How often do you change your mind about things you believe to be true? What if I told you that you and I don’t change our minds about facts we believe to be true, even after those facts are proven to be false?
Well, don’t shoot the messenger! This was proven in studies by researchers at Stanford in 1975 and confirmed by thousands of other researchers. Still don’t believe it? Read the findings in the book “Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts that Will Save Us”.
At this point, you are probably wondering ‘what does this have to do with Nigerian doctors in South Africa?’. Don’t worry, we’ll get to that shortly.
Isn’t it dangerous for people to share fake news and figures?
The research proves that when someone forms a belief about something, they don’t usually change their mind about it. This human characteristic makes fake news and fake statistics very dangerous. If we don’t change our minds about important facts, then isn’t it dangerous for people like government officials and journalists to share fake news and figures?
Questioning fake news and fake statistics with a Nigerian example
Guess what? Despite the dangers of sharing unproven claims and figures, many people in powerful positions continue to spread false facts and figures. A good example of this was documented in an article by our partners at Nigerians In South Africa. In the article, “We have 680 registered Nigerian doctors in South Africa not 5000 – HPCSA”, Nigerians In South Africa challenged a false figure presented by a government official and a number of Nigerian media houses.
Standing up against false news and false figures
Media houses such as Vanguard Nigeria and Daily Trust reported on the figures presented by the government official (Godwin Adama, the Consul General of Nigeria in South Africa) without investigating the alleged figures.
The False Figure: There are 5000 Nigerian doctors are in South Africa.
The Real Figure: There are 680 registered Nigerian doctors in South Africa (as at 2 July 2018).
Nigerians in South African successfully confirmed that there are 680 registered Nigerian doctors in South Africa (as at 2 July 2018), not 5000.
Stand out by doing your own research about the validity of the facts
How did they confirm this? Click here to read the article on their website, www.nigeriansinsouthafrica.co.za.
The next time you read an important news article that has the power to influence your beliefs, ask yourself – what damage will this article cause if it turns out to be false? If the potential damage is big then do your own research about the validity of the facts presented in that article.
This blog post was inspired by the article “We have 680 registered Nigerian doctors in south Africa not 5000 – HPCSA” written by Nigerians In South Africa on www.nigeriansinsouthafrica.co.za