Do Our Own Minds Create the Worst Kind of Political Bias?

With all the sources of misinformation out there in the murky sea of information would it surprise you to learn one of the big sources might be your own mind? New research at the OSU has found that when people are given accurate statistics on hot button issues they tend to misremember those numbers in a way that reinforces their beliefs.

One example could be numbers of new Mexican immigrants into the US. This number has declined recently, however true it goes against what many people believe, and they tend to remember the opposite. The real problem begins as misinformation is passed from person to person—this is when it tends to stretch even further from the truth.

In one study the researchers at OSU gave 110 participants with four descriptions of social issues and all of them involved numeric information.

Researchers chose two issues where the factually accurate number relationship fit many people’s beliefs. Most Americans believe that their peers to generally be in favor of same-sex marriage rather than oppose it. This is consistent with public opinion polls.
With the other two issues, researchers chose in the opposite—where most people’s beliefs did not match the factually accurate data.

Most people think that the number of Mexican immigrants to the US increased between 2007-2014. The data tells us the numbers dropped between those years from 12.8 million Mexican immigrants to 11.7 million.

After reading four such descriptions the participants came across a task they were not warned about. The material instructed them to right down the numbers associated with the four issues.

When the factually accurate data met most people’s beliefs about the topic participants got the number relationship correct. Here meaning that most people wrote down that a larger percentage of people agreed than disagreed with same-sex marriage: and this is the factually accurate relationship.

When the factually accurate numbers did not support what most people believe, ss it is in the case of the number of Mexican immigrants having gone up or down, people’s minds ended to play with the numbers. They would remember them in a way that agreed with their probable biases rather than correctly. As an example some participants got the numbers exactly correct, 12.8 and 11.7, but they would reverse the numbers (up from 11.7 to 12.8, instead of the other way around which is factually accurate).

Did You Know About the Ohio State’s Veterinary Medicine Program?

Contemplating end-of-life choices for your pet or grieving the loss of a pet is something that pet owners don’t want to think about. At the Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center, they recognize the importance of these human-animal relationships and provides support for grieving pet owners facing these kinds of tough decisions or situations with their animals.

It is one of only 30 programs in the US that focuses on this kind of care and features a full-time social worker to supporter animal owners when faced with the death of a loved animal family member.

Ohio State’s Veterinary Center treats more than 40,000 pets every year. Their services include standard to emergency care and even oncology. The social worker helps pet owners navigate medical terminology, offers support to those in unexpected emergency situations and helps those processing end-of-life decisions; they also help guide family discussions with children about their ailing pets and provides assistance in finding resources outside the center.

The center recognizes that all families have different needs in different situations and does their best to serve the community of Ohio.

How Men and Women Choose Majors, A New Study

According to new research when it comes to choosing a career path and major both male and female college students choose according to what the best earning potential is, yet men tend to choose majors with higher potential than women.

One issue, according to the research, is finding a field of study that is a good fit for the student.

Even though the pattern was clear, that men chose majors with higher earning patterns than women there were other factors that affected their decisions, like wanting to help people. But even when comparing the majors chosen by men and women when a factor like wanting to help people was prioritized men still chose fields with higher earning potential than women.

As an example, when both men and women wanted to help people men chose something like biology or another pre-med major which would lead to becoming a doctor while women were more likely to choose something like nursing.

The research suggests that men and women simply have very different ideas about what fields are open and available to them. STEM majors pay more but are perceived by women to not be as open to them. So, while women will choose majors that can lead to relatively high pay they will only choose a field in which they think they will be accepted in.


How Vulnerable Are Your Bluetooth Apps and Devices?

Researchers have recently discovered that mobile apps that work with Bluetooth devices have an internal design problem that makes them vulnerable to hackers. The problem is inherent to the way Bluetooth devices communicate with the apps that are used to control them, according to researchers.

Think about any common Bluetooth device like wearable health trackers and smart devices like a thermostat, speaker and home assistant. What allows app and device to communicate is a broadcasted UUID or universally unique identifier. This connects the app to the smart device allowing the two to communicate.

This identifier is also housed in the mobile app code, while this is essential for communication it also makes the identifier vulnerable to hackers via the app itself.
Despite this, researchers say this doesn’t mean you should throw away your smart devices.

Realizing this, researchers created their own hacking device to test the extent of this vulnerability. Using an area about a mile wide around Ohio State’s campus they sent their hacking program on a search. Of 5,800 some devices 94.6 percent (5,500 of the devices) were vulnerable to fingerprint attacks and 7.4 percent (431 devices) were vulnerable to unauthorized access and eavesdropping style attacks.

Those vulnerable to the latter kind of attack had issues when device and app initially pair that puts them at risk for hacking. According to researchers, app developers need to tighten defenses during this initial process to fix the problem.

OSU Studies In-Home Interactions Surrounding Energy Use

New research done at the Ohio State University suggests that your perspective on the thermostat conflict going on in your home in part may depend on whether you are a man or a woman.

This new study has taken a first look at these battles in a sample of Ohio homes. This would be the first study to collect data on joint-decisions by consumers pivoting around home temperature settings and how they might affect energy use.

The study found that there were three types of thermostat setting related interactions: agreements, compromises and conflicts.

Men, the research found, were the most likely to report their thermostat interactions with other household members as agreements or compromises. Meanwhile, women were slightly more likely to report this type of interaction as a conflict. This could mean that individuals’ perceptions of the origin of the interactions or even imply that women are typical the losers in this “war story.”

This work focuses on understanding consumer behavior around energy use including thins like the decision to install solar panels or not; buying a hybrid car or not.
The entirtity of the research can be found in the journal PLOS ONE