Analytic and intuitive reasoning processes have been implicated as important determinants of belief in (or skepticism of) fake news. However, the underlying cognitive mechanisms that encourage endorsement of fake news remain unclear. The present study investigated cognitive decoupling/response inhibition and the potential role of conflict processing in the initiation of analytic thought about fake news as factors that may facilitate skepticism. A base-rate task was used to test the hypotheses that conflict processing deficits and inefficient response inhibition would be related to stronger endorsement of fake news. In support of these hypotheses, increased belief in fake (but not real) news was associated with a smaller decrease in response confidence in the presence (vs. absence) of conflict and with inefficient (in terms of response latency) inhibition of prepotent responses. Through its support for these hypotheses, the present study advances efforts to determine who will fall for fake news, and why.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors are grateful to Dr. Valerie Thompson for generously sharing her Rethinking Paradigm.
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- Fake news
- dual-process theory