Disinformation, Midterms, and the Mind

Journalism and democracy have been upended by the growth of mis- and dis-information. Countering it effectively requires understanding why people are susceptible, targeted, and how they can become more resilient. Psychological research can teach journalists how to prebunk disinformation and convey credibility in ways that readers, viewers, and listeners can process, which is more essential than ever as November’s elections near.

Join the National Press Club Journalism Institute, the American Psychological Association, and PEN America to learn how to use these strategies for coverage that informs and empowers your community as it prepares to vote and to discuss the ways disinformation has affected the practice of journalism. The program, which will be held on Zoom, will begin at 11:30 a.m. ET and be followed by a Q&A session.

Participants will learn:

  • How misinformation and disinformation is impacting journalists and newsrooms, including findings from a recent PEN America survey
  • The latest scientific research from the nation’s leading psychologists about how to infuse proven methods of prebunking and inoculation in your reporting
  • What tactics make a piece of misinformation or disinformation go viral and how to inoculate the public against it, especially targeted and historically disenfranchised communities
  • Tips for overcoming cognitive traps, tripwires, and our own hidden biases as journalists
  • People are hungry for credible, trustworthy information, and a self-governing democracy requires an informed electorate. This program will help journalists understand how people process information, judge its credibility, and decide whether to act on it, and how journalists can use that understanding to regain trust and counter disinformation.

If you have questions about this program, please email National Press Club Journalism Institute Executive Director Julie Moos at [email protected]



Dolores Albarracín, Alexandra Heyman Nash University professor; Director, Social Action Lab; Director, Science of Science Communication Division, Annenberg Public Policy Center

Tiffany Hsu, reporter on the technology team covering misinformation and disinformation, New York Times

Jay Van Bavel, Director, Social Identity & Morality Lab and Associate professor of psychology and neural science, New York University

Anya van Wagtendonk, misinformation reporter, Grid

Moderator: Summer Lopez, Chief Program Officer, Free Expression, PEN America

our partners

The National Press Club Journalism Institute promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press, and equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire a more representative democracy. As the non-profit affiliate of the National Press Club, the Institute powers journalism in the public interest.

The American Psychological Association is the leading scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States, with more than 133,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants, and students as its members.