This course name and description ONLY applies to academic year 2021-2022

PSY 13181-2: How to Detect Fake News and Other Pseudoscientific Baloney

Instructor: Gerald Haeffel

Everyday we are bombarded with information from social media, TV, and radio. Some of this information is accurate and some of it is not. Distinguishing between fact and fiction has become increasingly difficult, and the negative consequences of getting it wrong are increasingly evident (e.g., attacks on the U.S. Capital, anti-vaccination, etc.). This course will teach you the scientific and critical thinking skills needed to properly evaluate the information you encounter in the world. We will use social, cognitive, and clinical psychological science to understand topics such as: why some people believe in conspiracy theories; why misinformation spreads faster than truthful information; why facts fail to change people’s opinions; why you shouldn’t trust your gut; why no one is immune to false beliefs (not even Nobel prize winners!); and why science is the antidote for misinformation.