Seeking to understand the conflict between global change and human cognition

I am a cognitive scientist at the University of Bristol. My research explores these major streams:

  • People’s responses to misinformation and propaganda, and how corrections affect our memory.
  • Why people reject well-established scientific facts, such as climate change or the effectiveness of vaccinations.
  • The potential conflict between the architecture of our online information ecosystem and democracy.

More biographical information is available here.

Email Stephan Lewandowsky

I lead the Technology, Cognition and Democracy Group (TeDCog) and am currently PI for the following projects:

Reclaiming individual autonomy and democratic discourse online We aim to develop cognitively and technologically sound solutions to restore people’s autonomy online.

JitsuVAX We develop tools to train and assist healthcare professionals to confront vaccine-related misinformation.

PRODEMINFO We examine how people’s differing conceptions of “truth” can be used to design interventions to protect democratic discourse.

JIGSAW/Inoculation Science We use inoculation theory to develop scalable interventions to protect online consumers against misleading and false information.

The Mercury Project We develop and test interventions to assist people in distinguishing between true and false information, and we equip practitioners with adaptable toolkits to help them reduce misinformation.

SoMe4DEM We reconsider the diagnoses of democracy in crisis by examining the impact of social media on political debates and developing tools to improve their contribution to the functioning of the public arena in a liberal democracy.

The Misinformation Future—Confronting Emerging Threats Misinformation presents challenges to public health and democracy. Though psychological research has explored processing mechanisms and countermeasures, new threats are arising that need to be confronted. This project aims to help meet these threats by (a) investigating misinformation impacts on future-oriented cognition and behaviours, with a focus on global long-term issues and (b) addressing the unique challenges posed by visual and synthetic (AI-generated) misinformation.

The following projects have been completed:

REPHRAIN We address fundamental tensions and imbalances pertaining to protecting citizens online. The REPHRAIN project remains ongoing but our input has been completed.

Honesty Project We identify factors that determine how people view honesty, and what we might do to make accuracy matter again.