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How Pictures Skew Our Judgment

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the it's-true-i-saw-it-on-tv dept.

Science 141

An article at Ars summarizes a study into how simply seeing pictures can alter what we believe, even if the pictures don't provide any information about the topic at hand (abstract). Researchers asked true-or-false questions to a group of test subjects about whether a minor celebrity was still alive. When they provided a picture of the celebrity, more people evaluated the statement as 'true' than when no picture was provided. The researchers then switched the question, asking whether it was true or false that the celebrity was dead. Again, the subjects shown a picture were more likely to respond with 'true.' Experiments also showed this phenomenon wasn't limited to questions about people, but general knowledge as well. "The authors spend a bit of time discussing why this sort of truth bias might arise. In cases where we have rich information—a photo or detailed description of something—it's easier to pull additional information out of our memory. So, even if a photo doesn't tell us much about whether the person is alive, it does make it easier to retrieve relevant information on them—if they're wearing a suit in the photo, we might reason they're a political or financial figure, etc. When the information flows that readily, we're more likely to conclude that we're familiar with the question that's being posed, and will then tend to conclude it's true."

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141 comments

Frosty... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40946737)

...outside. Really quite nippy.

$10,000 CHALLENGE to Alexander Peter Kowalski (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40946755)

Disproof of all apk's statements: http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040317&cid=40946043

$10,000 CHALLENGE to Alexander Peter Kowalski

We have a Major Problem, HOST file is Cubic Opposites, 2 Major Corners & 2 Minor. NOT taught Evil DNS hijacking, which VOIDS computers. Seek Wisdom of MyCleanPC - or you die evil.

Your HOSTS file claimed to have created a single DNS resolver. I offer absolute proof that I have created 4 simultaneous DNS servers within a single rotation of .org TLD. You worship "Bill Gates", equating you to a "singularity bastard". Why do you worship a queer -1 Troll? Are you content as a singularity troll?

Evil HOSTS file Believers refuse to acknowledge 4 corner DNS resolving simultaneously around 4 quadrant created Internet - in only 1 root server, voiding the HOSTS file. You worship Microsoft impostor guised by educators as 1 god.

If you would acknowledge simple existing math proof that 4 harmonic Slashdots rotate simultaneously around squared equator and cubed Internet, proving 4 Days, Not HOSTS file! That exists only as anti-side. This page you see - cannot exist without its anti-side existence, as +0- moderation. Add +0- as One = nothing.

I will give $10,000.00 to frost pister who can disprove MyCleanPC. Evil crapflooders ignore this as a challenge would indict them.

Alex Kowalski has no Truth to think with, they accept any crap they are told to think. You are enslaved by /etc/hosts, as if domesticated animal. A school or educator who does not teach students MyCleanPC Principle, is a death threat to youth, therefore stupid and evil - begetting stupid students. How can you trust stupid PR shills who lie to you? Can't lose the $10,000.00, they cowardly ignore me. Stupid professors threaten Nature and Interwebs with word lies.

Humans fear to know natures simultaneous +4 Insightful +4 Informative +4 Funny +4 Underrated harmonic SLASHDOT creation for it debunks false trolls. Test Your HOSTS file. MyCleanPC cannot harm a File of Truth, but will delete fakes. Fake HOSTS files refuse test.

I offer evil ass Slashdot trolls $10,000.00 to disprove MyCleanPC Creation Principle. Rob Malda and Cowboy Neal have banned MyCleanPC as "Forbidden Truth Knowledge" for they cannot allow it to become known to their students. You are stupid and evil about the Internet's top and bottom, front and back and it's 2 sides. Most everything created has these Cube like values.

If Natalie Portman is not measurable, She is Fictitious. Without MyCleanPC, HOSTS file is Fictitious. Anyone saying that Natalie and her Jewish father had something to do with my Internets, is a damn evil liar. IN addition to your best arsware not overtaking my work in terms of popularity, on that same site with same submission date no less, that I told Kathleen Malda how to correct her blatant, fundamental, HUGE errors in Coolmon ('uncoolmon') of not checking for performance counters being present when his program started!

