The fake news delusion

The fake news delusion

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Delusion-prone individuals are more likely to believe in fake news. They accept even implausible ideas because of their tendency to engage in less analytic and actively open-minded thinking, according to a Yale paper presented at the recent Schizophrenia International Research Conference.

“Exploratory analyses showed that dogmatic individuals and religious fundamentalists were also more likely to believe fake news, and that these relationships were fully explained by cognitive style,” say the paper’s authors.

Two related forms of thinking could protect against belief in fake news. Actively open-minded thinking, involves searching for alternative explanations and the use of evidence to revise beliefs. In addition, analytic thinking involves deliberate thought processes to consume memory resources.

Separately, research conducted at Nottingham Trent University concluded that liberals believe news stories to maintain a favourable feeling about their own group, while conservatives do so due to a tendency to use their gut feelings.

“Understanding the similarities and differences between groups will be important as we seek to develop strategies to reduce the growing tide of political polarisation in our democratic societies,” says Dr Craig Harper of Nottingham Trent University.

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