Evaluative mindsets can protect against the influence of false information

Nikita A. Salovich*, Anya M. Kirsch, David N. Rapp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

People are exposed to inaccurate claims and ideas every day from sources intended to inform, entertain, or do both. A large body of research has demonstrated that exposures to inaccurate statements, even when conveying obviously false ideas, can affect people's subsequent judgments. Contemporary accounts suggest that these effects may be due to people's failure to evaluate information during exposure, increasing the likelihood that false information will be encoded and available for retrieval on subsequent tasks. In three experiments, we investigated whether evaluative mindsets reduce the likelihood people are influenced by and use inaccurate statements, as well as encourage reliance on accurate understandings. In Experiment 1, participants who were instructed to engage in deliberate evaluation of potentially inaccurate statements reproduced fewer inaccurate ideas and produced more correct answers to post-reading questions than did participants who simply rated their interest in the statements. In Experiments 2 and 3, the same benefits were obtained even when participants were not consistently prompted to evaluate the statements. These results offer insight into when and how evaluation can encourage participants to rely on correct prior knowledge over presented inaccuracies, as well as what is required to establish and maintain such an evaluative mindset.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105121
JournalCognition
Volume225
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Evaluation
  • Evaluative mindset
  • False information
  • Misinformation
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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