Correcting Factual Misperceptions: How Source Cues Matter Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Wager, Emily
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • From the birther movement to the push of “alternative facts” from the White House, recent events have highlighted the prominence of misinformation in the U.S. This study seeks to broaden our understanding of under what conditions factual misperceptions may be effectively corrected. Specifically, I use Social Identity Theory to argue that ingroup members, specifically co-partisans and peers, are perceived to be more credible, and in turn are more effective correctors, than outgroup members (out-partisans and elites), contingent on identity strength. I also argue that peers should be effective correctors among those with low levels of institutional trust. To test my expectations, this study employs a 2 x 2 experimental design with a control group to determine how successful various source cues are at changing factual beliefs about a hotly debated topic in the U.S.— immigration. Overall I find preliminary support for my expectations.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Stimson, James
  • Maxwell, Rahsaan
  • Conover, Pamela
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2017

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