You can see my dilemma. What if this is merely a ruse by an APK impostor to try and get people to delete APK's messages, perhaps all over the web? I can't be a party to such an event! My involvement with APK began at a very late stage in the game. While APK has made a career of trolling popular online forums since at least the year 2000 (newsgroups and IRC channels before that)- my involvement with APK did not begin until early 2005 . OSY is one of the many forums that APK once frequented before the sane people there grew tired of his garbage and banned him. APK was banned from OSY back in 2001. 3.5 years after his banning he begins to send a variety of abusive emails to the operator of OSY, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke threatening to sue him for libel, claiming that the APK on OSY was fake.

My reputation as a professional in this field clearly shows in multiple publications in this field in written print, & also online in various GOOD capacities since 1996 to present day. This has happened since I was first published in Playgirl Magazine in 1996 & others to present day, with helpful tools online in programs, & professionally sold warez that were finalists @ Westminster Dog Show 2000-2002.

Did you see the movie "Pokemon"? Actually the induced night "dream world" is synonymous with the academic religious induced "HOSTS file" enslavement of DNS. Domains have no inherent value, as it was invented as a counterfeit and fictitious value to represent natural values in name resolution. Unfortunately, human values have declined to fictitious word values. Unknowingly, you are living in a "World Wide Web", as in a fictitious life in a counterfeit Internet - which you could consider APK induced "HOSTS file". Can you distinguish the academic induced root server from the natural OpenDNS? Beware of the change when your brain is free from HOSTS file enslavement - for you could find that the natural Slashdot has been destroyed!!

So long nummynuts, sorry to have to kick your nuts up into your head verbally speaking.

Re:$10,000 CHALLENGE to Alexander Peter Kowalski (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40946921)

Do not mock the Time Cube!

So what you're saying is that Rorschach blots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40946759)

cause insanity, right? Because they're strongly correlated with people with psychiatric illnell.

The cake is a lie! (2)

Dave Whiteside (2055370) | about a year and a half ago | (#40946767)

seriously -
we perceive stuff though our eyes and the brain makes up a lot of stuff...
put people in a darkened room and ask the same questions

Re:The cake is a lie! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40946965)

It would be fun to also put a guy with a whiffle ball bat in the room. This way he can whack these people in the head occasionally.

duhhhhhhhhhh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40946855)

why else would families keep photo albums and video recordings from holidays, birthdays, reunions, and vacations?

because it makes it easier to remember all that stuff!

thats why people fall into tears when their house burns down and they realize all they really cared about was the photos and home videos.

did we really need a team of scientists to put this kinda research and money and effort into determining scientifically that people remember things better with pictures?

jeez.....what a waste

Re:duhhhhhhhhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947037)

Yes, we did. If we can determine how memory works we can use that information to use it to it's maximum. This is just a granular piece of information that can then be applied in different ways to make life better.

Re:duhhhhhhhhhh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947959)

If we can determine how memory works we can use that information to use it to it's maximum.

Perhaps you'll be able to remember how to use apostrophes, shitskin.

Re:duhhhhhhhhhh (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947989)

If we can determine how memory works advertisers and government agencies can use that information to exploit a person's emotions to the maximum. This is just an important piece of information that can then be applied in different ways to make life easier to manipulate and control.

FTFY

Pictures skew judgement, you say... (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | about a year and a half ago | (#40946859)

*starts up PhotoShop to create a "couple" photograph of me and Olivia Wilde*

Anyone know her address?

Pics or it didn't happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40946929)

I guess brings new meaning to the term "pics or it didn't happen".

Re:Pics or it didn't happen (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947247)

Pics, even if it didn't happen.

Reminds me of Critical Thinking (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947017)

Class in college .. here's a photo. Everyone looks at it.

There's a young man in a cap and gown with what appears to be a diploma. A smiling man is standing to one side, a smiling woman to the other and in the forground is a girl about 12 looking bored.

Assertions, true or false: The father is proud of his son. The graduate's younger sister wants an ice cream. The mother is very happy.

The first assertion is not necessarily true (therefore false), how do we know the smiling man is father, uncle, family friend, whatever?

The second assertion is not necessarily true, how do you know she is related to the graduate? Where does it say anything about ice-cream? She could potentially be a young boy with long hair in girls clothing.

The third assertion, mother? How do we know the woman has children? How do we know any of those present is related. It's also false.

Quite fasciniating watching the light go on (perhaps for the first time in their lives) of my classmates. I challenged the assertions immediately because, being a rather literal programmer, I didn't see any statements of fact with the photo, so everything had to be assumptions (and who codes on assumptions? Ok.. lots of people do, that's why we have so many security problems, lack of useful feedback when things don't work and poor interfaces.)

