Political Psychology in the Digital (mis)Information age: A Model of News Belief and Sharing

Jay J. Van Bavel, Elizabeth A. Harris, Philip Pärnamets, Steve Rathje, Kimberly C. Doell, Joshua A. Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The spread of misinformation, including “fake news,” propaganda, and conspiracy theories, represents a serious threat to society, as it has the potential to alter beliefs, behavior, and policy. Research is beginning to disentangle how and why misinformation is spread and identify processes that contribute to this social problem. We propose an integrative model to understand the social, political, and cognitive psychology risk factors that underlie the spread of misinformation and highlight strategies that might be effective in mitigating this problem. However, the spread of misinformation is a rapidly growing and evolving problem; thus scholars need to identify and test novel solutions, and work with policy makers to evaluate and deploy these solutions. Hence, we provide a roadmap for future research to identify where scholars should invest their energy in order to have the greatest overall impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-113
Number of pages30
JournalSocial Issues and Policy Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • conspiracy theories
  • fake news
  • misinformation
  • personality psychology
  • political psychology
  • social psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Applied Psychology


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