A lot of time and effort has been spent correcting the falsehoods, lies, rumors and conspiracy theories promoted by politicians during this election — most notably by Donald J. Trump. Does it do any good? Or have we entered a “post-fact” age?
In some cases, research I have conducted with the political scientist Jason Reifler has found that correcting people’s false beliefs can be ineffective or, worse, make them cling to their views even more strongly.
However, other research we have done suggests that fact-checking can be effective. The political scientists Thomas Wood and Ethan Porter have also found corrective information is generally effective in reducing false beliefs, though the extent to which it is effective can depend on people’s political views.
The four of us decided to evaluate the effectiveness of corrective information in reducing misperceptions during this election.