Confirmation bias

Poynter Results

  • Fact-checking corrects misperceptions but doesn't affect votes

    This study looks at the effect of partisanship on the likelihood of accepting a factual correction. In two separate studies, four true and four false claims by Donald Trump were presented to a sample of Democrats, non-Trump supporting Republicans and Trump-supporting Republicans. The researchers found that (a) attributing a claim to Trump made his supporters believe it more (b) correcting a Trump falsehood made *all* respondents believe it less, regardless of their political preferences and (c) that the corrections had no effect on voting preferences.

    Study Title
    Processing political misinformation: comprehending the Trump phenomenon
    Study Publication Date
    Study Authors
    Briony Swire, Adam J. Berinsky, Stephan Lewandowsky, Ullrich K. H. Ecker
    Journal
    Royal Society of Open Science
    Peer Reviewed
    Yes
  • 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. "

    Study Title
    The Elusive Backfire Effect: Mass Attitudes' Steadfast Factual Adherence
    Study Publication Date
    Study Authors
    Thomas Wood, Ethan Porter
    Journal
    SSRN
    Peer Reviewed
    Yes
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