For those who are interested, I have a new study out in Medical Care titled "The Hazards of Correcting Myths About Health Care Reform" (gated) with Jason Reifler and Peter Ubel.
Here's the abstract (see also this morning's press release):
Context: Misperceptions are a major problem in debates about health care reform and other controversial health issues.
Methods: We conducted an experiment to determine if more aggressive media fact-checking could correct the false belief that the Affordable Care Act would create "death panels." Participants from an opt-in Internet panel were randomly assigned to either a control group in which they read an article on Sarah Palin's claims about "death panels" or an intervention group in which the article also contained corrective information refuting Palin.
Findings: The correction reduced belief in death panels and strong opposition to the reform bill among those who view Palin unfavorably and those who view her favorably but have low political knowledge. However, it backfired among politically knowledgeable Palin supporters, who were more likely to believe in death panels and to strongly oppose reform if they received the correction.
Conclusions: These results underscore the difficulty of reducing misperceptions about health care reform among individuals with the motivation and sophistication to reject corrective information.
For more, see my previous articles on misperceptions and factual beliefs:
-Beliefs Don't Always Persevere: How political figures are punished when positive information about them is discredited (pre-publication version) (with Michael Cobb and Jason Reifler)
-Misinformation and Fact-checking: Research Findings from Social Science (with Jason Reifler)
-Why the "Death Panel" Myth Wouldn't Die: Misinformation in the Health Care Reform Debate (ungated copy)
-When Corrections Fail: The Persistence of Political Misperceptions (pre-publication version) (with Jason Reifler)
-The Limited Effects of Testimony on Political Persuasion (pre-publication version)