What if what we (think we) know is wrong?
For example. We know that when people know how to evaluate news sources they are less likely to fall prey to fake news and false images. So we educate students how to evaluate news sources and determine which ones are likely to publish images and articles that are trustworthy.
But it turns out that’s wrong. The biggest predictors of whether a person is able to discern that a story or image may be false are
- The individual’s knowledge of digital photo-editing and social media posting
- The viewer’s attitude toward the depicted issue
Social and heuristic cues of online credibility (such as trustworthiness of the site or intermediaries) had no significant impact. (Source: Fake images: The effects of source, intermediary, and digital media literacy on contextual assessment of image credibility online)
If we find out that what we previously believed if false we can take action.
In this case, we can dig deeper. We can find out that, because of time or effort constraints, people tend to believe online images, that they don’t tend to actually seek out other source to validate information, but they make quick judgments; that people who already familiar with techniques to fabricate images or stories are more likely to spot potential falsehoods than those who do not, and also that people who already agree with the information depicted are less likely to be critical.
And then we can adjust our actions accordingly. In this case…
- Since we know that we are inclined to trust pictures and also inclined to trust information that supports what we already believe, possibly we can check ourselves whenever we see online images, especially ones that support stereotypes that we tend to accept.
- When working with students, instead of focusing on “good” sources and “bad” sources, we can involve them in exercises in photo-editing to achieve different objectives or re-writing articles to slant toward different viewpoints and then lead discussions about those techniques.
But how do we catch ourselves when we think we know what we’re doing, but we’re wrong?
Like what if we were starting an EdTech business and were sure you knew the market: the potential buyers, what they would pay, how to reach them, how they would use your product, and how you would sell them? I wonder if talking to Academic Business Advisors would help you determine if there were any unanticipated obstacles or more efficient tactics?