47 Fake News Signals: Part 6 of 7

KNOW YOUR OWN WEAKNESSES

These biases are broad tendencies, rather than fixed traits or universal behavioral laws. They are not uniformly shared by everyone. Plus, there are multiple influences resulting in a given behavior. 

1. FALSE MEMORIES. Studies have shown we are susceptible to false memories. We selectively remember our own experiences, much less historical and cultural events. Planting fake memories has become easier these days with AI-enhanced photo and video forgeries on the internet. 

2. CONFIRMATION BIAS. We tend to seek information that confirms what we already believe to be true. Ask yourself: Do I want to believe this report, not because it is well sourced and reported, but because it fits with what I already believe?

3. CORRELATION VS CAUSATION. Just because events or statistics have a connection doesn’t mean you can assume one causes the other. 

4. WE OVERVALUE NARRATIVE. Adding a story to a fact increases the likelihood that people will believe it—even when the story narrows the likelihood of it being true. We like tidy stories, not ambiguity.

5. FOOLED BY RANDOMNESS. As the title of Nassim Taleb’s best seller suggests, we are fooled by randomness. Human tend to read meaning into the unexpected and the improbable, even where there is none. 

6. OVERSIMPLIFICATION. To avoid conflict and uncomfortable thinking, we oversimplify to reduce tension. Soon, one side looks good and the other is dismissed as evil. 

7. SUNK COST FALLACY. We hang on to a course of action or idea when we have invested in it, even when circumstances and reasoning show we should abandon it. 

8. GOOGLE-SEARCH RELIANCE. Google is not neutral. When you Google something, the algorithms isn’t weighing facts but other factors, such as your search history. Google tailors your results to what you want—or what the search engine “thinks” you want. Because of this personalization, you are probably getting different results than the person sitting next to you. Be critical of search engines as you are critical of the media. Don’t assume the first link or the first page that comes up when you Google something is the best answer to your question.

Fake News Signals: Part 1 of 7

Fake News Signals: Part 2 of 7

Fake News Signals: Part 3 of 7 

Fake News Signals: Part 4 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 5 of 7

Fake New Signals: Part 7 of 7