Cognitive Cascades: How to Model (and Potentially Counter) the Spread of Fake News

April 6, 2022
12:00-1:30 pm ET
Cummings 180 - must preregister
Speaker: Nick Rabb
Host: CSPP


Understanding the spread of false or dangerous beliefs—often called misinformation or disinformation—through a population has never seemed so urgent. We introduce a cognitive cascade model that combines a network science belief cascade approach with an internal cognitive model of the individual agents as in opinion diffusion models as a public opinion diffusion (POD) model, adding media institutions as agents which begin opinion cascades. We show that the model, even with a very simplistic belief function to capture cognitive effects cited in disinformation study (dissonance and exposure), adds expressive power over existing cascade models, and serves to investigate the complex phenomena underlying belief in disinformation.

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