1870 Mag

Who’s To Blame For Fake News?

A recent Ohio State communications study came to quite the conclusion. Jason Coronel, an assistant professor of communication at Ohio State, conducted a study that found people are guilty of creating much of their own false information.

From news.osu.edu:

People can self-generate their own misinformation. It doesn’t all come from external sources,” said Jason Coronel, lead author of the study and assistant professor of communication at The Ohio State University.

They may not be doing it purposely, but their own biases can lead them astray. And the problem becomes larger when they share their self-generated misinformation with others.”

You create your own false information, study finds

The study asked participants to remember numbers that they were exposed to during a lab session. For example, among other things, participants would be shown that the number of Mexican immigrants in the United States declined from 2007 to 2014 (from 12.8 million to 11.7 million). However, when they were asked about these numbers after the study, the relationship of their answers tended to fall in line with their beliefs (which were also measured during the study).

In other words: If the participants believed that the number of Mexican immigrants in the United States grew between 2007 and 2014, they would respond that way even when shown information that proved otherwise.

“We had instances where participants got the numbers exactly correct – 11.7 and 12.8 – but they would flip them around,” Coronel said.

They weren’t guessing – they got the numbers right. But their biases were leading them to misremember the direction they were going.”

Jason Coronel, Assistant professor of communication

So, next time you want to bring up something you believe to be true, it might be worth pulling up the news article you read it in just to be safe. (And think twice before blaming news media!)

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