Welcome back to a special edition of The Writer Files called “The Best of the Writer’s Brain,” a series neuroscientist Michael Grybko and I started in 2015 where I enlisted his help to give us a tour of the inner workings of the writer’s process.
This is Part Five of the series and a rebroadcast of the Fact vs. Fiction edition of “The Writer’s Brain,” in which we discuss fake news, how it works, why it’s damaging, and how to combat it.
As we wrap up our Summer hiatus before the upcoming season, I thought I’d put all of these enlightening episodes in one place …
The Writer Files is a nonpartisan show in its attempt to explore all facets of the writing life, and in the last few months you can’t seem to throw a rock without hitting a social media article about fake news or alternative facts — especially on Twitter and Facebook.
Fake news isn’t new — some form of it has existed since the beginning of printed news, including examples by leaders of the American Revolution concocting stories to stoke the political engine (see: Benjamin Franklin or John Adams, historically) — but it seems to be on everyone’s mind now, especially since November, 2016.
Luckily research scientist Michael Grybko — of the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington — returned to the podcast to help me find some answers.
If you missed the first four episodes of The Best of ‘The Writer’s Brain’ you can find them on writerfiles.fm, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
In this episode Michael Grybko and I discuss:
- The problem with the proliferation of biased fake news in our social media feeds
- Why people disregard evidence that is contrary to their strongly held beliefs
- How your emotional state can change the way you react to information that challenges your beliefs
- Why fake news works and the fallibility of our brains
- How to combat fake news with your own analytical curiosity
- Helpful tips to stop yourself from sharing false information
- Why you need to do your homework
Listen to The Writer Files below ...
The Show Notes
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- The Best of ‘The Writer’s Brain’ Part One: Creativity
- The Best of ‘The Writer’s Brain’ Part Two: Empathy
- The Best of ‘The Writer’s Brain’ Part Three: Storytelling
- The Best of ‘The Writer’s Brain’ Part Four: Writer’s Block
- Fake news? That’s a very old story. – Robert G. Parkinson
- Medium, and The Reason You Can’t Stand the News Anymore. – Sean Blanda
- Fake News Expert On How False Stories Spread And Why People Believe Them – Craig Silverman on NPR’s ‘Fresh Air’ [Transcript]
- Most Americans Who See Fake News Believe It, New Survey Says – The Ipsos poll conducted for BuzzFeed News
- Content Curation in an Age of Fake News, with Dave Pell – Unemployable podcast with Brian Clark
- Neural correlates of maintaining one’s political beliefs in the face of counterevidence – Sam Harris
- How to Overcome Political Irrationality About Facts – Olga Khazan
- Data shows that using science in an argument just makes people more partisan – Dan Kopf
- Trump’s Lies vs. Your Brain – Maria Konnikova
- How Bestselling Author Maria Konnikova Writes
- The Data That Turned the World Upside Down – Hannes Grassegger and Mikael Krogerus
- How To Recognize A Fake News Story – Nick Robins-Early
- Snopes.com – Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation
- Emergent is a real-time rumor tracker
- Kelton Reid on Twitter