The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread
Third, we sometimes care more about social status and social relationships than about holding true beliefs. Consider, for instance, a parent who is friends with many vaccine skeptics. This person may choose not to vaccinate their child, and to espouse the rhetoric of vaccine skepticism in order to conform to the group, irrespective of their underlying beliefs. Of course, this kind of reckless disregard for evidence can be dangerous. And indeed, we predict that this sort of behavior is more likely when there are relatively few consequences to ignoring evidence. In the case of vaccine skepticism, herd immunity often protects the children of skeptics, which allows social factors to come into play.