RECDACT – Research on Critical Thinking, Disinformation and Conspiracy Theories

Our ability to create a correct understanding of our world around us, above all concerning important topics and issues, is of decisive importance for our ability to function as individuals. But it is also of great importance for the functioning of social institutions, and ultimately democracy, that people can create a correct understanding of the outside world.

RECDACT conducts research and education on critical thinking, disinformation and conspiracy theories. A multidisciplinary group of researchers combines theoretical, empirical and experimental approaches to understand information processes and knowledge creation in an age characterised by the rise of digital media and polarised claims to the description of reality.

Disinformation and conspiracy theories are not new phenomena in themselves, but with the developments that have taken place in recent decades (for example the internet and not least social media), the exposure to, and the spread of, disinformation and conspiracy theories has increased exponentially.

On an individual level, these phenomena are related to, among other things, health-related behaviours (for example, not accepting a certain medical treatment) as well as environmental-related decisions (for example, not believing reports about climate change and therefore not reducing one’s own environmental impact). On a more societal level, disinformation and conspiracy theories are related to, among other things, reduced trust in politicians, established media, societal institutions, pharmaceutical companies and healthcare, as well as a reduced inclination to participate in democratic processes (for example, voting in parliamentary elections). In addition, disinformation, and perhaps above all conspiracy theories, is also related to increased polarization in society with increased group antagonisms and prejudices as a result (and by extension aggression and violence). These phenomena, and their increased spread and exposure, constitute a global societal challenge.

Research tracks and projects

Track 1

RECDACT identifies methods, technologies and measures to reduce the negative effects of intentionally or unintentionally disseminated misinformation and conspiracy thinking.
  • Effects of an intervention intended to deal with incorrect information, misinformation and conspiracy theories, 2022-2024, funded by the Swedish Research Council, no, 2021-06266
  • Common Core course "Disinformation and conspiracy theories", 4 credits. The course was developed by the research group with the aim of being part of Halmstad University's investment in university-wide courses, where students are trained in problem solving across subject boundaries, and in the ability to both communicate and analyze societal challenges and sustainable development.
  • AI and how disinformation can be created, detected and prevented

Track 2

RECDACT develops cross-disciplinary understanding of what critical thinking and its sub-categories entail, based on a combination of psychology, philosophy and communication.

  • Mission training: contact us for more information

Track 3

RECDACT explores the narrative foundations of alternative knowledge orientations and people's belief in conspiracy thinking, alternative medicine and science denial.

  • New age and science denial