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“Humans are motivated reasoners. When we see a news article that confirms something we think to be true or we want to be true, we quickly “like” it and then share it vehemently on Facebook. Take this news story, for instance, which declares that “Cheese protects you from all causes of death, says science.”* Most cheese lovers probably didn’t look too deeply into the scientific literature before they shared it among their friends.
This applies not just to scientific news stories, but also to politically-based “fake news.” Since the 2016 presidency, the use of the phrase exploded, with a more than 350% increase in popular usage. Collins Dictionary even named it word of the year in 2017. Surprisingly, however, the concept of fake news has received little attention within the social psychological literature. Is everyone susceptible to believing fake news, or is it mostly just Republicans (as anecdotes suggest)?
In a recent preprint, Craig Harper and Thom Baguley presented the results of three well-powered studies using American and British samples to investigate whether liberals and conservatives are equally motivated to believe fake news. The researchers presented both positive and negative fake news stories written for the purposes of the study. For each story, a ‘TV breaking news’ image was shown, along with a short written news story to supplement the image.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"THE CAPTURE of the last territory controlled by the Islamic State on Saturday was far from a final victory over the movement, as U.S. commanders and diplomats were careful to emphasize."
"How a Gay Teen, an Internet Nazi, and a Late-Night Rendezvous Turned to Tragedy. When self-loathing meets the new age of online extremism."
"Benjamin Netanyahu ignored the intelligence operations of Beijing and Moscow for too long. Now, the Israeli government is finally paying attention, but it could be too late."
"Former Nick Jr. kids are now reckoning with this all-grown-up intrepid explorer, whose obstacles are a lot bigger than Swiper the Fox. And that is a hard pill to swallow."
"At the end of last week, the three-month Treasury bills' yield rose above the yield for 10-year Treasuries for the first time since 2007, prompting warnings that the U.S. is headed for recession later this year or in early 2020."
"A team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology attempted to answer some questions about voting with the help of artificial intelligence (AI)."
"The experts I spoke with all said that the internet had changed the way conspiracies spread, but conspiracies, both dangerous and petty, have always been with us."
"Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?"
"Trustful parents allow their children as much freedom as reasonably possible to make their own decisions. They trust their children’s instincts, judgments, and ability to learn from mistakes."
"Arugulagate. In 2007, Barack Obama was in Iowa, speaking as a presidential hopeful to a group of farmers who were worried about the stagnation of their crop prices while America’s grocery bills continued to rise."
"To say that information exists in and of itself is akin to speaking of spin without the top, of ripples without water, of a dance without the dancer, or of the Cheshire Cat’s grin without the cat."
"Ted Cruz replaces the Democrats’ muddled manifesto with a clear and unequivocal exploration of the hatred of Jews and its particular evils."