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Description: Ah politicians are a never-ending source of possible research topics! Assuming you have not been successful in selectively ignoring any political news from south of our border (and if you have please tell us how, as long as it does not involve a lobotomy or copious amounts of alcohol!) then you have heard about concerns and issues related to what is being referred to a ‘fake news’. I am not going to get into the “debate” about who is faking news, which news is fake, or why the person who is talking about it the most seems also to be the person most inclined to produce it or reproduce it via twitter. But, here is an interesting question that arises from that gnarly debate and that is; if someone who has been exposed to fake news is told by an authoritative (trustworthy) source that the news they have seen or heard is fake can and do they adjust their thinking so as not to take the fake news into account in forming their judgments? What do you think? And, keeping in mind that nothing is ever straightforward, what other variables are at play in the question of whether or if or when people can discount fake news “information” once they know it is not true?

Source: ‘Fake news’ study finds incorrect information can’t be corrected simply by pointing out it’s false, Eric W. Dolan, Cognition, PsyPost

Date: December 4, 2017

Photo Credit:  diy13

Links:  Article Link —

So, were you surprised by the findings of the study?  The key to putting fake news aside seems to be cognitive functioning or intelligence. People with higher levels of cognitive ability were better able to change their thoughts and evaluations of a person once they wee told that something they had “learned” about them was in fact fake news or wrong. Oh my but the implications of this finding for stereotyping in areas of the social world where fake news is found and at issue are immense and hard to avoid. It is worth reflecting a bit on how fake news should be thought of, approached and dealt with. But, of course, more research is needed before we use the results we have to start arguing for public policy, press regulation, or socio-political activity.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are people influenced by “fake news”?
  2. Can the effects of fake news be undone and if so for who and how?
  3. What sorts of things do the results of this study perhaps get us thinking about in relation to fake news, media policy and media activities (reporting guidelines)?

References (Read Further):

Roets, A. (2017). ‘Fake news’: Incorrect, but hard to correct. The role of cognitive ability on the impact of false information on social impressions. Intelligence, 65, 107-110.

Conroy, N. J., Rubin, V. L., & Chen, Y. (2015). Automatic deception detection: Methods for finding fake news. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 52(1), 1-4.

Rubin, V. L., Chen, Y., & Conroy, N. J. (2015). Deception detection for news: three types of fakes. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 52(1), 1-4.

Chen, Y., Conroy, N. J., & Rubin, V. L. (2015). News in an online world: The need for an “automatic crap detector”. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 52(1), 1-4.

Alowibdi, J. S., Buy, U. A., Philip, S. Y., & Stenneth, L. (2014, August). Detecting deception in online social networks. In Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM), 2014 IEEE/ACM International Conference on (pp. 383-390). IEEE.

Silverman, C., & Singer-Vine, J. (2016). Most Americans who see fake news believe it, new survey says. BuzzFeed News.

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