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Factors in susceptibility to misinformation

Wagner, Kai (2021) Factors in susceptibility to misinformation.

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Abstract:The spread of misinformation on prominent societal topics has seen an increase in recent years. As a result, research into factors that explain why people believe false information has become more relevant. What are the factors that drive people to readily adopt false information, and are people who believe false information on one topic more likely to believe on another? This paper reports research investigating four possible mechanisms; online literacy, analytical thinking skill, trust in science and medicine and risk perception to find out to which degree they influenced belief in misinformation. Among other findings, the research found that online literacy had an effect on belief in all topics of misinformation that were investigated. Trust in science and medicine was particularly relevant with regards to the acceptance of misinformation on Covid-19 and climate change. On the other hand, risk perception and analytical thinking skills seemed to play a larger role in people’s belief in misinformation on the US elections of 2020. This paper will introduce the underlying factors and discuss the findings as well as their theoretical and practical significance.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/86734
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