BLUFWe’ve heard a lot about the search for herd immunity against COVID-19. A similar phenomenon protects us against bad ideas—‘cognitive’ herd immunity—where misinformation slows because it increasingly encounters minds that are prepared to fend it off.
This article by Nicholas Agar, writing for ABC-Australia, makes the following points:
- There is a link between a population’s cognitive herd immunity and herd immunity against the coronavirus.
- We’ve seen scientists struggle to get their message about the safety of vaccines through to enough people to achieve increasing vaccination thresholds.
- Once the beliefs that vaccines are dangerous or that COVID-19 is a fiction invented by ‘Big Pharma’ become entrenched, it is difficult to get people to change their minds.
- Social media is part of the problem. Its messages penetrate our cognitive defences and can amplify our fears about vaccines.
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References from the Web:
- MAY 2021 Anxious About Vaccines? Cognitive Psychology Can Help—Psychology Today
- NOV 2021 How cognitive biases and adverse events influence vaccine decisions (maybe even your own)—The Conversation