Misinformation on Misinformation with Dr. Alta

We hear a lot about the problems with misinformation but is it possible that there is misinformation on misinformation?Misinformation on Misinformation

As it turns out, there is, and I dive into this topic on a recent Causes or Cures Podcast.

This topic is important to me, because I do a lot of work in scicomms and the topic of misinformation (wrong information?) always comes up. And while some want to aggressively go after it, I think we need to be incredibly careful about implementing population-wide policies so as not to, in a democratic nation, encroach on anyone’s rights. And the government certainly should not have a monopoly over information control policies. (Read a history book, and I bet you’ll agree with me.)

I usually don’t blab a lot on the podcast episodes, but I talk a lot on this one. Granted, there is wrong information in numerous areas- politics, health, science, etc… but I can speak on this topic from my work in scicomms and some of the approaches that were used to battle misinformation. So you will hear my opinion in the introduction, which is a bit longer than the other episodes, and the ending. You can also scroll through my health communication section in my blog and read some of the things I’ve written about our approach to what is considered to be wrong information.

On Causes or Cures Episode 145, I chat with “misinformation scientist” Dr. Sacha Altay on what we are getting wrong. This podcast will focus on his and his peers’ paper published in the journal Social Media and Society titled Misinformation on Misinformation: Conceptual and Methodological Challenges. His article identifies 6 big misconceptions about misinformation and provides a lot to think about when it comes to our current approaches to identifying and managing it.

In the podcast, Sacha will discuss some of the biggest misconceptions about misinformation when it comes to prevalence and circulation, as well as misconceptions associated with its impact and reception. Essentially, concerns with how we are measuring its impact and communicating that to the public. He will then discuss how the aforementioned things are associated with misinterpretation of research results. Finally, he will suggest a better path forward when it comes to information control policies.

Dr. Altay  is an experimental psychologist working on misinformation, misperceptions, and (dis)trust. After completing his PhD in Cognitive Science at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, he did a postdoc in Oxford at the Reuters Institute. Also, a fun fact, he opens the podcast by admitting to once upon a time being a conspiracy theorist.

I can talk to anyone and have no issues with processing controversial views, but I realize some folks might.  So, as our approach to wrong information  is a “triggering” topic for many,  I request that you listen with a few deep breaths and a curious mind. If you think you’ll get triggered or distressed, then don’t listen to the podcast. It’s that easy. :)

To listen to the Misinformation Episode, click here! 


As always, thank you for your support with the podcast, whether you shared an episode, subscribed, left a podcast review or hit the support the show link! I really appreciate it and every bit helps me keep the podcast going and keeps it independent! :)

Please also check out some of the other podcast episodes:

Eradicating Polio in Pakistan: Why We Haven’t Done it Yet

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