▲1. In terms of expertise, we’d list (d), (c), and (b) first. Given what we’ve got to go on, we
wouldn’t assign expert status to either (a) or (e). We’d list all entries as likely to be fairly
unbiased except for (a), which we would expect to be very biased.
If the friend’s interests and needs are similar to ours and we trust his or her judgment, then we
like (b) best.
Source (c) will certainly be biased, and (a) might be.
Expertise among writers of
newspaper columns varies a lot, as does level of bias; at best they’re writing for a
Source (e) brings up many of the same problems, plus the possibility of advertising
Magazine reviews, however, usually go into more detail and are more sophisticated
than those found in newspapers; they are therefore probably more valuable sources for people
who are moderately knowledgeable.
▲3. Expertise: First (b), then (a), then (c) and (d) about equal, and (e) last. We’d figure that (b) is
most likely to be unbiased, with (c), (d), and (e)
close behind; Choker would be a distant last on this scale. Her bad showing on the bias scale
more than makes up for her high showing on
the expertise scale.
We’d expect the former owner’s mechanic to know the car best.
We’d expect the salesperson
to be the least reliable, mainly because of bias.
The independent mechanic is probably
unbiased and knowledgeable but isn’t likely to be able to learn as much about the car as the
former mechanic in a short time.
We would not trust ourselves to be unbiased, especially if
the car is a sporty red convertible.
We’d depend first on the magician, who is trained in the methods of illusion, then we’d have
to group all the rest, except the psychic, together.
There is a reason each of these might be
better than a person off the street at spotting deception, but it’s hard to compare their likely
Obviously, as one who either already believes in the phenomenon or has an interest
in others holding such beliefs, the psychic is an interested party and the least credible on the
▲1.The most credible choices are either the FDA or
, both of which
investigate health claims of the sort in question with reasonable objectivity. The company that
makes the product is the least credible source because it is the most likely to be biased. The
owner of the health food store may be very knowledgeable regarding nutrition but is not a
credible source regarding drugs. Your local pharmacist can reasonably be regarded as credible,
but he or she may not have access to as much information as the FDA or
. (We should add
IM – 4 | 4