No Missing Link: Knowledge Predicts Acceptance of Evolution in the United States

Americans have a fraught relationship with evolutionary theory. Despite widespread acceptance of this theory in the scientific community (Funk and Rainie 2015), public-opinion surveys have demonstrated that 38% of Americans identify as creationists (Swift 2017) and 52% disagree that human beings developed from earlier species of animals (National Science Board […] Read more »

Exploring ‘Truth Decay’

Over the past two decades, the role of facts and analysis in American public life has been diminishing, posing a threat to democracy and policymaking. With donor support, RAND president and CEO Michael Rich initiated a project with RAND political scientist Jennifer Kavanagh to investigate the phenomenon of “Truth Decay.” […] Read more »

Beyond Misinformation: Understanding and coping with the post-truth era

The terms “post-truth” and “fake news” have become increasingly prevalent in public discourse over the last year. This article explores the growing abundance of misinformation, how it influences people, and how to counter it. We examine the ways in which misinformation can have an adverse impact on society. We summarize […] Read more »

Why the wiring of our brains makes it hard to stop climate change

… Humans aren’t well wired to act on complex statistical risks. We care a lot more about the tangible present than the distant future. Many of us do that to the extreme — what behavioral scientists call hyperbolic discounting — which makes it particularly hard to grapple with something like […] Read more »

Who Falls for Fake News? The Roles of Analytic Thinking, Motivated Reasoning, Political Ideology, and Bullshit Receptivity

Inaccurate beliefs pose a threat to democracy and fake news represents a particularly egregious and direct avenue by which inaccurate beliefs have been propagated via social media. Here we investigate the cognitive psychological profile of individuals who fall prey to fake news. CONT. Gordon Pennycook & David G. Rand, Yale […] Read more »

Why is climate change such a hard sell in the US?

People gather outside the White House in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, June 1, 2017, to protest President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate change accord. AP Photo/Susan Walsh Firmin DeBrabander, Maryland Institute College of Art President Donald Trump on June 1 took the dramatic […] Read more »

You’re Not Going to Change Your Mind

… It recently struck us that confirmation bias is often conflated with “telling people what they want to hear,” which is actually a distinct phenomenon known as desirability bias, or the tendency to credit information you want to believe. … So we decided to conduct an experiment that would isolate […] Read more »