When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misperceptions

Source: Brendan Nyhan, Jason Reifler, Journal of Political Behavior, June 2010

From the abstract:
An extensive literature addresses citizen ignorance, but very little research focuses on misperceptions. Can these false or unsubstantiated beliefs about politics be corrected? Previous studies have not tested the efficacy of corrections in a realistic format. We conducted four experiments in which subjects read mock news articles that included either a misleading claim from a politician, or a misleading claim and a correction. Results indicate that corrections frequently fail to reduce misperceptions among the targeted ideological group. We also document several instances of a “backfire effect” in which corrections actually increase misperceptions among the group in question.
Related:
In Politics, Sometimes The Facts Don’t Matter
Source: NPR, Talk of the Nation, July 13, 2010

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