Misinformation: Psychological Processes and Social Network Mechanisms

Misinformation: Psychological Processes and Social Network Mechanisms

Thursday, May 27, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM EDT (-4 UTC)

The public availability and sources of information has been growing at a staggering rate in the last ten years. This growth is primarily due to technological innovation for connectivity such as cell-phones and internet-based social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter among others.  The increase in influx of information has implications for both the ability of the human cognitive system to remember, and sort information flows as well as for the psychological wellbeing of many of us. As the number of sources and amount of information increased, the ability of citizens to effectively sort out facts from non-facts has often been jeopardized. Understanding how the human mind can or fails at processing information as well as false misinformation can be critical for society to make steps towards regulating how information is delivered on public channels and by public officials. This panel will cover recent findings on the psychology of misinformation in relation to fundamental aspects of the human cognitive system, such as memory, aging, and decision making.

Creating Conspiracy Beliefs 

Dolores Albarracin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

Conspiracy beliefs are created by psychological predispositions in combination with a media ecosystem that introduces narratives of conspiracy. In this talk, I will discuss the necessary and sufficient factors that create political and health beliefs and how these factors played out during the 2019-20 trial of impeachment of Donald Trump. 

Aging In A Fake News Era

Nadia M.  Brashier, Harvard University, USA

Older adults shared the most fake news during the 2016 U.S. election. While it is tempting to blame cognitive declines, some processes involved in judging truth remain intact or even improve with age. Interventions should also consider older adults’ shifting social goals and gaps in their digital literacy. 

From Fake News to False Memories: Tracing the Consequences of Exposure to Misinformation

Ciara M. Greene, University College Dublin, Ireland

Research suggests that exposure to “fake news” can lead to false memories of the events described in the news stories, especially if they align with our existing personal or political beliefs. This talk will outline the effects of misinformation on memory and describe recent evidence regarding potential consequences for behavior. 

Lazy Thinking and Inattention to Accuracy Drive the Spread of Misinformation on Social Media 

Gordon Pennycook, University of Regina, Canada

It is commonly argued that people are unwilling or unable to distinguish between true and false content on social media. I will present data that indicates, instead, that fake news spreads primarily because people simply do not reflect sufficiently about the accuracy of content that they see on social media.