In 2017, 67% of users reported consuming some portion of their news from social media. Social media news, however, incentivizes lesser-known publishers to prioritize provocativeness over truthfulness in their content. To capture news readers’ attention, these publishers may employ deceptive practices, such as misleading headlines, to gain attention online. Although the content in these articles may be truthful, research has found that misleading headlines may decrease news readers’ memory performance for factual information presented in those stories. Misleading headlines are commonly found in online news and shared on social media, so social media-based solutions are ideal for addressing this effect. A key feature of social media is the ability to publically share one’s opinion, and when users share content, they feel greater involvement, leading to higher levels of attention, recognition, and memory elaboration. The current study examined whether sharing news content online could act as an effective form of memory elaboration and alleviate the memory decrement caused by misleading headlines. Two hundred and four English-speaking participants were recruited online from Amazon Mechanical Turk to participate in the current study. Participants were assigned to one of three conditions in which they provided comments that were intended to be shared (social elaboration condition) or not (nonsocial elaboration condition), or were not given the opportunity to provide comments (no elaboration condition). Memory of the factual information in the stories was tested using a 2 (headline type: misleading or non-misleading) x 3 (condition) ANOVA, where headline type was the within-subjects factor and condition was the between-subjects factor. It was hypothesized that participants would perform better on the memory test for stories with non-misleading headlines than those with misleading headlines, and participants who elaborated on the stories were expected to perform better than those who did not. Moreover, participants in the social elaboration condition were expected to experience less of a memory decrement caused by misleading headlines. The results of the ANOVA revealed no significant main effects of headline type or elaboration type, and no significant interaction of the two variables, thus failing to support the hypotheses. A content analysis of the participants’ elaboration responses revealed that participants in the social elaboration and nonsocial elaboration conditions largely employed the same elaboration techniques. Limitations of the current study and implications of the results are discussed.
|Advisor:||Vu, Kim-Phuong L|
|Commitee:||Miles, James D, Strybel, Thomas Z|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 81/3(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Fake news, Memory elaboration, Social media news|
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