July 09, 2020   2:05pm

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Why LIES WORK: Your brain lies to you

Wht LIES WORK: Your brain lies to you …

“Your Brain Lies to You”* from the New York Times explains why “false beliefs are everywhere” and how your brain stores memories, but not in the way that you think. Guess what. You’re often misled.

It seems the “brain does not simply gather and stockpile information as a computer’s hard drive does. Facts are stored first in the hippocampus … but the information does not rest there. Every time we recall it, our brain writes it down again, and during this re-storage, it is also reprocessed.”When this happens sometimes the context or remembering where you got the info in the first place might get lost. For example, you might know the capital of California but you probably don’t remember where you learned it.

In addition “even when a lie is presented with a disclaimer, people often later remember it as true”.“Your Brain Lies to You”* is full of examples of how this works and the ramifications for all of us, i.e. “10% of us think that Senator Obama is a Muslim rather than a Christian … By repeating a false rumor, you may inadvertently (or on purpose) make it stronger. So, for Obama supporters, rather than emphasize that Obama is not a Muslim, it may be better to stress that he is a Christian.

It won’t surprise you to learn that “consumers of news are prone to selectively accept and remember statements that reinforce beliefs they already hold” — even when they were asked to be objective. “In the same study; however, when subjects were asked to imagine their reaction if the evidence had pointed to the opposite conclusion, they were more open-minded to information that contradicted their beliefs.

Note from snoety:The authors of this OP-ED piece are San Wang, an associate professor of molecular biogoly and neuroscience at Princeton, and Sandra Aamodt, a former editor-in-chief of Nature Neurosciences. They have written “Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life”.


The New York Times, “Your Brain Lies to You” by Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt, OP-ED, Friday, June 27, 2008

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