Scientists have found out what personal qualities prevent people from believing fake news

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Scientists have found out what personal qualities prevent people from believing fake news

According to the study, insight plays a critical role in the ability to judge the accuracy of information. People who are good at problem solving are less likely to fall for fake news.

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With the rise and spread of the internet and social media, susceptibility to misinformation has become a growing concern. The authors of the new study tried to understand the cognitive mechanisms associated with the trust of unverified information. They were especially interested in the role of mental activity in solving problems based on “insights”, writes PsyPost.

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“I'm a neuroscientist and I study the correlation between creative thinking and idea generation, and especially how exactly we generate ideas accompanied by 'moments of insight',” says study author Carola Salvi, a professor at the University of Rome at John Cabot and an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin. In this study, we examined the relationship between insight and aspects of social thinking, such as belief in fake news, exaggeration, and bullshit.”

Scientists used the Compound Remote Associate task to assess insight. To solve this type of task, participants need to connect three unrelated words in order to find a common theme.This type of task forces people to think in a different way, more creatively and openly, relying on understanding.

“Solving complex problems requires constant reframing and changing the original idea of ​​the problem in order to see it in a new light. Solving a problem, especially through understanding, entails generating new and original ideas by exploring unusual reasoning. This is a skill associated with the ability to filter out unnecessary distractions factors that bring an advantage in making sense of information coming from a saturated environment such as the Internet,” says Salvi.

“We hypothesized that this kind of mental exercise, which includes questioning the status quo, considering alternative information, and filtering out distractions, affects other information processing skills such as evaluating news credibility,” she added.

In the study, participants were presented with 20 pieces of news, consisting of a headline, thumbnail image, and preview text. People were asked if they were familiar with the article, how accurate they thought it was, and if they would share the articles on social media. At the same time, half of the news was fake.

As a result, those who scored higher on the indicator of permeability, as a rule, were better at recognizing fake news and distinguishing meaningful statements from useless empty words. It is important to note that the results persisted even after taking into account cognitive reflection, which means a tendency to be critical of the problem, rather than “follow your intuition.”

“The relationship between problem solving skills and awareness of fake news, which we found can also be explained by a willingness to invest time and effort into going beyond the default information.The ability to solve problems can cause a greater propensity to question information in the news by further examining its accuracy or considering alternative and non-obvious explanations,” concluded Carola.

Using the Fake tag, Focus writes about the most popular fake news of recent times.