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Fighting Misinformation, Meet Andy Norman, Who is Empowering People to Combat Fake News


At a time when fake news is in abundance, through social media and other forms, there is a need for mental immunity against such misinformation. Andy Norman, an author is helping people to develop immunity to combat fake news.

Andy Norman, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of Mental Immunity: Infectious Ideas, Mind-Parasites, and the Search for a Better Way to Think. He has started a human immunity program in the US, that aims to help people to eradicate disinformation.

Norman believes that if mental immunity is strong then disinformation theory will fail. Andy directs the Humanism Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University and is the founder of the Cognitive Immunology Research Collaborative (CIRCE).

His work has appeared in various international journals. His research illuminates the evolutionary origins of human reasoning, the norms that make dialogue fruitful, and the workings of the mind’s immune system. He claims that the emerging science of mental immunity can be an antidote to disinformation, propaganda, hate, and division.

His books help to develop mental immunity. Andy also stresses the theory of pre-bunking fake news. Now, one may ask what is pre-bunking fake news? So, fake news is debunked after it is published but pre-bunking works beforehand.

Norman says, “Suppose there is the possibility of disinformation in any given situation, authorities should come up with ideas to float information countering them beforehand.” Speaking to News18 Andy said, “I wrote Mental Immunity when I realized that, in the digital age, critical thinking skills are not enough. We are now exposed, to so many information hazards—cancelation, conspiracy theories, propaganda, digital disinformation campaigns, viral memes, etc—and we need a whole new way of thinking about the problem. I set out years ago to find it. “

He added, that, “I learned a new way of thinking about the problem by borrowing from the biological sciences. And now, a genuine science of mental immunity is emerging, partly due to my efforts. In the book, I work out the conceptual foundations of cognitive immunology and argue for developing and applying the science in a systematic fashion. The idea is that we can do a much better job of protecting vulnerable minds from mis and disinformation. Real health in the digital age requires proper care of the mind’s immune system”

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