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We’re swayed by anecdotes

We’re swayed by anecdotes

Most of us are influenced more powerfully by personal testimony from a single person than by impersonal ratings or outcomes averaged across many people. This is the power of anecdote to dull our critical faculties. 

Anecdotal stories can undermine our ability to make scientifically driven judgements in real-world contexts.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE

Even expert researchers suffer from the human foibles that undermine scientific thinking. 

This is why the open science revolution occurring in psychology is so important: when researchers make their methods and hypotheses transparent, and they pre-register their studies, it mak...

It doesn’t take a lot to dazzle the average newspaper or magazine reader using the superficial props of science, be that formulas, graphics or jargon. 

One study found that participants were far more likely to support new evidence when it had a graphic visualisation of the correlational evi...

We overestimate our comprehension of the science. 

Part of the problem seems to be that we infer our understanding of scientific text based on how well we have comprehended the language used. This “fluency bias” can also apply to science lectures when it is delivered by an engaging speak...

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