Institut Jean Nicod
Title: Humans aren't gullible: evidence from psychology and social science
Abstract: It is often thought that humans are gullible, easily manipulated by demagogues, advertisers, and politicians. I will argue that the opposite is true: humans are equipped with a set of psychological mechanisms that allow them to properly evaluate communicated information, and to reject information that is false or harmful. I will rely on experimental psychology data, as well as studies showing the failures of mass persuasion, from Nazi propaganda to American presidential campaigns. I will also offer explanations for the success of some misconceptions—from pizzagate to flat earth—that are not based on credulity.