Fact “checked”—Study discovers people misremember facts to fit their beliefs

A recent study could explain why people ignore data that doesn’t fit their views.

Scientists from Ohio State University assigned participants numerical information related to four different societal issues. Researchers then matched the results from subjects’ eye movements and memory recall  from two tests that supported the participants beliefs, and two that contradicted those views. For example, one societal issue was on Mexican immigrants. One study showed that there were 12.8 million Mexican immigrants in the United States in 2007 but fewer in 2014 (11.7 million). When the facts did not align with the participants’ beliefs, they routinely misremembered the numbers. For example, subjects were most likely to misremember the lower immigration figure from 2014 if they opposed recent immigration levels.

Researchers concluded that when people are given hard facts, they subconsciously tailor the data to fit their biases and individual schemas.

 This explains why people on the left and right ignore opposing viewpoints and instead find comfort in echo-journalism, stated Jonathan Turley.

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