Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #114
CE Offered: BACB

Fighting Fake News and Post-Truth Politics With Behavioral Science: The Pro-Truth Pledge

Saturday, May 25, 2019
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Hyatt Regency East, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom AB
Area: CSS; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Todd A. Ward, Ph.D.
Chair: Todd A. Ward (bSci21 Media, LLC)
GLEB TSIPURSKY (Pro-Truth Pledge)

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is passionate about promoting truth-oriented behavior, rational thinking, and wise decision-making. He currently serves as the President of Intentional Insights, a nonprofit devoted to popularizing these topics. Its main current focus is the Pro-Truth Pledge, a project that aims to reverse the tide of lies and promote truth in public discourse through combining behavioral science and crowd-sourcing. He is also the CEO of Disaster Avoidance Experts, Inc, a boutique consulting firm that uses behavioral analysis to improve organizational performance. He has a strong research background with over 15 years in academia, including 7 years as a professor at Ohio State University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He published dozens of peer-reviewed publications in academic publications such as Journal of Political and Social Psychology and Behavior and Social Issues, and currently serves on the Editorial Board of the ABAI journal Behavior and Social Issues. He writes frequently for a broad audience, most notably his national bestseller on truth-seeking The Truth Seeker’s Handbook: A Science-Based Guide, and is currently writing From Post-Truth to Pro-Truth: Fighting Misinformation with Behavioral Science. Pieces by or about him regularly come out in prominent venues such as Time, Scientific American, Psychology Today, Newsweek, The Conversation, Inc. Magazine, CNBC, and elsewhere. He has appeared as a guest on network TV in the US, including CBS News and affiliates of Fox and ABC, and internationally, such as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and on US and international radio stations such as NPR, WBAI (New York City), KGO (San Francisco), 700WLW (Cincinnati), KRLD (Dallas), AM980 (Canada).


We have witnessed an alarming deterioration of truth in democracies around the globe, especially in the political arena. This presentation describes a behavioral analysis-based intervention, the Pro-Truth Pledge, which combines behavioral science research with crowd-sourcing to help address this problem. The pledge asks signers – private citizens and public figures – to commit to 12 behaviors that behavioral science has shown to be correlated with an orientation toward truthfulness. Pledge mechanisms have been shown in other contexts to lead private citizens to engage in more pro-social behavior. For public figures, the pledge offers specific incentives to behave in concordance with the pledge, with rewards in the form of positive reputation for honesty and truth-telling, and accountability through crowd-sourced evaluation and potential aversive consequences contingent upon deception. A study conducted on the pledge and published in the journal, Behavior and Social Issues, has demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing the sharing of misinformation on social media. These preliminary findings suggest that the pledge offers an important behavioral analysis-based intervention for addressing at least some of the problems caused by fake news and post-truth politics.

Target Audience:

Any attendees interested in how to use behavioral analysis to address the current global problem of misinformation in democracies

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) discuss what behavioral factors cause people to believe in and spread misinformation; (2) discuss why our current cultural, political, and technological environment facilitate post-truth politics and fake news; (3) review what behavioral analysis and other behavioral science fields have found about how to prevent people from spreading misinformation; (4) understand the research behind the effectiveness of the Pro-Truth Pledge as a behavioral analysis-based intervention against misinformation and post-truth politics; (5) discuss how behavioral analysts can take pragmatic steps to help turn back the tide of misinformation and post-truth politics in democracies around the globe.



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Modifed by Eddie Soh