You Can Fight Falsehoods
More and more these days, debates and discussions about important social issues get hijacked or derailed by misinformation that people too readily accept as truth. For example, who can forget the “death panel” myth propagated by opponents of the Affordable Care Act? Or in the absence of any evidence linking autism to vaccines, why do some parents refuse to immunize their children?
In our latest SmartCast, we talk with Brendan Nyhan, Assistant Professor of Government at Dartmouth University, who has been studying the phenomenon of false beliefs since 2000, as well as the challenges in debunking misinformation and myths once they begin to take hold.
The big question we put to Nyhan: can anything be done to combat the spread of erroneous information?
SmartCast: When Worldviews Collide
As communicators, we often think that the more facts we have to use the more persuasive our messages. Yet, even when our messages are bolstered with solid scientific evidence, some people will reject them because they conflict with their personal beliefs and cultural affiliations.
Faced with those facts, what’s a communicator to do?
If You Don’t Know, Test
Do you know which email subject lines work best? How about what will make the home page of your website more likely to get your target audiences to engage?
The reason: “People don’t always do what we think they’re going to do.” That’s why, he adds, “testing is crucial in every business, including communications.”