University of Cambridge > > zangwill > Inoculating Against Misinformation: On the Motivated Cognition of Facts and Expertise

Inoculating Against Misinformation: On the Motivated Cognition of Facts and Expertise

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Tristan Bekinschtein.

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 show that it is possible to cognitively inoculate (“vaccinate”) people against sticky misinformation. I’ll end the talk with an educational game we developed to help citizens recognize and resist unwanted attempts to influence and mislead.

Short bio: Dr. Sander van der Linden is a University Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, where he Directs the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Laboratory. He is also a Fellow and Director of Studies in Psychology at Churchill College and affiliated with the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication. Prior to Cambridge, he held positions at Princeton and Yale University. He has won numerous awards for his research on social influence, judgment, and decision-making from organizations such as the American Psychological Association (APA), the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) and the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP). In 2017, he received the Frank Prize for Research in the Public Interest and was named a “Rising Star” by the Association for Psychological Science (APS).

This talk is part of the zangwill series.

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