Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
“Journalism moves fast…philanthropy moves slow.” Press Forward’s director wants to bring them together
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Nov. 8, 2019, 11:06 a.m.
LINK: news.utexas.edu  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   November 8, 2019

Researchers attached EEGs to 83 undergrad students’ heads and tracked their brain activity as they analyzed whether fake news stories — including those that had been flagged as false — were fake. While the students showed “reactions of discomfort…when headlines supported their beliefs but were flagged as false,” that dissonance didn’t stop them from going with what they already believed:

This dissonance was not enough to make participants change their minds. They overwhelmingly said that headlines conforming with their preexisting beliefs were true, regardless of whether they were flagged as potentially fake. The flag did not change their initial response to the headline, even if it did make them pause a moment longer and study it a bit more carefully.

It didn’t matter whether the subjects identified as Republicans or Democrats: That “didn’t influence their ability to detect fake news,” lead author Patricia Moravec said, “and it didn’t determine how skeptical they were about what’s news and what’s not.” The students assessed only 44 percent of the stories accurately.

The study was published this week in Management Information Systems Quarterly.

Show tags
 
Join the 60,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
“Journalism moves fast…philanthropy moves slow.” Press Forward’s director wants to bring them together
“I see, every week, some example of where the two don’t understand each other. Each of them needs to shift a little bit.”
After criticism over “viewpoint diversity,” NPR adds new layers of editorial oversight
“We will all have to adjust to a new workflow. If it is a bottleneck, it will be a failure.”
“Impossible to approach the reporting the way I normally would”: How Rachel Aviv wrote that New Yorker story on Lucy Letby
“So much of the media coverage — and the trial itself — started at the point at which we’ve determined that [Lucy] Letby is an evil murderer; all her texts, notes, and movements are then viewed through that lens.”