Although the term itself is not new, fake news presents a growing threat for societies across the world. Only a small amount of fake news is needed to disrupt a conversation, and at extremes it can have an impact on democratic processes, including elections.
Creative people that have a strong ability to associate different words are especially susceptible to false memories. Some people might be more vulnerable than others to believe fake news, but everyone is at risk.
An example of this is selective exposure, our tendency to seek information that reinforces our pre-existing beliefs and to avoid information that brings those beliefs into question. This effect is supported by evidence that television news audiences are disproportionately partisan and can exist in their own echo chambers. It was thought that online communities exhibit the same behavior, contributing to the spread of fake news, but this appears to be a myth. Political news sites are often populated by people with diverse ideological backgrounds and echo chambers are more likely to exist in real life than online.
The way our memory works means it might be impossible to resist fake news completely. But one approach is to start thinking like a scientist. This involves adopting a questioning attitude that is motivated by curiosity and being aware of personal bias.
Some people tend to be more susceptible to fake news because they are more accepting of weak claims. But we can strive to be more reflective in our open-mindedness by paying attention to the source of information, and questioning our own knowledge if and when we are unable to remember the context of our memories.
Matthews, Julian. "A cognitive scientist explains why humans are so susceptible to fake news and misinformation." Nieman Journalism Lab. Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, 17 Apr. 2019. Web. 29 Mar. 2023.
Matthews, J. (2019, Apr. 17). A cognitive scientist explains why humans are so susceptible to fake news and misinformation. Nieman Journalism Lab. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from -cognitive-scientist-explains-why-humans-are-so-susceptible-to-fake-news-and-misinformation/
Matthews, Julian. "A cognitive scientist explains why humans are so susceptible to fake news and misinformation." Nieman Journalism Lab. Last modified April 17, 2019. Accessed March 29, 2023. -cognitive-scientist-explains-why-humans-are-so-susceptible-to-fake-news-and-misinformation/. 041b061a72