Some misinformation is more easily countered: An experiment on the continued influence effect

AbstractInformation initially presented as a likely cause of an event but turns out to be incorrect can affect people’s reasoning despite being clearly corrected – a phenomenon known as the continued influence effect of misinformation. The present work extends previous findings showing that misinformation that implies a likely cause of an adverse outcome is more resistant to correction than misinformation that explicitly states a likely cause. Participants either read a report describing a fire or a crash. The difference between implied and explicitly stated misinformation was replicated with the fire scenario, which has been commonly used in continued influence research. There was little evidence of a continued influence of misinformation for the (novel) crash scenario. The results constrain the generalizability of the continued influence effect and suggest that corrections that clearly invalidate initial misinformation can be effective.

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