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Backfire Effect with Riyadh Nazerally

Backfire Effect with Riyadh Nazerally

Update: 2022-04-06


Riyadh Nazerally is the Director of Communications for the Hon. Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, and is the former Director of Communications for Capital Pride in Ottawa. This week he and Elizabeth discuss the backfire effect and its three types: familiarity, overkill and worldview. They talk about how to understand and handle the backfire effect when it happens. Riyadh explains how comms and policy teams figure out how much information to send, who to send it to, and when. 

Additional resources:

  • Elizabeth uses this article from Lewandowsky and this article from Peter & Koch for  academic definition of backfire effect 
  • Early in the episode Riyadh mentions the book Weapons of Math Disruption by Cathy O’Neil — here is a review that summarizes what it’s all about.
  • Elizabeth also mentions last week’s rebroadcast episode about Echo Chambers and Filter Bubbles with Adi Rao.
  • The term “information overload” is used in this episode. Here is an interesting article with simple tips on how to deal with information overload. 
  • Riyadh discusses the benefits of use of infographics to make information more accessible. Linking to the theme of the season, however, this post shows how infographics can easily be used to spread misinformation.
  • Riyadh leaves us with this useful tip for communication strategies: “Would your mother understand this and are you pissing off a stakeholder?”

Check out for annotated transcripts of this episode in English and French.









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Backfire Effect with Riyadh Nazerally

Backfire Effect with Riyadh Nazerally