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).

OSU is Using WHAT to Grow Corn?!

Some may have noticed an unusual sight on campus at OSU this July and it, indeed, was knee-high by the forth of July. If you aren’t familiar with this colloquialism it is about corn.
A small crop of corn is growing on campus aided by soil with Com-Til; this is a compost material that uses residual biosolids from Columbus’ wastewater plants.

While it sounds a little gross, the Com-Til project is part of a long history of human’s using their own waste as an agricultural resource and is exploring what that might look like in the future. Com-Til is used all over the city to grow a variety of plants.

This is just one example of how biosolids (a nice, clean term for stuff most of us would rather not ponder) can become a resource for crop production, which in an era of rapidly increasing population and rapidly decreasing resources is a concern.

The project aims to understand what the problems and benefits of using biosolids for crop production. The project is collecting all kinds of data including the perspective of professionals and farmers in using biosolids. This will aid in one of the main goals, changing public perception of the use of such waster materials.

New Standards For Bariatric Surgery

Researchers at the OSU Wexner Medical Center along with their colleagues at 45 worldwide scientific and medical institutions are trying to change guidelines so that more people with chronic diseases linked to obesity can qualify for bariatric weight loss surgery.
Researchers said that patients with obesity who are interested in the surgery have to qualify for it based on arbitrary and outdated (by three decades) standards based on their BMI.

The old standards say that only patients with a BMI of 40 or higher or 35 if they also have a related dangerous disease such hypertension, type-2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease should qualify for the surgery.

Meanwhile, many studies have demonstrated the benefits of bariatric surgery for patients with lower BMIs. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery believe in this enough that they have drafted new guidelines for patients with lower BMIs, but who have diabetes.

The last step is for referring physicians and insurance companies to widely adopt the new standards.

OSU Studies Rate of Carding for Tobacco in Columbus

A new study by OSU researchers and published in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that young people have less of a chance of being carded for cigarettes depending on the kind of shop, especially so in shops which emphasize tobacco advertisement.

The study demonstrated that people 20 and 21 years of age were not carded 60 percent of the time, even when the city was close to banning tobacco sales to people under 21 years of age. As stated these young adults were far less likely to be carded in shops with lots of tobacco ads.

The study used fieldworker visits to 103 randomly chosen tobacco retailers in Columbus, OH.

The study was intended to gather baseline data on how young adults near the cutoff were carded so the information could inform future enforcement. The study found that well over half, 64 percent, of grocery stores checked ID with only 34 percent of tobacco shops and convenience stores checking IDs. Alcohol stores, bars and restaurants only ID 29 percent of the time.

Though the numbers are disappointing from a public health standpoint they do help confirm data gathered in previous studies.

How Our Gaze Affects Our Choices

Researchers utilizing eye-following technology have discovered that what we see helps control our choices when given two decisions, for example, two snack choices.
Yet, it isn’t as simple as saying we essentially pick what we first focus on and nothing more, the study found. Rather, our gaze enhances our longing for options we typically like.
Let’s assume you’re seeing two sweet treats in a candy machine. You like the two, however you’re inclined toward the one with peanuts marginally more than the one with just chocolate. You’ll typically pick the one with peanuts, yet not always.

Another intriguing finding was that individuals would in general settle on their choices all the more immediately when they preferred both of their two decisions.

The scientists utilized information from six eye-following investigations including a sum of 228 individuals, some from their lab and some from different analysts.

These outcomes recommend that item advertising will have the greatest impact on things you effectively like, he said. In case you’re seeing two brands of a thing you like at a store, the bundle that catches and holds your eye will presumably have an edge when you’re choosing which to purchase.

By and large, this new examination demonstrates that the connection among consideration and decision is more mind boggling than recently accepted.

The examination was bolstered by the National Science Foundation.