Comment 47408

By highwater (registered) | Posted September 09, 2010 at 11:59:27

Nice try Ryan, but as you can see from Jennifer's response, facts are no match for zombie lies, and the "Fred withheld vitally important information that would have changed the outcome of the vote" lie is one we will be hearing on the campaign trail again and again.

This bodes ill for a democracy, because most voters...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.

“The general idea is that it’s absolutely threatening to admit you’re wrong,” says political scientist Brendan Nyhan...The phenomenon — known as “backfire” — is “a natural defense mechanism to avoid that cognitive dissonance.”

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