Democrats are better than Republicans at discerning true and false news but do not have better metacognitive awareness

Mitch Dobbs, Joseph DeGutis, Jorge Morales, Kenneth Joseph, Briony Swire-Thompson
Nature Communications Psychology
1, Article number: 46 (2023)
December 18, 2023


Insight into one’s own cognitive abilities is one important aspect of metacognition. Whether this insight varies between groups when discerning true and false information has yet to be examined. We investigated whether demographics like political partisanship and age were associated with discernment ability, metacognitive efficiency, and response bias for true and false news. Participants rated the veracity of true and false news headlines and provided confidence ratings for each judgment. We found that Democrats and older adults were better at discerning true and false news than Republicans and younger adults. However, all demographic groups maintained good insight into their discernment ability. Although Republicans were less accurate than Democrats, they slightly outperformed Democrats in metacognitive efficiency when a politically equated item set was used. These results suggest that even when individuals mistake misinformation to be true, they are aware that they might be wrong.

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