Inoculating yourself against coronavirus conspiracy theories

red blue cyber computer fr

To understand why there’s so much misinformation out there — for example, that the virus was purposely created in a lab — The Verge spoke with John Cook, a cognitive science researcher at George Mason University and one of the authors of a new Conspiracy Theory Handbook.

[Cook:] Why has the conspiracy theory about the virus being engineered in labs become so popular?

In the handbook, we talk about different conditions that make the public more vulnerable to conspiracy theories, more likely to gravitate toward them. And I think the two that are really applicable to this situation is the feeling of powerlessness and coping with threat.

Related article:  Viewpoint: Human challenge trials – volunteers intentionally infected with COVID-19 – are ‘uninformative, unnecessary and unethical’
[W]hen you do address conspiracy theories, do it in a way that doesn’t reinforce or promote them. Basically, inoculation is delivering misinformation in a weakened form by explaining how it can’t be true and explaining what the facts are instead. For example, with the conspiracy theory that the novel coronavirus was created in a lab, scientists have found that it has natural origins.

If your goal is to convince conspiracy theorists, then an empathetic approach is necessary just to have a genuine dialogue.

Read the original post

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Genetics Unzipped
Infographic: How dangerous COVID mutant strains develop

Infographic: How dangerous COVID mutant strains develop

Sometime in 2019, probably in China, SARS CoV-2 figured out a way to interact with a specific "spike" on the ...

Philip Njemanze: Leading African anti-GMO activist claims Gates Foundation destroying Nigeria

Nigerian anti-GMO activist, physician, and inventor pushes anti-gay and anti-GMO ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend