Misinformation and trust

News: “Social media has facilitated the proliferation of false belief at an unprecedented scale.” Why? Humans are social learners. “We develop most of our beliefs from the testimony of trusted others”–parents, friends, relatives, clergy, politicians, work colleagues, etc. And, sometimes, the ideas and information that they pass on to us are just plain wrong. But, we hear it from a friend, we believe it, we…

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A new world disorder?

News: It may seem that absolutely everyone today is glued to their phones and uses social media, but that’s not true. Facebook, the largest social media network globally, claims “2.41 billion monthly active users as of the second quarter of 2019.” Billions do use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.), but billions also do not. Further, there are many people counted as “active users”…

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In-group bias is ingrained in humans

News: Adults and children–even children as young as three–“are really quick to sort themselves into … social groups and to form a preference for their in-group.” This tendency has been found in people–again, even children–across “gender, race or ethnicity, language, nationality, and religion.” Decades of research indicate that in-group favoritism occurs even when the group is based on very superficial criteria; the group does not…

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Social media and depression

News: These social media behaviors are related to major depressive disorder (MDD): individuals who are more likely to compare themselves to others better off than they are (or that they think are better off than they are; social comparison), those more bothered by being tagged in unflattering pictures, and those less likely to post pictures of themselves. “Participating in negative social media behaviors [especially on…

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Is there a “tipping point” for public opinion?

How and when does an established viewpoint of a society change? What does it take for a society (a very large group of people) to alter its collective opinion? Is there a “tipping point” for public opinion? A recent study using a naming game discovered that when a minority viewpoint became held by “at least 25% of the population,” that viewpoint “was likely to rapidly…

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