Presentation Title

Domain Knowledge and Fake News Susceptibility

Faculty Mentor

Dustin Calvillo

Start Date

23-11-2019 8:45 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 9:30 AM

Location

24

Session

poster 2

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

Abstract

Individuals have difficulty discerning between real and fake news headlines. The primary purpose of this study was to determine if cognitive reflection and domain specific knowledge predict the ability to discern real and fake science and political news headlines. We predicted that participants would rate real headlines as more accurate than fake headlines. We also predicted a positive correlation between cognitive reflection and news discernment as well as a positive correlation between domain knowledge and news discernment. Participants (N = 386) rated the accuracy of 16 real and fake science news headlines and 24 real and fake political news headlines, completed a domain knowledge test, and a cognitive reflection test. Consistent with our first hypothesis, we found positive correlations between cognitive reflection and news discernment, and between science knowledge and news discernment. For politics, these correlations were not significant. For science, participants rated the fake news headlines as more accurate than real news headlines, inconsistent with our hypothesis. However, consistent with our hypothesis, participants rated real political news headlines as more accurate than fake news. Participants may have engaged in motivated reasoning with the political headlines, thus reducing the impact of cognitive reflection and domain knowledge.

Keywords: domain knowledge, cognitive reflection, fake news, discernment

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Nov 23rd, 8:45 AM Nov 23rd, 9:30 AM

Domain Knowledge and Fake News Susceptibility

24

Abstract

Individuals have difficulty discerning between real and fake news headlines. The primary purpose of this study was to determine if cognitive reflection and domain specific knowledge predict the ability to discern real and fake science and political news headlines. We predicted that participants would rate real headlines as more accurate than fake headlines. We also predicted a positive correlation between cognitive reflection and news discernment as well as a positive correlation between domain knowledge and news discernment. Participants (N = 386) rated the accuracy of 16 real and fake science news headlines and 24 real and fake political news headlines, completed a domain knowledge test, and a cognitive reflection test. Consistent with our first hypothesis, we found positive correlations between cognitive reflection and news discernment, and between science knowledge and news discernment. For politics, these correlations were not significant. For science, participants rated the fake news headlines as more accurate than real news headlines, inconsistent with our hypothesis. However, consistent with our hypothesis, participants rated real political news headlines as more accurate than fake news. Participants may have engaged in motivated reasoning with the political headlines, thus reducing the impact of cognitive reflection and domain knowledge.

Keywords: domain knowledge, cognitive reflection, fake news, discernment