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  • Picture this. You sit down in front of a new movie.

  • Or you turn on the radio in the car.

  • What is your brain doing?

  • Well, a lot of things, hopefully.

  • But your brain is also working to make sense of whatever media you encounter.

  • A flicker of pattern recognition and you realize this new movie has a reference to Citizen Kane.

  • A stab of memory, and you're singing the hook of that song.

  • All. Day. Long.

  • For every conscious reaction and response you have to media, your brain is also subconsciously reacting and responding.

  • Our brains do plenty of things automatically.

  • They tell our lungs to breathe and our heart to beat.

  • And while a lot of these automatic functions are pretty great, there are a few that aren't. – especially when it comes to media.

  • So today we look at how our minds react to media.

  • You wanna be media literate?

  • Well here's a list of the worst impulses inside your brain that you're going to have to overcome.

  • This is your brain on media.

  • [Theme Song]

  • When was the last time you thought about tying your shoes?

  • Like, really had to think about it?

  • Maybe not since you learned how, right?

  • That's because your brain has automated the process.

  • It's muscle memory.

  • Our brains are pretty good at automating routine stuff.

  • They do this to reduce the cognitive load, or the amount of time and attention needed to finish a task.

  • Imagine your brain is like a computerit only has so much RAM to use at any moment.

  • To make the best use of that processing power, the brain relies on schema.

  • A schema is a thought pattern, a way the brain understands a task, the desired outcomes of that task, and the strategy for getting there.

  • If you have a routine, any routine, you have a schema to work through it.

  • What about news gathering?

  • Maybe before you even open your eyes in the morning you reach for your phone to scroll through the latest headlines on Twitter.

  • Or maybe you turn the TV on while you cook and listen to the news.

  • Or maybe you just hope someone will have a copy of today's paper on the bus so you can read it when they're done.

  • With any news habit, your brain is not only automating you picking up your phone in the morning or turning on the TV.

  • It's also automating how you make sense of information in that app or article.

  • All that efficiency in our brains, which is ideal for brushing your teeth or opening a door, is not ideal for parsing through complex or new information.

  • Our brains are basically designed to take shortcuts.

  • And shortcuts are bad for business when we're trying to do the hard work of navigating the media landscape.

  • So are there other parts of the brain that protect us from this?

  • Whoo-boy, it's not even close.

  • Bad news my friends: It's exactly the opposite.

  • The human brain is a mysterious thing.

  • We can remember what we did one day 12 years ago, but not remember what we had for breakfast.

  • We'll recall ungodly amounts of song lyrics but can never remember what that one actor's name is. (It's Bill Paxton)

  • We'll be totally exhausted, but when our head hits the pillow, suddenly we want to recap every embarrassing thing we've done since second grade.

  • But for all its wacky inconsistencies, one thing the brain does really well is complete a picture.

  • When we're talking about visual perceptionyou see a bunch of dots in the shape of a panda, and you thinkpanda” – that's called the Law of Closure.

  • As we move through the media environment, we're constantly trying to form this type of closure.

  • And our brains don't do this objectively.

  • Each time we take a bit of info and complete the picture, we're using prior life experiences and knowledge.

  • So, for instance, when you read a headline likeDiCaprio and Winslet recreate epic scene from Titanic,” you'd use prior knowledge to fill in the gaps.

  • You know Frank DiCaprio and Maggie Winslet didn't star in that film, so it must be referencing Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

  • It's like the brain's version of when Google knows you're searching forhow to know your cat loves youjust from the letter H.

  • No? Is that...is that just me?

  • This inherent desire to connect the dots, to see the whole instead of its partsis exactly what makes humans vulnerable to misinformation.

  • Consider another unhelpful brain reflex: false memory.

  • Sometimes when we can't exactly recall the details of an event, our brain will just fill in the blanks with something plausible.

  • For instance, say you witnessed a robbery.

  • The police show up and ask you, “What color shirt was the robber wearing?”

  • It happened so fast you think, huh I'm not quite sure.

  • And another witness says, “I think it was purple.”

  • And suddenly maybe you remember the robber was wearing a purple shirt.

  • It's not that you are trying to lie.

  • It's more like your brain thinks, “yeah, that sounds about right,” and the line between memory and imagination is just too thin to notice.

  • The trouble with a false memory, especially when it comes to misinformation andfake news,” is it's much easier to create a memory than it is to change one.

  • So when a Facebook page built to spread fake news sends a lie out into the world, readers are more likely to remember that lie than to update their memory of it later.

  • Even when they have the right info.

  • Another time-saver the brain uses is hunting for information we already believe to be true.

