Misinformation and disinformation are widespread and having adverse effects on individuals’ health decisions. How can we address the problem?
Why do so many individuals persist in believing ideas that are contrary to established science—even at the risk of their own health? Outside of his work as CEO and chief scientific officer at Franklin Behavioral Health Consultants, Jack M. Gorman, MD, focuses on counteracting the widespread misinformation and disinformation about health and science at Critica, a nonprofit organization he cofounded that is dedicated to improving public understanding of science and health.
In this installment of More Than Medicine, Gorman discusses the psychology, sociology, and neurobiology of science denial, from the roles of confirmation bias, group membership, and inaccurate risk perception to the emotionally driven parts of the brain that often suppress the prefrontal cortex at times when individuals are under significant stress. He also discusses Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us—which he coauthored with Sara E. Gorman, PhD, MPH—and how his team of “infodemiologists” at Critica are counteracting misinformation online and helping individuals make rational decisions about major health issues such as COVID-19 vaccines.
Dr Gorman is CEO and chief scientific officer at Franklin Behavioral Health Consultants and coauthor—with Sara E. Gorman, PhD, MPH—of Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us. He and Gorman are also cofounders of Critica Inc, a community committed to making rational decisions about health and security. In a culture dominated by polarizing politics, and an abundance of unchecked misinformation, Critica exists to revolutionize the role of science in making rational health decisions.