Talking Sense Into Anti-Vaxxers

I don’t know who said that ‘you can’t reason someone out of a position that they didn’t reason themselves into’ – but it seems so appropriate in this case. See this this previous blog post on resistance to disconfirmation.

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The Dish

Chris Mooney reports on a new study that suggests it may be impossible:

The paper tested the effectiveness of four separate pro-vaccine messages, three of which were based very closely on how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) itself talks about vaccines. The results can only be called grim: Not a single one of the messages was successful when it came to increasing parents’ professed intent to vaccinate their children. And in several cases the messages actually backfired, either increasing the ill-founded belief that vaccines cause autism or even, in one case, apparently reducing parents’ intent to vaccinate.

The findings deeply depress Aaron Carroll, who debunked anti-vaccine beliefs in the video seen above:

When they gave evidence that vaccines aren’t linked to autism, that actually made parents who were already skittish about vaccines less likely to get their child one in the future. When they showed images of…

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Author: Shane O'Mara

Neuroscientist