"It's not literally true, but you get the gist": how nuanced understandings of truth encourage people to condone and spread misinformation

Langdon, J A, Helgason, B A, Qiu, J and Effron, D (2024) "It's not literally true, but you get the gist": how nuanced understandings of truth encourage people to condone and spread misinformation. Current Opinion in Psychology, 57. p. 101788. ISSN 2352-250X

Abstract

People have a more-nuanced view of misinformation than the binary distinction between “fake news” and “real news” implies. We distinguish between the truth of a statement’s verbatim details (i.e., the specific, literal information) and its gist (i.e., the general, overarching meaning), and suggest that people tolerate and intentionally spread misinformation in part because they believe its gist. That is, even when they recognize a claim as literally false, they may judge it as morally acceptable to spread because they believe it is true “in spirit.” Prior knowledge, partisanship, and imagination increase belief in the gist. We argue that partisan conflict about the morality of spreading misinformation hinges on disagreements not only about facts but also about gists.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2024 13:53
Date of first compliant deposit: 15 Jan 2024
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2024 01:18
URI: https://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/3617
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