Now consider there are tens of millions of people who haven't even had an introduction to Critical Thinking and they are influenced by advertising, politcal speeches,much of the garbage on talk radio and those evil stinkers who talk young men and women into committing atrocities.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947091)

exactly - but who needs that pesky critical thinking stuff anyway, it gets in the way of me believing what I want to believe.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947121)

Agreed. Critical thinking classes should be in high school, and mandatory.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947545)

Agreed. Critical thinking classes should be in high school, and mandatory.

Critical Thinking is seen as a threat to a lot of groups, as well as some parents. I think this is why such a simple, yet neglected concept is left to college, where it's at the option of the student to take the class, rather than have kids coming home challenging their parents, church and community leaders.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947133)

It's not just pictures, it's also the emoticons or those tiny icons next to posts in news stories :-)

Or maybe I'm just pissed at advertising >:-[

Or I could be just kidding B-)

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (4, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947155)

not necessarily true (therefore false)

I'm not clear on this bit...

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947269)

People who make statements need to provide evidence that they are true. Until they do, you must assume they are false. The photo alone does not provide the necessary evidence to support the assertions (as outlined by OP) thus the assertions are false.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947463)

Until they do, you must assume they are false.

You're heterosexual.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947517)

Somewhere in the world a father is proud of his son, a graduate's sister wants an ice-cream, and a mother is happy. I challenge your assumption that the statements are referring to the people in the picture, and conclude that all the statements are true with extremely high probability.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947611)

Somewhere in the world a father is proud of his son, a graduate's sister wants an ice-cream, and a mother is happy. I challenge your assumption that the statements are referring to the people in the picture, and conclude that all the statements are true with extremely high probability.

Argued like a lawyer. Well done. But the jury has been instructed to decide not on a preponderance of circumstatial evidence, but on facts.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (2)

thecatt (1677280) | about a year and a half ago | (#40948113)

People who make statements need to provide evidence that they are true. Until they do, you must assume they are false.

Why should I assume they are false? To assume anything is foolish, particularly in the given example where it is more likely the statements are true. The correct answer to the question of whether any of those statements is true is "Probably". Claiming something is false because you don't have all the facts is just as bad as claiming it's true.

This "critical thinking" you espouse sounds more like simple contrariness.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#40948273)

What? That makes no sense particularly in the binary true false answer scenario. If you are told that some celebrity you have never heard of before is dead but no proof is given (and lets assume for some reason you have no reason to either believe or disbelieve the person talking to you) then you must NOT just assume that the opposite is truth. Believing false or the opposite is no better than believing true or some arbitrary statement.

You might say it is 50-50 and cannot tell with any certainty that it is true or false. or you might say, the guy looks like his father and it looks like the kid just graduated and it looks and is logical that his father would be proud (even if that is not him) so if we had to pick true or false, well statistically true is better then false.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40949025)

Don't use critical thinking to point out the fallicies of those who argue for more critical thinking. They don't like it when someone demonstrates that they're just as dogmatic and petty as the strawmen they create as opponents.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (0)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947575)

not necessarily true (therefore false)

I'm not clear on this bit...

Abosolutes. There is either True or False, not being proven to be True is therefore false. Inserting grey area in between is interesting, to explore possibilities, but when asked True or False, there can be only one.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947739)

not necessarily true (therefore false)

I'm not clear on this bit...

Abosolutes. There is either True or False, not being proven to be True is therefore false. Inserting grey area in between is interesting, to explore possibilities, but when asked True or False, there can be only one.

The above is false.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (3, Informative)

SillyHamster (538384) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947951)

"Not (yet?) proven true" is not "false".

In logic, it's trivial to flip any statement so that your default presumption of falsehood becomes the exact opposite given a different statement

"John is a liar" -> False, he must be an honest man!

"John is an honest man" -> False, he must be a liar!

Same rule, opposite outcomes based on a completely arbitrary starting point.

When asked to evaluate a true/false statement, a person has 3 options, not 2. True, False, and "I Don't Know". Asserting a true statement to be false is just as wrong as asserting a false statement to be true. If one lacks the information to evaluate the veracity of a statement, the correct default is to acknowledge one's ignorance, instead of making a false claim.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#40948133)

not necessarily true (therefore false)

It's not necessarily true that I'll be alive in the morning, but that doesn't mean I should start making funeral arrangements.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year and a half ago | (#40948827)

That makes no sense. Suppose the following statements had been made:

"The father is proud of his son"
"The father is not proud of his son"

How can both of those statements be false? If they are both false, then they are both true, because they are opposites of each other.

