Memory for fact, fiction, and misinformation: The Iraq War 2003

Stephan Lewandowsky*, Werner G K Stritzke, Klaus Oberauer, Michael Morales

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Medio coverage of the 2003 Iraq War frequently contained corrections and retractions of earlier information. For example, claims that Iraqi forces executed coalition prisoners of war after they surrendered were retracted the day after the claims were made. Similarly, tentative initial reports about the discovery of weapons of mass destruction were all later disconfirmed. We investigated the effects of these retractions and disconfirmations on people's memory for and beliefs about war-related events in two coalition countries (Australia and the United States) and one country that opposed the war (Germany). Participants were queried about (a) true events, (b) events initially presented as fact but subsequently retracted, and (c) fictional events. Participants in the United States did not show sensitivity to the correction of misinformation, whereas participants in Australia and Germany discounted corrected misinformation. Our results are consistent with previous findings in that the differences between samples reflect greater suspicion about the motives underlying the war among people in Australia and Germany than among people in the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-195
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Science
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005

Structured keywords

  • Memory

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