News Article Headline Supports Your Worldview, while body of text undermines it

A recent study found that a majority of people who share and consume information via social media rarely read beyond a headline or an excerpt. The revelation, apparent to anyone with multiple brain cells, comes as a surprise to many.

Social Scientist Alonzo Ricardo Martinez says the problems are much deeper, “in many cases, the news article twists an underlying scientific study in order to produce a — I hate to use the term even — a ‘clickbait’ article. It’s quite frustrating for those of us conducting these studies to see our work distorted in such ways, and pushing an unintended narrative.” Martinez points to studies about weight-loss as an example, “You see these stories ‘lose weight on the chocolate diet’ or ‘this super-fruit will help you lose weight fast.’ It’s absurd. The only ‘super-fruit’ that will help you lose weight is Richard Simmons.”

Martinez, his scientist colleagues and psychologists all urge caution with consuming information shared online: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. I really wish they taught critical thinking in schools.”

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