The Emotion-Induced Belief-Amplification Effect

AbstractExposure to images constitutes a ubiquitous day-to-day experience for most individuals. From mass-media exposure, to engagement with social-networking sites, to educational contexts, we are bombarded with images. Here, we explore the effect that emotional images have on belief endorsement. To investigate this effect, we test whether statements accompanied by emotionally arousing images become more or less believable than the same statements when they are accompanied by neutral images or by no images. We find that emotional images increase statement believability (Experiment 1, replicated in pre-registered Experiment 2). We discuss the implications of this finding in the context of interventions aimed at reducing misinformation.

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