Are People Easily Duped by Disinformation? Experimental Evidence for Open Vigilance

Wuyao Ding, Yan Ge


Although it has been commonly believed that people are gullible, the open vigilance (OV) theory advocates that people in the default state of information processing are conservative. By deepening their processing, they likely look for true cues to accept information instead of false cues to reject it. The current paper examined whether the OV theory works in the evaluation of information credibility in two studies. Study 1 found that more elaborated information processing brought higher perceived information credibility, no matter whether the news was true or false. Study 2 found that false cues made little impact on perceived information credibility, but true cues increased it significantly. As for people who had little prior knowledge, enriching either true or false details increased their perceived credibility. These findings enhance the understanding of how people judge true and false news.



disinformation, cognition, media literacy, judgment, and information processing

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