Undermining the Corrective Effects of Media-Based Political Fact Checking? The Role of Contextual Cues and Naïve Theory

R. Kelly Garrett*, Erik C. Nisbet, Emily K. Lynch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations

Abstract

Media-based fact checking contributes to more accurate political knowledge, but its corrective effects are limited. We argue that biographical information included in a corrective message, which is often unrelated to the inaccurate claim itself, can activate misperception-congruent naïve theories, increasing confidence in a misperception's plausibility and inducing skepticism toward denials. Resistance to corrections occurs regardless of initial belief accuracy, but the effect is strongest among those who find the contextual information objectionable or threatening. We test these claims using an online survey-embedded experiment (N=750) conducted in the wake of the controversy over the proposed Islamic cultural center in New York City near the site of the 9/11 attacks, and find support for our predictions. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)617-637
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Communication
Volume63
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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