Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Do your own research

Social psychologist David Dunning co-authors an NY Times op-ed:
A new slogan has emerged in the culture: “Do your own research.” On internet forums and social media platforms, people arguing about hotly contested topics like vaccines, climate change and voter fraud sometimes bolster their point or challenge their interlocutors by slipping in the acronym “D.Y.O.R.”

“Two days ahttps://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/03/opinion/dyor-do-your-own-research.htmlfter getting the jab, a friend of mine’s friend had a heart attack,” a Reddit user wrote recently in a discussion about Covid-19 vaccines. “I’m not saying they’re connected, but D.Y.O.R.”

The slogan, which appeared in conspiracy theory circles in the 1990s, has grown in popularity over the past decade as conflicts over the reliability of expert judgment have become more pronounced. It promotes an individualistic, freethinking approach to understanding the world: Don’t be gullible — go and find out for yourself what the truth is.

That may seem to be sound advice. Isn’t it always a good idea to gather more information before making up your mind about a complex topic?

In theory, perhaps. But in practice the idea that people should investigate topics on their own, instinctively skeptical of expert opinion, is often misguided. As psychological studies have repeatedly shown, when it comes to technical and complex issues like climate change and vaccine efficacy, novices who do their own research often end up becoming more misled than informed — the exact opposite of what D.Y.O.R. is supposed to accomplish.

Dunning is famous for the Dunning–Kruger effect, which is supposed to be a profound result on how people have less expertise than they think. All the work really showed was that if you measure experise in two different ways, then one measure is apt to be greater than the other. That is, it tells us nothing.

Now he brags about other dopey research:

Likewise, a 2018 study of attitudes about vaccine policy found that when people ascribe authority to themselves about vaccines, they tend to view their own ideas as better than ideas from rival sources and as equal to those of doctors and scientists who have focused on the issue. Their experience makes them less willing to listen to well-informed advisers than they would have been otherwise.
Sure, it is foolish for an amateur to think that he knows as much as an expert, but there are lots of good reasons to doubt the experts. See the video Vaccine Hesitancy EXPLAINED, before it is banned.

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