On Tuesdays in June 2023, speakers will talk about the persuasiveness of statistics and various aspects influencing this.
During this online webinar series we will learn more about the persuasive effect of data and statistics. Whether people understand and trust statistical results may, for example, depend on their numeracy level and the way in which the numbers are communicated. Some may be more susceptible to misinformation than others. We will also discuss how people can gain resistance against (numerical) misinformation.
All meetings are online via Zoom and start at 16.00 and end ± 17.00h. You will receive the Zoom-link after registration.
In this talk, I’ll briefly discuss barriers to effective communication of critical information, including barriers from communicators themselves and from the audience. One barrier is the existing extent of innumeracy in the adult population that leaves people susceptible to confusion and lower quality decisions. How information is presented, however, can be as important as what information is presented and especially among less numerate people. Evidence-based choices of how to present information are key.
Professor Ellen Peters, PhD - University of Oregon
Ellen explores how policy makers, physicians, and other experts can enhance public understanding of science and technology by advancing the science of science communication, and is author of the book Innumeracy in the Wild: Misunderstanding and Misusing Numbers.
Much like a viral contagion, misinformation can spread rapidly from one mind to another. Moreover, once lodged in memory, falsehoods are difficult to correct. Misinformation often makes use of misleading techniques that prey on people’s tendency to struggle with numbers and probabilities. Inoculation theory therefore offers a natural basis for developing a psychological ‘vaccine’ against the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories. Specifically, in a series of lab and field studies, I’ll show that it is possible to pre-emptively “immunize” people against disinformation about a wide range of topics by pre-exposing them to severely weakened doses of the techniques that underlie its production. This process of ‘prebunking’ helps people cultivate cognitive antibodies in a simulated social media environment. During the talk, I’ll showcase several studies and interventions we developed and evaluated—with public health authorities and social media companies—to help citizens around the world recognize and resist unwanted attempts to influence and mislead.
Professor Sander van der Linden - University of Cambridge
Sander is interested in the social influence and persuasion process and how people are influenced by (mis)information and gain resistance to persuasion through psychological inoculation. He is the author of the book FOOLPROOF: Why Misinformation Infects Our Minds and How to Build Immunity (Dutch: “Immuun voor Nepnieuws”)