  • This is called confirmation bias, and it's a huge problem.

  • Let's jump into the Thought Bubble to check it out.

  • Each and every one of us wakes up in the morning biased.

  • Biased toward early mornings or late nights, biased towards conservatism or liberalism,

  • biased towards reading news or watching it on TV.

  • Our life's worth of experiences shape us to prefer, understand, and believe certain things.

  • When we're confronted with an avalanche of information, which is difficult to wade through, we seek out things we already prefer, understand, and believe.

  • It's just easier, cognitively and emotionally, to only deal with things we already like.

  • This means that if we're presented with a message that aligns with or confirms our biases, we're extra likely to believe it.

  • On the other hand, if that message opposes our biases, we're extra likely to think it's false.

  • It also means that if you and I both experience the same media, we could take away completely different meanings.

  • Take this Washington Post article from October 2017, for example.

  • Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier

  • It says that Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for research into Donald Trump's campaign.

  • This dossier was very controversial when it was revealed in 2016.

  • Many Clinton supporters and liberal Americans believed the dossier was proof of Trump's collusion with a foreign power.

  • Many Trump supporters and conservative Americans believed it was proof that the Democratic party was trying to take down the Republican candidate.

  • Now, if you already have a Democratic bias you might think, “Wow, the dossier must have been legit.

  • Why would the Democratic party spend time and money on a phony story?”

  • And If you have a Republican bias, you could conclude the opposite:

  • Wow, the dossier must have been phony the whole time, if it was financed by the Democratic party.”

  • This means that a piece of information can do the same thing for different people: communicate, simply, what you already believe is true is true.

  • Thanks, Thought Bubble.

  • Social media presents an extra obstacle: most platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, are built to reward confirmation bias.

  • Those companies want you in their apps as long as possible, so their algorithms are tuned to keep showing you stuff you like.

  • Which would be fine, if 38% of U.S. adults didn't rely on them for news.

  • Which brings us to another brain time-saver: information satisficing – a bizarre combo ofsatisfyingandsufficing.”

  • Sometimes when we're busy or not really that concerned with hunting down the right answer, we'll accept whatever answer's laid out in front of us.

  • Say, your second-favorite celeb couple breaks up.

  • They won't talk to the press about it, but a tabloid at the grocery store says he cheated with the nanny. Scandalous!

  • You think that sounds plausible, and since this info isn't life-or-death important, this answer suffices.

  • Searching through old interviews to look for clues of a slowly dissolving romance

  • we've all got things to do, like figure out whether our cat loves us.

  • Age-old tabloid tales like cheating with the nanny prey on another aspect of our brain's desire to complete the picture.

  • We love stories. Really, we love stories.

  • If it's simple, easy to understand, and fills in the gaps for us, we are ready to believe.

  • But the human instinct for storytelling is straight up dangerous to media literacy.

  • Stories are sense-making tools; they help us understand the world around us.

  • So when something is complex or difficult to understand and the media turns it into a familiar narrative for us, we welcome it with wide, open armseven if it's false.

  • To sum up, your brain on media is prone to taking shortcuts and filling in the blanks of a story whenever, and however, it can.

  • What's worse, publishers, advertisers, and tech companies know all of these tricks, too!

  • They use them against us all the time to hold (or steal) our attention.

  • If you've absolutely never fallen prey to fake news or some other kind of misinformationwell congratulations.

  • But for the rest of us, it's not always easy to spot our brain's thought patterns at work, let alone break them.

  • That's where strong critical thinking skills come in, and the shared responsibility of doing this work together, as a society.

  • The more we acknowledge our biases and thought patterns, the better we get at smashing through them to find the truth.

  • We'll continue that hard work together on the next episode of Crash Course: Media Literacy.

  • For now, I'm Jay Smooth. See you next week!

  • Crash Course Media Literacy is filmed in the Dr. Cheryl C. Kinney Studio in Missoula, MT.

  • It's made with the help of all of these nice people, and our animation team is Thought Cafe.

  • Crash Course is a Complexly production.

  • If you wanna keep imagining the world complexly with us check out some of our other channels,

  • like The Financial Diet, SciShow Space, and Mental Floss.

  • If you'd like to keep Crash Course free for everyone, forever, you can support the series at Patreon,

  • a crowdfunding platform that allows you to support the content you love.

  • Thank you to all of our patrons for making Crash Course possible with their continued support.

Picture this. You sit down in front of a new movie.

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Media & the Mind: Crash Course Media Literacy #4(Media & the Mind: Crash Course Media Literacy #4)

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    香蕉先生 發佈於 2022 年 06 月 25 日
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