Weekly Digest #82: How To Successfully Bust Myths
A couple of months ago we published a guest post on “How to Help Students Overcome Misconceptions”. Misconceptions and myths are daily fare in education. It is usually extremely difficult to convince someone to overcome their misconceptions or false beliefs and to replace it with scientific facts. An example of this is for example the generally held belief in Learning Styles. In today’s digest, we want to look at why such myths persist and how we can bust them successfully.
1) Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories – And How To Change Their Minds by Mark Lorch, Professor of Science Communication and Chemistry, University of Hull, @mark_lorch
This post takes you on a journey of myth busting and highlights dos and don’ts. It starts off with the usual way how scientists would normally approach a situation where people are convinced in misconceptions and described research findings that can help improve this communication.
2) Busting Myth: A Practical Guide To Countering Science Denial by John Cook, Climate Communication Research Fellow, The University of Queensland, @skepticscience
This article comes with a range of scientific concepts that can help to debunk false beliefs and myths. There are also several videos that accompany the descriptions making this a great resource.
3) Busting Some Myths: Why Myth Busting Doesn’t Work by Paul Donnelly
In this piece, the author explains why myth busting sometimes back fires – despite all good intentions. Different factors responsible for this are described here using the example of welfare.
This post starts with the following bold statement “Have you ever noticed that when you present people with facts that are contrary to their deepest held beliefs they always change their minds? Me neither.” and continues why giving up one’s own view of the world – which may include myths – is so hard and how it may be overcome.
5) Counterarguments Are Critical To Debunking Misinformation by Association for Psychological Science, @PsychScience
The results of a brand-new meta-analysis on factors that facilitate myth debunking are summarized in this short blog post. In brief, is seems to be helpful if you don’t spend too much time talking about the misconception, but instead focus on presenting counterarguments – or even better: have the audience generate counterarguments.
Every Sunday, we pick a theme and provide a curated list of links. If you have a theme suggestion, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Occasionally we publish a guest digest, and If you'd like to propose a guest digest click here. Our 5 most recent digests can be found here: