How effective is education at correcting misperceptions

Whether its GMOs or pesticides or economic effects of various food policies, it seems that the public often holds beliefs that are at odds with what the experts believe.  A natural tendency - especially for someone who is an educator - it to propose that we need more education on these topics.

But, how effective are we at changing people's minds?  This article in Pacific Standard by the psychologist David Dunning might give us pause.  

The research suggests:

What’s curious is that, in many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.

But, before you start feeling too confident in your own abilities, read the following:

An ignorant mind is precisely not a spotless, empty vessel, but one that’s filled with the clutter of irrelevant or misleading life experiences, theories, facts, intuitions, strategies, algorithms, heuristics, metaphors, and hunches that regrettably have the look and feel of useful and accurate knowledge. This clutter is an unfortunate by-product of one of our greatest strengths as a species. We are unbridled pattern recognizers and profligate theorizers. Often, our theories are good enough to get us through the day, or at least to an age when we can procreate. But our genius for creative storytelling, combined with our inability to detect our own ignorance, can sometimes lead to situations that are embarrassing, unfortunate, or downright dangerous—especially in a technologically advanced, complex democratic society that occasionally invests mistaken popular beliefs with immense destructive power (See: crisis, financial; war, Iraq). As the humorist Josh Billings once put it, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” (Ironically, one thing many people “know” about this quote is that it was first uttered by Mark Twain or Will Rogers—which just ain’t so.)

Several studies seem to suggest that providing people with a little information may not lead to more agreement on an issue, but rather can result in polarizing opinions. The reason is that information makes use feel more informed, and lets us feel more confident in whatever our political or cultural tendencies would lead us to believe in the first place.  That is, people bend information to reinforce their identity and cultural beliefs.