Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Backfire Effect

The backfire effect is the strengthening of a mistaken belief when presented with contrary evidence.

It appears that when people are heavily invested in their original views, contrary evidence is perceived as an attack on themselves and the decision they made. All new supportive evidence is accepted and contrary evidence rejected.

The backfire effect has been seen in efforts to counter racism and sexism.

Nyhan (2021) notes that the backfire effect does not explain the durability of political misperceptions and suggests other ways to weaken misperceptions about political and scientific information.

Read more about the backfire effect in research by Nyhan and Reifler (2010) and Nyhan (2021). 

Nyhan, B. (2021). Why the backfire effect does not explain the durability of political misperceptions. PNAS118 (15) e1912440117;

Nyhan, B., Reifler, J. When Corrections Fail: The Persistence of Political Misperceptions. Polit Behav 32, 303–330 (2010).

Key concepts

misperception, backfire effect, misinformation, fake news, fact checking

Improve accuracy in research when Creating Surveys on AMAZON or GOOGLE

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