January 18, 2023
Hearts and Minds in a Digital Landscape:
What Shapes Individuals’ Sensitivity to Misinformation?
Erin Gibbs Van Brunschot is a Professor of Sociology and Vice Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Calgary. Her primary research interests are in the realms of crime, risk, security, and social control, with specific interests in how individuals, organizations, agencies, and states orient to threats and how responses diverge and converge. Her current projects focus on information and security, crime risk management, policing, victimization, and terrorism.
Jean-Christophe Boucher is an Associate Professor at the School of Public Policy and at the Department of political science at the University of Calgary. His current work focuses on applied machine learning to understand how the digital world shapes our society. He is currently responsible for projects funded by the Department of National Defence (DND) to study information operations; the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to understand civil-military relations in Canada. He specializes in international relations, with an emphasis on foreign policy, international security, and data analytics.
As our lives become intertwined with digital technologies, the information environment is increasingly confrontational, particularly on social media platforms. The current conflict in Ukraine demonstrates daily how strategic communication is now an essential aspect of modern warfare, using narratives and images to bolster domestic and international support, as well as spread confusion and undermine the morale of adversaries.
As such, mis/disinformation is a menace to democratic resiliency as it limits the ability of citizens to access verified information and for governments to find the needed public support to engage in policymaking. Thus, democracies are now investing significant resources to understand better what factors increase the susceptibility of their citizens for mis/disinformation.