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    John Cook

    Global Change Institute, University of Queensland

    Web: http://www.skeptialsiene.o!

    "!ail: #ohn$skeptialsiene.o!

    %hone: &'( ) **'+ *++*

    Myth DebunkingA Tool for Education & ScienceCommunication

    Ullrich EckerCognitive Science Laboratories The University of !estern Australia

    "ohn Cook#lobal Change $nstitute The University of %ueensland

    Stehan Le'ando'sky

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    Coyright

    ( Ecker Cook & Le'ando'sky )*+,*-ullrich.ecker/u'a.edu.au

    This resentation is licensed under theCreative Commons Attribution01onCommercial0ShareAlike 2.+ UnortedLicense. To vie' a coy of this license visithtt344creativecommons.org4licenses4by0nc0sa42.+4.

    You are free to coy distribute transmit and adat the 'ork under the followingconditions:

    Attribution5 6ou must attribute the 'ork as seci7ed in the follo'ing )but not in any'ay that suggests that the original authors endorse you or your use of the 'ork-3

    Cite as Ecker Cook & Le'ando'sky )*+,*-. Myth DebunkingA Tool for Education& Science Communication. Available at '''.cogsci'a.com.

    8etain the footer )including university logos- 'hen incororating individual slidesinto your resentation4ublication.

    Noncommercial5 6ou may not use this 'ork for commercial uroses.

    Share Alike5 $f you alter transform or build uon this 'ork you may distribute theresulting 'ork only under the same or similar license to this one.

    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/http://www.cogsciwa.com/http://www.cogsciwa.com/http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
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    The Authors

    Dr Ullrich Ecker is an Australian 9ostdoctoral :ello' funded by the Australian 8esearch Council at theUniversity of Australia;s School of 9sychology.

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    A 8evie'3 Le'ando'sky et al.)*+,*- in Psychological Science in

    the Public InterestFor an authoritative review of the literature on misinformation, please see:Lewandowsky, cker, Seifert, Schwar!, " #ook $%&'%() *isinformation and its correction:#ontinued in+uence and successful debiasing) Psychological Science in the Public Interest,

    13, '&-'.')

    Abstract:The 'idesread revalence and ersistence of misinformation in contemorary societies such as the falsebelief that there is a link bet'een childhood vaccinations and autism is a matter of ublic concern. :or eamle themyths surrounding vaccinations 'hich romted some arents to 'ithhold immuni>ation from their children have led

    to a marked increase in vaccine0reventable disease as 'ell as unnecessary ublic eenditure on research andublic0information camaigns aimed at rectifying the situation.

    !e 7rst eamine the mechanisms by 'hich such misinformation is disseminated in society both inadvertently andurosely. Misinformation can originate from rumors but also from 'orks of 7ction governments and oliticians andvested interests. Moreover changes in the media landscae including the arrival of the $nternet have fundamentallyinuenced the 'ays in 'hich information is communicated and misinformation is sread.

    !e net move to misinformation at the level of the individual and revie' the cognitive factors that often rendermisinformation resistant to correction. !e consider ho' eole assess the truth of statements and 'hat makes eolebelieve certain things but not others. !e look at eole;s memory for misinformation and ans'er the Buestions of 'hyretractions of misinformation are so ineective in memory udating and 'hy eorts to retract misinformation can even

    back7re and ironically increase misbelief. Though ideology and ersonal 'orldvie's can be [email protected] obstacles fordebiasing there nonetheless are a number of eective techniBues for reducing the imact of misinformation and 'eay secial attention to these factors that aid in debiasing.

    !e conclude by roviding seci7c recommendations for the debunking of misinformation. These recommendationsertain to the 'ays in 'hich corrections should be designed structured and alied in order to maimi>e their imact.#rounded in cognitive sychological theory these recommendations may hel ractitioners5including @ournalistshealth rofessionals educators and science communicators5design eective misinformation retractions educationaltools and ublic0information camaigns.

