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Why People Believe Weird Things

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  #1  
Old 4th December 2012, 12:22 PM
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Default Why People Believe Weird Things

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from PsychBlog:
Why People Believe Weird Things and 8 Ways to Change Their Minds
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Let's just say that some people believe weird stuff and leave it at that. It turns out that just one of the fascinating reasons that people accept odd ideas is that they keep getting repeated, even if only to debunk them.
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There are a lot of good things to be said about the internet but it's still a source of fantastic amounts of misinformation. Here's a frightening fact:
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"A survey of the first 50 Web sites matching the search term "weight loss diets" revealed that only 3 delivered sound dietary advice."
Plus people tend to seek out information that confirms their existing points of view. And this is an exercise that has become much easier now the internet provides such a huge range of viewpoints. No matter what people believe they can find some other people who also believe it to back them up.
Full article
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Old 4th December 2012, 03:30 PM
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Default Re: Why People Believe Weird Things

Other threads on PsychBlog:
Memory Enhanced by a Simple Break After Reading
The Persuasive Power of Swearing
How to Banish Bad Habits and Control Temptations
How to be creative
Memory Improved By Saying Words Aloud
Why Smart People Do Dumb or Irrational Things
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Old 4th December 2012, 03:42 PM
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Default Re: Why People Believe Weird Things

That blog post is also the title of one of my favorite books!: Why People Believe in Weird Things, by Michael Shermer. I posted about some related books in a few other threads:
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The 3 most recent books I just finished reading have been:

Believing Bull**** by Stephen Law:
Quote:
Stephen Law offers us not only a primer on how not to believe but about why so many people do believe-bull****, despite the lack of evidence for such beliefs, or even in the face of disconfirmatory evidence. It is a roadmap to a promised land free of undue credulity, where the best ideas win and 'intellectual black holes' no longer suck people in. Believing Bull**** should be read by every college freshman and every person seeking public office, and its strategies memorized and put to use by every critical thinker.
Counterknowledge by Damian Thompson
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According to Thompson, we are experiencing a pandemic of counterknowledge: misinformation packaged to look like fact, but that is demonstrably false
The Believing Brain: How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths by Michael Sermer
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Simply put, beliefs come first and explanations for beliefs follow. The brain, Shermer argues, is a belief engine. From sensory data flowing in through the senses, the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses those patterns with meaning. Our brains connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen, and these patterns become beliefs. Once beliefs are formed the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive-feedback loop of belief confirmation. Shermer outlines the numerous cognitive tools our brains engage to reinforce our beliefs as truths.


I raised this in:
Alternative Medical Mythology
Homeopathy and Sports Injury
High Risk Profession
There is no barefoot running debate
Anyone following the MMR vaccine and Autism debate?
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Old 13th February 2013, 12:59 PM
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Default Re: Why People Believe Weird Things

Another good post from psychblog:
Cognitive Biases: Why We Make Irrational Decisions
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Old 1st March 2013, 03:19 PM
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Default Re: Why People Believe Weird Things

You might like this site, it's a long the same sort of lines.

http://www.badscience.net/
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