Deakin University
Browse

File(s) under permanent embargo

Breaking the news: belief in fake news and conspiracist beliefs

Version 2 2024-06-06, 11:09
Version 1 2019-01-31, 11:43
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-06, 11:09 authored by A Anthony, R Moulding
Objective: Politically-slanted fake news (FN)—manufactured disinformation, hoaxes, and satire appearing to present true information about events—is currently receiving extensive attention in the mainstream media. However, it is currently unclear what factors may influence an individual's likelihood to believe in FN, outside of political identity. As FN is often conspiratorial in nature and usually negative, it was theorised that conspiracist belief, and factors that have been found to relate to a conspiratorial worldview (i.e., dangerous worldview and schizotypy), may also relate to political FN. Method: A correlational design (N = 125, M = 27.6, SD = 4.26), was used to examine predictors of FN. Results: Political viewpoint was a consistent predictor of FN endorsement. Conspiratorial worldview and schizotypal personality also predicted FN belief, with weaker or less consistent prediction by other variables including dangerous worldview, normlessness, and randomness beliefs. Partial correlation analysis suggested that most variables related to FN through their association with conspiracist ideation and political identity beliefs. Conclusion: Prior political beliefs and the tendency for conspiracist ideation appear particularly important for individuals' endorsement of FN, regardless of prior exposure to the specific news presented. As such, conspiracy theory (CT) belief and its underlying mechanisms appear a useful starting point in identifying some of the underlying individual difference variables involved in conspiratorial and non-conspiratorial FN belief. Implications and limitations are discussed.

History

Journal

Australian journal of psychology

Volume

71

Pagination

154-162

Location

Chichester, Eng.

ISSN

0004-9530

eISSN

1742-9536

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, The Australian Psychological Society

Issue

2

Publisher

John Wiley & Sons