anyway,"...

"The problem with trying to correct false information is that some people want to believe it, and simply telling them it is false won't convince them."

... for those who opposed EHRs, the effect of the immediate correction was essentially the same as if they had received no correction at all," Garrett said.

The reason appears to be that opponents of EHRs discounted the credibility of the source of the correction, Garrett said. On the other hand, the more favorably an individual felt about EHRs, the more credible the correction was perceived to be. [emphasis mine]

It all comes down to "I want to believe!" Tell people a lie they like and it's fact-proof.

No wonder theistic memes have us collectively enslaved.

Tags: error correction, fact

Views: 22

Replies to This Discussion

Seems obvious to me.

For people with a conspiracy-theory mindset, such as that of most Creationists, providing them with the actual facts will just entrench their position further.  The only possible way it can help is if you have someone who truly didn't know the current state of scientific knowledge.  There are Creationists out there who think that we've only got 2 or 3 fossils of early human ancestors, all of which are hoaxes, because that's what their preachers and apologists like Kent Hovind have told them.  If you can get those sort out of their shell and get them to look at the evidence, you might be able to reach them, but a simple correction probably won't do it.

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