Decisions and disinformation : an evaluation of the usefulness of the Fast and Frugal Heuristics Programme in uncovering implicature-type disinformation

Potgieter, Burger Gericke (2012-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis investigates ways in which the Fast & Frugal Heuristics (F&FH) programme in the field of Judgment and Decision Making (JDM) theory can be brought to bear on the phenomenon of disinformation. The study applies existing theory to develop an argument around the capacity of the F&FH framework to respond in a normative, descriptive and prescriptive fashion specifically to implicature-type disinformation. This leads to conclusions about the usefulness of the programme for a specific field that is supposed to be within the ambit of the programme. The study attempts to answer the research question by examining the philosophical and developmental history of JDM and of disinformation as a theme of inquiry. With the necessary background as context, the phenomenon of disinformation is investigated, specifically in the case of advertisements. Specific focus is given to pictorial metaphor that may lead to disinformation. The study concludes that F&FH only succeeds to some extent in its descriptive capacity, whilst it fails to provide normative or prescriptive insights when faced with implicature-type disinformation in the following ways: firstly, proponents of the F&FH programme seem selfcontradictory about the value of F&FH as a decision making theory – on the one hand they are generally positive about the its descriptive, normative and prescriptive abilities, whilst fully admitting to fundamental problems in every aspect of the theory and its applications. Secondly, even though there is a general admission of the importance of social and cultural elements in decision making, F&FH still remains intrinsically individualistic. As such it will fail to recognise deception and disinformation as those form part of a language act that is specifically designed around hidden motives and specialised persuasion techniques. Thirdly, F&FH will not be able to break free from the underlying issues it faces without breaking free from its philosophical underpinnings. F&FH still remains primarily empiricist through its behaviourist/positivist assumptions and application and as such fails to recognise the validity of concepts such as meaning, belief and attitude.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die tesis ondersoek die wyses waarop die Fast & Frugal Heuristics (F&FH) program in die veld van besluitnemingsteorie van toepassing gemaak kan word op die verskynsel van disinformasie. Die studie gebruik bestaande teorie in terme van normatiewe, voorskrywende en beskrywende toepassings om argument te ontwikkel rondom die kapasiteit van die F&FH raamwerk om te reageer op spesifiek implikatuur-tipe disinformasie. Dit lei tot gevolgtrekkings oor die bruikbaarheid van die program vir ‘n spesifieke veld wat veronderstel is om binne die bestek van die program te val. Die studie poog om die navorsingsvraag te antwoord deur die filosofiese en ontwikkelingsgeskiedenis van besluitnemingsteorie asook disinformasie te ondersoek. Met die nodige agtergrond as konteks word die verskynsel van disinformasie deur implikasie ondersoek, spesifiek in die geval van die advertensies. Daar word spesifiek gefokus op advertensies waar metafore wat ontwikkel word deur visuele beelde waardeur disinformasie geïmpliseer kan word. Die studie maak die gevolgtrekking dat F&FH slegs tot ’n mate sukses behaal as beskrywende teorie terwyl dit nie suksesvol toegepas kan word as normatiewe en voorskrywende teorie nie. Die volgende probleme word uitgelig: eerstens, voorstaanders van die F&FH program hou teenstrydige perspektiewe voor – aan die een kant is hulle oor die algemeen positief oor die teorie se beskrywende, normatiewe en voorskrywende kapasiteite terwyl hulle openlik getuig van die grondliggende probleme in bykans elke faset van die teorie en sy toepassings. Tweedens, ten spyte daarvan dat daar erkenning gegee word aan die sosiale en kulturele aspekte van besluitneming bly F&FH primêr individualisties. As sulks sal dit faal om valshede en disinformasie te herken aangesien beide elemente is van ’n taalaksie wat spesifiek ontwerp is rondom versteekte motiewe en gespesialiseerde oorredingstegnieke. Derdens, F&FH kan nie afstand doen van die onderliggende probleme sonder om weg te breek van die onderliggende filosofiese grondslag nie. F&FH bly hoofsaaklik empiristies deur die behavioristiese/positiwistiese eienskappe in die onderliggende aannames en toepassings – as sulks gee dit nie erkenning aan die geldigheid van konsepte soos betekenis, oortuiging en houding nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/19992
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