The psychological drivers of misinformation belief and its resistance to correction

Ullrich K H Ecker*, Stephan Lewandowsky, John Cook, Philipp Schmid, Lisa K Fazio, Nadia Brashier, Panayiota Kendeou, Emily K Vraga, Michelle A Amazeen

*Corresponding author for this work

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

397 Citations (Scopus)
1181 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Misinformation has been identified as a major contributor to a variety of contentious contemporary events ranging from elections and referenda to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only can belief in misinformation lead to poor judgements and decision making, it also exerts a lingering influence on people’s reasoning after it has been corrected—an effect known as the continued influence effect. In this Review, we describe the cognitive, social, and affective factors that lead people to form or endorse misinformed views, and the psychological barriers to knowledge revision after misinformation is corrected, including theories of continued influence. We discuss the effectiveness of both pre-emptive (‘prebunking’) and reactive (‘debunking’) interventions to reduce the impacts of misinformation, as well as implications for information consumers and practitioners in various areas including journalism, public health, policy-making, and education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13–29 (2022)
Number of pages17
JournalNature Reviews Psychology
Volume1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2022

Structured keywords

  • Cognitive Science
  • Covid19
  • TeDCog

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