Why our brains believe in lies

Fake news -
In recent years, the spreading of misinformation has become a hot topic. 

The human reality -
The reality is, however, that the human brain is highly susceptible to misinformation.

Burning question -
So, why do our brains believe in lies? Why are we unable to distinguish between a true statement and a (sometimes glaringly obvious) falsehood?

The illusory truth effect -
This means that the more time a statement is repeated, the more likely we are to believe it is true, regardless of whether it is misinformation or fact.

Day-to-day reality -
In our day-to-day lives, this makes a lot of sense and is not always harmful: the vast majority of statements we are exposed to are true.

Eyes and ears -
Unfortunately, it seems that at a basic level we are all grappling with the human tendency to believe anything we see and hear.

In layman's terms -
In a nutshell, confirmation bias is the tendency to seek out information that fits with and confirms what we already believe or think we know.

Continued influence effect -
Indeed, there are multiple studies that refer to a phenomenon called the "continued influence effect."

The role of memory -
It is thought that one of the reasons it is difficult to correct misinformation is that correcting the falsehood does not remove it from our memory.

Coexistence -
Instead, brain imaging studies show that both the misinformation and its correction coexist in our memory and compete to be remembered.

Fading memories -
Over time, it is likely that our memory of the correction fades and we are left only with a memory of the original piece of misinformation.

The role of identity -
Finally, this effect is compounded by the fact that the piece of misinformation is sometimes embedded into our identity or belief system.

How to combat misinformation -
So, what can we do about all this? How do we combat our tendency to believe in lies when it is so deeply entrenched?

Priming our brains -
Research suggests that it may be possible to train our brains to recognize misinformation before we encounter it.

Recent study -
One recent study found that nudging people to consider accuracy when scrolling made them less likely to share misinformation.

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