New research suggests that the spread of misinformation among politically devoted conservatives is influenced by identity-driven motives and may be resistant to fact-checks. These individuals tend to prioritize sharing information that aligns with their group identity, regardless of its accuracy. The new research, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, utilized behavioral tasks and neuroimaging to understand the underlying processes involved.

Social media has become a major source of news for many adults, but malicious agents are using such platforms to spread misinformation to larger audiences faster than ever before. Online misinformation can have serious real-world consequences, such as fueling political polarization, threatening democracy, and reducing vaccination intentions. Thus, the researchers wanted to understand the psychological processes behind the sharing of misinformation and explore potential interventions to counteract its spread.

“In the past, I had been working on extremism and ‘will to fight’ among supporters of Salafi-jihadist groups. Even though I found those groups very interesting to study, there was a cross-cultural barrier that made it hard for me to have […]

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