Poster Session E, Monday, March 25, 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Pacific Concourse
Keeping Track of ‘Alternative Facts’: The Neural Correlates of Processing Misinformation Corrections
Andrew Gordon1,2, Susanne Quadflieg2, Jonathan Brooks2,3, Ullrich Ecker4, Stephan Lewandowsky2,4; 1University of California, Davis, MIND Institute, 2University of Bristol, 3Clinical Research and Imaging Centre, University of Bristol, 4University of Western Australia
Upon receiving a correction, initially presented misinformation often continues to influence people’s judgement and reasoning. Whereas some researchers believe that this so-called continued-influence effect of misinformation (CIEM) simply arises from the insufficient encoding and integration of corrective claims (mental-models account), others assume that it arises from a competition between the correct information and the initial misinformation in memory during retrieval (concurrent-storage account). To examine these possibilities, we conducted two functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. In each study, participants were asked to (a) read a series of brief news reports that contained confirmations or corrections of prior information and (b) evaluate whether subsequently presented memory probes matched the reports’ correct facts rather than the initial misinformation. Behavioural results from both studies revealed that following correction-containing news reports, participants struggled to refute mismatching memory probes, especially when they referred to initial misinformation (as opposed to mismatching probes with novel information). In contrast to the mental-models account of the CIEM, we found little evidence that the encoding of confirmations and corrections produced systematic neural processing differences indicative of distinct encoding strategies. Instead, in both studies, we discovered that following corrections, participants exhibited increased activity in the angular gyrus and the precuneus in response to mismatching memory probes that contained prior misinformation, compared to novel mismatch probes. These findings favour the notion that people’s susceptibility to the CIEM arises from the concurrent retention of both correct and incorrect information in memory.
Topic Area: THINKING: Decision making