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Taking Corrections Literally But Not Seriously? The Effects of Information on Factual Beliefs and Candidate Favorability

60 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2017  

Brendan Nyhan

Dartmouth College

Ethan Porter

George Washington University

Jason Reifler

University of Exeter

Thomas Wood

Ohio State University (OSU)

Date Written: June 29, 2017

Abstract

Are citizens willing to accept fact-checks of false or unsupported claims of candidates they support in the heat of a political campaign? Previous studies have reached conflicting conclusions about people’s willingness to update their factual beliefs in response to counter-attitudinal information. To discriminate between these findings, we conducted two experiments during the 2016 presidential campaign. Our results indicate that correcting misleading claims that Donald Trump made during his convention speech and in the first general election debate reduced belief in the claims in question even among his supporters. However, attitudes toward Trump were not affected. These results suggest that corrective information can reduce misperceptions, but will often have minimal effects on candidate evaluations or vote choice.

Suggested Citation

Nyhan, Brendan and Porter, Ethan and Reifler, Jason and Wood, Thomas, Taking Corrections Literally But Not Seriously? The Effects of Information on Factual Beliefs and Candidate Favorability (June 29, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2995128

Brendan Nyhan

Dartmouth College ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

Ethan Porter (Contact Author)

George Washington University ( email )

2121 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States

Jason Reifler

University of Exeter ( email )

Northcote House
The Queen's Drive
Exeter, Devon EX4 4QJ
United Kingdom

Thomas Wood

Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )

Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

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