Track 5: Judgment & Decision Making I
Dan Schley (Erasmus University)

5A. Misinformation

Friday, March 4
9:30am – 11:00am EST
Discussant: Dean Eckles (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
MC: Shreyans Goenka (Virginia Tech)
Calendar Invite: Add to calendar
Student Coordinator: Donald Gaffney (Vanderbilt University) (donald.r.gaffney@Vanderbilt.Edu)

Competitive Papers

When Scientists Go Rogue: How Belief Framing Can Increase Conservative Consumers' Interest in Scientific Products
Authors: Aviva Philipp-Muller (Ohio State University), Jesse Walker (Ohio State University), Rebecca Reczek (Ohio State University)
Presenting Author: Rebecca Reczek (Ohio State University)
Scientific innovation is often used to market products, but conservative consumers often stereotype scientists as liberal, which can reduce the effectiveness of scientific appeals. Can appeals be re-framed to increase conservative consumers’ interest in scientific products? We find that when the scientist behind a consumer offering is described as possessing “rogue” (vs. “typical”) scientific opinions, conservatives (as opposed to liberals) indicate increased positive WOM and purchase intentions for that offering. This effect is mediated be perceived similarity between the consumer and the scientist, and it is moderated when the person behind the offering is described as more stereotypically conservative.
Get Your Science Out of Here: When Do Scientific Marketing Appeals Backfire?
Authors: Aviva Philipp-Muller (Ohio State University), John Costello (University of Notre Dame), Rebecca Reczek (Ohio State University)
Presenting Author: Aviva Philipp-Muller (Ohio State University)
We propose that consumers view the scientific process as competent, yet cold. Since hedonic attributes are associated with warmth, the coldness associated with the scientific process mismatches the anticipated warmth of hedonic products and attributes, reducing purchase interest and WTP. In contrast, when products are positioned as utilitarian, scientific development appeals are effective, as the perceived competence of the scientific process is compatible with the competence associated with utilitarian products. These effects are mediated by increased conceptual fluency for matching appeals. Finally, when the necessity of science to create a hedonic product is made salient, this backfire effect is attenuated.
Differences in "Cancel Culture" as a Function of the Work's Domain: Moral Decoupling for Artistic versus Scientific Works and its Effects on Boycotting
Authors: Joseph Siev (Ohio State University), Jacob Teeny (Northwestern University)
Presenting Author: Joseph Siev (Ohio State University)
With “cancel culture” on the rise, there is limited research on when consumers will shun the creator, while simultaneously refraining from boycotting their work (i.e., engage in moral decoupling). In the present research, we introduce a novel divide between works perceived as “artistic” versus “scientific” and show that consumers are more likely to boycott artistic (vs. scientific) work following its creator’s unrelated moral transgression (e.g., sexual misconduct). We show this difference emerges because consumers are less able to morally decouple artistic (vs. scientific) work, because consumers perceive the work’s quality as more subjectively (vs. objectively) determined.
Aliens and Scientists: The Mitigating Role of Scientific Literacy on Conspiracy Theory Belief
Authors: Nate Allred (Penn State University), Lisa Bolton (Penn State University)
Presenting Author: Nate Allred (Penn State University)
This research proposes that scientific literacy is negatively related to conspiracy belief and behavior, resolving the mixed results on whether education decreases conspiracy belief. Both dimensions, scientific knowledge and scientific reasoning, play a role in mitigating scientific and non-scientific conspiracy belief, while education does not. The decrease in conspiracy belief is explained by improved evaluation of conspiracy evidence due to scientific literacy. Analysis is conducted at the country, state, and individual levels to provide support for this effect.

Flash Talks

How Word Polarity Affects Listeners' Judgment Confidence and Attitudes
Authors: Giulia Maimone (University of California San Diego), Uma Karmarkar (University of California San Diego), On Amir (University of California San Diego)
Presenting Author: Giulia Maimone (University of California San Diego)
How does the choice of words matter when trying to persuade others? Managers have known for years that each word can make a world of a difference, but less is known about the how and the why. Across four preregistered experiments, we demonstrate how using easily reversible (i.e., bi-polar) words in a statement interacts with listeners’ true/false judgments, engaging different types of cognitive processes. When a statement containing a bi-polar word is not just written as a negation, but processed as one, a slower more elaborate cognitive process occurs. This results in lower judgment confidence, and ultimately in weaker attitudes towards the message source. Our findings advance decision theories by shedding light on the ways in which linguistic elements of communication impact judgments and resulting attitudes. These results offer practical strategies for persuasive messaging for professionals in roles ranging from employers, marketers and content writers, to politicians and policy-makers.
How Intolerance For Uncertainty Shape Sharing of Misinformation
Authors: Amin Shiri (Texas A&M University), Keith Wilcox (Texas A&M University)
Presenting Author: Amin Shiri (Texas A&M University)
Who is more likely to fall for online misinformation? This research answers this question by providing a novel psychological profile of people who tend to share misinformation online. We predict and provide evidence that individuals who are high on intolerance of uncertainty (i.e., a strong distaste for uncertainty) are more likely to share misinformation online. We explain this counterintuitive prediction by arguing that individuals high in intolerance for uncertainty, compared to those low in intolerance for uncertainty, tend to respond to situations to reduce uncertainty. As a result, when uncertain about the accuracy of a piece of information, individuals high in intolerance of uncertainty may superficially believe that the information is indeed accurate to reduce their uncertainty about the accuracy of information. This, in turn, makes these individuals more likely to share that information with others (e.g., sharing on their Facebook).


Creeping Objectivity: Prior Exposure Makes People More Likely to Believe Claims Are Factual Statements Rather Than Opinions
Authors: Daniel J. Mirny (UCLA Anderson School of Management), Stephen A. Spiller (University of California Los Angeles)
Presenting Author: Daniel J. Mirny (UCLA Anderson School of Management)
Whether people believe that claims are objective (verifiably accurate or inaccurate) or subjective (non-verifiable matters of opinion) has important consequences for judgment and conflict. But perceived objectivity varies across people and may be a malleable construct, affected by how claims are presented. People frequently encounter the same claims multiple times. Previous research has found that prior exposure increases the perceived veracity of objective claims (the illusory truth effect) as well as agreement with subjective claims (the mere exposure effect). The present research bridges these two literatures to investigate the novel question of whether prior exposure affects the perceived objectivity of claims as either objective claims or subjective claims. Across five preregistered experiments (N=3,412), we find that prior exposure to claims makes people more likely to believe that claims are objective rather than subjective. We discuss potential processes for this creeping objectivity, including processing fluency, perceived social consensus, and claim endorsement.
Name Effects: Merely Giving a Name to a Persuasion Message Increases Judgments of Truth
Authors: Dan King (University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley), Sumitra Auschaitrakul (Laval University)
Presenting Author: Dan King (University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley)
Most persuasion attempts do not have a name. Across three studies using different pieces of (fake) news in different domains (e.g., politics, nature, science), we found support for our predicted effects: a piece of (fake) news presented with a name is judged to be more truthful compared to fake news without a name. Our research provides theoretical contributions to object perception, and carries implications for literature on persuasion, information processing, and judgments of truth.
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