Short videos that inoculate against misinformation online
Truth Labs for Education is a collaboration between Cambridge University, the University of Bristol, and Google Jigsaw. We created a series of short videos designed to help people resist unwanted persuasion online. The videos are rooted in a framework from social psychology called inoculation theory, which posits that by exposing people to a weakened dose of a persuasive argument or technique and pre-emptively refuting it, they develop psychological resistance against future manipulative persuasion attempts.
We created 5 videos, each of which “inoculates” people against a particular manipulation technique or misleading rhetorical device commonly encountered online: ad hominem attacks, using emotional language to evoke fear or outrage, false dichotomies, incoherence, and scapegoating.
An ad hominem attack is when someone attacks the person making an argument, instead of addressing the argument itself. Ad hominem attacks are commonly used to redirect the listener away from the subject at hand and towards an individual. They can be baseless attacks but aren’t necessarily, as in some cases a messenger’s credibility is relevant to the argument at hand.