The Power of Selective Exposure


Farhad Manjoo, in his book ‘True Enough- Learning to live in a Post-Fact Society’, explained why people see same thing through different eyes. I have always been wonder why people don’t understand plain truth. Now it makes sense that facts don’t remains alive. It is not due to lack of evidence but due to how prejudice you are. Farhad Manjoo said that whether there are few evidences on an accident or too much evidence both necessarily doesn’t prevent a dissonance. “Reality splits, and then the split reality spreads”. The phenomenon is not new, which have always been but now accelerated by digital world. Illusion is becoming so powerful that it weakening the truth. When you encounter the information that contradicts your core belief, it becomes hard to accept. This is how selective exposure works. To explain why reality splits or why plain truth becomes divergent, you need to understand selective exposure. “Selective exposure evolves from cognitive dissonance”.

The idea “social reality” lead to generate group belief and it alters the individual’s belief. We concede group belief to become socially secure. Social groups derive from propinquity. It is obvious that relationship generates automatically with neighbors as our meets are limited to them, though it is not always true, that’s the greater possibility, similarly old relations disappear as we go far from old groups. However, these days digital platform has diluted this phenomenon by exposing us to unseen, favorable world. It extended our limits, so we don’t need to concede our belief in shake of “social reality”. Selective exposure allows you to choose the information, people you want or those fits your ideology. And this is dividing the world apart, consequently we see different opinions from the people living together and the truth is losing power.

I didn’t know much in detail about 9/11 attacks, hence reading this book really surprised me that how some groups have different views on the attacks far form official story. Be honest, it hurt me that few folks, to get attention spreading propaganda on such a serious concern and got succeed. Falsity, “weak dissonant” spreads more easily because it is more attractive as Lowin says. Folks who spark falsity exploits these weak zone of other’s brain, whether they personally believe in that way or not. They wanted to be different or in light, when something serious happen, they come out and present divergent thought and got attention. And it is easy to conceive those false ideas, because it gives you options. Peoples who have dissonance with government or an organization, they ignore reality given by that particular organization; they always have space for something different from what have presented by their rivals, hence they welcome such falsity and consume it. They only select what is in accordance with their belief. They remained untouched the truth. When you have one theory, you easily consume it with great satisfaction, but you have lots of options, you become divert and probability of being chosen right thing is decreases.


One thought on “The Power of Selective Exposure

  1. I agree, it’s very easy to get caught up in one idea and spiral all information you are presented with around that idea in the selective perception fashion. The one thing he doesn’t expand on in a verbal or literary sense, because he focuses on the idea of visual evidence, is the connotations that come with words. A simple sentence can be twisted to have many meanings very different from the originator’s actual intention. And when one person starts spiraling with an interpretation, those who want that sentence to support their belief will build on it. Eventually you have an entire speech on a topic that expresses the originator’s view point, based on one sentence and developed by the audience.


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