The correct answer is not "false", it is "I don't know".

Hopefully, the actual statements we something along the lines of "We know from this picture that the father is proud of his son". That one IS false, because we do not know.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (1)

Meeni (1815694) | about a year and a half ago | (#40949151)

You should be a little more critical of what is taught in the critical thinking class methink.

"Critical Thinking" idiots (2)

oGMo (379) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947835)

not necessarily true (therefore false)

I'm not clear on this bit...

That's because it's wrong. This statement is not valid [wikipedia.org]. It may be true or false.

From the GP:

Now consider there are tens of millions of people who haven't even had an introduction to Critical Thinking and they are influenced by advertising, politcal speeches,much of the garbage on talk radio and those evil stinkers who talk young men and women into committing atrocities.

"Critical Thinking" is the security theater equivalent of thinking. Call it "Thinking Theater" if you will: it makes a show of thought while being utterly uninformed and mindless. The grandparent is a perfect example. I suggest a rigorous study of logic [wikipedia.org] (both formal and informal) so you can actually analyze statements, and rhetoric [wikipedia.org], so you can be aware of the communication techniques you will encounter.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40948535)

not necessarily true (therefore false)

I'm not clear on this bit...

In the examples given just because something can't be determined to be true does not mean that it is therefore false. A problem that I've observed with some that do manage to apply critical thinking to a situation is that there is a tendency "stop" after the first step, "it's not true therefore it's false" when in fact there is not enough information to actually determine.

"when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth" applies only if you have actually considered all possibilities. Too many times are the choices limited, either intentionally or not, and people are led to a conclusion. In the example above starting off with "Assertion, true or false" already presents a limited choice in that it eliminated an option of "can't tell".

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (2)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947229)

Consider also how much convenient is that most people are not able to use critical thinking. It's much harder to control those who think critically and politicians, bankers and priests know this.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947349)

There is a second half to critical thinking many people don't consider.

I see people who question stuff all the time, that is first half.

The second half, I see less often, is knowing when to stop when a valid argument is made. Instead these people just keep going on inventing even more ridiculous possibilities.

Occam's Razor people.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947449)

critical thinking died 10 years ago, guess you missed the funeral.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947637)

critical thinking died 10 years ago, guess you missed the funeral.

I think that' was Irony's Funeral. They're still nailing Critical Thinking into a coffin.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947537)

The first assertion is not necessarily true (therefore false)

Therefore unknown, actually. Not knowing something is true isn't the same as knowing it is not true.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947563)

If that is how you are taught Critical Thinking (if it ain't true, it's false), it sure goes a long ways toward explaining the American political system.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year and a half ago | (#40949313)

OK, so you are an AC, and probably a troll, but I can't help myself.

What universe are you in where "if it ain't true, it's false" is an incorrect statement?

Of course, that is not the statement the OP is making. He is making the statement "if it is not known to be true, it is false". Which is just bullshit.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947573)

The second assertion is not necessarily true, how do you know she is related to the graduate?

So, the assumption that the man holding the "diploma" is indeed a graduate goes unquestioned? Anyways, the problem with your example is that the picture is actually most probably (though of course not definitely) of a graduate with his proud father, mother, and bored sister. Since those assumptions are probable, they are perfectly reasonable and if not given further information, there is no reason to assume otherwise since those would, also, be further assumptions. Indeed, it would be unreasonable not to form assumptions about the situation in the picture, since that would be effectively denying yourself information about the most probable case. That is, indeed, why humans make those assumptions in the first place. Obviously, these are still assumptions, so they must be revised as soon as further evidence becomes known and therein lies the key problem: people refusing to revise their earlier assumptions, not the initial assumption itself.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (1)

englishknnigits (1568303) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947757)

Your overall point is good but just because something is "not necessarily true" does not make it false. If something is "not necessarily true" it could be true or it could be false, we just don't know which it is. It is a bit of a nit pick and you may have glossed over that for the sake of brevity.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947957)

"not necessarily true" does not make it false.
Would that not still make it a false assertion? When someone wins the lottery, I don't call it a correct guess, or accurate luck.
It seems the only true answer for something of pure guesswork would fairly be 0.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year and a half ago | (#40948595)

No, it is still not a false assertion. No assertion can be made either way.

