Protecting democracy from disinformation: Implications for a model of communication | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1757-1952
  • E-ISSN: 1757-1960

Abstract

This article analyses the consequences that disinformation phenomena have for a model of communication, focusing on the dangers that disinformation poses to democratic societies, especially when it is disseminated by the media. Disinformation is examined here from the perspective of social cognitive psychology, with special attention to the role played by motivated reasoning and confirmation bias in human cognition. From this perspective, disinformation phenomena should be studied not only through an analysis of how the media operate, but also through an understanding of how we process information and what we use it for from a social cognitive point of view. This article emphasizes the role that intuition and affective persuasion play in communication processes, as key elements of motivated reasoning, and argues that once this cognitive dimension is integrated into communication theory, preventive strategies can be designed to protect democracies from the dangers caused by disinformation. Ideological polarization and a lack of consensus are highlighted here as being among the biggest dangers, preventing agreement on issues that affect the proper functioning of democracy. While a certain conception of communication posits reasoning, the media and education as the tools for resolving conflicts and preventing disagreements, this article concludes that the success of disinformation phenomena points to the need for a model that includes the cognitive elements mentioned above.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (Award PID2019-107748RB-I00)
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2023-08-01
2023-09-25
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