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Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme


Cecilie Steenbuch Traberg


Department of Psychology, St Edmund's College

PhD thesis: De-biasing Public Judgements and Behaviour in Relation to Deceptive Information: Developing a socio-cognitive model and intervention 

Research interests 
1. Persuasion
2. Misinformation
3. Social Influence 
4. Judgment and Decision-making 

My PhD focuses on the social and cognitive processes underlying persuasion by misinformation. Promising research has found that individuals can be ‘psychologically vaccinated’ against misinformation through interventions, but to date, this research has largely neglected the social context of modern news consumption. My aim is to develop a model of persuasion by misinformation, which will be utilized to both create new and improve current educational tools that seek to train individual skills in detection of misinformation. Through my PhD, I aim to address three issues necessary to improve the efficacy of these interventions: Firstly, my research will investigate the role of social context on the cognitive process of persuasion by misinformation. Secondly, my project will examine whether persuasion can occur despite recognition of deception and how this can be prevented. Finally, my project will explore how we can confer not just resistance to persuasion, but also prevent sharing of misinformation. 


Who or what inspired you to pursue your research interests?

I was inspired to pursue my research interests by the immense global threat posed by misinformation, the diffusion and distribution of which has been rapidly accelerated by social media. My previous degrees and work experience within marketing and social cognition equipped me with insights on methods individuals may employ to influence others for personal or organisational gain. Gaining awareness of the ‘dark side’ of persuasion motivated me to conduct my MPhil and PhD project, in which I employ my skills to tackle one of the world’s greatest exemplars of harmful social influence, misinformation, through exploring this from the receiver’s perspective.