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Question Time showed that you can’t counter anti-vax myths with cold reason alone | Sonia Sodha

Changing minds is more complicated than simply exposing poor arguments How do you react when someone politely but firmly tells you that you’re talking nonsense about something that’s important to you? Do you gracefully and immediately give way to their greater expertise? Or do you double down? Most of us are in the latter camp. Voicing our beliefs tends to solidify them. We may like to think of ourselves as rational creatures, constantly assessing the world for new information that might change our minds, but this is not how our brains work. Explaining to someone that their belief is flat-out wrong is not a good way of getting them to drop it. And research shows that the process of “myth-busting” – setting out a common false statement, then explaining why it is wrong – backfires because it counterintuitively reinforces and helps spread the myths. Continue reading...

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