American Journalism ReviewPublic Intelligence Blogforum4editors.com: the forum on innovative journalism and marketing at newspapersArticlesWith the arrival of this issue, I hope you are experiencing the first glories of spring and can shout, “We made it through the winter!” Our April–May issue offers you lots of opportunity for new growth, as well. I tackle the thorny subject of fine-tuning an author’s writing style in the In Depth feature, and you can cross-pollinate with our Currents, In Style, and Word Resource Roundup columns. Our Technically Speaking feature offers you another way to grow: by learning HTML. It’s a great skill to add to your resumé—as is membership in a professional group. The release of this newsletter coincides with this year’s national ACES conference, a great opportunity for copyeditors to blossom.
Misinformation: Why it sticks and how to fix itChildhood vaccines do not cause autism. Barack Obama was born in the United States. Global warming is confirmed by science. And yet, many people believe claims to the contrary. Why does that kind of misinformation stick? A new report published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, explores this phenomenon. The main reason that misinformation is sticky, according to the researchers, is that rejecting information actually requires cognitive effort. And when we do take the time to thoughtfully evaluate incoming information, there are only a few features that we are likely to pay attention to: Does the information fit with other things I believe in? Misinformation is especially sticky when it conforms to our preexisting political, religious, or social point of view. Even worse, efforts to retract misinformation often backfire, paradoxically amplifying the effect of the erroneous belief.
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