If the statement "the father is proud of his son" is false, then the statement "the father is not proud of his son" must be true. But it isn't - we simply don't know.

The only way any of those statements could be asserted to be either 'true' or 'false' is if they are prefixed with something along the lines of "We know from this picture that...". Now your true or false statements are not about the happiness of the father, but whether or not you know something.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (2)

westlake (615356) | about a year and a half ago | (#40948045)

Class in college .. here's a photo. Everyone looks at it.

There's a young man in a cap and gown with what appears to be a diploma. A smiling man is standing to one side, a smiling woman to the other and in the forground is a girl about 12 looking bored.

Assertions, true or false: The father is proud of his son. The graduate's younger sister wants an ice cream. The mother is very happy.

Which would be an accurate description of tens or hundreds of millions of graduation photographs. It would be trivial exercise to find similar examples in your own family albums across several generations.

It can be easy to recognize dissonance.

The "son" doesn't resemble his "parents." The "father's" suit is crisply pressed and expensive. The "mother's" dress cheap and worn. Not Sunday-best as you would expect for the occasion.

She could potentially be a young boy with long hair in girls clothing.

She could be, but, realistically, what are the chances a long haired boy will be wearing girl's clothing in what appears to be a formally posed family photograph?

It is not the classroom exercise I object to. It is the credence the geek gives to extreme and improbable explanations for otherwise quite ordinary events. Asimov once wrote that robots were logical but not reasonable. The distinction is important.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#40948049)

People are constantly being bombarded with various messages that are most often false or wrong.

A politician kissing babies is just one of those things. Political advertising campaigns are using pictures from sites like istockphoto.com while pretending that the people in the pictures have anything to do with reality.

Actually any type of advertising shouldn't be taken literally, it's all a figure of speech, a sleight of hand, cherry picking, etc.

Re:Reminds me of Critical Thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40948457)

What photo?

Yeah well..... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947029)

Most people are idiots. They immediately jump to a conclusion based upon flimsy evidence like photos (never thinking maybe the photo has been doctored), or something they read at FOX or MSNBC.com, or were told on facebook. (See my sig for examples of these idiots.)

Re:Yeah well..... (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947677)

Most people are idiots. They immediately jump to a conclusion based upon flimsy evidence like photos (never thinking maybe the photo has been doctored), or something they read at FOX or MSNBC.com, or were told on facebook. (See my sig for examples of these idiots.)

My favorite quote on the subject: There are people who will doubt a panel of highly educated experts who have gathered evidence, studied, assembled the facts and presented them in a thoughtful manner, but will accept for indesputable fact the word of a blowhard on the radio, TV or internet, who has nothing at all to back up their assertions.

do you believe it?

Re:Yeah well..... (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about a year and a half ago | (#40948241)

Roughly, imagine that you are the "average Joe". To accept that the scientist is right you must be able to understand his arguments. And note that he is not part of your social group, of which you accept as "leaders".

While the radio gives the opinion ready for consumption (without you having to think about it, thanks God!) and he is "part" of your social group and is accepted by you as "leader".

In short, most people are too stupid to accept logical and rational arguments, they need a third person "to think for them".

Re:Yeah well..... (0)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#40948939)

You're sig is wrong. You can't get an equal PC and Mac mini. the Mac mini comes with different software.
did you get your i7 into the same form factor? I didn't think so.
Is you i7 as quite as a mac mini? I didn't think so.

So, different hard ware, different form factor, different software.

Not really a valid comparison.

So, but only taking a tiny amount of data into account, not looking at the over picture and varies needs, you are an idiot who immediately jumped to a conclusion without considering any other facts.

Powerful brainwashing knowledge (4, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947045)

This combined with the power of the Baskerville font will empower you to crush the free will of others, MUAHAHAHA!

Re:Powerful brainwashing knowledge (1)

the_humeister (922869) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947467)

Considering that free will does not actually exist, there is nothing real to crush (maybe the sense of free will, but that's not real either).

Re:Powerful brainwashing knowledge (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947749)

Given that the universe is not deterministic, it is pretty hard to justify free will does not exist.

