Wednesday, 14th November 2018
15:30 - 16:30
Large Lecture Room - Nuffield College
Inoculating Against Misinformation: On the Motivated Cognition of Facts and Expertise
Are we living in a post-truth society? What is the current status of “facts” and “expertise”? In this talk, I will discuss recent psychological theorizing around fake news, attitude polarization, motivated cognition, and misinformation. I’ll start by presenting a series of experimental studies examining the crucial role of expert consensus in how people form judgments about contested societal issues across the ideological spectrum. I will illustrate that such perceptual judgments are easily distorted by misinformation, which can spread much like a viral contagion. By combining data from the lab and the field, I’ll then demonstrate that it is possible to cognitively inoculate (“vaccinate”) people against fake news. I’ll end the talk by showcasing an online educational game we developed to help citizens recognize and resist unwanted attempts to influence and mislead.