The Union College Psychology Department Speaker Series and Honors Colloquium welcome
Gordon Pennycook, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Hill/Levine Schools of Business, University of Regina
for a public lecture entitled
Simple Accuracy Nudges Can Reduce Misinformation Sharing
Thursday, October 15, 2020
1:10 - 2:25 via Zoom (ID: 832 634 7213)
Why do people share false and misleading news content on social media, and what can be done about it? Even though true headlines are rated as much more accurate than false headlines, headline veracity has little impact on sharing. Although this may seem to indicate that people share inaccurate content because, for example, they care more about furthering their political agenda than they care about truth, we propose an alternative attentional account: Most people do not want to spread misinformation, but the social media context focuses their attention on factors other than truth and accuracy. Indeed, when directly asked, most participants say it is important to only share news that is accurate. Accordingly, we find that subtly inducing people to think about accuracy increases the quality of the news they subsequently share. These results, together with recent data on why people fall for fake news, challenge the narrative that people no longer care about accuracy. Instead, the findings support an inattention-based account wherein people fail to implement their preference for accuracy due to attentional constraints – particularly on social media. Furthermore, our research provides evidence for scalable anti-misinformation interventions that are easily implementable by social media platforms.