dealing with fake news



Prevent polarisation through insight in human thinking and behaviour

The human brain is vulnerable to fake news. Once false convictions have taken hold, it is almost impossible to convince people of correct views by giving them objective information. This is why effective persuasion in a post-truth world requires knowledge about the functioning of the brain and about how human behaviour comes about.

Why should you attend?

  • We investigate why the human brain is vulnerable to fake news.
  • Why it is often so difficult to convince people using rational facts and objective information?
  • We explore what approaches you should use to convince people in a post-truth world.
  • How can you bypass the so-called backfire effect?

In this workshop, we investigate why people are so vulnerable to fake news and why – once people have accepted false beliefs – it becomes nearly impossible to convince them using rational facts and objective information. Often these attempts even have an adverse effect. In psychology this phenomenon is known as the backfire effect.


The backfire effect is problematic: It implies that the current approach used by mainstream media – namely to use fact-checking to disperse fake news – will not provide a structural solution to the problem.


So how dó we address these problems? In this workshop, insights from various disciplines, such as social psychology, behavioural economics and neuroscience, are discussed.


We explore what approaches are effective in convincing people in a post-truth world and how we can bypass the backfire effect.

  • On the one hand, we examine solutions that affect our system 1 thinking: our emotions and our primary brain.
  • On the other hand, it is also possible to convince effectively through more rational system 2 thinking. We look at both options.

For whom?

  • anyone interested in influencing effectively
  • anyone interested in effective communication
  • policy makers & staff
  • communication officers & staff



  • 1 day
  • up to 10 participants
  • made to measure


Training methods

  • Interactive knowledge transfer
  • Exercises, models and cases


The training is interactive. The use of exercises and cases allows participants to apply the new insights into their own work.

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