We know we shouldn’t believe everything we read. The problem is most of the deceptive or outright false information shared online doesn’t scream BS in the way an email from a Nigerian prince does. To help people become more discerning, David Dunning, a psychology professor at Cornell University, put together three things you can do:
- Ask yourself, “Do I totally agree?” If yes, be careful. It’s easy to believe something that fits neatly with our beliefs. We’re also more likely to share it with our friends. If an article has you saying, “Of course” or “I thought so,” it’s worth taking a moment to double-check the facts.
- Imagine the information is wrong. Force yourself to think that what you’re reading is completely false. This is a lot easier said than done, but it helps you let go of your assumptions before you retweet.
- Seek out info you disagree with. Facebook’s algorithm puts the people we like to hear from at the top of our Newsfeed, but hearing only things we agree with isn’t good for our brains (or our BS meters). Check out the news on a different website or read an opinion piece about something you disagree with. It’s the best way to face your biases head-on.
(h/t The Science of Us)