Framing Science Brief 1: Negating Doesn’t – The Downsides of Refutation

Many communicators have been advised to avoid repeating opponents’ arguments.

They have also been advised to knock down false or misleading claims rather than let them stand.

So is there any evidence one way or the other to help us decide which communications approach is more effective?

Topos begins our new series of Framing Science Briefs with a short piece that addresses the dilemma, “to explicitly refute or not to explicitly refute” – and points readers to some of the cognitive science research that bears on this choice.

Spoiler alert: There is lots of evidence that negating or refuting a statement is less effective than we think  – and it can even end up reinforcing exactly the wrong perspectives.

Read and download the whole thing here.