Giving Compass' Take:

• Tali Sharot explains why facts alone are insufficient to alter our beliefs,  limiting their usefulness in today's political and fake news issues.

• How can funders help to build productive, evidence-based conversations around political issues? 

• Read about truth decay

In today's political climate, it sometimes feels like we can't even agree on basic facts. We bombard each other with stats and figures, hoping that more data will make a difference. A liberal might show you the same climate change graphs over and over; a conservative might point to the trillions of dollars of growing national debt. We're left wondering, "Why can't they just see? It's so obvious!"

Tali Sharot, a cognitive neuroscientist at University College London, studies how our minds work and how we process new information. Tali shows that we're open to new information – but only if it confirms our existing beliefs. We find ways to ignore facts that challenge our ideals. And as neuroscientist Bahador Bahrami and colleagues have found, we weigh all opinions as equally valid, regardless of expertise.

Read the full article by Shankar Vedantam about fake news from NPR.