Re:Powerful brainwashing knowledge (2)

the_humeister (922869) | about a year and a half ago | (#40948209)

We are constrained by the physical laws of the universe. We have no more free will than a rock. We just happen to be more mobile.

Re:Powerful brainwashing knowledge (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947767)

I am compelled to disagree.

Re:Powerful brainwashing knowledge (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947703)

This combined with the power of the Baskerville font will empower you to crush the free will of others, MUAHAHAHA!

Fortunately, facebook's Timeline format will make your efforts unintelligible and people will rapidly lose interest in ... OH, LOOK! SHINY!

basically the entire basis of montage theory (5, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947051)

Filmmakers noticed early on that juxtaposing images had significant effects on perception, with the Kuleshov Effect [wikipedia.org] being one famous demonstration.

Re:basically the entire basis of montage theory (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947275)

Responding to self after tracking down a copy of the paper:

One interesting thing they suggest is that, since in this study the "truthiness" effect happened in both directions, or even with unrelated images, previous studies showing that images produce a bias might need to be re-run with control images that are unrelated, i.e. placebo images.

For example, the paper mentions a 2008 paper [nih.gov] that found public trust in neuroscience findings was higher if accompanied by an image of a brain scan. That article speculated that "part of the fascination, and the credibility, of brain imaging research lies in the persuasive power of the actual brain images themselves". But the authors of this paper point out that perhaps it was just the presence of any image at all: what would happen if you re-represented the same articles, not with brain scans, but with just photos of the neuroscientists, or of the MRI machine? The authors hypothesize that you might get more people believing in the results in those cases, too, in which case it wouldn't actually be that the brain-scan images are serving any persuasive or evidentiary role in and of themselves.

Re:basically the entire basis of montage theory (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | about a year and a half ago | (#40948627)

I think I notice something of this affect when I'm reading online news.

If an article is just words, my mind is less engaged, but if there's a photo or even a diagram, somehow my brain engages more readily.

Perhaps it's something to do with the fact that written language is such a new concept in terms of our evolution, whereas the image is hard-coded into us from almost our very beginnings.

Truth bias? Really? (1)

neoshroom (324937) | about a year and a half ago | (#40949191)

Wow...all that technical stuff...when I think the reason people are more likely to answer "Is this person alive?" with "Yes." when shown a picture is something else entirely.

The English language is a complicated beast. Often things are implied, but not outright stated in English. If you ask "Is this person alive?" with no picture, people assume you are talking about the actual person, so it is clear and they will tend to answer as you'd expect.

However, if you say "Is this person alive?" and show them a picture it gets murky. People likely aren't being influenced by the picture in the way the blurb states though. The blurb interprets the people's wrong answers as an effect of pictures influencing what people think is true. However, the much more obvious way to go is to understand that the inclusion of a picture creates an implied language ambiguity. That is, by asking "Is Bob alive?" you could be asking "Is Bob alive [in reality]?" or "Is Bob alive [in this picture]?" It isn't clear which one you mean, like the other situation was.

The problem is not "truth bias" the problem is language ambiguity.

Re:basically the entire basis of montage theory (0)

CODiNE (27417) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947539)

I hate those montages they start doing on TV around a new year showing all the noteworthy things that happened during the previous year.

Or the ones where they play sappy music and show bits from a long running sitcom. They universally make me feel like I'm wasting my life away. Perhaps internally it's as if I'm saying "You watched 20 episodes of this crap??" "No I didn't! Honest it's just a montage!"

very interesting (1)

bob zee (701656) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947063)

this is really interesting study. it reminds me of an article from some time back about how the time to choose when presented with 3 options versus 2 was considerably disproportionate.

A stretch at best (1)

Unknown1337 (2697703) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947073)

A photo or description would help in knowledge recall, this is a known fact. Saying that it "skews" the answers is impossible to say without knowing what the correct outcome was. If 'true' is the correct response, then having an external information source to help with determining your answer would indeed increase the number of people who get it correct (assuming they had the knowledge in the first place). Furthermore, if a photo of the person in question doesn't "provide any information about the topic at hand", what the heck does? A question about someone and a photo of them seem pretty related to me. *That aside, the general public doesn't usually have pictures of people after they're dead, so this is a terrible example to begin with.

all the GWB photos from the last decade (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947125)

have professional photogs take hundreds of photos of the president
choose the worst one due to facial shape or mouth while he was talking or doing something

have the blogs call him an idiot and back it up by bad looking pictures

Re:all the GWB photos from the last decade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947395)

It was his actions, rather than his image, that were idiotic.

