Reminders and Repetition of Misinformation: Helping or Hindering Its Retraction?

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Abstract

People frequently rely on information even after it has been retracted, a phenomenon known as the continued-influence effect of misinformation. One factor proposed to explain the ineffectiveness of retractions is that repeating misinformation during a correction may inadvertently strengthen the misinformation by making it more familiar. Practitioners are therefore often encouraged to design corrections that avoid misinformation repetition. The current study tested this recommendation, investigating whether retractions become more or less effective when they include reminders or repetitions of the initial misinformation. Participants read fictional reports, some of which contained retractions of previous information, and inferential reasoning was measured via questionnaire. Retractions varied in the extent to which they served as misinformation reminders. Retractions that explicitly repeated the misinformation were more effective in reducing misinformation effects than retractions that avoided repetition, presumably because of enhanced salience. Recommendations for effective myth debunking may thus need to be revised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-192
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

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title = "Reminders and Repetition of Misinformation: Helping or Hindering Its Retraction?",
abstract = "People frequently rely on information even after it has been retracted, a phenomenon known as the continued-influence effect of misinformation. One factor proposed to explain the ineffectiveness of retractions is that repeating misinformation during a correction may inadvertently strengthen the misinformation by making it more familiar. Practitioners are therefore often encouraged to design corrections that avoid misinformation repetition. The current study tested this recommendation, investigating whether retractions become more or less effective when they include reminders or repetitions of the initial misinformation. Participants read fictional reports, some of which contained retractions of previous information, and inferential reasoning was measured via questionnaire. Retractions varied in the extent to which they served as misinformation reminders. Retractions that explicitly repeated the misinformation were more effective in reducing misinformation effects than retractions that avoided repetition, presumably because of enhanced salience. Recommendations for effective myth debunking may thus need to be revised.",
keywords = "Continued-influence effect, Familiarity, Misinformation, Myth debunking",
author = "Ecker, {Ullrich K. H.} and Hogan, {Joshua L.} and Stephan Lewandowsky",
year = "2017",
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pages = "185--192",
journal = "Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition",
issn = "2211-3681",
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T2 - Helping or Hindering Its Retraction?

AU - Ecker, Ullrich K. H.

AU - Hogan, Joshua L.

AU - Lewandowsky, Stephan

PY - 2017/6

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N2 - People frequently rely on information even after it has been retracted, a phenomenon known as the continued-influence effect of misinformation. One factor proposed to explain the ineffectiveness of retractions is that repeating misinformation during a correction may inadvertently strengthen the misinformation by making it more familiar. Practitioners are therefore often encouraged to design corrections that avoid misinformation repetition. The current study tested this recommendation, investigating whether retractions become more or less effective when they include reminders or repetitions of the initial misinformation. Participants read fictional reports, some of which contained retractions of previous information, and inferential reasoning was measured via questionnaire. Retractions varied in the extent to which they served as misinformation reminders. Retractions that explicitly repeated the misinformation were more effective in reducing misinformation effects than retractions that avoided repetition, presumably because of enhanced salience. Recommendations for effective myth debunking may thus need to be revised.

AB - People frequently rely on information even after it has been retracted, a phenomenon known as the continued-influence effect of misinformation. One factor proposed to explain the ineffectiveness of retractions is that repeating misinformation during a correction may inadvertently strengthen the misinformation by making it more familiar. Practitioners are therefore often encouraged to design corrections that avoid misinformation repetition. The current study tested this recommendation, investigating whether retractions become more or less effective when they include reminders or repetitions of the initial misinformation. Participants read fictional reports, some of which contained retractions of previous information, and inferential reasoning was measured via questionnaire. Retractions varied in the extent to which they served as misinformation reminders. Retractions that explicitly repeated the misinformation were more effective in reducing misinformation effects than retractions that avoided repetition, presumably because of enhanced salience. Recommendations for effective myth debunking may thus need to be revised.

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