Headline Reinforces False Beliefs

Just yesterday I was browsing the Book of Joe. He comments about a paper that he wrote about seven years ago. One of his students asked him about the conclusions that he came to … was X good for Y, or was X bad for Y? Joe couldn’t remember. He only knew that he had written about X and Y. Joe goes on to comment in his post that headlines are frequently phrased in the negative, leaving people to remember the falsehood as being proven true.

Actually, he didn’t say that at all. But that’s what I rememebered him writing about until I went back & reread it…which is exactly the point of his, and this post. So much for memory.

What he actually wrote about was this abstract, How Warnings about False Claims Become Recommendations from the Journal of Consumer Research.

So when I saw the Yahoo News head line today, “Vaccine safety concerns may discourage parents” I immediately clicked on it to see what new safety concerns there were. To my surprise, the article was about the overwhelming SAFETY of vaccines and their importance in preventing life threatening diseases. My fear is that people may read the headline, and even if they read the article, a few days, weeks or monhts from now, when they visit the pediatrician, they will only remember that there are “safety concerns” regarding childhood immunizations.

By the way, still holding strong at 31 shifts…but I’ve got reason to believe I may get a few bonus shifts knocked off for good behavior…

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