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Scientists Researching 'Psychological Vaccine' To Protect Against 'Fake News'

• technocracy.news by Alice Walton

In a well-timed paper from three universities in England and the U.S., researchers lay out a strategy for "inoculating" the public against the fake news and alternative facts that have been rampant in recent history. They dub the method "psychological vaccination," since it's conceptually similar to medical vaccinations: You insert a little bit of the material you want to inoculate against (normally, a piece of virus; here, a word of warning about fake facts), and the person becomes more resilient when confronted with it in the future. The idea is that those who are in the business of relaying actual facts may want to implement the strategy to prevent against the spread of "alternative facts."

To test the theory, the researchers first presented participants with accurate or inaccurate facts about a subject known to be susceptible to misinformation: Climate change. Some participants were presented with a pie chart illustrating a scientifically sound fact: "97% of scientists agree on man-made climate change." Another group was presented with a website, the Oregon Global Warming Petition Project, which displays a (fake) petition attesting that "human-caused global warming hypothesis is without scientific validity," and which more than 31,000 American scientists appear to have signed.

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