This abstract, summarized by IPR and provided by the IPR Behavioral Insights Research Center, is based on a research paper written by Jon Roozenbeek and Sander van der Linden, Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge.
Jon Roozenbeek and Sander van der Linden, Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge designed a psychological intervention in the form of an online browser game to test whether it had an impact on the spread of misinformation. Using inoculation theory, this game introduced players to a weakened version of a misleading argument in the hopes that by preemptively refuting this argument the players would develop resistance against persuasion attempts.
“In the game, players take on the role of a fake news producer and learn to master six documented techniques commonly used in the production of misinformation: polarisation, invoking emotions, spreading conspiracy theories, trolling people online, deflecting blame, and impersonating fake accounts.”
Researchers conducted a large-scale evaluation of the game with approximately 15,000 participants in a pre-post game-play design.
Some key findings include:
- The process of active inoculation through playing the Bad News game significantly reduced the perceived reliability of tweets that embedded several common online misinformation strategies.
- Participants who were most susceptible to fake news headlines at the outset (pre-test) also benefited the most from the inoculation treatment. In other words, this inoculation process may help those audiences at greatest risk of misinformation.
- Both liberals and conservatives improved in their ability to detect fake news following gameplay.
Read more here to learn how the Bad News game influenced players’ ability to detect fake news online.