If it bleeds, it leads (forever?)
July 12, 2012 3:39 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a link to studies that show people hold on to false beliefs (particularly via incorrect news accounts, accusations, or gossip) even after those facts have been proven false by the very same media outlets or sources.

I'm almost positive I saw a post on this very subject on metafilter at some point in the past (or maybe it was referenced). I don't think I'm imagining that there's some scientific proof that whichever story gets out first is the one that gains long term traction regardless of its veracity. But anything's possible!
posted by stagewhisper to Science & Nature (7 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

There's also some very good stuff in Thinking, Fast and Slow about how people select a narrative to fit what they already believe and weight any new information based on that, while disregarding information that doesn't confirm their existing belief.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 3:57 PM on July 12, 2012

Political Scientist Brendan Nyhan rounds up a few links, while also explaining how birthers are a prime example of said effect.
posted by politikitty at 4:45 PM on July 12, 2012

When Prophecy Fails, by Leon Festinger.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:48 PM on July 12, 2012

There is some stuff in here about that.
posted by gjc at 5:24 PM on July 12, 2012

It is related to confirmation bias, and there are more terms and links to follow from that page.
posted by caclwmr4 at 5:48 PM on July 12, 2012

I just came across this article Scientific knowledge suppresses but does not supplant earlier intuitions from the August 2012 issue of Cognition which concludes that "...naïve theories survive the acquisition of a mutually incompatible scientific theory, coexisting with that theory for many years to follow". Of course the full text is behind a pay wall, but perhaps you have a way to get at it.
posted by gubenuj at 8:42 PM on July 12, 2012

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