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Minnesota Skeptics - Drinking Skeptically - The Backfire Effect

Stolen from the You Are Not So Smart Blog:

The Backfire Effect.

The Misconception: When your beliefs are challenged with facts, you alter your opinions and incorporate the new information into your thinking.

The Truth: When your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs get stronger.


This is a fascinating effect.  I see it everyday, on TV, on the web, in the workplace, in myself and at MN Skeptic meet-ups.  Basically, the backfire effect is when you find evidence that conflicts with your current beliefs, you dig in and believe your incorrect conclusion even more.  Add confirmation bias into the equation and watch out.  I encourage you to read this great article so we can discuss it at our meet-up.  

What skills can we develop to better recognize this effect in ourselves?  How can we approach people experiencing this and perhaps encourage them to rethink their position?  Are our positions a result of the backfire effect? 

I know the TAMmers will be anxious to tell us about their adventures so we'll talk about that too.  Look out for a more organized talk, perhaps a panel, by our members who attended The Amaz!ng Meeting 9.  Coming soon!

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  • Jim K.

    Good as usual!

    August 15, 2011

  • Danielle B.

    Ted + tequila shot = way too much fun!

    August 12, 2011

  • Craig M.

    Had a lot of fun and interesting conversations.

    August 12, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    Very stimulating.

    August 12, 2011

  • Craig M.

    At about 6pm, I'll give a short intro to the backfire effect to help facilitate our conversations for the evening. Please read up on it so we can discuss your ideas.

    August 11, 2011

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