Questions on, Why facts don’t change our minds

By: Jonathan W. Melendez Davidson

  1. The eerie power of miss information is very familiar to us today. These examples are what brought this country and many others into our current status. Reading the first section of this article I wonder if the fight against ‘alt-facts’ is a matter of being the first one to release information rather than treating the effect of others responses.

  2. Would we be better at facts if we didn’t collaborate?

  3. It’s is part of our nature to doubt; would fact really change our beliefs? After reading this article I’m still left with the same question. I get that nature has evolved us to be skeptical and to believe that which we agree with anyway. But then is the point of data visualization just to disperse information as broadly a possible to create some community of beliefs?

Reading Response 9

  1. The scientific laboratory type of experience is a much better model for reaching factual consensus, but is it possible to apply this model to qualitative or subjective studies?

  2. The article cites hunter-gatherer dynamics as the original source of this type of survival of the fittest behavioral evolution, but how much does laziness or lack of attention span affect our stubborn point of views?

  3. Is the main stream media responsible for the alt-truth movement? What are the specific things they should do to revitalize integrity in the way they disseminate information?

  1. What are the implications of ‘confirmation bias’ on data visualizations? If a viewer is prejudiced against a certain set of data, will they subconsciously reject the visualization? How can a graphic designer strategically make visualizations more compelling for people who disagree with what is being shown?

  2. “So well do we collaborate, Sloman and Fernbach argue, that we can hardly tell where our own understanding ends and others’ begins.”

    Does the “illusion of explanatory depth” apply to software in the same way it applies to household appliances? Would the average person claim to understand how an iPhone app “works,” or is computer science more mystical to the general public than toilets and zippers?

  3. “As a rule, strong feelings about issues do not emerge from deep understanding”

    I guess my big question after reading this article is: do people really care what statistics they’re presented with? Can a data visualization ultimately change someone’s mind? It seems like all the points this article is trying to make imply that people are fairly set in their ways, and often ignorant to the truth or at the very least to facts that contradict their own opinions. So, is it worth it to put effort into a visual that will be accepted by those who are predisposed to agree with it and rejected by those who aren’t? How good does a visualization have to be to prove all of these studies wrong?