Jan 27, 2017 11:51 AM EST
Anti-Fake News Tool: A Psychological Vaccine That Can Immunize The Public, According To Study
Vaccination against particular viruses are often marketed in order to protect and immunize people from future viral contamination. When used in the human body, the vaccine exposes the body to a weakened version of the virus in order for the immune system to build a tolerance level. And it may be applicable when used against fake news.
How can vaccination become an anti-fake news tool? There are social psychologists who believe that the same idea behind vaccinations can be used to inoculate people against fake news.
Misinformation is rampant in the web and it can cause a certain level of damage because of the influence it causes, as reported by Psych Central. Which is why an anti-fake news tool in a psychological form would be a good idea.
According to social psychologists, the public can be inoculated against misinformation in small doses. They focus on the subject of climate change. The study uses well-known climate change facts and popular misinformation regarding the subject. These researchers found that when presented consecutively, the false material cancels out the accurate statement in a person's mind. University researchers discovered that opinions end up back where they started.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge, Yale and George Mason conducted the study. To prove their idea on the anti-fake news tool is true, these researchers added a small does of misinformation to the climate change statement. The small shift in the message helped people hold opinions closer to the truth regardless of the rampant exposure to fake news.
In the abstract, evidence shows that it is possible to pre-emptively inoculate the public about climate change against real life misinformation, as reported by Wiley Online Library. Dr. Sander van Linden, the director of Cambridge's Social Decision-Making Lab, says that exposing people to small amounts of misinformation can help preserve facts. This could be the anti-fake news tool that people need to hear.
Do you think climate change is fake news? Here's a video of Bill Nye saying differently:
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