Friday, October 10, 2008

New Study Shows Conservatives React Badly to Facts

A new study out of Yale University highlights the different reactions between conservatives and liberals when their beliefs are challenged. The study’s results show a "backfire effect" when conservatives are confronted with facts that disprove their preconceived notions. The study “confirms what argumentative liberals have long known: offering reality-based rebuttals to conservative misinformation only makes conservatives cling to those lies even harder,” reports one Huffington Post article. The study, conducted by political scientist John Bullock, involved experiments where volunteers were given various examples of political statements containing misinformation followed by factual information that disproved the statement. Throughout the study, the volunteers were polled to see how they reacted to the contradicting information they received. Both liberals and conservatives had difficultly dismissing the misinformation, however the conservatives actually showed an increased resistance to facts that challenged their beliefs. The lesson from this study is clear: Never argue with a conservative using facts. It will only convince them of the lies. We have seen this same “backfire” effect over and over. We show anti-choice activists scientific evidence that legal abortion is very safe and does not cause increased risks of cancer. We explain that when abortion was illegal women were hurt through back-alley abortions and lack of access to safe abortion providers. Moreover, we explain that birth control is not abortion and that increased access can prevent unintended pregnancy, But they are only more convinced to they are right. So how do we ever win the argument if using facts with conservative anti-choicers only entrenches their false views? Any suggestions?>Read the full story on the study here

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