Belief in Fake News Is Associated with Delusionality, Dogmatism, Religious Fundamentalism, and Reduced Analytic Thinking

78 Pages Posted: 17 May 2018 Last revised: 23 Sep 2018

See all articles by Michael Bronstein

Michael Bronstein

Yale University

Gordon Pennycook

University of Regina

Adam Bear

Yale University

David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Tyrone Cannon

Yale University

Date Written: September 14, 2018

Abstract

Delusion-prone individuals may be more likely to accept even delusion-irrelevant implausible ideas because of their tendency to engage in less analytic and actively open-minded thinking. Consistent with this suggestion, two online studies with over 900 participants demonstrated that although delusion-prone individuals were no more likely to believe true news headlines, they displayed an increased belief in “fake news” headlines, which often feature implausible content. Mediation analyses suggest that analytic cognitive style may partially explain these individuals’ increased willingness to believe fake news. Exploratory analyses showed that dogmatic individuals and religious fundamentalists were also more likely to believe false (but not true) news, and that these relationships may be fully explained by analytic cognitive style. Our findings suggest that existing interventions that increase analytic and actively open-minded thinking might be leveraged to help reduce belief in fake news.

Keywords: fake news, dogmatism, dual-process theory, religious fundamentalism, actively open-minded thinking, delusion-proneness

Suggested Citation

Bronstein, Michael and Pennycook, Gordon and Bear, Adam and Rand, David G. and Cannon, Tyrone, Belief in Fake News Is Associated with Delusionality, Dogmatism, Religious Fundamentalism, and Reduced Analytic Thinking (September 14, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3172140 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3172140

Michael Bronstein (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Gordon Pennycook

University of Regina ( email )

3737 Wascana Parkway
Regina, Saskatchewan S4S OA2 S4S 0A1
Canada

Adam Bear

Yale University ( email )

2 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

HOME PAGE: http://campuspress.yale.edu/adambear/

David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.daverand.org

Tyrone Cannon

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

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