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Weekly News Digest

August 14, 2018 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITI’s Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

'Why We're Susceptible to Fake News, How to Defend Against It'

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “Thought processes and belief systems that people develop early in life to help protect against the anxiety and stress of an uncertain world may help explain why some individuals fall victim to what has come to be known as fake news. …”

“The key to people’s accepting fake news as true, despite evidence to the contrary, is a phenomenon known as confirmation bias, or the tendency for people to seek and accept information that confirms their existing beliefs while rejecting or ignoring that which contradicts those beliefs, [Mark Whitmore, assistant professor of management and information systems at Kent State University’s College of Business Administration] said.”

Eve Whitmore, a developmental psychologist with Western Reserve Psychological Association, says, “In adolescence, people develop critical thinking skills and some begin to question what they were taught as children, perhaps religious beliefs or even the belief that authority figures such as parents or even the government leaders are always right. But going against one’s parents’ beliefs can cause friction within the family, and, despite evidence to the contrary, some are willing to rationalize those false beliefs in order to avoid upsetting their parents. …”

Mark Whitmore suggests lessening anxieties that make confirmation bias appealing by using strategies such as humor—e.g., watching late-night comedy or political satire to alter the source of the stressor. Additionally, people can channel their feelings into a positive goal, such as running for office or volunteering. They can open their minds by deliberately engaging with different points of view. “‘Developing a greater degree of skepticism in children, by encouraging them to ask why and to question, diminishes confirmation bias,’ he said. ‘All of these strategies have substantial research supporting their beneficial effects.’”

For more information, read the press release.

Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Brandi Scardilli

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