Misinformation and Its Correction

  title={Misinformation and Its Correction},
  author={Stephan Lewandowsky and Ullrich K. H. Ecker and Colleen M. Seifert and Norbert Schwarz and John Cook},
  journal={Psychological Science in the Public Interest},
  pages={106 - 131}
The widespread prevalence and persistence of misinformation in contemporary societies, such as the false belief that there is a link between childhood vaccinations and autism, is a matter of public concern. For example, the myths surrounding vaccinations, which prompted some parents to withhold immunization from their children, have led to a marked increase in vaccine-preventable disease, as well as unnecessary public expenditure on research and public-information campaigns aimed at rectifying… 

Figures from this paper

Misinformation and How to Correct It

This essay summarizes research into misinformation, bringing together studies from psychology, political science, education, and computer science to provide guidelines on how to effectively refute misconceptions without risking backfire effects.

Pandemics and infodemics: Research on the effects of misinformation on memory

The consequences of exposure to misinformation during this infodemic, particularly in the domain of memory, are discussed and existing research demonstrating how inaccurate, postevent information impacts a person's memory for a previously witnessed event is reviewed.

Misinformation: susceptibility, spread, and interventions to immunize the public.

This conceptual Review summarizes what the authors know along three key dimensions of the infodemic: susceptibility, spread, and immunization.

Misinformation and Disinformation in the Era of COVID-19: The Role of Primary Information Sources and the Development of Attitudes Toward Vaccination

The results suggest that a lack of trust and engagement in traditional news outlets is associated with lower levels of COVID-19 vaccination initiation or completion and higher levels of engagement with sources that have been used in the past to propagate conspiracy theories, such as YouTube.

The psychological drivers of misinformation belief and its resistance to correction

| Misinformation has been identified as a major contributor to various contentious contemporary events ranging from elections and referenda to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only can

Correcting misinformation by health organizations during measles outbreaks: A controlled experiment

It is very important for the organizations to correct misinformation transparently, and to address the emotional aspects for both the pro-vaccination and the hesitant groups.

Susceptibility to misinformation about COVID-19 around the world

A clear link between susceptibility to misinformation and both vaccine hesitancy and a reduced likelihood to comply with health guidance measures is demonstrated, and interventions which aim to improve critical thinking and trust in science may be a promising avenue for future research.

Science audiences, misinformation, and fake news

It is shown how being misinformed is a function of a person’s ability and motivation to spot falsehoods, but also of other group-level and societal factors that increase the chances of citizens to be exposed to correct(ive) information.

Countering antivaccination attitudes

This study shows that highlighting factual information about the dangers of communicable diseases can positively impact people’s attitudes to vaccination, and outperformed alternative interventions aimed at undercutting vaccination myths.



Disinformation: The Use of False Information

A preliminary “theory of disinformation” is advanced that is intended to stimulate thinking on this increasingly important subject and five kinds of disinformation are distinguished and exemplified by real life cases I have encountered.

Misinformation about Vaccines

Planting misinformation in the human mind: a 30-year investigation of the malleability of memory.

This review of the field ends with a brief discussion of the newer work involving misinformation that has explored the processes by which people come to believe falsely that they experienced rich complex events that never, in fact, occurred.

Addressing the vaccine confidence gap

Do people keep believing because they want to? Preexisting attitudes and the continued influence of misinformation

The results showed that preexisting attitudes influence people’s use of attitude-related information but not the way in which a retraction of that information is processed.

Rumors, Truths, and Reality: A Study of Political Misinformation

Note to readers: This paper will eventually be split into two papers. The first will contain the material on the nature and determinants of rumor holding. The second will present the experimental

Memory for Fact, Fiction, and Misinformation

The effects of retractions and disconfirmations of the 2003 Iraq War on people's memory for and beliefs about war-related events in two coalition countries (Australia and the United States) and one country that opposed the war (Germany) are investigated.

The Hazards of Correcting Myths About Health Care Reform

An experiment to determine if more aggressive media fact-checking could correct the false belief that the Affordable Care Act would create “death panels” backfired among politically knowledgeable Palin supporters, who were more likely to believe in death panels and to strongly oppose reform if they received the correction.

"There Must Be a Reason": Osama, Saddam, and Inferred Justification

One of the most curious aspects of the 2004 presidential election was the strength and resilience of the belief among many Americans that Saddam Hussein was linked to the terrorist attacks of