The Woolwich Observer
KANNON: Social media makes confirmation bias all the easier
the unease has to do with large numbers of arrivals each year, which comes with a financial burden and pragmatic problems, particularly with housing prices and availability.
The combination of stressing individualism over the collective good and denigrating those with differing views – echoed repeatedly through the megaphone of social media – made what we’re seeing today inevitable. Those most put off by the changes seek likeminded viewpoints, whether about large social issues or the likes of mask mandates.
“People tend to be persuaded by speakers they see as knowledgeable (that is, experts), but only when they perceive the existence of common interests. Some groups of citizens, such as ideological conservatives, populists, religious fundamentalists and the like, may see experts as threatening to their social identities. Consequently, they will be less amenable to expert messages, even in times of crisis. We thus expect citizens with higher levels of anti-intellectualism to perceive less risk from COVID-19, to engage in less social distancing and mask usage, to more frequently endorse related misperceptions and to acquire less pandemic-related information,” write Merkley and Loewen.
“We argue that anti-intellectualism is likely a critical factor in shaping the public’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts are at the forefront of the pandemic response by governments. They have communicated messages regarding the seriousness of COVID-19 and the importance of social distancing, and have often been used to debunk pieces of misinformation circulating online. Consequently, our expectation is that anti-intellectualism should be negatively associated with COVID-19 risk perceptions and social distancing compliance, but positively associated with misperceptions.”