This boost takes the form of a simple list of tips to assist users in judging the trustworthiness of information online (much like the fast-and-frugal decision trees also examined on this webpage).
A brief step-by-step online tutorial can teach people how to accurately calculate and compare the event rates of two risks (e.g., case-fatality rates for the flu versus COVID-19) by illustrating how to divide the number of key events (e.g., number of deaths among people infected with disease X) by the total number of events (e.g., total number of people infected with disease X).
Digital technologies have revolutionized access to information: it is overabundant, and always within reach. But a person’s attention remains a limited cognitive resource that is only too quickly overwhelmed when confronted with an unlimited supply of information sources. Furthermore, not everything that’s online is what it claims to be, and alongside an abundance of high-quality information, people are also lured into the traps of low-quality, distracting, false, and manipulative information.
Lateral reading is a simple heuristic for online fact-checking: Open multiple tabs in your browser and search the Web to verify the credibility of the information.
Debunking is a refutation strategy that provides corrective information to reduce a specific misconception or false belief. To be effective, debunking must provide detailed refutations, including explanations of why the information is false and what is true instead.
A fact box is a tabular summary of the best available evidence about the benefits and harms of a medical procedure, medical treatment, or health behavior.
Inoculation (also known as prebunking) is a preemptive intervention that boosts people’s resilience to false and misleading information and manipulation online. Inoculation involves exposure to a weakened form of common disinformation and manipulation strategies.
Unlike conditional probabilities, natural frequencies are not normalized with respect to the base rates. They therefore make it easier for people to apply Bayes’s rule to determine, for instance, how likely it is that a person who tests positive for breast cancer does, in fact, have the disease (i.e., the posterior probability of the disease given a positive test result).
The way information travels on social media networks is a complex, self-organized process. The original source of information and the path it took can be difficult—if not impossible—to find. A network pop-up traces this path all the way back to the beginning and visualizes the involved actors in a network representation.
Self-nudging is a technique derived from behavioral science that anyone can use to enhance self-governance. Self-nudging involves making simple changes to one’s own personal environment—like keeping cookies at the back of a top shelf to resist sugar cravings, or turning off smartphone notifications when working to a deadline.
Self-nudging online refers to self-imposed interventions in one’s proximal digital choice architecture aimed at enhancing self-governance and lowering distractions.
The fast-and-frugal decision tree (FFT) ‘Can you trust this information?’ is an example of a simple tool for deciding whether or not to trust a piece of information encountered online. It uses three key questions: (a) ‘Who is behind this information?’ (b) ‘What is the evidence?’ (c) ‘What do other sources say?’
Taking its cue from inoculation and learning from experience, self-reflection helps people see through manipulation strategies that are deployed online. The boost thereby increases people’s autonomy online, where precisely targeted advertisement can be manipulative and subtle.
Knowing how to construct natural frequency trees out of probability information helps people successfully make Bayesian inferences (e.g., to understand what a positive test result really means).
The news feed plays an important role in how people consume and share information. The algorithms that curate news feeds guide users through the information landscape; if designed transparently and allow the user to interact with the sorting algorithm, news feed algorithms can increase users’ autonomy.