Health misinformation: the barriers to its recognition by information consumers and the limits to the concept of medical “truth"

As mass communications facilitate the dissemination of messages, both true and false, wrong or inaccurate medical information is increasingly leading to large-scale social consequences.

Some examples are: mass refusal of vaccination during the COVID pandemic in some countries and harmful governmental policies, such as withdrawal of any evidence-based treatment of AIDS in South Africa by the Mbeki government.

What factors can help information consumers to detect misinformation, especially in the spheres that require scientific knowledge? And what are the barriers to this? In this lecture Dr Olessia Koltsova, Oxford Martin Visiting Fellow on the Oxford Martin Programme on Misinformation, Science & Media, will discuss the role of fact checking, media expertise, confirmation bias and social clues in identification of false messages by media users. She will also talk about the problematic character of the concept of truth in science-related media messages.

This talk will be followed by a drinks reception, all welcome.

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