A Meta-Analytic Examination of the Continued Influence of Misinformation in the Face of Correction: How Powerful Is It, Why Does It Happen, and How to Stop It?

Nathan Walter*, Riva Tukachinsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

A meta-analysis was conducted to examine the extent of continued influence of misinformation in the face of correction and the theoretical explanations of this phenomenon. Aggregation of results from 32 studies (N = 6,527) revealed that, on average, correction does not entirely eliminate the effect of misinformation (r = –.05, p =.045). Corrective messages were found to be more successful when they are coherent, consistent with the audience’s worldview, and delivered by the source of the misinformation itself. Corrections are less effective if the misinformation was attributed to a credible source, the misinformation has been repeated multiple times prior to correction, or when there was a time lag between the delivery of the misinformation and the correction. These findings are consistent with predictions based on theories of mental models and offer concrete recommendations for practitioners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCommunication Research
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • continued influence
  • correction
  • meta-analysis
  • misinformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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