Why Facts do not Matter


Social scientists have some intriguing explanations for why people persist in misjudgements despite strong contrary evidence. In fact, studies conducted over the past 30 years show that attempts to refute false information often backfire and lead people to hold on to their misperceptions even more strongly.

A 2015 behavioural science article examined the puzzle of why nearly one-third of U.S. parents believe that childhood vaccines cause autism, despite overwhelming medical evidence that there’s no such link. In such cases, the study noted, “arguing the facts doesn’t help — in fact, it makes the situation worse.” The reason is that people tend to accept arguments that confirm their views and discount facts that challenge what they believe.[1] Continue reading

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Double Marketing Standards


[The typical commercial directed at women.]

Generic woman: Ouch, my stomach!

Male voice over: Do you suffer from gut agony?

Generic woman: And my head!

Male voice over: Tension head? Got that bloated feeling? Inevitable wrinkles? The beginnings of lady moustache? And now you’ve pissed yourself again? Women, you’re leaking, ageing, hairy, overweight, and everything hurts. And your children’s clothes are filthy. No wonder men long for other less clammy women. For god’s sake sort yourself out!

Generic woman: Now I’m free to live my own life, my way!

[The typical commercial directed at men.]

Male voice over: Men, shave and get drunk! Because you’re already brilliant!

That Mitchell and Webb Look (2006-2010)