And that denial is a river in Egypt.

Well, not really. The study actually says people are likely to stick to their political beliefs even when confronted with actual facts. In fact, those corrections might make them even more entranced in their beliefs.

We find that responses to corrections in mock news articles differ significantly according to subjects’ ideological views. As a result, the corrections fail to reduce misperceptions for the most committed participants. Even worse, they actually strengthen misperceptions among ideological subgroups in several cases. Additional results suggest that these conclusions are not specific to the Iraq war; not related to the salience of death; and not a reaction to the source of the correction.


The backfire effects that we found seem to provide further support for the growing literature showing that citizens engage in “motivated reasoning.” While our experiments focused on assessing the effectiveness of corrections, the results show that direct factual contradictions can actually strengthen ideologically grounded factual beliefs – an empirical finding with important theoretical implications.

This is an interesting finding, really. The whole study is quite interesting, and accentuates the need for further research, unlike the HuffPo article where I found it which takes a fatalistic view after a (somewhat) inaccurate presentation.

It does explains a few things about politicians though and how they manage to say of the things they say. Their brains are literally refusing to see reason.

In other news, I need a statistics class.