Fake News is a sort of hoax or purposeful propagation of disinformation with the goal to deceive for financial or political advantage. Fake news is connected to propaganda, which is used to convey information, particularly biased or misleading information, in order to support or popularize a certain political cause or point of view.
Fake news is not an entirely new occurrence. But what makes it so significant now? It is largely due to the fact that false news is simple to make, travels quickly, and is readily digested in our 24-hour news cycle. And, unlike the instances below, it is not always clear what is false news. You can check the world news today.
1. Evaluation of believability is lacking
We watch the news to be informed since we weren’t around to observe events develop firsthand. As a consequence, we believe our news source that the information they offer us is accurate; we also trust the source’s reliability. But we cannot do so blindly. We must first assess it.
Such evaluation entails delving deeper into the article and assessing the sources of the claims, looking for evidence (rather than opinion, anecdotal support, or common belief statements), looking for replication across other news outlets, and assessing the author, publisher, and/or website’s credentials.
Though I outline different processes for completing a news item assessment, I must admit: this is a reduced form of what is necessary, it is rather an abstract notion, and as a consequence, individuals may lack both the talent and care to apply such higher-order thinking.
2. The Persistence of Error
Another way cognitive biases may be problematic is in how long they can persist and how they create hurdles to undoing incorrect beliefs. It would be good if merely informing individuals when the information they are consuming is wrong would suffice. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Researchers discovered that as long as we’ve seen anything, our memory is extremely weak when it comes to recalling what’s genuine and what isn’t. Professor Emily Thorson of Boston College discovered that “belief echoes” frequently persist in the face of information corrections in the case of false news.
3. Bias for confirmation
Confirmation bias is the tendency to prefer information that supports our prior opinions. We are more prone to believe false news if we agree with what is being stated if we do not account for this bias in our thinking.
This also applies to phony news articles we detest; fact, confirmation bias has the reverse effect of increasing skepticism. Yes, confirmation bias may help us refute bogus news in some situations; but, partaking in this prejudice demonstrates a lack of critical thinking.
4. We are intellectually sluggish
Humans are intellectually sluggish, as demonstrated throughout this site (Kahneman, 2011). Our brains have evolved to save energy for “more essential” activities, so they don’t enjoy wasting energy when an instinctive judgment is good enough (e.g. satisfying [Simon, 1957]).
Is it really so vital in our daily lives to believe in a random news story? It may be, but more often than not, it isn’t… As a result, we are unable to participate in appraisal and thoughtful judgment. Instead, we use a simpler method of information processing, which results in a conclusion that isn’t always correct, such as believing the phony news item.
5. The illusory truth effect is repeated
The illusory truth effect describes the phenomena in which the more information we are exposed to, the more inclined we are to believe that information. I indicated before in this essay that flip flops have been linked to cancer.
If you’ve never heard of this knowledge before, this is just the second time you’ve heard of it. The more you learn about flip flops and cancer, the stronger the association gets in your mind. Of course, there is no connection between the two. However, debunking isn’t always a good option.
However, even if the topic in question is important to you and you have the ability to evaluate credibility, you are still vulnerable to modern trends in information processing, let alone the other psychological factors discussed in this piece.
That is, in today’s world, one could argue that there is an abundance of information. We don’t read everything that comes across our social media newsfeed. We ignore articles that are unimportant or uninteresting to us by scrolling past them. We don’t always read the headlines. If we do manage to read the headline, it may be the only thing we read.