The Role of News Sharing in Curbing the Negative Impact of Misperceptions on Prosocial Behavior During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jihyang Choi, Jiyoung Lee, Hae Jung Oh


Although a growing body of literature has warned about the harmful effects of misperceptions in public health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, little is known about whether misperceptions discourage citizens’ engagement in prosocial behavior during the pandemic. Investigating this relationship, we focused on the role of news sharing on social media to determine whether this factor mitigates the potentially negative effects of misperceptions on prosocial behavior. The results show that individuals with more misperceptions are less likely to engage in prosocial behavior. However, active sharing of news about COVID-19 on social media mitigates such effects. News sharing has more pronounced positive effects on prosocial behavior when individuals share news with fellow citizens who have greater expertise about COVID-19-related information. Our findings highlight the importance of encouraging active news sharing and interacting with quality networks in digital environments to reduce the negative impact of misperceptions during a pandemic.


COVID-19, misperceptions, news sharing, prosocial behavior, social media

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