Given the complexity of contrasting the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories, past research has started investigating some novel pre-emptive strategies, such as inoculation and prebunking. In the present research, we tested whether counterfactual thinking can be employed as a prebunking strategy to prompt critical consideration of fake news spread online. In two experiments, we asked participants to read or generate counterfactuals on the research and development of COVID-19 treatments, and then to evaluate the veridicality and plausibility of a fake news headline related to the topic. Participants' conspiracy mentality was also measured. Among participants with higher levels of conspiracy mentality, those exposed to counterfactual prebunking rated the fake news headline less plausible than those in the control condition (Study 1) and those exposed to another type of prebunking, that is, forewarning of the existence of misinformation (Study 2). The counterfactual prebunking strategy also induced less reactance than forewarning. Discussion focuses on the development of new strategies to prevent the spread of misinformation, and the conditions under which these strategies may be successful.

Bertolotti, M., Catellani, P., Counterfactual thinking as a prebunking strategy to contrast misinformation on COVID-19, <<JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY>>, 2023; 104 (1): 104404-104404. [doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2022.104404] [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/216206]

Counterfactual thinking as a prebunking strategy to contrast misinformation on COVID-19

Bertolotti
;
M.; Catellani
2023

Abstract

Given the complexity of contrasting the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories, past research has started investigating some novel pre-emptive strategies, such as inoculation and prebunking. In the present research, we tested whether counterfactual thinking can be employed as a prebunking strategy to prompt critical consideration of fake news spread online. In two experiments, we asked participants to read or generate counterfactuals on the research and development of COVID-19 treatments, and then to evaluate the veridicality and plausibility of a fake news headline related to the topic. Participants' conspiracy mentality was also measured. Among participants with higher levels of conspiracy mentality, those exposed to counterfactual prebunking rated the fake news headline less plausible than those in the control condition (Study 1) and those exposed to another type of prebunking, that is, forewarning of the existence of misinformation (Study 2). The counterfactual prebunking strategy also induced less reactance than forewarning. Discussion focuses on the development of new strategies to prevent the spread of misinformation, and the conditions under which these strategies may be successful.
Inglese
Bertolotti, M., Catellani, P., Counterfactual thinking as a prebunking strategy to contrast misinformation on COVID-19, <<JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY>>, 2023; 104 (1): 104404-104404. [doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2022.104404] [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/216206]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10807/216206
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