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Misinformation and the distinct psychologies of believing and sharing

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  • UserProfessor Michael Bang Petersen (Aarhus University)
  • ClockWednesday 03 February 2021, 16:00-17:00
  • Housevia zoom .

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Cecilie Steenbuch Traberg.

In this talk, I will present results from an ongoing project where we seek to illuminate the psychology underlying the sharing of misinformation on social media. We do so by combining participants’ answers on longitudinal surveys (including experimental components) and their actual behavior on the social media platform, Twitter. Consistent with recent research, we find evidence that beliefs in misinformation reflect cognitive laziness, which can be alleviated through brief interventions. At the same time, however, those who actually share misinformation on Twitter are more rather than less digitally literate and politically sophisticated. To some extent, they seem to know that – or do not care whether – the stories they share are fake or real. Instead, what drives them is deep animosity towards political opponents. These findings not only shed light on the sentiments that facilitate the circulation of false information but also serve as a warning about using insights about the psychology of beliefs to illuminate the psychology of behavior.

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This talk is part of the Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) series.

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