An Empirical Procedure to Evaluate Misinformation Rejection and Deception in Mediated Communication Contexts

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<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title> <jats:p>Although misleading health information is not a new phenomenon, no standards exist to assess consumers’ ability to detect and subsequently reject misinformation. Part of this deficit reflects theoretical and measurement challenges. After drawing novel connections among legal, regulatory, and philosophical perspectives on false, misleading or deceptive advertising and cognitive-process models of persuasive communication, we define deception and misinformation rejection. Recognizing that individuals can hold beliefs that align with a persuasive message without those beliefs having been influenced by it, we derive empirical criteria to test for evidence of these constructs that center on yielding or not yielding to misinformation in mediated contexts. We present data from an experimental study to illustrate the proposed test procedure and provide evidence for two theoretically derived patterns indicative of misinformation rejection. The resulting definitions and empirical procedure set the stage for additional theorizing and empirical studies on misinformation in the marketplace.</jats:p>





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Paquin, RS, V Boudewyns, KR Betts, M Johnson, AC O'Donoghue and BG Southwell (2022). An Empirical Procedure to Evaluate Misinformation Rejection and Deception in Mediated Communication Contexts. Communication Theory, 32(1). pp. 25–47. 10.1093/ct/qtab011 Retrieved from

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Brian Glen Southwell

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine

Dr. Brian Southwell is an adjunct professor with Duke's Department of Medicine and also has worked with the Social Science Research Institute and the Energy Initiative. Southwell directs the Science in the Public Sphere program at RTI International and also is a faculty member at UNC-Chapel Hill. He hosts The Measure of Everyday Life, a weekly public radio show, is the author of Social Networks and Popular Understanding of Science and Health (Johns Hopkins University Press), and edited Innovations in Home Energy Use: A Sourcebook (RTI Press) and Misinformation and Mass Audiences (University of Texas Press).

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