Those pesky brain scientists are always finding ways to tell us that we’re not as rational and clever as we think we are. In this somewhat alarming piece from Alternet, the author looks at the latest research from Yale law school professor Dan Kahan and concludes, “When people are misinformed, giving them facts to correct those errors only makes them cling to their beliefs more tenaciously.” Uh oh. The author would like to tell us that facts don’t matter. At Public Works we believe — and recommend — that advocates and others who want to engage in discussions on public issues think of using facts in support of larger values and emotion-based narratives. Here’s an excerpt from Alternet’s piece:
It turns out that in the public realm, a lack of information isn’t the real problem. The hurdle is how our minds work, no matter how smart we think we are. We want to believe we’re rational, but reason turns out to be the ex post facto way we rationalize what our emotions already want to believe.