Empower people to express their doubts with well-framed questions. Strengthen the cultural norm that requires us to yield to better reasons (rather than defy them to protect dysfunctional beliefs, desires, and attitudes).
Teach kids the scientific attitude. This is essential to proper idea-testing, healthy mental immune function and problem solving. Help everyone grasp that idea-testing is a team sport—we need to take account of other people's doubts and challenges to gain deep immunity.
Activate mental antibodies. Help people understand that doubts and qualms are the mind's antibodies—we must listen to them if we hope to develop strong mental immunity. Train your mind to become aware of these mental antibodies. Exercise your mind and it will get stronger.
Diagnose and treat mental immune disorders (habits of mind that interfere with rigorous idea-filtering). Cultivate the growth mindset (the fixed mindset is in fact a mental immune disorder).
Inoculate minds against misinformation, science denial, and propaganda. Develop "mind-vaccines"—instructional interventions that train our brains to be immune to especially troublesome ideas and tendencies of thought.
Upgrade the brain's antivirus software—our standards of reasonable belief function like the "virus definitions" in antivirus software, but the standard our culture "preinstalls" in most of us exacerbates confirmation bias.
Encourage people to believe responsibly. Willful belief, which does not welcome contrary evidence or challenges of any kind, subverts mental immune health. Instead, promote the cultural norm that requires us to entertain doubts and, when presented with them, to yield to better reasons. Challenge yourself and exercise your brain by questioning the things you want to believe.
Teach people not to identify with their beliefs. Identity-protective cognition, in which people refuse any ideas that might threaten their sense of self, compromises mental immunity. Train your mind and exercise your brain by questioning your beliefs and not basing your identity around what you believe. The best problem solvers are not ideological, they are logical.
When people weaponize critical thinking skills and reasons, they fuel the culture wars that compromise the mental immune health of everyone involved. Redesign education to confer deep immunity to toxic and divisive ideologies and teach best practices for online communication. The next generation of thinkers and problem solvers will be highly digitally literate.
One of the most exciting and practical applications of cognitive immunology is through our workshops. Contact us for information about how to bring CIRCE to lead your group in trainings and seminars that teach the principles of cognitive immunology and help build mental immunity.