Beyond misinformation: Parallel Universes in a Post-Truth World is the title of the School of Psychology’s Annual Lecture on Tuesday 25 September.
The talk will be given by Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, FAcSS, FAPS, Chair in Cognitive Science and Royal Society Wolfson Research Fellow, Chair in Cognitive Science and Royal Society Wolfson Research Fellow.
If you would like to join us, please register by emailing George Oatridge by 23 September. The event will begin with an optional drinks reception in Keynes College Atrium at 17.00, followed by the talk at 18.00 in Keynes Lecture Theatre 1 (KLT1).
Imagine a dystopian world in which it is not medical knowledge but a free-for-all opinion market on Twitter that determines whether a newly emergent strain of avian flu is really contagious to humans. There are signs that public discourse is evolving in this direction: Terms such as “post-truth” and “fake news”, largely unknown until 2016, have exploded into the media and into public discourse. I explore the implications of the growing abundance of misinformation in the public sphere, how it influences people and how to counter it. I argue that misinformation in the post-truth era can no longer be considered a localized “error” that can be corrected with appropriate communication tools. Instead, I suggest that responses to the post-truth era must include technological solutions that incorporate psychological principles, an interdisciplinary approach that we describe as “technocognition.”
Professor Stephan Lewandowsky is a cognitive scientist at the University of Bristol. He was an Australian Professorial Fellow from 2007 to 2012, and was awarded a Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award from the Australian Research Council in 2011. He held a Revesz Visiting Professorship at the University of Amsterdam in 2012, and received a Wolfson Research Merit Fellowship from the Royal Society upon moving to the UK in 2013. He was appointed a Fellow of the Academy of Social Science and a Fellow of the Association of Psychological Science in 2017. In 2016, he was appointed a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry for his commitment to science, rational inquiry and public education.
His research examines people’s memory, decision making, and knowledge structures, with a particular emphasis on how people update information in memory. His most recent research interests examine the potential conflict between human cognition and the physics of the global climate, which has led him into research in climate science and climate modeling. As a result of his work in climate science he was appointed Visiting Scientist at the CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere laboratory in Hobart, Tasmania, in August 2017. He has published more than 200 scholarly articles, chapters, and books, including numerous papers on how people respond to corrections of misinformation and what variables determine people’s acceptance of scientific findings. (See www.cogsciwa.com for a complete list of scientific publications.) Professor Lewandowsky is an award-winning teacher and was Associate Editor of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition from 2006-2008. He has also contributed around 50 opinion pieces to the global media on issues related to climate change “skepticism” and the coverage of science in the media. He is currently serving as Digital Content Editor for the Psychonomic Society and blogs routinely on cognitive research at www.psychonomic.org.
The talk is being hosted by Professor Karen Douglas, Professor of Social Psychology at Kent.