How to defend against fake news

How to defend against fake news

The key to people’s accepting fake news as true, despite evidence to the contrary, is a phenomenon known as confirmation bias, or the tendency for people to seek and accept information that confirms their existing beliefs while rejecting or ignoring that which contradicts those beliefs, he said.

Many of these beliefs and biases are formed early in life when children begin to distinguish between fantasy and reality, according to Eve Whitmore, PhD, a developmental psychologist with Western Reserve Psychological Associates in Stow, Ohio, who also presented at the session. Some of these beliefs can be based in fantasy, and that can lead to what she calls nonsensical thinking.

“From the beginning, parents reinforce to their children the skill of pretending in order to cope with the realities inherent in culture and society,” she said. “Children’s learning about make-believe and mastery of it becomes the basis for more complex forms of self-deception and illusion into adulthood.”

Parents commonly encourage young children to engage in pretend play. Through this pretend play, children often practice little life scenarios, like playing house, that help to reinforce cultural norms and beliefs and aid in assimilation as they age. The flip side is that children also learn that sometimes it’s OK to make believe things are true, even though they know they are not, according to Eve Whitmore.

Source: Why we’re susceptible to fake news, how to defend against it

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