Innoculating against COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation

The authors of this article state that confronting COVID-19 vaccine misinformation necessitates pre-emptive action to “immunize the public against misinformation”—a process that draws on the concept of psychological inoculation.

Psychological inoculation closely follows the biomedical analogy: just as exposure to a weakened dose of a virus helps the body immunologically resist future infection, so too can preemptively exposing people to a weakened dose of misinformation help people psychologically “resist” that misinformation should it be encountered in the future. Inoculation works by warning people in advance and by cultivating the “cognitive antibodies” they need to withstand misinformation through a process known as refutational preemption (or pre-bunking).

Research has found that such inoculation methods make people less susceptible to—and better able to identify and discern—misinformation

Last modified: March 29, 2021

Language: English