Dataset Information


An initial accuracy focus reduces the effect of prior exposure on perceived accuracy of news headlines.

ABSTRACT: The illusory truth effect occurs when the repetition of a claim increases its perceived truth. Previous studies have demonstrated the illusory truth effect with true and false news headlines. The present study examined the effects that different ratings made during initial exposure have on the illusory truth effect with news headlines. In two experiments, participants (total N?=?575) rated a set of news headlines in one of two conditions. Some participants rated how interesting they were, and others rated how truthful they were. Participants later rated the perceived accuracy of a larger set of headlines that included previously rated and new headlines. In both experiments, prior exposure increased perceived accuracy for participants who made initial interest ratings, but not for participants who made initial truthfulness ratings. The increase in perceived accuracy that accompanies repeated exposure was attenuated when participants considered the accuracy of the headlines at initial exposure. Experiment 2 also found evidence for a political bias: participants rated politically concordant headlines as more accurate than politically discordant headlines. The magnitude of this bias was related to performance on a cognitive reflection test; more analytic participants demonstrated greater political bias. These results highlight challenges that fake news presents and suggest that initially encoding headlines' perceived truth can serve to combat the illusion that a familiar headline is a truthful one.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7644737 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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