Words matter. Just ask Professor Nick Enfield, Head of Linguistics at the University of Sydney and founder of the Sydney Initiative for Truth. His research on language, culture, cognition and social interaction is based on long term field work in mainland Southeast Asia and he has written 18 books, including one about ‘non words’ like “umm” and “mm-hmmm” (How we Talk).
Concerned about the eroding integrity of scientific research papers, Prof Enfield applied for a Sydney Research Excellence Initiative Grant with the central purpose of studying our current post-truth crisis and looking for solutions. The initiative quickly gathered momentum and now The Sydney Initiative for Truth is an interdisciplinary team that includes top researchers in linguistics, philosophy, medicine and health, politics and international relations, media and communications, psychology, and data science. SIFT examines fake news, alternative facts, lies, bullshit, and propaganda to better understand this phenomenon and to advise on how the truth might survive in this climate.