Lynn PR Digital Campaign recognised by GCS’ Public Service Communications Excellence Award

Lynn PR’s behavioural science approach to communications has been recognised, once again, as sector-leading, earning Lynn PR client, Thom Burn and Hertfordshire Health Protection Forum, the Public Service Communications Excellence Award 2021 for the #SaveOurSummer Campaign at the Public Service Communications Academy 2021. The awards allow public sector communicators from across the country to come together, develop key skills and share ideas.

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Standing out from the crowd. The saliency bias.

People only notice something when it stands out to them; otherwise, it is almost invisible. A simple example of this is when you decide to look for a particular make of car, and then you start to see these everywhere. The number of these cars has not suddenly increased. They were always there. It is just your attention to them that has altered. This make of car is now the most noticeable and relevant thing to you. It is salient, so your brain ‘looks’ for it. This is an example of where salience has been brought about by shifting attention to a specific feature.

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Making sense of misinformation part three: Is misinformation getting worse?

Is misinformation getting worse? The short answer is yes. The misinformation challenge has grown over the last ten years for a variety of reasons. Probably the most significant change over the last two decades has been our ‘information environment’. While the vast majority of us once got our news from a small number of common, trusted sources, billions of people around the world are now getting their news through their news feeds on social media. This ‘news’ can be produced by anyone, anywhere in the world. Importantly, with the new tools in web design and the platform provided by social media, it’s easy to produce content that has the look and feel of reliable, mainstream news.

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Making sense of misinformation part two: Why are people falling for misinformation?

The reasons why people fall for misinformation fall on a spectrum: from non-political reasons to intensely political. Misinformation is often believed by people who lack knowledge/expertise in a particular field, people suffering with anxiety about a particular topic (e.g. health anxiety), as well as people who passively scroll through social media to find news instead of deliberately seeking it out from trusted outlets.

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Making sense of misinformation part one: What is misinformation?

The rise of misinformation in our society has been supercharged by what academics call ‘information overload’, which means our brains are processing more information than they can handle, often leaving us in a state of overwhelm, making us more vulnerable to misinformation. So, if you sometimes find yourself thinking back to the political earthquakes of 2016 and feeling like the years since then have been a blur, it’s no accident. 

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I’m right, you’re wrong (Cognitive Dissonance)

Polarised. Partisan. Divided. Entrenched. Our need for co-operation has never been greater, so why do we find ourselves so far apart?
From tackling the climate emergency to dismantling the politics of hate, good communication is vital. We need to talk responsibly and listen wisely. But all too often, we dismiss and deride. We stoke divisions and ignore evidence, even if it costs our own health.

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Donut

Present Bias

Present basis is our tendency to prefer immediate rewards at the expense of long-term goals. It’s a hangover from our ancestors who, in their struggle for survival, grabbed whatever was within reach, rather than risk waiting for better opportunities in the future (because ‘future’ meant ‘less certain’). 

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Recognising Rosy Retrospection

Ask your grandparents about when they were younger. You’ll probably be told about how great everything was back then, especially compared to now. Or think back to 2019 – everything was amazing, we didn’t have to think about masks, and there wasn’t a daily COVID-19 infection or death rate broadcast on TV.

But were things really as good as we remember them? The cognitive bias rosy retrospection can help explain why we view the past with rose tinted glasses.

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What is Ambiguity Aversion?

Have you heard someone mention a fear of the unknown when deciding against getting involved in a situation? Have you ever avoided a situation because you feel the outcome is unknown? You’re presenting a behaviour known as Ambiguity Aversion; the tendency to favour the known over the unknown, including known risks over unknown risks.

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