Monday, July 15, 2019

The Influential Mind: Does Evidence Change Beliefs?

In this book, Tali Sharot discusses the influence that data has on people and their own beliefs. Have you ever been in an argument with someone and you have presented data but they still are sticking to their belief? According to Tali Sharot, studies show that data as only a limited capacity to alter the strong opinions of others. Seems hard to believe because data is simply data but it is where the data is collected and the people involved in that data being collect which alters the results. Presenting people with information that contradicts their opinion can cause them to come up with altogether new counterarguments that further strengthen their original view, which is known as the, "boomerang effect." Tali Sharot gives a great example in the book to have a better understanding of the idea of data such as, "Bulletproof Coffee" which is a theory that putting butter in your coffee can be extremely great for you, but within seconds you can find an article contradicting that giving all the reasons why it is bad for you; this goes on with many other ideas also. Another study that she mentions is that when a person is searching for statistics or data through Google, once they type into the search engine the results are customized towards the searcher all according to past searches and Web activity. For example, if a person is a Republican, searching for the latest stats on the presidential debate, their searches are going to be more geared towards the republican side. I found this topic overall to be extremely interesting because it is almost as if people are blind to other opinions because of biases. Google is going to give a person the type of data results that they want to see and most likely will not show results that they disagree with. This makes a debate very difficult because there is data for just about anything.
Here is a great video that might help give a better understanding:

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