The bias of being sure goes hand in hand with people. We certainly like and do not believe in things that are more certain than things that challenge our worldview. This is especially important in the case of the complex web of online information and misinformation. A new study published in Science Advances says that both liberals and conservatives believe in news that more easily supports their news.
Conservatives, however, were more likely to believe liars, for the most part because there are many more viral lies, including conservative bias. Kelly Garrett, co-author of the study and professor of communication at The Ohio State University, said in a statement, “Both liberals and conservatives make mistakes that are influenced by what is good for them.”
“But the deck is geared against conservatives because there is a lot more misinformation that supports conservative positions. As a result, conservatives are often misguided.” The study, which involved 1,204 American adults between February and July 2019, collected 20 viral political stories per week, ten of which were true and ten of which were false. The group found that 65 percent of high-profile true stories favored leftist populations over those of the left, with only ten percent favoring the right and the rest neutral.
When it comes to lies, 45.8% of the stories had right-wing themes and 23.3 left benefited. “We’ve seen viral political lies lean toward conservatives, although the truth is in favor of liberals, which makes it much harder for conservatives to avoid misconceptions,” Garrett explained. Even when the amount of false information is taken into account, conservatives feel a little worse than liberals in distinguishing truth from fiction. Based on the data from the survey, researchers cannot explain why this is the case.
The work shows that all people were equally good at detecting lies in news that was marked as politically neutral. But when a story was considered political, liberals became better at understanding what the truth was than what was created. The Conservatives further stated that all claims were true. “Conservatives didn’t get anything worse than this, but they didn’t move forward with liberals who were getting better at understanding truth and falsehood,” Garrett explained. “It’s a problem because some of the claims were foreign – there was no doubt about whether they were true.”