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'The 4D Project: a holistic response to climate misinformation' presented by John Cook, Monash University

Part of the Exeter Q-Step/NCRM Research Methods Seminar Series

A number of psychological challenges hinder the countering of misinformation and science denial. Polarization on issues such as climate change and COVID-19 result in some segments of the population being more resistant to fact-checks. Inoculation theory offers a solution to polarization, with experimental studies finding that inoculating messages neutralize the polarizing influence of misinformation on issues like climate change.

Event details

Inoculation theory applies the idea of vaccination to knowledge—we build immunity to misinformation by exposing people to a weakened form of misinformation. Logic-based inoculation involves explaining the rhetorical techniques used in misinformation—in other words, boosting critical thinking. However, this approach runs into another psychological challenge—critical thinking is cognitively effortful with people more dependent on heuristics or mental shortcuts to assess information. Gamification offers a solution to this challenge. By incorporating interactive inoculating exercises into a game, players are incentivized to repeatedly practice misinformation detection tasks, thus converting effortful critical thinking tasks into quicker, easier heuristics. In this presentation, John Cook will outline how he applied psychological and critical thinking research into inoculation, using gamification and cartoons to overcome some of the psychological hurdles facing scientists and educators as they respond to misinformation.

Read more about John Cook here.


Part of the Exeter Q-Step/NCRM Research Methods Seminar Series