Review: How to correct misinformation, according to science

This podcast discusses what to do to combat misinformation.

This podcast promotes evidence-based strategies to effectively combat misinformation. It is recommended to present information from a source that the person you are trying to correct finds credible. Be careful to avoid the overkill backfire effect, which occurs when too many different messages become overwhelming and are too difficult to remember so it is easier to believe the one myth. It is also important not to repeat the misinformation because this leads to the familiarity backfire effect where people hear the misinformation and because it is familiar, they are likely to believe it. Other suggestions include finding common ground, avoiding insults and instead promoting a dialogue, and asking questions (e.g., why do you think this information is true?)

When communicating with others about misinformation, the following best practices are recommended:

  • Correct the misinformation as early as you can
  • Provide correct information in bite-size chunks
  • Offer an alternative to the misinformation
  • Be sure the alternative affirms, not threatens, the person’s worldviews and identity

Specific recommendations for correcting misinformation on social media include:

  • Linking to an expert source
  • Saying facts as simple as possible (without repeating the myth)
  • Having multiple people offer corrections
|2020-05-27T08:41:05-04:00May 27th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|Comments Off on Review: How to correct misinformation, according to science

About the Author: Maria Brann

Maria Brann
Dr. Maria Brann, PhD, MPH, is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and affiliate faculty with the Injury Control Research Center at West Virginia University. She explores the integration of health, interpersonal, and gender communication. Her translational focus and mixed methods approach are woven throughout her health vulnerabilities research, which advocates for more effective communication to improve people’s health and safety. Her primary research interests focus on the study of women’s and ethical issues in health communication contexts and promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors to improve personal and public health and safety. She researches communication at both the micro and macro levels and studies how communication influences relationships among individuals and with the social world.

Get Involved with Indiana CTSI