Emotions run high even when the news is fake.

The human race is unique from any other species on this planet due to our higher cognitive thinking. However, sometimes it is our big hearts that gets in the way of our big brains. Have you ever heard a story from someone and it made you so mad but later you found out that the details were inaccurate, and had you known the real chain of events you would have felt or acted differently. And maybe you had already repeated the false narrative to two or three others?

Coming from a small town I can tell you a good story can really take on a life of its own. I remember I was working as a cashier and old school friends would come through my line and ask how I was doing. Once a former grade school friend came through my line and asked a very bizarre question. “How are you, I heard you were pregnant.” As this was not even a possibility at the time I could not even fathom how that story got started. The one positive to social media now is if you are friends with someone they hear first hand what is new in your life, and they are aware that others that are also your friend also have firsthand ability to scroll through your feed and see if something is true or not. This has certainly changed gossip in my small town.

Studies show that a story that illicit’s an emotional response, even if the story is false, is believed. This is likely due to the typical independent western attribution error thinking. If we hear something negative about someone we naturally attribute it to an internal explanation. We often do not get the full story behind a big news event and therefore we make an emotional decision based on reported characteristics of someone. But what we cannot see the external factors or life events that led to the action or mood of the individual at the time they became a news story.

False News has really been put under the microscope these past few years. We naturally depend on our news sources to report the news. The news is supposed to be a first hand accounting of events going on in the world. But how often have news sources been wrong? And how deep do we usually dive to find out if the stories that most effect us are true. How many of us only watch one news source even if it is clearly biased. If you are strong left or right than it makes sense that you are comfortable listening to news and media outlets that align with your values. However if you consider yourself a moderate or middle of the road than how often do you challenge your viewing habits or news sources?

 

 

 

Reference

Baum Julia, Rabovsky Milena, Rose Sebastian Benjamin, Abdel Rahman Rasha, Clear Judgement Based on Unclear Evidence: Person evaluation is strongly influenced by untrustworthy gossip. Volume 20 Issue 2 (March 2020) 248-260

Grady Rebecca Hofstein. Examining, Correcting, and Failing to Correct Politically Biased Judgements and Momories in Real-World Contexts. University of California, Irvine, ProQuest Information and learning 2020

3 comments

  1. Hi. Good post and spot on! There has always been “fake news” on FaceBook and sharing of such stories out there long before the pandemic. There were sites like Snopes.com to fact check and others to assist.

    I had seen the head lady on one of the morning shows since I am currently working from home and had news on, where FaceBook was cracking down on the fake news being reported and the removal of it. I have seen many stories shared repeatedly that was “fake news”. It is disappointing and annoying and can create unnecessary confusion.

    I am one who likes to validate my information I share, especially on Social media such as FaceBook. I have a few support groups, and we share confirmed and validated information. We eliminate the confusion that way and the spread of hearsay and chaos.

    We definitely need reliable and valid information especially trying and critical times such as these.

  2. I definitely think your post is one to comment on right now, especially with everything happening right now with COVID-19. In fact, as I am typing this there is a commercial on TV that just said “people are struggling with what to listen to in the news.” I think because of the number of news channels that we have in this country, it is hard to know which ones to listen to, who has the most accurate information, and who isn’t going to play with your mind the most. Right now, I think the biggest problem with the coronavirus is specifically the fact that a lot of the time news is altered or exaggerated. People do not want to listen to it, because they do not know exactly what to believe or what is true versus what is false.

    It is a scary thing because most of us rely on the news for many things, and it is terrible to think that we have to question what we hear from supposed “credible” sources. A time like this in the world, we need sources we can rely on and we want to know that was we are listening to is the real thing. During this crazy time, I was talking to my boyfriend about COVID-19 and he literally said “What news did you hear that on?” He is one that always watches the news but believes that certain sources are more valuable than others.

  3. I think this is the perfect post foe what the world is going through right now with this virus. I see so much on social media. Every time I turn around the virus is all I hear about. Social media is the big one I feel though where someone can make a status or a post of some kind of picture or chart that claims to be sharing information that is about the virus and it gets shared thousands of times or commented on hundreds of time only to find if you dig a little deeper and go to the more reliable sources such as CDC or WHO you realize it is all inaccurate information. It is almost scary how much social media and the news have the ability to corrupt the minds of so many. I think that the best solution to all of this currently is to just make sure before you run with information and call it facts that you do your own research and make sure it is in fact true and reliable information.

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