Alex Olshansky

Doctoral Candidate
Google Scholar

Alex Olshansky, M.A., is a doctoral candidate in the department of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University (expected completion date: May 2021). He worked 14 years in the banking industry and left his job as an AVP of Operations for a bank to pursue his passion of understanding how science is communicated and interpreted among different stakeholders. He received his bachelor’s degree in finance at the University of Texas at Dallas and his master’s in mass communication from Texas Tech University. His research can be seen as the combination of three separate, but related interests. First, he is interested in how peoples’ cultural values, worldviews, and prior attitudes toward science influence their perceptions of science information. He is also interested in how people cognitively process science misinformation and conspiracy theories, and the factors that influence their diffusion through social networks. This work bridges theories from media psychology, political science, communication, cognitive neuroscience, and public policy, and triangulates these questions using interviews, focus groups, surveys, experimental designs, and psychophysiological measures. His work has demonstrated that science illiteracy and conspiracy mentality leave people at risk of believing misinformation they see on YouTube. Alex’s work has been published in Politics and the Life Sciences, Media Psychology, Media and Communication, and Media and Religion. His research has also received media attention (e.g., Axios, Popular Science). Alex is currently working on completing his dissertation, which will focus on the role of awe in the cognitive processing of conspiracy theories online.