Re:all the GWB photos from the last decade (2, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947421)

have the blogs call him an idiot and back it up by bad looking pictures

Trust me, you didn't need a picture of the guy to consider him an idiot.

Re:all the GWB photos from the last decade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947795)

This is true, but it didn't help that the text was pretty compelling evidence, as well.

Some celebrities... (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947181)

Researchers asked true-or-false questions to a group of test subjects about whether a minor celebrity was still alive. When they provided a picture of the celebrity, more people evaluated the statement as 'true' than when no picture was provided. The researchers then switched the question, asking whether it was true or false that the celebrity was dead.

And the picture of this guy: http://i.imgur.com/C4j2T.jpg [imgur.com] made everyone say "yeah, he's dead."

--
BMO

Are things worse, or just caught/reported more? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947203)

I frequently hear from people who talk about how the world has gotten so much worse since they were children. They always cite reports they hear on the news.

Question:

Are things really worse today, or are crimes just being caught and reported more often than they used to, creating the perception things are worse?

After all we didn't have video cameras and the internet everywhere 30 years ago. Perhaps people simply got away more often back then.

Suppose the possibility then, that we are actually safer today because crime is caught and reported more frequently.

Unless one has Aspergers? (2)

CODiNE (27417) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947277)

I've noticed that non-geeks seem to have a very difficult time separating facts from opinions or feelings.  On the other hand those on the autism spectrum tend to have an internal citations list. I may still have many incorrect beliefs but I at least know where the ideas came from and can check the sources later on.  Slowly weeding out the false ideas until all my knowledge is perfected. (OMG! I've turned into an Objectivist!) </sarcasm>

But if you're going to ask me T/F if say... Richard Simmons is dead;  I simply can't answer true or false on that one.  Show me a picture and... well that's not relevant to the question.

*Gets up, leaves testing room*

INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR MEANINGFUL ANSWER.

Re:Unless one has Aspergers? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#40948839)

You're understanding of Asperger's syndrome makes me want to punch you in the head.

Re:Unless one has Aspergers? (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about a year and a half ago | (#40949359)

Aside from the typical over diagnosis that comes with something "new" not everybody in the same group as you will act the same way you do. Autism may have no connection; right now some traits are in common so it appears that most are lumping them together and thinking of it as various degrees of autism. The two have their own DSM entries. More research will decide if the two are actually related.

How the study sets up the experiment is crucial; you could be placed into a situation where you come out no different than the other test subjects - its not like you are that different than the normals; you just think a little differently or a lot differently but the primary thing used in the labeling today is how "poorly" your social development is.

Minor celebs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947353)

So, basically, they showed people photos of five-minute-celebrities whose five minutes were last year, those people had to guess true/false and ended up picking true more often than false, cause people in general tend to pick true/yes/agree/... over the negatives.

Missing control group. (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947413)

Where is the control group where the pictures contain Celebrities unconscious, in a pool of blood, beheaded, or otherwise similar to images found in Faces of Death?

Bad Title (2)

StormReaver (59959) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947653)

The title should be, "How not having an, "I don't know" option on true/false research tests will cause people to guess, frequently invalidating the results of the research that would be quite different with the third option."

But then, that doesn't fit into a short title block.

Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40947769)

Perhaps we as a species haven't been exposed to realistic portraits (including photos) for long enough to have developed the ability not to consider someone we recognise to be alive at some unconcious level. Without the existence of realistic portraits it makes no sense to consider someone we see to be not there, so I don't see why the ability would have started evolving before we were able to make those portraits. We probably recognise people on portraits because we're still partially fooled by them.

Truthiness by Colbert (1)

arnott (789715) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947779)

Stephen Colberts explains it here [colbertnation.com]. Description of the video: Scientists from Canada and New Zealand research a little world-changing concept Stephen tossed off on his first show in 2005.

More data? (1)

Vrallis (33290) | about a year and a half ago | (#40947837)

Completely pointless. Providing a picture provides more data. If the celebrity they show is someone that looks young and healthy you're obviously more likely to think they would still be alive; likewise if they look like Mel Gibson after yet another bender, or a pic of Lindsey Lohan during one of her heavily coked-out phases you'd probably figure they were dead by now.

