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A cognitive scientist explains why humans are so susceptible to fake news and misinformation

A cognitive scientist explains why humans are so susceptible to fake news and misinformation
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How fake news gets into our minds, and what you can do to resist it.

Although the term itself is not new, fake news presents a growing threat for societies across the world. Only a small amount of fake news is needed to disrupt a conversation, and at extremes it can have an impact on democratic processes, including elections.

But what can we do to avoid fake news, at a time when we could be waiting a while for mainstream media and social networks to step up and address the problem?

From a psychology perspective, an important step in tackling fake news is to understand why it gets into our mind. We can do this by examining how memory works and how memories become distorted. Using this viewpoint generates some tips you can use to work out whether you’re reading or sharing fake news.

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