Tuesday, January 25, 2022

February 9 - Protecting the Public from Misinformation: Inoculating with a Weakened Form of Misinformation

Presented by John Cook,  postdoctoral research fellow with the Climate Change Communication Research Hub at Monash University.

Feb 9, 2022, 7:00 PM (Note non-standard day and time). This replaces our Saturday talk for February

Link to live stream:


The public are overwhelmed with misinformation and conspiracy theories, causing confusion about important issues such as climate change, vaccination, and COVID-19. How do we respond to the firehose of falsehoods? One way to effectively neutralize the influence of misinformation and pseudoscience is logic-based inoculation. This applies the idea of vaccination to knowledge—we can build immunity to misinformation by exposing people to a weakened form of misinformation. In other words, explain the misleading techniques used in misinformation. Dr. John Cook will outline his psychological and critical thinking research into inoculation and how he has used gamification and cartoons to overcome some of the psychological hurdles facing scientists and educators.

John Cook is a postdoctoral research fellow with the Climate Change Communication Research Hub at Monash University. His research focus is on using critical thinking to build resilience against misinformation. In 2007, he founded Skeptical Science, a website that won the 2011 Australia Museum Eureka Prize for the Advancement of Climate Change Knowledge. In 2020, he published the book Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change applying critical thinking, inoculation research, and cartoons to engage and educate readers about climate misinformation. He recently released the Cranky Uncle game, combining critical thinking, cartoons, and gamification to build players’ resilience against misinformation. He currently works with organizations like Facebook and NASA to develop evidence-based responses to climate misinformation.

Questions from the audience will be entered into Live Chat and then relayed to the speaker.