Why People Believe Fake News, Myths, & Conspiracy Theories: Brendan Nyhan at JFN2018

Misperceptions about politics, healthcare, and other subjects can undermine public debate and distort people’s choices and behavior. Why do people hold false or unsupported beliefs and why is it so difficult to change their minds? Drawing on a wide range of issues, from historical memory in the Middle East to the spread of "fake news", Professor Brendan Nyhan presents findings from his scientific research examining the difficulty of correcting false or unsupported beliefs, the reasons for this resistance, and how to most effectively counter it.

Joanna Landau, JFN member and Founder & CEO of Vibe Israel, introduces Prof. Nyhan and responds to him.

Brendan Nyhan is a professor in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College. His research focuses on misperceptions about politics and health care. Before coming to Dartmouth, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan. Brendan has also been a contributor to the New York Times website, The Upshot, since its launch in 2014. He previously served a media critic for Columbia Journalism Review; co-edited Spinsanity, a non-partisan watchdog of political spin that was syndicated in Salon and the Philadelphia Inquirer; and co-authored All the President’s Spin, a New York Times bestseller.