Please join us for a Casual Conversation with Dartmouth Professors Brendan J. Nyhan and John M. Carey on Sunday, October 2 at 3 pm Eastern Time (US).  The idea to invite the two professors to join us began when I read about Professor Nyhan’s research in Skeptical Inquirer, specifically a study about correcting misinformation and the conclusion reached that exposing people to the truth changes perceptions but that the changes fade over time.  Here is the “Ephemeral Effects” study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-021-01278-3 .  I found this to be fascinating because it alters the received wisdom that telling people the truth in an effort to change their minds only hardens the misperceptions and does nothing to change them.  Challenging received wisdom is the best of science.
 
Please note the important step of preregistration.  If you don’t know why it is to be praised—very highly—then do some research of your own.  Preregistration of experiments and hypotheses is one way to aid in protecting against post-hoc manipulation of data to “discover”  through p-hacking statistically significant correlations to justify publication in the presence of “publication bias.”  In reading the “Ephemeral Effects” paper you will note that the results from the study were consistent with the first preregistered hypothesis, and “no support for our second hypothesis.”   Bravo!
 
After Professor Nyhan agreed to participate in a Casual Conversation, classmate Steve Larson independently suggested that Professor Carey be invited to be a guest for a Casual Conversation.   When I posed the question to Professor Carey, who is a co-author on the misinformation paper linked to above, he responded as follows:
 
Hi Arthur – I’d be happy to join the Class of ’69 for a casual conversation. Given that my research on the topics you’re mentioned (misinformation, election integrity, fraud claims) is collaborative with Nyhan, and that Nyhan is already on board, is your idea that we’d join at the same time? Best – John
 
Voila!
 
Here is a link to Professor Carey’s Dartmouth website which contains a link to his cv: https://sites.dartmouth.edu/jcarey/ .   

The same for Professor Nyhan: https://sites.dartmouth.edu/nyhan/ .
 
And for further research, please go to the links in this email to me from Professor Carey of June 6, 2022:  
 
Hi Arthur – Here are some recommendations.
 
On misinformation and public health, I’m attaching a recent article Brendan and I worked on together. [“Ephemeral Effects,” linked to above.] For other collaborative work on threats to American democracy (including beliefs about election integrity), I’d point you to the most recent report from our research group, Bright Line Watch. If you’re interested in reading more on that topic, you can find all the BLW reports here. We will be pushing some research forward this summer on misperceptions regarding voter fraud. It’s possible we’ll have more to talk about on that count by October.
 
Finally, you might find this article, in the [then-]current New Yorker, of interest as it features Brendan’s recent work with another research team, on how social media is affecting our politics.
 
Hope this is helpful – John
 
The rest is up to each of you.  Step one is letting me know that you want to join the discussion.  Email at arthur.fergenson@ansalaw.com by the close of business the Friday before, September 30.  The Zoom link will go out Friday or Saturday, AND NOT BEFORE.  So, please do not pepper me with questions about its absence before Friday evening, or, better yet, Saturday mid-day.  If you do, I will ignore your email, and be annoyed.  Step two is to do some reading of the pieces offered of the writings and work of our guests.
 
Many thanks to Skeptical Inquirer and Steve Larson, and, of course, to Professors Carey and Nyhan.
 
See you soon.
 
Arthur


 

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