Story stimuli for instantiating true and false beliefs about the world

Nikita A. Salovich*, Megan N. Imundo, David N. Rapp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We offer short story (“vignette”) materials that have been developed and tested with the intention of influencing people’s true and false beliefs about the world. First, we present norming data on the baseline rates at which participants from both U.S.-census matched and general U.S. online samples were correctly able to classify a selected set of accurate (e.g., aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and lungs) and inaccurate (e.g., aerobic exercise weakens your heart and lungs) assertions as “True” or “False.” Next, we present data which validate that reading vignettes in which people discuss these accurate and inaccurate assertions influences participants’ subsequent judgments of the validity of the asserted claims. These vignettes are brief, easy-to-read, allow for flexible and accountable online data collection, and reflect realistic accurate and inaccurate claims that people routinely encounter (e.g., preventative health behaviors, use of alternative medicines and therapies, etc.). As intended, vignettes containing inaccurate assertions increased participants’ subsequent judgment errors, while vignettes containing accurate assertions decreased participants’ subsequent judgment errors, both relative to participants’ judgments after not reading related information. In an additional experiment, we used the vignette materials to replicate findings from Salovich et al. (2021), wherein participants reported lower confidence in correct judgments and higher confidence in incorrect judgments after having read inaccurate assertions. Overall, these materials are well suited for investigations on the consequences of exposures to accurate and inaccurate information, address limitations in currently available stimuli, and align with trends in research practice (e.g., online sampling) within psychological science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1907-1923
Number of pages17
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Confidence judgments
  • Fiction
  • Misconceptions
  • Misinformation
  • Reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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