Mental models: misinformation and truth

“A mental model is a form of mental representation for mechanical–causal domains that affords explanations for these domains. Mental models contain mental representations of objects in space and the causal relations among the objects. The structure of the mental representation corresponds to the structure of the world. This analogical relation allows the mental model to make successful predictions about events in the world. The term…

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Propaganda and deception in politics

Propaganda “is communication that is deliberately designed by one group in society to influence the attitudes and behavior of others. It often uses symbolism and rhetoric and appeals to the emotional and irrational aspects of our sensibility” (Propaganda. (2006). In D. G. Lilleker, Key concepts in political communication. Sage UK.). Propaganda has been around for thousands of years, since at least the time of the…

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Buying into conspiracy theories can be exciting – that’s what makes them dangerous

Donovan Schaefer, University of Pennsylvania (from The Conversation) Conspiracy theories have been around for centuries, from witch trials and antisemitic campaigns to beliefs that Freemasons were trying to topple European monarchies. In the mid-20th century, historian Richard Hofstadter described a “paranoid style” that he observed in right-wing U.S. politics and culture: a blend of “heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy.” But the “golden age” of…

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The power of propaganda

Propaganda “is communication that is deliberately designed by one group in society to influence the attitudes and behavior of others. It often uses symbolism and rhetoric and appeals to the emotional and irrational aspects of our sensibility” (Propaganda. (2006). In D. G. Lilleker, Key concepts in political communication. Sage UK.). Propaganda has been around for thousands of years, since at least the time of the Pharoahs…

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Knowledge and understanding can overcome fear and anxiety

If you believe all of social media or follow politically-aligned media outlets, we live in a scary world. Yet, many people throughout history have felt the same at the times they lived. War, disease, natural disasters, famine, political upheaval, economic crashes, and on and on. It may seem to us that we are living in especially perilous times with the world literally at a knife’s…

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Facial recognition technology: privacy and political orientation

There is growing concern that the widespread use of facial recognition technology has led and will lead to the decline of privacy and civil liberties. CCTV cameras and huge databases of facial images–taken from sources such as social media and ID card registers–make it easy to identify individuals as well as track their movements and social interactions. Plus, “facial recognition can be used without subjects’…

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