Ethics in fake news: combatting the illusory truth effect with corrections


Author/Creator ORCID




Towson University. Department of Psychology


Citation of Original Publication




The illusory truth effect is the finding that when information is read multiple times, it appears as more truthful. The purpose of this study was to see if modifying the number of corrections issued to false news headlines had an effect on reducing this phenomenon. News headlines were displayed either one or two times and the number of times a correction was presented varied from zero to two. Participants read through corrections and headlines then rated headlines on familiarity and perceived accuracy. They also completed a memory test for headline and correction content. The illusory truth effect occurred in headlines presented multiple times with no corrections. This effect disappeared, however, when corrections were presented, signifying the possibility of corrections fostering an environment of skepticism. Implications and future research are discussed.