CIRCE is an institute dedicated to developing humanity's immunity to the ideas and ideologies that consistently frustrate human aspirations. Through the deliberate application of scientific findings on the mind's immune system, CIRCE seeks to prevent epidemics of unreason.
CIRCE emerged as researchers and scholars, galvanized by Andy Norman's book Mental Immunity, began to pull together around the science of cognitive immunology. Within months of the book's release, scholars from all over the world—America, Australia, the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium—rallied to Andy's vision. Since CIRCE's formation, psychologists and philosophers, cognitive scientists and evolutionary biologists, behavioral economists and information epidemiologists have begun working together to deepen our understanding of mental immunity. CIRCE strives to apply the resulting understanding to our most persistent and pernicious social problems.
CIRCE aims to (1) advance the science of mental immunity, (2) develop humanity's resistance to cognitive contagion, and (3) build a world where divisive ideologies and epidemics of unreason no longer frustrate human aspirations.
Propaganda and disinformation, divisive ideologies and political extremism: these things account for a sizable portion of human misery. But how do we keep these "mind parasites" from proliferating? Cognitive immunology points the way. We can study mental immune systems, work out how to strengthen them, and together inoculate willing minds. We envision a world where low susceptibility to cognitive contagion vastly improves human wellbeing.
Research Fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science (Boston University)
CIRCE Board Member
Realtor, Philanthropist, Education Advocate
CIRCE Board Member
CIRCE is a network of researchers, thinkers, and change agents that partner in the fight against misinformation and polarization.
Stephan Lewandowsky is one of the world’s leading cognitive immunologists. He conducts research at the University of Bristol and has published more than 200 scholarly articles and books, including The Debunking Handbook, The COVID-19 Communication Handbook, and The Conspiracy Thinking Handbook. He explores people’s responses to misinformation and propaganda. Why do people reject well-established scientific facts? Is our online information ecosystem conducive to democracy? Professor Lewandowsky has received multiple awards for his research.
Lee McIntyre is a Research Fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University and a Lecturer in Ethics at Harvard Extension School. Lee's bestselling books include Post-Truth and How to Talk to a Science Denier, along with eleven other works of fiction and nonfiction. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Newsweek, Scientific American, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and numerous other popular venues.
John is a postdoctoral research fellow with the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub. His research focus is understanding and countering misinformation about climate change, with an emphasis on using critical thinking to build resilience. He co-authored the college textbooks Climate Change: Examining the Facts and Climate Change Science: A Modern Synthesis, as well as the book Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand.
Novelist and philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Ph.D., was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama in a ceremony at the White House. The citation reads "for bringing philosophy into conversation with culture. In scholarship, Dr. Goldstein has elucidated the ideas of Spinoza and Gödel, while in fiction, she deploys wit and drama to help us understand the great human conflict between thought and feeling."
David Sloan Wilson is SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Binghamton University and president of Prosocial World, whose mission is “to consciously evolve a world that works for all”. His work represents a paradigm shift in evolutionary thinking and highlights the necessity of conscious evolution. David develops tools for positive change efforts in the real world. His recent books include This View of Life, Prosocial, and Atlas Hugged.
Maarten Boudry is a philosopher of science and current holder of the Etienne Vermeersch Chair of Critical Thinking at Ghent University. His most recent book is Science Unlimited? On the Challenges of Scientism, co-edited with Massimo Pigliucci. His academic research deals with cultural evolution, irrational belief systems, atheism, and naturalism, evolutionary epistemology, reasoning fallacies, and conspiracy theories.
Steije Hofhuis is cultural historian at Utrecht University, The Netherlands, who became intrigued by the idea of “mind parasites”. In his own research he examines European witch persecutions as an example of a virus-like cultural phenomenon that spread at the expense of its human hosts.
David R. Samson, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. His research focuses on the link between sleep, health, and cognition in human and non-human primates.
Michael Shermer, Ph.D., is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, the host of the podcast The Michael Shermer Show, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University where he teaches Skepticism 101. He is the author of Why People Believe Weird Things and The Believing Brain.
Anthony Magnabosco is Executive Director and co-founder of Street Epistemology International, an educational non-profit dedicated to promoting the practice of street epistemology, a conversational technique that helps people reflect on their belief formation process in a productive way. Anthony has been promoting this practice for nearly a decade, and uploads examples of street epistemology to his YouTube channel.
Steve Gilbert received an M.S. in Experimental Psychology from Northeastern University and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. He is Board Certified in Counseling Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology. In the past, Steve has served as President of the Minnesota Psychological Association and chair of the MPA Ethics Committee. As an administrator and clinician in university counseling centers, he focused on emerging adulthood—a developmental period in which personal values and beliefs are explored and tested.
© 2021 CIRCE - All Rights Reserved.