Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Republicans and Democrats live in “nearly inverse news media environments,” Pew finds
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 Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Republicans and Democrats live in “nearly inverse news media environments,” Pew finds
“In the more compact Republican media ecosystem, one outlet towers above all others: Fox News. It would be hard to overstate its connection as a trusted go-to source of political news for Republicans.”
The Wuhan coronavirus is the latest front for medical misinformation. How will China handle it?
Plus: Facebook allows “rampant climate denialism” around the Australian wildfires, and female politicians in India face a disproportionate amount of trolling.
Newsonomics: Here are 20 epiphanies for the news business of the 2020s
After ten years of writing for Nieman Lab, Ken takes a big look back and ahead, defining the state of affairs for the troubled world of journalism.