Inoculation Against Misinformation

As the final webinar of a three-part webinar series:
Vaccination Misinformation Control and Prevention

From the Webinar

Key Takeaways

  • To inoculate against misinformation, we can “prebunk” or warn people of its circulation and expose misinformation fallacies
  • We need to understand root causes that make individuals susceptible to misinformation through mechanisms by which individuals cognitively look for solutions to their problems – such as “wokeness” (belief that there is a higher truth beyond obvious facts), tribal cognition (delegation of cognition and loyalty to people within tribe who appear to know better) and false holism (pursuit for simplest way to understand the whole picture)
  • We tend to delegate our higher cognition to people we think know better, referred to as our “cognitive tribe” – i.e. if we already trust our doctor or our mother or a religious leader that we think knows better, we may delegate our medical decision making to that individual
  • Strategies to address misinformation include defining the rumor, tracking and analyzing data, collecting facts to prepare accurate information and targeting key stakeholders
  • Solutions to identify and counter misinformation must comprise engaged and organic interaction in order to deliver persuasive messaging
  • Science communication should utilize, improve upon and blend modes of persuasion – ethos (credibility, authority, reliability), pathos (emotion, imagination, sympathy), logos (logic, reason), agora (context) and syzygy (blending of elements) – to synthesize facts, provide context and make science persuasive
  • Community engagement, advocacy and social mobilization are critical to addressing misinformation
  • Key stakeholders – health workers, parents and caregivers, media, policymakers, immunization partners, spiritual leaders, public opinion gatekeepers and other special groups – should be part of the conversation to successfully fight misinformation

Tools and Resources

Misinformation Analysis

Bright Simons on Understanding Anti-Vaxxers in the Age of COVID-19Discussion with webinar panelist Bright Simons on understanding the psychology of those spreading misinformation, and learning how to spot and address it

Countering Fake News? Learn from Cognitive Science! Article by webinar panelist Stephan Lewandowsky on the relationship between cognitive science and the spread of misinformation

Misinformation and Fact-Checking Tools

Debunking Handbook 2020: The Handbook distills the most important research findings and current expert advice about debunking misinformation.

First Draft Training: A resource from First Draft for online courses and webinars to learn more about the coronavirus infodemic

Vaccines and Misinformation: Get the Support You NeedA resource from First Draft to find support on vaccines and misinformation

UNICEF’s Countering Misinformation Resource Pack: A collection of research and resources to address and counter misinformation

World Health Organization: Subscribe for Updates: A sign-up form to subscribe to WHO Information Network for Epidemics updates

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