It is widely believed that people are gullible and, therefore, easily manipulated by demagogues, advertisers, and politicians. But, in fact, we are equipped with complex psychological mechanisms that allow us to effectively evaluate information and routinely reject false or harmful ideas.
So will argue scholar Hugo Mercier in an online lecture presented by the University of New England Center for Global Humanities when he presents “Not Born Yesterday: Why Humans Are Less Gullible Than We Think” on Monday, March 29 at 6 p.m.
Mercier will draw from his book “Not Born Yesterday: The Science of Who We Trust and What We Believe,” which was released by the Princeton University Press in 2020. He will review studies that demonstrate the widespread failure of mass persuasion campaigns, debunking the notion that such efforts as Nazi propaganda and American political advertising change popular beliefs. He will also offer explanations for the success of certain misconceptions-such as the Flat Earth Theory, which has recently gained a foothold in countries around the globe despite its demonstrable falsehood.
Mercier is a cognitive and evolutionary psychologist, whose work focuses on reasoning, argumentation, and communication. He serves as a researcher at the prestigious French National Centre for Scientific Research. In addition to “Not Born Yesterday,” he is also the author of “The Enigma of Reason” (Harvard University Press, 2017), which advances an influential, new theory of human reason.
This will be the third event of the Spring 2021 season for the Center for Global Humanities. It will be followed by one more in April. Lectures at the Center are always free, open to the public, and streamed live online. For more information and to watch the event, please visit: https://www.une.edu/events/2021/not-born-yesterday-why-humans-are-less-gullible-we-think