The Sciences

New Point of Inquiry: Why Facts Fail with Brendan Nyhan

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyDec 18, 2010 3:45 PM


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My latest hosted episode of the show just went up:

Ever been in an argument with someone and felt massively frustrated, because nothing you can say seems to change the person's mind? Maybe that's what you should expect to happen. Maybe you should get used to it. According to University of Michigan political scientist Brendan Nyhan, that's how our minds work-and it's not just that. When it comes to politics, people who believe incorrect things tend to be strongly convinced that they're right, and moreover, often become stronger in that conviction when they're refuted. It's a pretty alarming aspect of human nature-but in this interview, Nyhan explains how we know what we do about people's intransigent clinging to misperceptions, and how we can work to change that. Brendan Nyhan is a political scientist and Robert Wood Johnson scholar in health policy research at the University of Michigan. He was previously a co-author of the political debunking website, and co-author of the New York Times bestselling book All The President's Spin. He blogs at

You can listen to the full show here.

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