Beyond Misinformation: Understanding and Coping with the "Post-Truth" Era

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Abstract

The terms "post-truth" and "fake news" have become increasingly prevalent in public discourse over the last year. This article explores the growing abundance of misinformation, how it influences people, and how to counter it. We examine the ways in which misinformation can have an adverse impact on society. We summarize how people respond to corrections of misinformation, and what kinds of corrections are most effective. We argue that to be effective, scientific research into misinformation must be considered within a larger political, technological, and societal context. The post-truth world emerged as a result of societal mega-trends such as a decline in social capital, growing economic inequality, increased polarization, declining trust in science, and an increasingly fractionated media landscape. We suggest that responses to this malaise must involve technological solutions incorporating psychological principles, an interdisciplinary approach that we describe as "technocognition." We outline a number of recommendations to counter misinformation in a post-truth world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-369
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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