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Keeping Track of ‘Alternative Facts’: The neural correlates of processing misinformation corrections

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-56
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroImage
Volume193
Early online date11 Mar 2019
DOIs
DateSubmitted - 9 Aug 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 7 Mar 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 11 Mar 2019
DatePublished (current) - 1 Jun 2019

Abstract

Upon receiving a correction, initially presented misinformation often continues to influence people's judgment 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, others assume that it arises from a competition between the correct information and the initial misinformation in memory. 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. 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). We found little evidence, however, that the encoding of confirmations and corrections produced systematic neural processing differences indicative of distinct encoding strategies. Instead, we discovered that following corrections, participants exhibited increased activity in the left angular gyrus and the bilateral 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.

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  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Elsevier at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.03.014 . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 844 KB, PDF-document

    Embargo ends: 11/03/20

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    Licence: CC BY-NC-ND

  • Supplementary material

    Rights statement: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Elsevier at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.03.014 . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 291 KB, PDF-document

    Embargo ends: 11/03/20

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    Licence: CC BY-NC-ND

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