Would I lie to you? Party affiliation is more important than Brexit in processing political misinformation

Toby Prike, Robert Reason, Ullrich K.H. Ecker, Briony Swire-Thompson, Stephan Lewandowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In recent years, the UK has become divided along two key dimensions: party affiliation and Brexit position. We explored how division along these two dimensions interacts with the correction of political misinformation. Participants saw accurate and inaccurate statements (either balanced or mostly inaccurate) from two politicians from opposing parties but the same Brexit position (Experiment 1), or the same party but opposing Brexit positions (Experiment 2). Replicating previous work, fact-checking statements led participants to update their beliefs, increasing belief after fact affirmations and decreasing belief for corrected misinformation, even for politically aligned material. After receiving fact-checks participants had reduced voting intentions and more negative feelings towards party-aligned politicians (likely due to low baseline support for opposing party politicians). For Brexit alignment, the opposite was found: participants reduced their voting intentions and feelings for opposing (but not aligned) politicians following the fact-checks. These changes occurred regardless of the proportion of inaccurate statements, potentially indicating participants expect politicians to be accurate more than half the time. Finally, although we found division based on both party and Brexit alignment, effects were much stronger for party alignment, highlighting that even though new divisions have emerged in UK politics, the old divides remain dominant.
Original languageEnglish
Article number220508
Number of pages16
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


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