Misinformation, disinformation, and violent conflict: From iraq and the "war on terror" to future threats to peace

Stephan Lewandowsky*, Werner G K Stritzke, Alexandra M. Freund, Klaus Oberauer, Joachim I. Krueger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The dissemination and control of information are indispensable ingredients of violent conflict, with all parties involved in a conflict or at war seeking to frame the discussion on their own terms. Those attempts at information control often involve the dissemination of misinformation or disinformation (i.e., information that is incorrect by accident or intent, respectively). We review the way in which misinformation can facilitate violent conflicts and, conversely, how the successful refutation of misinformation can contribute to peace. We illustrate the relevant cognitive principles by examining two case studies. The first, a retrospective case, involves the Iraq War of 2003 and the "War on Terror." The second, a prospective case, points to likely future sources of conflict arising from climate change and its likely consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-501
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Volume68
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013

Structured keywords

  • Memory

Keywords

  • " climate change
  • "War on terror
  • Debiasing
  • Misinformation

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