The Debunking Handbook

Source: Skeptical Science

Author(s): John Cook, Stephan Lewandowsky

Year: 2012

Excerpt:

The Debunking Handbook, a guide to debunking misinformation, is now freely available to download. Although there is a great deal of psychological research on misinformation, there’s no summary of the literature that offers practical guidelines on the most effective ways of reducing the influence of myths. The Debunking Handbook boils the research down into a short, simple summary, intended as a guide for communicators in all areas (not just climate) who encounter misinformation.
The Handbook explores the surprising fact that debunking myths can sometimes reinforce the myth in peoples’ minds. Communicators need to be aware of the various backfire effects and how to avoid them, such as:

  • The Familiarity Backfire Effect
  • The Overkill Backfire Effect
  • The Worldview Backfire Effect

It also looks at a key element to successful debunking: providing an alternative explanation. The Handbook is designed to be useful to all communicators who have to deal with misinformation (eg – not just climate myths).

Talk.Eco recommends visiting the Skeptical Science site to pick up this handbook in other languages.

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