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HomeVideoWhy Do Our Brains Love Fake News?

Why Do Our Brains Love Fake News?

Host Myles Bess breaks down the research around why our brains can so easily make us believe that fake news is real news.

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ABOVE THE NOISE is a show that cuts through the hype and takes a deeper look at the research behind controversial and trending topics in the news. Hosted by Myles Bess and Shirin Ghaffary.


Ever have an argument with someone, and no matter how many facts you provide, you just can’t get that person to see it your way? One big reason for this is cognitive bias, which is a limitation in our thinking that can cause flaws in our judgement. Confirmation bias is a specific type of cognitive bias that motivates us to seek out information we already believe and ignore or minimize facts that threaten what we believe.

So how can you overcome confirmation bias? It’s tricky, because brain research shows that once a person believes something, facts don’t do a very good job changing their mind. Studies show that when people are presented with facts that contradict what they believe, the parts of the brain that control reason and rationality go inactive. But, the parts of the brain that process emotion light up like the Fourth of July.

In this video, Myles dives into the research and offers some tips to combat confirmation bias.

* What is confirmation bias? *
Confirmation bias is the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.

* What is fake news? *
Fake news is a type of hoax or deliberate spread of misinformation. For a story to be fake news, it has to be written and published with the intent to mislead.

How Fake News Outperformed Real News on Facebook

Most Americans Who See Fake News Believe It

Neural Bases of Motivated Reasoning: An fMRI Study

Dopamine and Confirmation Bias

How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail

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KQED, an NPR and PBS affiliate in San Francisco, CA, serves Northern California and beyond with a public-supported alternative to commercial TV, Radio and web media.

Funding for Above the Noise is provided in part by S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, David Bulfer and Kelly Pope, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, The Koret Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Smart Family Foundation, The Vadasz Family Foundation and the members of KQED.