Technique #4: Scapegoating

What is

Scapegoating is when a person or group is singled out or takes unwarranted blame for a particular problem. Scapegoating is commonly seen throughout history, but it remains common even today.

How to be sure
it’s scapegoating?

Everyday Examples

The debate about immigration policy has become completely toxic because of people like [individual name]

Our team would have won the race if only [an ethnicity] weren’t all so fast.

The reason voter turnout is low is because [a generation] refuses to go out and vote.

The reason unemployment is high is because the economy is controlled by [ethnic group].

Study under review - coming soon

Project Description

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.