Thursday, July 11, 2019

Liberal & conservative partisans are motivated to believe fake news & dismiss true news that contradicts their position as being fake

Harper, Craig A., and Thom Baguley. 2019. ““you Are Fake News”: Ideological (a)symmetries in Perceptions of Media Legitimacy” PsyArXiv. January 23. doi:10.31234/osf.io/ym6t5

Abstract: The concept of ‘fake news’ has exploded into the public’s consciousness since the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency in late 2016. However, this concept has received surprisingly little attention within the social psychological literature. We present three studies (N = 2,275) exploring whether liberal and conservative partisans are motivated to believe fake news (Study 1; n = 722) or dismiss true news that contradicts their position as being fake (Study 2; n = 570). We found support for both of these hypotheses. These effects were asymmetrically moderated by collective narcissism, need for cognition, and faith in intuition (Study 3; n = 983). These findings suggest that partisans across the political spectrum engage with the ‘fake news’ label in a motivated manner, though these motivations appear to differ between-groups. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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