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Inoculating against COVID-19 misinformation

When people are isolated and rely on social media as a source for news, misinformation can spread. In turn, unreliable information can affect how people behave and may even increase their risk of becoming infected with COVID-19.

Dice showing words 'fact' and 'fake'

A new project supported by the Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council will look at how people respond to misinformation about COVID-19 and will explore a range of interventions to reduce the spread of such misinformation.
 
What is the issue?
 
COVID-19 has been accompanied by a wave of misinformation that can undermine public health guidance and may even compromise public safety.
 
What will the research project do?
 
This project will look at why people accept misinformation about COVID-19, and will examine the effectiveness of cognitive interventions to reduce the spread of COVID-19-related misinformation. 
 
What will the impact be?
 
By identifying ways to stop the spread and impact of misinformation about COVID-19, the research will help to support public health guidance.
 
Lead Researcher Dr Ciara Greene, Associate Professor in UCD School of Psychology, says: 
 
“Understanding why people believe in, share or act on misinformation is critical to slowing its spread. The interventions developed in this project will give people the tools to evaluate information and become more critical consumers of news media. In doing so, we hope to empower citizens to protect themselves and their families from public health threats.”
 
Lead Researcher: Associate Professor Ciara Greene, University College Dublin

Other team member: Dr Gillian Murphy, School of Applied Psychology, University College Cork