Unlearning Fake-News

Briony Swire-Thompson, a postdoc at Northeastern's Network Science Institute, is researching the most effective ways to disseminate corrective information as a reaction to the "fake news" phenomenon.  Theorizing that it is not ideology alone that prevents people from retaining facts, she set up a study targeting the memory aspect.  By using statements commonly believed but removed from ideology, she found that immediately after being presented with corrective information, most participants changed their opinions on the veracity of the statements.  However, she also found that as time went on after the corrective information was presented, participants slid back towards their original beliefs.  A more extensive study was conducted using politically-charged statements.  Swire-Thompson hopes to use her findings to further the relatively new study of misinformation and discover how minds are really changed.