Modeling Disinformation and How the Models Model Us

February 3, 2023
12:00-1:15pm ET
Lincoln-Filene Hall, #201
Speaker: Nicholas Rabb


Disinformation is one of the most widely discussed political issues in the United States, while simultaneously being one of the least understood. The question of, "why does someone believe X over Y?", while often believed to be only a technology issue, spans psychology, philosophy, political science, social theory, and more. Such a complex question begs an answer that speaks to each of those areas, yet the prominent answers across disciplines lack interdisciplinary analysis, manifesting in models of disinformation infused with assumptions taken from dominant social logics: individualism, economic rationalism, American Exceptionalism, etc. Through lessons learned from my current PhD research computationally modeling disinformation, this talk speculates about why this is the case, makes an argument for interdisciplinary research as a solution, and presents an interdisciplinary model of disinformation that flips the dominant understanding on its head.