The effect of accuracy instructions on Coronavirus-related belief change following conversational interactions

Madalina Vlasceanu, Alin Coman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In a high-risk environment, such as during an epidemic, people are exposed to a large amount of information, both accurate and inaccurate. Following exposure, they typically discuss the information with each other. Here, we assess the effects of such conversations on beliefs. A sample of 126 M-Turk participants rated the accuracy of a set of COVID-19 statements, including accurate information, inaccurate information, and conspiracy theories (pre-test). They were then paired and asked to discuss these statements (low epistemic condition) or to discuss only the statements they thought were accurate (high epistemic condition). Finally, they rated the accuracy of the initial statements again (post-test). We do not find an effect of the epistemic condition on belief change. However, we find that individuals are sensitive to their conversational partners and change their beliefs according to their partners' conveyed beliefs. In exploratory analyses, we report predictors of believing COVID-19 conspiracies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)820-829
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Volume36
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

Keywords

  • belief change
  • conspiracy beliefs
  • conversational interactions
  • COVID-19

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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