"IT'S confusing the public, it's impoverishing political debate…the public are thoroughly fed up with it." That was the verdict last week by the chairman of the UK's Treasury Select Committee on the war being waged over the country's European Union membership, which he says has become an "arms race of ever more lurid claims and counterclaims". As in any war, the first casualty has been truth. Much dissembling of information has taken the form of "mathswash", presenting vague estimates as firm predictions with nary a caveat or error bar in sight. Other claims are misleading but catchy – designed to spread faster than efforts to debunk them.
Since his death in 1900, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche has had the unfortunate distinction of being blamed for three catastrophes to have befallen Western civilization. He was blamed for the First World War, when his inflammatory and bellicose writing became cult reading not only for Europe's restless youth, yearning for blood sacrifice at the beginning of the 20th century, but also for a German military class adjudged to have initiated that catastrophe. As if being charged for one world war wasn't bad enough, Nietzsche was also blamed for the Second World War, with his talk of superior "Supermen" [Übermenschen] crushing the "decadent" and "weak" selectively appropriated by Hitler and the Nazis. This was despite the fact that Nietzsche loathed German nationalism and especially despised anti-Semites for their pathetic resentment. And thirdly, in the past 50 years, Nietzsche has been blamed for a more silent disaster: the rise of relativism and the idea that there is no such thing as objective truth.
In a new study, researchers found children's perception of truth and lies changes over time Overall, the children were easily able to distinguish between truth and lies, regardless of age. In deciding which behaviours to reward or condemn, however, the researchers noted two significant differences among the age groups. When assessing a'false confession' scenario, in which a character would claim responsibility for another character's misdeed to spare the real perpetrator, the younger children were more likely to view this as negative behaviour than older kids. When assessing a'false confession' scenario, in which a character would claim responsibility for another character's misdeed to spare the real perpetrator, the younger children were more likely to view this as negative behaviour than older kids.
During a crisis people with a large social network are slower to respond to the problem than more isolated individuals, a new study shows. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University put 2,480 people into one of 108 groups of various sizes and presented them with a range of disaster scenarios. Those in larger groups were less likely to take any action - positive or negative - in a disaster scenario such as a coronavirus-style pandemic. This is because they were being fed false reassurances, with any bad news from'experts' in the group being brushed away - removing any urgency. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University put 2,480 people into one of 108 groups of various sizes and presented them with a range of disaster scenarios.
It is bad news for parents - adults are far worse at telling when a child is lying than thought, researchers have found. Researchers discovered on average adults were able to distinguish truth from lies 54 per cent of the time, making them only slightly more successful than chance. On average adults were able to distinguish truth from lies 54 per cent of the time. One reason for the poor performance is simply that children looked guilty - even if they weren't, the team said. The major new study into children and lying builds on previous studies that have shown that children learn to lie from the age of two.