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Information Discernment And Psychophysiological Wellbeing In Response To Misinformed Stigmitisation

Worldwide, people engage with a variety of information outlets to gain insight into world events. To this end, it is not known how mis-information (e.g., websites promoting religious or racist extremism) affects young peoples well-being (including psychological and physical responses).

What is also uncertain is how young peoples level of ability to make judgments about the online information they encounter is a protecting factor against the ill-being (i.e., negative stress responses) that mis-information may cause.

This project seeks to understand how such mis-information influences young peoples psychological, physical, and behavioural reactions to functioning with a person with perceived extremist views. We also wish to find out whether there is a link between these reactions and peoples level of ability to make sound judgements about information they are presented. We expect that young people who are good at making judgements about information will be less affected by people perceived to have extremist views.

We will be working with participants aged 16-24 because they are the most likely users of the Internet and therefore exposed to mis-information on a regular basis, which may result in the development of ill-being, especially through prolonged social media use.  This multidisciplinary project brings together experts across information literacy, user experience, applied psychology and psychophysiological stress reactivity. The team believes that the way that people make judgements about information moderates the relationship between mis-information and cardiovascular responses in stressful social situations.

This research has wide implications for policy makers, educationalists and governments, indicating for the first time that information literacy may have social and physical, as well as educational benefits, and that it should be added to current preventative measures against mis-information.

Meet The Team

Featured work

This research project has contributed to the production of the following items for BBC Bitesize.

What’s so bad about fake news? BBC Bitesize.

Quiz – Debunking Covid-19 mis-information. BBC Bitesize