Psychology & Post-truth: Confirmation Bias

Cognitive Miser Quiz

These are all questions that you have the information to answer. However, you will have a limited time to answer these. This is to illustrate how your brain works, not to test your knowledge. Do the best you can. Don’t answer “I don’t know.” Give it a guess.

  1. Some months have 31 days, and some months have 30 days. How many months have 28 days?
  2. Do they have the fourth of July in England?
  3. How many of each kind of animals did Moses take on the the ark?
  4. If a plane crashes on the border of Mexico and the United States, where will the survivors be buried?
  5. If a rooster lays an egg on the peak of a roof, which direction (right or left) will the egg roll?
  6. Which side of the chicken has the most feathers?
  7. Can a California man legally marry his widow’s sister?
  8. What four words appear on every US coin besides “In God We Trust?”
  9. How many cubic feet of dirt are in a hole 1 foot deep, 3 feet long, and 2 feet wide?
  10. Cincinnati is a big word. Can you spell it with one “i”?

More info on the concept of the cognitive miser can be found here. I also have to thank Dr. Tiffany Sia for this activity!

One student/one question

Open your “one student/one question” Google Doc and write down one thing that is lingering from Beck’s “This Article Won’t Change Your Mind,” which you read for today. Again, this can be a striking detail, question, a response, an objection, a passionate agreement, anything that is sticking with you after the reading. Once you are finished paste it into this document.

Let’s take a look at the common threads. Were these threads you also noticed in hypothes.is? If not, how can we integrate some of these?

Doing more with hypothes.is

Toward the end of the article Beck notes that while it can be difficult to change people’s minds with facts if they are firm in their values and beliefs, groups can have a profound influence on how open-minded people can be. That said, she also notes that group are not particular effective if everyone agrees with each other. This is major reason why social annotation can be an effective way to read in a post-truth moment.

To that point: there were many interesting individual comments made in the document but not a lot of conversations nor comments that engaged the article at a scale required for effective research and inquiry. While we only have one more chance to use hypothes.is in this unit, let’s see if we can improve your contributions to this article. I want you to revisit your annotations for “This Article Won’t Change Your Mind” and:

  1. Revise one of them to more deeply or fully account for what’s happening in the article as a whole. Make your note respond to Beck’s argument, to a claim being presented in that section of the article, or to the kinds of sources or evidence being used to make these arguments and claims.
  2. Add a new note that makes a connection to previous course content (think about what you’ve read about demagoguery, clickbait, conspiracy theories, post-truth, fake news, Facebook, etc.). Alternatively, links to a reputable external source that updates content in the article.
  3. Reply to another student’s note. Acknowledge their note and respond with a relevant comment that extends the conversation.

Homework for Thursday, 2/7

  • Watch, then read and annotate Boyd’s “Your Data is Being Manipulated” (Medium)  using hypothes.is. Add 3-5 annotations, aiming to balance your timing (that is, first to the document ⇆ last to the document) with the above list of possible ways you might contribute.