Poynter Results

  • Correcting historical misperceptions works — but it's not magic

    This study seeks to explain whether or not corrective information affects the views Jewish Israelis hold about the conflict with Palestine. Researchers randomized an experiment in which an online sample of 2,170 Jewish Israelis ages 18 or older either received solely an extremist message, which denied Israeli wrongdoing in the 1948 Palestinian exodus, or that message plus corrective information about the conflict. They also randomized participants’ feelings of high or low control. While the proportion of Jewish Israelis who denied wrongdoing in the conflict with Palestine increased by 8 percent from the baseline to the low control, uncorrected condition, the prevalence of denialism decreased by between 5 and 11 percent for the inverse conditions. The findings suggest that when people are induced to feel a lack of control, they’re more vulnerable to a denialist message — but corrective information is still quite effective.

    Study Title
    Fighting the Past: Perceptions of Control, Historical Misperceptions, and Corrective Information in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
    Study Publication Date
    Study Authors
    Brendan Nyhan, Thomas Zeitzoff
    Political Psychology
    Peer Reviewed
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