The Moral Psychology of Misinformation: Why We Excuse Dishonesty in a Post-Truth World

Effron, D A and Helgason, B (2022) The Moral Psychology of Misinformation: Why We Excuse Dishonesty in a Post-Truth World. Current Opinion in Psychology, 47. ISSN 2352-250X (In Press) OPEN ACCESS

Abstract

Commentators say we have entered a “post-truth” era. As political lies and “fake news” flourish, citizens appear not only to believe misinformation, but also to condone misinformation they do not believe. The present article reviews recent research on three psychological factors that encourage people to condone misinformation: partisanship, imagination, and repetition. Each factor relates to a hallmark of “post-truth” society: political polarization, leaders who push “alterative facts,” and technology that amplifies disinformation. By lowering moral standards, convincing people that a lie’s “gist” is true, or dulling affective reactions, these factors not only reduce moral condemnation of misinformation, but can also amplify partisan disagreement. We discuss implications for reducing the spread of misinformation.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2022 12:40
Date of first compliant deposit: 25 May 2022
Subjects: Organisational behaviour
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2022 00:23
URI: https://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/2538
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