Fact-checking can’t do much when people’s “dueling facts” are driven by values instead of knowledge

Morgan Marieta and David C. Barker, authors of the Inconvenient Facts blog on Psychology Today, share some insight from the research presented in their text, One Nation, Two Realities.

The research examines data from five years of national surveys from 2013 to 2017, about ideological and political outlooks of individuals. This post examines the following two questions:

  • How can a community decide the direction they should go if they can’t agree on where they are?
  • Can people holding dueling facts be brought into some semblance of consensus?

Divergent beliefs sometimes cut across ideological, partisan, racial, and other lines. Divergent beliefs are sometimes centered around where they value, or prioritize compassion as a public virtue.

Values not only shape what people see, but they also structure what people look for in the first place. We call this “intuitive epistemology.”

Those who care about oppression look for oppression — so they find it.

Those who care about security look for threats to it — and they find them.

In other words, people do not end up with the same answers because they do not begin with the same questions.

SOURCE: Nieman Lab

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