The Dark Side of Information Behavior
We are now living in an age of “fake news,” which is but one manifestation of misinformation and disinformation (mis/dis) and human information behavior. Fake news is not a new phenomenon, but this latest iteration has highlighted the affective, or emotional, dimensions of how people interact with information – information consumption is so much more than people’s cognitive processing. Emotional reactions to information are what, in part, give “fake news” and mis/dis such insidious tenacity and staying power, and these same reactions can cause us to embrace or reject various types and sources of information, including websites and other platforms. Despite knowing better intellectually, people fall prey to their emotional responses to information because our not so latent fears, prejudices, boredom, anxiety and any number of other emotion-based impulses are powerful and convincing, even if our “heads” tell us otherwise. This talk will address the renewed phenomenon of fake news, mis/dis, and its related concepts but then focus more explicitly on the affective information behaviors that influence our interactions with information and help us intellectually thrive in a post-truth society.
Nicole A. Cooke is an Associate Professor and the MSLIS Program Director at the School of Information Sciences, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She holds an M.Ed in Adult Education from Pennsylvania State University, and an MLS and a Ph.D. in Communication, Information and Library Studies from Rutgers University. Her research and teaching interests include human information behavior (particularly in an online context), critical cultural information studies, and diversity and social justice in librarianship (with an emphasis on infusing them into LIS education and pedagogy). She was named a “Mover & Shaker” by Library Journal in 2007, and was the 2016 recipient of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Equality Award, and the 2017 Achievement in Library Diversity Research Award presented by ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy & Outreach. Her latest works are Information Services to Diverse Populations (Libraries Unlimited, 2016) and Fake News and Alternative Facts: Information Literacy in a Post-Truth Era (ALA Editions. 2018).