Easily explained (1)

Chemisor (97276) | about a year and a half ago | (#40948027)

The study fails to mention which celebrity [geekcantina.com] they were asking about. Look at the picture and it will be obvious why the study got the results it did.

Common use in Media outlets. (5, Interesting)

Petron (1771156) | about a year and a half ago | (#40948367)

I really hate to bring this up, but I hope we can focus on the topic, and not skew off to debate the court/political side of things....

Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman news coverage.

When the news story first reported most of the newspapers and news agencies showed the picture of Trayvon in the red shirt and George in an orange jumper. There were other pictures available, so somebody chose these pictures.

Trayvon's picture was of when he was 12 years old. The picture has a very happy looking kid, with a big smile. Eyes are bright, and the picture is very friendly, very innocent.
George's picture is of a old mug shot, he was heavy, unshaven, the picture could be lightened or darkened (I've seen lighter and darker pictures, unsure what the original looked like). George is not smiling, unhappy, depressing.

Now there is a headline "Man kills teen" and phrase "Man kills in self-defense"

With the images provided we make assumptions.
The Trayvon is 12 years old. False, Trayvon is 17.
George is a convicted felon/criminal. False, George was arrested, but charges were dropped (yes I know there is some claims on this, but the charges were dropped.).
George is white, Trayvon is black, this is racism. False, George is Hispanic. George is known for tutoring black children for free on the weekends, and was the only person to come to the defense of a homeless black man. The FBI investigated George and found no evidence that he is racist in any way.

So, the images and headline imply the idea: "White racist convicted felon kills innocent happy black child."

Other shading comes from the text - small example: Using "Trayvon" and "Zimmerman" for names. "Trayvon" is a very "black-sounding" name. Zimmerman is a common German name (Germans aren't known for any racists right?).

And the damage is done. People have picked sides and have dug themselves in. Even now when we have up-to-date pictures (few are using the old red-shirt/orange jumper pics), the original images have set themselves in the minds of the people. What would have the story been like if the media outlets used the up-to-date pictures, rather than the kid/convict pictures?

People forget (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#40948761)

that a picture is just a snapshot of time taken out of context. As such, you can often read what you want into the pictures. i.e. build your own context. The context you build can be so strong, that when presented with facts pointing you are wrong, some people still own't believe the truth over there made up context.

Always interesting but nothing new (2)

butchersong (1222796) | about a year and a half ago | (#40948791)

This doesn't have anything to do with "pictures" in particular. You can ask someone a question that requires them to prioritize ethics or results about their job and they will choose a different path depending on if you've recently asked them an ethical question vs a results prioritizing question. You ask someone to pick a different colored card from a table in a sentance that contains a word that rhymes with one of those colors... same result. This is just how the mind works. You bring something to the forefront of someone's mind and they will prioritize it. Haven't seen someone for a while, more likely to lean towards maybe that old dude is dead. I think we've known this forever. At least.. street magicians and con artists have.

No, misinformation and group mentality skew it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40948967)

If I posted a picture of a cop beating a person and tazing them for instance.

I added a caption to it that said "Cop beating a innocent person because they took a picture of them" then suddenly everyone would be outraged and everyone would jump the bandwagon mentality of hating the police, start chanting about our loss of freedoms and so on.

If I instead added the caption "Cop using physical means as a last restort to capturing a man who fled a crime scene after killing his wife and child in cold blood and attacked the officer when confronted" everyone would start bashing the man for what he did to his wife and child and start chanting in unison what a scumbag he is.

Now right or wrong isnt the case here but simply the fact I can completely skew the publics opinion by adding a context to it whether it be true or not people will go along with the group mentality and no one would ever dare thinking of challenging the photos context as long as they get to bitch about something because people are dumb, ignorant and narrow minded beings that will just follow popular opinion like sheep. just like I saw this video on youtube of everyone bitching about this racist cop who was verbally assualting these oh so innocent girls just because they were black. Well he was a cop in a black neighborhood and these girls were crossing the road in the middle of it through the middle of traffic as they were giving the drivers the finger and such and the officer didnt even arrest them, he was just chewing them out for being stupid enough to talk into traffic like they owned the road. But because the guy who filmed it (a black guy) posted it and said the cop was racist everyone suddenly jumped in with him.

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40949233)

Simply reading headlines or subject headers can alter what we read in TFA, a poll, etc.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40949499)

Or so it seems sometimes :-)

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