Insight problem solving ability predicts reduced susceptibility to fake news, bullshit, and overclaiming

Carola Salvi*, Nathaniel Barr, Joseph E. Dunsmoor, Jordan Grafman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The information humans are exposed to increased demands upon our information selection strategies, resulting in reduced fact-checking and critical-thinking time. Research showed that problem-solving (traditionally measured using the CRT) negatively correlates with believing in false information. We argue that this result is specifically related to insight problem-solving. Insight is the result of parallel processing, characterized by filtering external noise, and, unlike cognitively controlled thinking, it does not suffer from the cognitive overload associated with processing multiple sources of information. We administered the CRAs (problems used to investigate insight problem-solving) as well as the CRT, 20 fake and real news headlines, the bullshit, and overclaiming scales to a sample of 61 participants. Results: insight problem-solving predicts better identification of fake news and bullshit (over and above traditional measures i.e., the CRT), and is associated with reduced overclaiming. These results have implications for understanding individual differences in susceptibility to believing false information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalThinking and Reasoning
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • bullshit receptivity
  • Fake news
  • insight
  • overclaiming
  • problem solving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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