“You’ve probably been tricked by fake news and don’t know it”

“And if you think only people on the opposite side of the political fence from you will fall for lies, think again. We all do it. Plenty of research shows that people are more likely to believe news if it confirms their preexisting political views, says cognitive scientist David Rapp of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. More surprising, though, are Rapp’s latest studies along with others on learning and memory. They show that when we read inaccurate information, we often remember it later as being true, even if we initially knew it was wrong. That misinformation can then bias us or affect our decisions.
So just reading fake news can taint you with misinformation. In several experiments, Rapp’s team asked people to read short anecdotes or statements that contained either correct information or untruths. One example of untruthiness: The capital of Russia is St. Petersburg. (It’s Moscow.) Then the researchers surprised these people with a trivia quiz, including some questions about the “facts.” It turns out that people who read the untruths consistently gave more incorrect answers than those who read true or unrelated information, even if they had looked up the correct information previously. Troublingly, these people also then tended to believe that they had already known those incorrect facts before the experiment, showing how easy it is to forget where you “learned” something.”…
we have to work extra hard while reading to not only remember a fact, but to remember that it’s false. “One idea is that when we encode problematic information as memory, unless we tag it as ‘wrong,’ we might accidentally retrieve that wrong info as real,” Rapp says.”

Related: “Can Facebook Solve Its Macedonian Fake-News Problem?”; a pre-election investigation into the Russian agency tasked with subversive online propaganda

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