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Does explaining the origins of misinformation improve the effectiveness of a given correction?

Connor Desai, S. & Reimers, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-9497-0942 (2022). Does explaining the origins of misinformation improve the effectiveness of a given correction?. Memory & Cognition, 51(2), pp. 422-436. doi: 10.3758/s13421-022-01354-7


Misinformation often has a continuing influence on event-related reasoning even when it is clearly and credibly corrected; this is referred to as the continued influence effect. The present work investigated whether a correction’s effectiveness can be improved by explaining the origins of the misinformation. In two experiments, we examined whether a correction that explained misinformation as originating either from intentional deception or an unintentional error was more effective than a correction that only identified the misinformation as false. Experiment 2 found no evidence that corrections explaining the reason the misinformation was presented, were more effective than a correction not accompanied by an explanation, and no evidence of a difference in effectiveness between a correction that explained the misinformation as intentional deception and one that explained it as unintentional error. We replicated this in Experiment 2 and found substantial attenuation of the continued influence effect in a novel scenario with the same underlying structure. Overall, the results suggest that informing people of the cause leading to presentation of misinformation, whether deliberate or accidental, may not be an effective correction strategy over and above stating that the misinformation is false.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: Misinformation, Continued influence effect, Explanation, Correction
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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