Hamline News

Asp Gave Keynote Address

Dr. Erik Asp, assistant professor of psychology, delivered the Allport keynote address at St. Olaf College on May 4, 2021.

Link to the address his here.

"If you say 'gullible' slowly, it sounds like 'oranges': The neuropsychology of human credulity."

Abstract: As our society has moved into the age of instant social communication, it has become increasingly apparent that the growing abundance of misinformation and propaganda is altering many individuals’ behavior from the political domain to the financial. Concern for this “fake news” in our new “post-truth” world is widespread. Understanding the psychological and neural mechanisms of belief and doubt to misinformation are critical to curb these misinformation effects. In the early 1990s Dr. Daniel Gilbert contrasted two psychological models of belief and doubt: The Cartesian model (belief is subsequent and separate from comprehension) and the Spinozan model (belief and comprehension are the same process). Here, neuroscientific data will be brought to bear on the issue. The diverse constellation of deficits and symptomology following prefrontal cortex damage will be examined, and several empirical studies conducted in lesion patients will be described. Broadly, our results suggest that damage to the prefrontal cortex tends to increase credulity generally. These neuropsychological data argue for a Spinozan perspective: belief is inextricably linked to comprehension, and the prefrontal cortex mediates retroactive doubt. The implications for this neuroanatomical model of belief and doubt toward healthy, older adults will be discussed.