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How to read the news like a scientist

https://ideas.ted.com/how-to-read-the-news-like-a-scientist/

ideas.ted.com

How to read the news like a scientist
This post is part of TED's "How to Be a Better Human" series, each of which contains a piece of helpful advice from someone in the TED community. To see all the posts, go here.

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Healthy skepticism

Healthy skepticism
Healthy skepticism does not mean you’re dismissing everything as false — it simply means remembering the things you hear or read in the media could be false, but they could also be true. Or they could be something in between.

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Find out who is making the claim

Find out who is making the claim

When you encounter a new claim, look for conflicts of interest. Ask: Do they stand to profit from what they say? Are they affiliated with an organization that could be swaying them? Other questions to consider: What makes the writer or speaker qualified to comment on the topic? What statements have they made in the past?

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The halo effect

The halo effect

Is a cognitive bias that makes our feeling towards someone affect how we judge their claims. If we dislike someone, we are a lot more likely to disagree with them; if we like them, we are biased to agree.

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Cherry-picking information

Cherry-picking information

Confirmation bias, means we’re more likely to notice stories or facts that fit what we already believe (or want to believe). So, when you search for information, you should not disregard the information that goes against whatever opinion you might have in advance.

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Correlation and causation

Correlation and causation

Correlation does not equal causality.

Ithere is a rise in violent crime in your area and it’s being blamed on gang activity, or if a politician is credited with creating a low unemployment rate, take a wider view and look into the other contributing factors. It’s important to remember that there might be alternative explanations to a phenomenon.”

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Social compliance and Social proof

Social compliance refers to how we respond to people in authority or to those who have the appearance of competence and expertise.

Social proof refers to how we look for cues a...

We get fooled regularly

People and businesses often use techniques to get us to do what they want. We go for the “buy two, get one free” offer at the drugstore, or buy the advertised special, even when it is not really needed.

While other people are responsible for the scams, the persuasion mostly happens in our minds. 

Misdirection

The age-old tactic of misdirection is employed to distract us from the real issue. Companies and governments even implement it: they release bad news on Fridays or before major holidays with the hope that the weekend will distract us from focussing on the issue.  

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Misunderstanding body language

Contrary to popular belief, body language in the context of public speaking is more than hand and arm gesture.

It means adjusting the way we stand, move and smile to capture and hold the atte...

What puts an audience off

  • We indicate that we are feeling threatened when we take a step back or we show any sign of a closed body language.
  • Crossing our arms also shows nervousness and it puts our audience in a defensive mode.
  • Your end up showing that you feel superior to the rest of the room if you tilt your head backward.

Match your gestures to your message

Match your gestures to your words.
We are visual creatures, and any movement used in the right way in this direction will spark the attention of your audience. Just try not to abuse this rule.

Defensive failure

It's what occurs when we want to achieve something and we think about it constantly but we don't do it.

This happens because of a few mental blocks that are keeping us locked in this c...

“I just don’t think I can do this”

Experiencing a rocky start is enough sometimes to discourage us from going any further and we convince ourselves we don't have what it takes to do a certain task.

How to outsmart it: Develop a growth mindset and try to see each failure as just an opportunity to learn.

“People like me aren’t good at this”

While our identities can give us a sense of meaning and a place in the world, sometimes they can get in our way when we’re attempting new things: many of us will avoid doing anything that threatens our sense of self.

How to outsmart it: Find people like you, that are doing the things you'd like to do and share your concerns with them.