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Mesa College professor goes viral on TikTok debunking misinformation

A San Diego community college psychology professor's comedic tone and colorful outfits have gained more than 25 million likes on her TikTok videos.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — A Mesa College professor has quite the celebrity status.

To adapt to remote learning, Inna Kanevsky, PhD, started posting psychology lessons on TikTok last year and now her videos on debunking misinformation about psychology has gone viral.

She has been teaching psychology for 20 years and has no qualms about calling out misinformation, especially when it’s about behavioral science.

“My field is often misunderstood,” said Kanevsky.

She took her pet peeves and psychology lessons to TikTok in June of 2020 and now she has over 25 million likes on her videos.

@dr_inna

#stitch with @nowthispolitics masks were worn by young people regularly in East Asia for years, of course (for pollution or health reasons).

♬ original sound - Inna Kanevsky, Ph.D. (she/her)

The president of San Diego Mesa College has even shared her videos and teaching methods with other colleagues.

“She has always been engaging,” said Pam Luster, PhD, San Diego Mesa College President. “She is something, smart, well respected and a leader on campus.”

Before the pandemic there was a wait list for Kanevsky's classes.

“Students were like, ‘wow you are really her,’” said Kanevsky.

She goes by Dr. Inna and specializes in experimental psychology with a focus on teaching research methods.

She said she started posting TikTok videos for her class last summer.

“I started doing it and would send it to my students and it was my best summer class,” said Kanevsky.

She started getting a lot of attention when users started tagging her in potential misinformation posts asking for the real truth.

“Then people started tagging me and showing me and once I started addressing that, it was no stopping,” said Kanevsky.

Her thick accent, colorful outfits and comedic approach has gained a lot of attention. Her most popular video about whether someone is attracted to you when they laugh at you has more than 14 million views.

@dr_inna

#stitch with @rosee_20 Psychology called, it asked to tell you not to put words in its mouth, thanks. No more fake #psychologyfacts please.

♬ original sound - Inna Kanevsky, Ph.D. (she/her)

She does have her share of haters on TikTok.

“If the other person is spreading misinformation and she is a woman I get,’ how dare you criticize this lovely young girl, you old hag.’ Well as a lovely young girl she doesn't know what she is talking about so what am I supposed to do with that?” said Kanevsky.

Dr. Inna credits her ‘tells like it is’ attitude to being a former ex-Soviet Jewish refugee.

“That comes with the ex-Soviet territory I think. I come from a very blunt culture. We don't sugarcoat things,” said Kanevsky.

@dr_inna

Reply to @okbutler sorry, did I blank out and miss asking you for personal advice?

♬ original sound - Alex and Jon

Dr. Luster said Dr. Inna’s teaching stretches the imagination of learning and hopefully engage potential students to study psychology.  

“What kind of keeps me going is that I have a lot people who comment, ‘I'm a student, how do I look for information,’” said Kanevsky.

She said she simply wants to correct misconceptions. She hopes that platforms like TikTok will do a better job of taking down misinformation.

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