Building Psychological Resistance to Disinformation

Presentation by Victoria Romero, Ph.D.

This Event was held on May 3, 2018

Event Synopsis

Disinformation is nothing new, but the speed and reach of disinformation spread via social media is unprecedented. Disinformation is effective because it takes advantage of key vulnerabilities of human psyche. Technological advancements can help us ward off disinformation temporarily, but a long term solution requires that we foster a national psychological resistance to disinformation. This goes far beyond teaching critical thinking skills or providing tools to identify “fake news”. We need to build resilience to the emotional levels that give disinformation its power.

Bio – Victoria Romero, Ph.D.

Dr. Victoria Romero leads research programs focused on applying emerging research from data science, neuroscience and human behavior to improve our ability to assess, understand, predict, and influence behavior. She joined Next Century Corporation in December 2017 as Chief Scientist, to lead a portfolio of DARPA projects focused on using social science and data science to understand the transmission of information and social influence.

Prior to joining Next Century, Victoria was the Principal Investigator on an effort under DARPA’s Memex program to apply cutting edge data science to mine the dark web for evidence of illicit behavior. Previously, she was the PI on DARPA’s Narrative Networks program, pushing the neuroscience of influence, and the development of sensors and software to predict and assess the effectiveness of influence messaging. She was also the Principal Investigator of a multi-disciplinary effort under IARPA’s SHARP program to develop neuroscience-based interventions to improve reasoning and problem-solving capabilities. Additionally, she was the Principal Investigator on an effort for the Air Force Research Laboratories aimed at modeling and measuring optimal neural activity among cyber analysts and operators. She is on the faculty of the US Marketing Communications College, a course taught in a range of government agencies and NGOs to support the understanding and application of principles of persuasion science.

Victoria is an active member in the Association for Psychological Science (APS), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the Information Professionals Association (IPA). She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the Claremont Graduate University.