Social Question

NormanL's avatar

Do misinformed people change their minds?

Asked by NormanL (481points) August 2nd, 2010

New research suggests that misinformed people rarely change their minds when presented with the facts—and often become even more attached to their beliefs. The finding raises questions about a key principle of a strong democracy: that a well-informed electorate is best.

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14 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

It sounds like you already know the answer to this question. A surprising amount of misinformed people will not change their minds no matter what the actual evidence says. Beliefs are more important than facts. Is there anything new here?

Austinlad's avatar

A study was done showing that people who associate with like-minded people (tea partiers, for example) tend not only to maintain their beliefs, but to resist opposing vews even more adamantly. Closed minds are more dangerous than terrorists.

NormanL's avatar

@wundayatta No, I only know what the study says. The results of a study can be slanted by how the questions are asked. I was shocked and disappointed by the results and hope that they are wrong.

kevbo's avatar

The study might be new, but the underlying principle has been understood for some time. Something similar came out (maybe in the NYT) about 4 years ago with regard to Iraq and WMD.

The romantic notion of a “well informed electorate” (at least in the U.S.) is pretty much democratic opium for the masses. In truth, the establishment/elite/TPTB have probably never trusted “the electorate” to make informed voting decisions. This is why we have the Electoral College, and if you watch the documentary “The Century of Self”, you might agree that mass democracy, since the dawning of psychology and public relations, has been engineered deliberately to prey and play upon our irrational cognitive processes and has never been about rational consideration of the facts.

Milbank, by the way, is a Skull and Bones member (just like our two “choices” for president in 2004), so I wouldn’t put to much stock in his truth unless you prefer to look at the world through woolen glasses. It doesn’t surprise me that embedded in this story are further attempts to discredit 9/11 truthers and those of similar ilk, because science obviously proves that they are all crazy or confused or don’t know what to believe.

So, none of this is to say that the study isn’t true, but I think what is the truth about this piece of shit story and Milbank’s Wizard of Oz act is found at the bottom of the page where it says:

Mark Twain: get your facts first and then you can distort them as you please.

Joke’s on us! Hahaha!

Aster's avatar

I Hope I’d change mine if presented with real facts! I probably have more than once!

YARNLADY's avatar

True believers cannot change their minds, but a person who is simply misinformed, and has an open mind, would love the person who helped them understand the issue more clearly.

jerv's avatar

I feel that the widespread availability of predigested “truth” has largely eliminated the average persons willingness (and possibly ability) to think for themselves. It doesn’t help that no matter how extreme your opinion is, you can find at least a few thousand people to back you up and thus galvanize your insanity,

@wundayatta I believe that it was merely an attempt to start an intelligent discussion, the type that most of us here on Fluther like, and why I remain here instead of, say, Yahoo. I have been more tactless in my life, and he is still rather new to Fluther, so please cut him a little slack.

gypsywench's avatar

It has alot to do with intelligence and the ability to comprehend. You can also factor in that some people simply hate being wrong, and it becomes personal.

perspicacious's avatar

We can all change our minds as new information is gathered.

gypsywench's avatar

@perspicacious Yes, we all are capable of changing our minds. Some chose not to.

NormanL's avatar

@gypsywench Thank you, I agree 100%, but I do think it depends on age, education, and life experiences.

Dewey420's avatar

it’s big brother man! if your wishy washy your a terrorist.

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