Can’t We Just Disregard Fake News? The Consequences of Exposure to Inaccurate Information

David N. Rapp*, Nikita A. Salovich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


People routinely encounter inaccurate information, from fake news designed to confuse audiences, to communications with inadvertent mistakes, to stories made up to entertain readers. The hope is that these inaccuracies can be easily ignored, exerting little influence on our thoughts and actions. Unfortunately, being exposed to inaccuracies leads to problematic consequences. After reading inaccurate statements, readers exhibit clear effects of those contents on their decisions and problem-solving. This occurs even when readers possess appropriate prior knowledge to evaluate and reject the inaccuracies. Exposure to inaccurate information leads to confusion about what is true, doubt about accurate understandings, and subsequent reliance on falsehoods. Interventions and technologies designed to address these effects by encouraging critical evaluation can support effective comprehension and learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-239
Number of pages8
JournalPolicy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • comprehension
  • fake news
  • memory
  • misinformation
  • reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Administration


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