Misinformation and its consequences

15 August 2011

There are a few good posts from the Development Impact blog that I think are worth sharing. I’ll re-post a few this week -while I am traveling from Lima to Lusaka. The fist one is about misinformation and its consequences.

Berk Ozler reports on a paper by Ecker et al. (2011) in the Psychonomic bulletin and review that studies several questions about the continued influence of misinformation.

The authors suggest that repetitions of misinformation are likely to be stronger if they come from multiple (and somewhat independent) sources. So, if one person is repeatedly providing misinformation, this will likely be less effective than multiple sources repeating the same misinformation with the same frequency. Combining this with the fact that retractions have to be equally vigorous to be at least somewhat effective in changing opinions, the picture is not pretty.

A few weeks ago Jeff Knezovich wrote about Information, confirmation, and influencing advice. This is certainly relevant.