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David Ignatius: Why Trump Supporters Don't Care About Facts

Image: David Ignatius: Why Trump Supporters Don't Care About Facts
Donald Trump speaks during a campaign town hall at Ocean Center, Aug. 3, 2016, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By    |   Friday, 05 Aug 2016 02:40 PM

Social science can help explain why ardent Donald Trump supporters believe his distortions and falsehoods in the face of clear evidence to the contrary, David Ignatius wrote in The Washington Post.

It's called confirmation bias: The tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one's existing beliefs or theories.

Further, not only does arguing the facts not make an impact, just mentioning the misperception can reinforce them, Ignatius found. It's called the "backfire effect."

Ignatius cited a study that showed three ways that people will accept new information:

1. If the information is presented unemotionally.
2. If the information is presented visually, such as graphs.
3. If the information is "accompanied by 'affirmation' that asks respondents to recall an experience that made them feel good about themselves."

Otherwise, don't bother, Ignatius wrote.

"Screaming back at Trump for these past 12 months may have been satisfying for his critics, but it hasn't dented his support much. What seems to be hurting Trump in the polls now are self-destructive comments that trouble even his most passionate supporters. Attempts to aggressively 'correct' his remaining fans may only deepen their attachment," Ignatius wrote.

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Social science can help explain why ardent Donald Trump supporters believe his distortions and falsehoods in the face of clear evidence to the contrary, David Ignatius wrote in The Washington Post.
david ignatius, social science, donald trump, supporters
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2016-40-05
Friday, 05 Aug 2016 02:40 PM
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