Updating the identity-based model of belief: From false belief to the spread of misinformation

Jay J. Van Bavel, Steve Rathje, Madalina Vlasceanu, Clara Pretus

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The spread of misinformation threatens democratic societies, hampering informed decision-making. Partisan identity biases perceptions of reality, promoting false beliefs. The Identity-based Model of Political Belief explains how social identity shapes information processing and contributes to misinformation. According to this model, social identity goals can override accuracy goals, leading to belief alignment with party members rather than facts. We propose an extended version of this model that incorporates the role of informational context in misinformation belief and sharing. Partisanship involves cognitive and motivational aspects that shape party members' beliefs and actions. This includes whether they seek further evidence, where they seek that evidence, and which sources they trust. Understanding the interplay between social identity and accuracy is crucial in addressing misinformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101787
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
StatePublished - Apr 2024


  • Beliefs
  • Conspiracy theories
  • Misinformation
  • Partisanship
  • Social identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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