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View Diary: Robert Reich warning: Right's constant lying could lead to rise of demagogue (234 comments)

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  •  Research says our brains are threat to democracy (9+ / 0-)

    Facts don't matter according to the research.

    This is from a 2010 Boston Globe article:

    How facts backfire
    Researchers discover a surprising threat to democracy: our brains
    In the end, truth will out. Won’t it?

    Maybe not. Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It’s this: Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.

    This bodes ill for a democracy, because most voters — the people making decisions about how the country runs — aren’t blank slates. They already have beliefs, and a set of facts lodged in their minds. The problem is that sometimes the things they think they know are objectively, provably false. And in the presence of the correct information, such people react very, very differently than the merely uninformed. Instead of changing their minds to reflect the correct information, they can entrench themselves even deeper.

    and from the NY Times in 2008:

    Your Brain Lies to You

    I think Republicans know this and that's why the repeat the lie over and over and suddenly it becomes truth.

    The brain does not simply gather and stockpile information as a computer’s hard drive does. Facts are stored first in the hippocampus, a structure deep in the brain about the size and shape of a fat man’s curled pinkie finger. But the information does not rest there. Every time we recall it, our brain writes it down again, and during this re-storage, it is also reprocessed. In time, the fact is gradually transferred to the cerebral cortex and is separated from the context in which it was originally learned. For example, you know that the capital of California is Sacramento, but you probably don’t remember how you learned it.

    This phenomenon, known as source amnesia, can also lead people to forget whether a statement is true. Even when a lie is presented with a disclaimer, people often later remember it as true.

    Telling lies seems to work and the Romney campaign has taken it to new levels. They decided the road to the WH is paved with lies, distortions, deceit and secrecy and factcheckers be damned.

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