Factual Corrections and Misinformation During the 2020 U.S. Election: Evidence from Panel Experiments
Misinformation Speaker Series
Past Talk
Emily Thorson
Assistant Professor, Syracuse University
Monday
Nov 22, 2021
Watch video
12:00 pm
177 Huntington Ave
Online
11th floor
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This is talk c-sponsored by the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks, the Network Science Institute and the Shorenstein Center.

We measure the immediate and medium-term effects of 21 highly-trafficked pieces of misinformation and fact-checks during the 2020 U.S. election with eight panel experiments (N = 17,681). Exposure to misinformation increased false beliefs by an average of 4.3 points on a 100-point belief certainty scale. Exposure to fact-checks more than corrected this effect, decreasing false beliefs by 10.5 points. The effects of fact-checks persisted at 66% of the immediate effect one week after exposure, and at 50% after more than two weeks. We estimate minuscule effects of misinformation and fact-checks on evaluations of political figures and groups. Fact-checks of party-congenial false claims were more effective among Democrats than Republicans. We examine this asymmetry with data provided to us by the fact-checking organization PolitiFact. We document robust heterogeneities by personality type and cognitive style, which further investigation suggests may be related to time spent reading fact-checks.

About the speaker
About the speaker
Emily Thorson is an assistant professor of political science at Syracuse University whose research focuses on misperceptions about politics and policy. She is the co-editor of the Misinformation and Mass Audiences (2018) as well as a special issue of the Journal of Communication on misinformation. Her book, The Invented State: Policy Misperceptions in the American Public, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.
Emily Thorson is an assistant professor of political science at Syracuse University whose research focuses on misperceptions about politics and policy. She is the co-editor of the Misinformation and Mass Audiences (2018) as well as a special issue of the Journal of Communication on misinformation. Her book, The Invented State: Policy Misperceptions in the American Public, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.