GRAND Magazine - Summer 2022 - 33

media
" It makes sense for us to care about what other
people think, not just to confirm, but because we're
looking for reliable sources of information, " Orticio
said. " But research suggests that fake news tends
to travel, by some estimates, six times faster than
fact-based news on Twitter and other social media
platforms. "
" That's because the algorithms social media platforms
use to promote whatever is most engaging
or attention-grabbing are often at odds with what is
actually true in the world, especially if one is prone to
burrow into echo chambers where everyone agrees
with you, " he added. " When misinformation gets a lot
of likes or retweets, it can give people a very distorted
impression of how common that belief actually is-
which we now know can affect how believable they
find it themselves. "
HOW THEY CONDUCTED THE STUDY
For the study, the researchers came up with a list
of 30 beliefs (listed below), many of which are pseudoscientific
or misinformed and circulate through U.S.
media channels.
First, they asked study participants to rate how
much they believed each of the 30 statements on a
scale of one to 100. They were then asked to guess,
out of 100 people, how many others also believed the
statement.
Next, study participants were shown how many
other people believed or did not believe each of the
30 statements. Some of this data was manipulated to
exceed participants' initial estimate, to see if making a
belief seem more popular would influence people to
33 GRAND Summer 2022
"
...UC Berkeley's Kidd Lab sought to understand the extent
of the human mind's vulnerability in the age of social media.
change their minds.
For example, in response to the statement that " NIH
Director Anthony Fauci is misleading people about
COVID-19 because he stands to gain financially from
a vaccine, " a study participant might estimate that
about 30% of people believe that.
If they then learned that seven out of 10 respondents
believed the statement, they'd be more likely to
rate it as credible, the study found.
" What appears to be driving people to change
their beliefs is the prediction error between how many
people they expected would believe the statement,
and the actual data shown, " Orticio said.
And for the most part, that pattern was consistent.
After learning how many others agreed or disagreed
with each of the 30 statements, participants tended
to shift their degree of certainty based on what others
thought.
" What we found is that for almost every single item
we tested-all of which are misinformed beliefs-
people shifted their beliefs based on the social data
alone, " Orticio said. " In other words, if we show someone
that a belief is more common than they thought,
that makes them see it as more plausible, even if they
haven't seen any direct evidence. "
SO HOW TO GUARD AGAINST FAKE NEWS?
" We know from past research in our lab and elsewhere
that once people have established a certain
"
level of certainty about something, there's often very
little that can be done to change their minds, " Orticio
said. " They become less curious and less receptive to
counter-evidence. So, it's best to intervene early with
reputable information before anyone gets the chance
to snowball into certainty about a misinformed belief. "
Orticio said the study's results confirm his belief
that the responsibility to curb the spread of misinformation
falls mostly on social media platforms. One
remedy, he said, would be to remove social engagement
metrics such as likes, hearts, and retweets from
posts that have been identified as misleading.
That said, social media users also have a role to play
in stopping the spread of misinformation.
" On an individual level, diversifying your media diet
can help, " he said. " Doing that will give a more representative
sense of what kinds of beliefs are out there
and get users more attuned to motivations, nefarious
or otherwise, behind the information that's being
shared. "
Continue reading
Yasmin Anwar is a media relations
representative at UC Berkeley.
https://www.kiddlab.com/ https://news.berkeley.edu/2022/05/25/like-it-or-not-were-prone-to-adopt-popular-beliefs-even-fake-ones/#fact-fiction https://www.grandmagazine.com/2022/08/how-our-brains-makes-misinformation-go-viral/ https://ggsc.berkeley.edu/

GRAND Magazine - Summer 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - Summer 2022

contents
GRAND Magazine - Summer 2022 - Cover1
GRAND Magazine - Summer 2022 - 2
GRAND Magazine - Summer 2022 - 3
GRAND Magazine - Summer 2022 - 3A
GRAND Magazine - Summer 2022 - contents
GRAND Magazine - Summer 2022 - 5
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GRAND Magazine - Summer 2022 - Cover4
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