Fact-Checking Research Database

We collect (and briefly explain) major studies on fact-checking, fake news and misinformation

Research Study

The Elusive Backfire Effect: Mass Attitudes' Steadfast Factual Adherence

Thomas Wood, Ethan Porter
Our Summary

The "backfire effect" fails the replication test

The "backfire effect" is a cognitive bias detected in a 2010 study ("When corrections fail: The persistence of political misperceptions") suggesting that sometimes factual corrections increase — rather than decrease — misperceptions among a target group. This study sought to replicate those findings on a larger sample of respondents and more topics, but failed. Across topics and the political spectrum, belief in false claims was reduced on average at every presentation of a correction. The authors conclude that "By and large, citizens heed factual information, even when such information challenges their partisan and ideological commitments. "

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