Confirmation Bias and the Persistence of Misinformation on Climate Change

Yanmengqian Zhou, Lijiang Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A web-based two (preexisting position: correct vs. incorrect) by two (message type: scientific information vs. misinformation) by three (messages) mixed design experimental study was conducted to test confirmation bias as a mechanism underlying the persistence of misinformation on climate change and to examine attitude certainty as a moderator of confirmation bias. Data collected with Qualtrics panels demonstrated robust confirmation bias in message and source perceptions, empathy, and perceived message effectiveness when individuals encountered messages consistent with their preexisting position on climate change, which in turn strengthened their preexisting position. The patterns of biased message processing and post-message position polarization were more extreme among climate change deniers. Attitude certainty significantly intensified polarization of position on climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCommunication Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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