Inoculation to help vaccinate against the Post Truth Era
Following the craziness the ensued during 2016 facts seem to have become less relevant than ever, from Brexit and how the British have “Had enough of experts” to the roller-coaster that was Donald Trump’s presidential campaign trail, accompanied by the advent of “fake news”. The times we live in have been labeled as the “Post Truth” era, where emotions matter more than facts.
This can lead to people acting and voting against their interests not just because of misinformation, but also the rhetoric accompanies it. Examples of which can be seen in the sentiment post Brexit with Cornwall, having voted for Brexit, not wanting to lose it’s EU funding, click here. Wales also had a sense of buyers remorse as UKIP politicians, who were the main supporters of Brexit, hoped Ireland would pay for roads in Wales using their access to the Trans-European highways fund, which can be found here.
If facts don’t matter, then what does? Facts are only half the battle when educating people on issues, but that alone isn’t going to immunize people against myths, misconceptions and misinformation. According to research conducted by Sander van der Linden, Anthony Leiserowitz, Seth Rosenthal, and Edward Maibach and published on Global Challenges, the paper can be found here, students learn better through “misconception based learning”, where they are given a common falsehood on an issue and then the educator illustrates why it is wrong, correcting the confusion and equipping the students to correct others they encounter who have fallen for these difficult to root out misconceptions. The following video contains more on the subject.