3 pro-truth tips to keep our thinking sharp
Our brains are biased to love a good story, true or not, if it confirms what we already believe. Cue the story of the woman who (falsely claimed to have) cured cancer through diet and exercise. Such powerful but misleading stories fuel post-truth. Instead, what we need to make sound decisions is evidence.
But facts that conveniently suit your pet theory, or a celebrity’s gut-felt stance do not constitute evidence. Here are three tips to ensure you are on solid ground when deciding upon your business strategy, your health, or any other major issue.
Tip #1: actively seek other viewpoints
Listen to people you flagrantly disagree with. Create a culture that actively encourages dissent against risky “groupthink”. In a meeting, appoint someone to be devil’s advocate against your pet idea.
Tip # 2: listen to experts
As tempting as it is to adopt a secret technique discovered by a mom-like-you, let’s face it, politics, business, and health advice require expertise (just like surgery: would you prefer to be operated on by a trained surgeon or the man on the street?). Examine your experts’ credentials, and make sure they haven’t got a vested interest.
Tip #3: pause before sharing anything
What we share on social media is potentially contagious, so be careful what you spread. Your goal should not be to get likes or retweets. Instead, ask: If it’s a story, is it true? If it’s true, is it backed by large-scale evidence?
by Alex Edmans: (TED Talk, 2017).
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