This page serves a bespoke information need - to inform other SOMA members and Truly Media platform users of the purpose of a new 'Collection' which will appear in the Truly Media Dashboard.
NTCenter has been exploring the issue of misinformation and disinformation from a slightly different perspective. Instead of focusing on the news cycle, media and politics, we study the effects and impact once disinformation leaves the TV screens and goes - in varying degree - into sleeper mode, only to be revived when a learner performs a search for keywords that make this information relevant again. We thought the best we could do was to study the problem and come with potential solutions, and for this we needed proper understanding of the cognitive mechanisms that come into play for this process to happen.
So, we started extensive research and reading that went into fields such as newuroscience, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and even human evolutioary biology. Some 2-3 years into this journey, we wrote a project and invited some of our closest partners to work together on developing solutions. We already had some ideas, deeply routed in science, which we thought would form the basis of our work. And they did. We identified 4 key pillars: Frames as thinking contexts, Motivated cognition, Sysmetic causality, Equivalency and emphasis frames.
We built a comprehensive new framework of disinformation within the De Facto project. We developed a collection of 35 case studies for immediate use in class, and a training programme for educators on how to produce more themselves. All using the 4 pillars and a smart structure of methods, learning activities and tools.
The results we see are remarkable. Just as science told us, people would literally rewire their brains once we showed them in detail how the cognitive processes work. Basically, what we did was equivalent to drawing an image, a schema, and giving it a name. We show what triggers emotional or physical response, we point to the weaknesses in our brain defenses, we demonstrate how we willingly deceive ourselves. And people change. With training interventions of between 6 hours and 4 days, we are flooded with reports of sustainable behavioural change with regard to habits related to working with information. This goes beyond our wildest expectations.
The way forward is even more exciting, and we have half a dozen project ideas in the pipeline - we will be happy to share these and other ideas with you in due time.
But now we want to propose and experiment - and we have discussed this at length wiht the guys at SOMA. In the next few weeks, we will be using the Truly Media platform as a tool where we will start by focusing on several investigative collections on which you guys have worked on already. With the help of SOMA, we picked two areas: Covid-19 and 5G conspiracy theories.
Here is what we are planing to do, and the stages that we plan to go through so that we make it happen.
What we call an experiment is actually a simple case of demonstrating our approach and process and finding out if it is of use to you. If so, we will be interested to understand how exactly it complements and makes your investigative work more robust and comprehensive, and what else we might be looking at developing, extending or improving.
We currently plan the following stages:
- We will review the content from the existing collections for the 2 selected topics. And we will pull this selection into a new one. At this stage we ask you to not engage with the new collection in the way you usually do. We will make an announcement when we are ready to start!
- For the selected content, we will explain in detail the cognitive layer behind the disinformation or manipulation attempt. We are working on the precise way to link those explanations to the resources, but we are sure we will find an appropriate solution in the platfom.
- At this point we suggest that we organise a video call with those of who who are interested in the experiment.
- We will expect that you guys, our partners at SOMA, follow our work and we engage in furter explanation and discussions.
- Doing this several times will allow those of you who actively participate and engage to build up initial understanding of the underlying processes and at the same time start bulding defenses.
- The defense building stage is an automatic process - think of it as empowerment, where by experiencing, guided learning and interacting, your brain will enable a new mode of cognitive operations, new behavioural patterns for working with ALL information.
- We will be happy to expand the resource base and the topics on which we can work together.
- In a few months' time, we'd be happy to sit together and discuss the benefits and possible developments of tools and approaches invoking and expanding the cognitive layer. Another video call might be in order.
We can not put a timeline to these stages. It will depend on many variables, most of which are beyond our present knowledge: the degree of collaboration in the platform, the levels of engagement, the intensity and depth of the discussions, the number of collaborators, the challenges which may come up. But we are willing to try, and we already know we are in good company.