Would I Lie To You? Party Affiliation is More Important Than Brexit in Processing Political Misinformation

Toby Prike*, Robert P Reason, Ullrich K H Ecker, Briony Swire-Thompson, Stephan Lewandowsky

*Corresponding author for this work

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

2 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years the United Kingdom has become divided along two key dimensions, party affiliation and Brexit position. We explored how division along these two dimensions interacts with the correction of political misinformation. Participants saw accurate and inaccurate statements (either balanced or mostly inaccurate) from two politicians from opposing parties but the same Brexit position (Experiment 1), or the same party but opposing Brexit positions (Experiment 2). Replicating previous work, fact-checking statements led participants to update their beliefs, increasing belief after fact affirmations and decreasing belief for corrected misinformation, even for politically aligned material. After receiving fact-checks participants had reduced voting intentions and more negative feelings towards party-aligned politicians (likely due to low baseline support for opposing party politicians). For Brexit alignment the opposite was found: participants reduced their voting intentions and feelings for opposing (but not aligned) politicians following the fact-checks. These changes occurred regardless of the proportion of inaccurate statements, potentially indicating participants expect politicians to be accurate more than half the time. Finally, although we found division based on both party and Brexit alignment, effects were much stronger for party alignment, highlighting that even though new divisions have emerged in UK politics, the old divides remain dominant.
Original languageEnglish
Article number220508
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
T.P. and U.K.H.E. were supported by Australian Research Council grant FT190100708 awarded to U.K.H.E. S.L. acknowledges financial support from the European Research Council (ERC Advanced Grant no. 101020961 PRODEMINFO), the Humboldt Foundation through a research award, and the Volkswagen Foundation (grant ‘Reclaiming individual autonomy and democratic discourse online: How to rebalance human and algorithmic decision making’). Acknowledgements

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors.

Structured keywords

  • Cognitive Science
  • TeDCog


  • misinformation
  • fact-checking
  • political attitudes
  • belief change
  • voting behaviour
  • Brexit


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