False memories for fake news during Ireland's abortion referendum
Loftus, Elizabeth F.
Hofstein Grady, Rebecca
Levine, Linda J.
Greene, Ciara M.
The current study examined false memories in the week preceding the 2018 Irish abortion referendum. Participants (N = 3,140) viewed six news stories concerning campaign events—two fabricated and four authentic. Almost half of the sample reported a false memory for at least one fabricated event, with more than one third of participants reporting a specific memory of the event. “Yes” voters (those in favor of legalizing abortion) were more likely than “no” voters to “remember” a fabricated scandal regarding the campaign to vote “no,” and “no” voters were more likely than “yes” voters to “remember” a fabricated scandal regarding the campaign to vote “yes.” This difference was particularly strong for voters of low cognitive ability. A subsequent warning about possible misinformation slightly reduced rates of false memories but did not eliminate these effects. This study suggests that voters in a real-world political campaign are most susceptible to forming false memories for fake news that aligns with their beliefs, in particular if they have low cognitive ability.
False memory , Politics , Fake news , Misinformation , Bias , Open data , Open materials
Murphy, G., Loftus, E. F., Grady, R. H., Levine, L. J. and Greene, C. M. (2019) 'False Memories for Fake News During Ireland’s Abortion Referendum', Psychological Science, doi: 10.1177/0956797619864887
© 2019 the authors. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications. The published version of record is available at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797619864887