The cognitive processes underlying false beliefs
Why do consumers sometimes fall for spurious claims—for example, brain training games that prevent cognitive decline, toning sneakers that sculpt one's body, flower essence that cures depression—and how can consumers protect themselves in the modern world where information is shared quickly and easily? As cognitive scientists, we view this problem through the lens of what we know, more generally, about how people evaluate information for its veracity, and how people update their beliefs. That is, the same processes that support true belief can also encourage people to sometimes believe misleading or false information. Anchoring on the large literature on truth and belief updating allows predictions about consumer behavior; it also highlights possible solutions while casting doubt on other possible responses to misleading communications.
Stanley, ML; Whitehead, PS; Marsh, EJ
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