Ever wonder why flat earthers, birthers, climate change and Holocaust deniers stick to their beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary?
New findings from researchers at UC Berkeley suggest that feedback, rather than hard evidence, boosts people’s sense of certainty when learning new things or trying to tell right from wrong.
Developmental psychologists have found that people’s beliefs are more likely to be reinforced by the positive or negative reactions they receive in response to an opinion, task or interaction, than by logic, reasoning and scientific data.
Their findings, published today in the online issue of the journal Open Mind, shed new light on how people handle information that challenges their worldview, and how certain learning habits can limit one’s intellectual horizons.
“If you think you know a lot about something, even though you don’t, you’re less likely to be curious enough to explore the topic further, and will fail to learn how little you know,” said study lead author Louis Marti, a Ph.D. student in psychology at UC Berkeley.
This cognitive dynamic can play out in all walks of actual and virtual life, including social media and cable-news echo chambers, and may explain why some people are easily duped by charlatans.
“If you use a crazy theory to make a correct prediction a couple of times, you can get stuck in that belief and may not be as interested in gathering more information,” said study senior author Celeste Kidd, an assistant professor of psychology at UC Berkeley.
Specifically, the study examined what influences people’s certainty while learning. It found that study participants’ confidence was based on their most recent performance rather than long-term cumulative results. The experiments were conducted at the University of Rochester.
For the study, more than 500 adults, recruited online through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing platform, looked at different combinations of colored shapes on their computer screens. They were asked to identify which colored shapes qualified as a “Daxxy,” a make-believe object invented by the researchers for the purpose of the experiment.
With no clues about the defining characteristics of a Daxxy, study participants had to guess blindly which items constituted a Daxxy as they viewed 24 different colored shapes and received feedback on whether they had guessed right or wrong. After each guess, they reported on whether or not they were certain of their answer.
The final results showed that participants consistently based their certainty on whether they had correctly identified a Daxxy during the last four or five guesses instead of all the information they had gathered throughout.
“What we found interesting is that they could get the first 19 guesses in a row wrong, but if they got the last five right, they felt very confident,” Marti said. “It’s not that they weren’t paying attention, they were learning what a Daxxy was, but they weren’t using most of what they learned to inform their certainty.”
An ideal learner’s certainty would be based on the observations amassed over time as well as the feedback, Marti said.
“If your goal is to arrive at the truth, the strategy of using your most recent feedback, rather than all of the data you’ve accumulated, is not a great tactic,” he said.
The Latest on: Feedback vs hard evidence
via Google News
The Latest on: Feedback vs hard evidence
- Buhari vs Atiku: Pastor Paul Adefarasin gives clue on who to vote [VIDEO] on February 21, 2019 at 3:12 am
We have the profound opportunity to choose our leaders and it is not hard to discern great leaders. ”look at what they evidence, look at what they have in their resumes and vote your values ... […]
- Betsy DeVos vs. Student Veterans on February 20, 2019 at 3:46 am
In the face of unquestionable evidence, sometimes bipartisanship isn’t so hard. Now it’s Congress’s turn. Politicians of both stripes speak out for veterans on the campaign trail. It’s time to back up ... […]
- MLB says no evidence to support allegations against Mariners on February 6, 2019 at 9:54 am
I would have hoped for a bit more transparency," Martin wrote. "More importantly, there were no tapes, no emails, no hard evidence requested nor evaluated other than the questioning of individuals mos... […]
- Oil Trampled, Midstream Still Standing on November 25, 2018 at 2:49 am
Short-term relative outperformance is hard to get excited about ... Midstream boasts strong earnings and execution evidence, huge progress on eliminating IDRs, improving leverage, high-quality growth ... […]
- Why we stick to false beliefs: Feedback trumps hard evidence on September 4, 2018 at 1:00 pm
New findings from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, suggest that feedback, rather than hard evidence, boosts people's sense of certainty when learning new things or trying to tell ... […]
- Student Success Vs. Teaching Effectiveness on October 12, 2017 at 4:25 am
All in all, effective teachers are extremely important to maintain a creative learning environment and keep inspiring students to work hard. But is there a way ... Furthermore, there’s also evidence i... […]
- Is the Government Digital Marketplace Making Procurement Worse or Better? Anecdotal Evidence on April 16, 2017 at 5:00 pm
The marketplace requires each bidder to submit evidence in the form of 100 ... 100% sure we would get this… …until the feedback returned as; Evaluator 3–”Criteria partially met. Not clear whether VS u... […]
- Inside and out, ESPN dealing with changing political dynamics on November 8, 2016 at 8:19 am
Thankfully, I get to write about ESPN ... Much of the feedback I receive about FiveThirtyEight tags it with a clear liberal bias. But I don’t see that. Many readers cite stories claiming that Trump’s ... […]
- Why We Need to Talk About Evidence on January 9, 2016 at 11:50 pm
The reason why this is important is because it provides the leader with something to look for when they enter into an observation, and we know that feedback ... this may be a hard sell, especially for ... […]
via Bing News