referring to Researchers found those who saw only the facts about climate change were quite likely, irrespective of political affiliation, to move toward believing in the scientific consensus.
Researchers then added a small dose of misinformation to delivery of the climate change fact, by briefly introducing people to distortion tactics used by certain groups.
This ‘inoculation’ helped shift and hold opinions closer to the truth — despite the follow-up exposure to ‘fake news’.”climate change and national security MorePhoto: CHRISTOPHER FURLONG/GETTY IMAGESOver 2,000 participants across the United States were tested for the study, in which they were presented with opposing statements on climate change — from false assertions about there being no consensus about climate change among the scientific fraternity to accurate ones like 97 percent of scientists agreeing on human-induced climate change.
Participants who saw the accurate data followed by fake news had very little change in opinion, the two competing sets of data cancelling each other out.
Two groups among the participants, chosen randomly, were given two separate doses of “vaccines.” One was a general warning that some groups tried to mislead the public by talking about disagreement among scientists on climate change.
as informed in
Vaccinating Against Fake News Builds Immunity to Lies
Like an intelligence-killing virus, susceptibility to fake news has spread contagiously throughout the media-consuming public.
People who read only the first statement about there being no consensus among scientists regarding climate change reported, on average, a 9-point decrease in their belief in a scientific consensus.
Exposure to both statements seemed to result in a counterbalancing effect; changes in opinion differed by only 0.5 points.
In an era rife with misinformation, what “truth” unfortunately comes down to is how people define “fake” — and in light of this, vaccination, though promising, can still backfire if used incorrectly.
This seems to have no upside — especially in an age of alternative facts.
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Now, Scientists Develop a ‘Vaccine’ to Tackle Fake News
The harmful influence of “fake news” in shaping the public’s mindset on climate change has led scientists to develop a psychological “vaccine” to immunize people against the problem.
Many groups have used “fake news”, in tandem with social media, to malign opposing parties and influence the general public to agree with their rhetoric.
The new discovery will be vital in preventing the repeats of such incidences when it comes to other important issues, the most critical among which is climate change.
They tested opposing statements — one that rightly stated the 97 percent of scientists recognize the existence of climate change, and one that falsely proclaimed that over 31,000 American scientists agree that there is no evidence that human CO2 release will cause climate change, reports EurekAlert.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge (U.K.), Yale and George Mason (U.S.) devised psychological tools to inoculate readers against fake news.
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