    ( Ecker Cook & Le'ando'sky )*+,*-ullrich.ecker/u'a.edu.au

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    Misinformation3 !hy is it imortant

    Decisions are based on information

    Misinformation leads to bad decisions

    Simle retractions of misinformationare ineFcient

    ( Ecker Cook & Le'ando'sky )*+,*-ullrich.ecker/u'a.edu.au

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    $neFcient 8etractions

    Eamle ,- USA *++23 Many tentative media reorts of

    !MD discoveries during $raB invasion

    - All retracted- 1onetheless substantial roortion of

    oulace continued to believe that !MD;s hadbeen found )?ull et al. *++2-

    ( Ecker Cook & Le'ando'sky )*+,*-ullrich.ecker/u'a.edu.au

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    Eamle *- U? ,GGH3 Claim that a certain vaccine causes

    autism

    - 8etracted- 1onetheless substantial and long0lasting dro

    in vaccination rates leading to hositali>ationand even death of many children )='ens *++*I 9oland& "acobsen *+,,-

    $neFcient 8etractions

    ( Ecker Cook & Le'ando'sky )*+,*-ullrich.ecker/u'a.edu.au

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    Jmaybe eole missed the

    retraction

    Lab research sho's that eolecontinue to rely on misinformationeven- 'hen they understand the retraction

    - 'hen they correctly remember the retraction

    - 'hen they have no reason to believe one event versionor the other

    )Ecker et al. *+,+ *+,,a *+,,bI "ohnson & Seifert ,GGK-

    ( Ecker Cook & Le'ando'sky )*+,*-ullrich.ecker/u'a.edu.au

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    Eamle)Ecker et al. *+,,bI "ohnson & Seifert ,GGKI !ilkes & Leatherbarro' ,GHH-

    9eole 7rst read3- J1egligent storage of gas cylinders caused a

    7reJ

    Then the retraction3- J9olice have con7rmed there 'as no

    evidence of gas cylinders or negligencecausing the 7reJ

    ( Ecker Cook & Le'ando'sky )*+,*-ullrich.ecker/u'a.edu.au

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    Eamle) Ecker et al. *+,,b-

    Nerbatim resonses of a erson tolater Buestions3- !hat 'as the content of the olice

    message That there !ere no gas cylinders in"ol"ed#$

    - !hat caused the elosions

    The gas cylinders#$

    ( Ecker Cook & Le'ando'sky )*+,*-ullrich.ecker/u'a.edu.au

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    !hy

    !hy do eole 7nd it diFcult tounlearn i.e. removemisinformation

    ( Ecker Cook & Le'ando'sky )*+,*-ullrich.ecker/u'a.edu.au

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    etrations Create a Gap

    *Y/0

    1emovinga myth leavesa gap

    2eople hate gaps38emovedmisinformation is

    actually still inmemory and eole

    use it even 'hen theykno' it is 'rongQ

    ( Ecker Cook & Le'ando'sky )*+,*-ullrich.ecker/u'a.edu.au

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    ill the Gap

    FACT

    1eplacewith alternativenarrative

    45nless4

    The ga can be7lled 'ith lausible

    alternativeinformation

    ( Ecker Cook & Le'ando'sky )*+,*-ullrich.ecker/u'a.edu.au

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    Eamle)Ecker et al. *+,,bI "ohnson & Seifert ,GGK-

    9eole 7rst read3- J1egligent storage of gas cylinders caused a

    7reJ

    Then a retraction including acausal alternative3- J9olice have con7rmed there 'as no

    evidence of gas cylinders or negligencecausing the 7reJ

    - 64but arson materials have beenfound47

    ( Ecker Cook & Le'ando'sky )*+,*-ullrich.ecker/u'a.edu.au

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    +

    ,

    *

    2

    K

    O

    1o08etraction

    8etraction

    8etractionPAlternative

    8eferencestoa9ieceof)M

    is-$nformation

    Continued $nuence after a 8etractionEcker et al. )*+,,a-

    ( Ecker Cook & Le'ando'sky )*+,*-ullrich.ecker/u'a.edu.au

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    "le!ent ( of an "ffetive 0ebunking

    Create a

    ga 'ith aretraction

    :ill the ga

    'ith afactual

    alternative

    ( Ecker Cook & Le'ando'sky )*+,*-ullrich.ecker/u'a.edu.au

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    The Curiosity #a

    $f you retract a myth in someone;shead the ga is obvious.

    Rut sometimes eole are una'areof their kno'ledge gas.

    ( Ecker Cook & Le'ando'sky )*+,*-ullrich.ecker/u'a.edu.au

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    %ight sticky

    ideas !ith

    stickier ideas#$The Curiosity#a3#enerate

    curiosity byointing outkno'ledge

    gasI then 7llthose gas

    ( Ecker Cook & Le'ando'sky )*+,*-ullrich.ecker/u'a.edu.au

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    Create aga 'ith aretraction

    :ill the ga'ith afactual

    alternative

    9oint out a ga

    to generatecuriosity

    :ill the ga

    'ithans'ers toBuestions

    "le!ent ( of an "ffetive 0ebunking

    ( Ecker Cook & Le'ando'sky )*+,*-ullrich.ecker/u'a.edu.au

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    8etractions can back7re

    The last th

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