Event Title

Stats vs. Facts

Location

FA 202

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Fake news seems to be intertwined with everything found online. Fake news is made-up material that resembles news media content in appearance but not in content or intent. Fake News is concerning since people seem to get their news from social media. At times, it is nearly impossible to detect. Whether it is the use of clickbait, photoshopped images, or bogus sources, fake news headlines are inevitable. According to previous research, statistical evidence is used by many people, not just scientists in order to attract readers. The purpose of this study is to learn whether the presence of statistics in a news headline changes a person's perspective on the headline’s believability. We will have 16 news headlines, of which 8 will be true and 8 will be false. The true headlines are from well known news websites that have been previously fact checked. The false headlines are from the website Snopes.com. Four of these headlines will be displayed with statistics while 4 won’t have any statistics. All the articles utilized in the study are the exact same, just one with the statistics included and the same article with the statistics excluded. We will ask participants to scale the believability and shareability of the headlines. Then we will ask questions about the specific article. The headlines that have statistics and the ones that don’t will be counterbalanced across subjects. In addition, we will ask participants how likely they are to share the headline, where participants get their news, and demographic questions. The hypothesis for this study is if there are statistics or numbers in the headlines, then the headlines will be more believable. Chances of shareability will increase with the use of stats, since the use of numbers will create a beacon of truth. We expect our projected results to show that the headlines with statistics are more believable than the ones without. These results can be beneficial to the public to gain necessary insight into a matter that is taking over our lives, in the age of misinformation and fake news.

Faculty Sponsor

Linda Rueckert, Northeastern Illinois University

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
May 6th, 12:40 PM

Stats vs. Facts

FA 202

Fake news seems to be intertwined with everything found online. Fake news is made-up material that resembles news media content in appearance but not in content or intent. Fake News is concerning since people seem to get their news from social media. At times, it is nearly impossible to detect. Whether it is the use of clickbait, photoshopped images, or bogus sources, fake news headlines are inevitable. According to previous research, statistical evidence is used by many people, not just scientists in order to attract readers. The purpose of this study is to learn whether the presence of statistics in a news headline changes a person's perspective on the headline’s believability. We will have 16 news headlines, of which 8 will be true and 8 will be false. The true headlines are from well known news websites that have been previously fact checked. The false headlines are from the website Snopes.com. Four of these headlines will be displayed with statistics while 4 won’t have any statistics. All the articles utilized in the study are the exact same, just one with the statistics included and the same article with the statistics excluded. We will ask participants to scale the believability and shareability of the headlines. Then we will ask questions about the specific article. The headlines that have statistics and the ones that don’t will be counterbalanced across subjects. In addition, we will ask participants how likely they are to share the headline, where participants get their news, and demographic questions. The hypothesis for this study is if there are statistics or numbers in the headlines, then the headlines will be more believable. Chances of shareability will increase with the use of stats, since the use of numbers will create a beacon of truth. We expect our projected results to show that the headlines with statistics are more believable than the ones without. These results can be beneficial to the public to gain necessary insight into a matter that is taking over our lives, in the age of misinformation and fake news.