FRONT PAGES: Emotions Drive Fake News Spread

dWeb.News Article from Daniel Webster dWeb.News

Newsswise — Fake news is everywhere, from Facebook feeds to questionable websites. When it comes to the misleading information, our emotional response to seeing it can actually further its spread, according to a Bowling Green State University researcher.

Dr. Christy Galletta Horner, assistant professor in the BGSU College of Education and Human Development, and her team recently published research titled “Emotions: The Unexplored Fuel of Fake News on Social Media.” In it, Galletta Horner studied how emotions are affected by false political headlines and how reactions determine whether “stories” are shared with others in an online environment.

Conducted in part with her father, a University of Pittsburgh professor, Galletta Horner’s research focused on the 2020 Presidential Election. The duo surveyed 879 people, showing each person one of eight fake news headlines. The researchers then asked participants whether they would share the fake news headlines or opposing information and how they felt about it.

The researchers found that participants fell into three categories:

Hot: People driven to share “fake news” by high emotions
Upset: People determined to stop the spread of “fake news” by negative emotions
Cold: People who don’t react or intervene to stop the spread of “fake news” [Most participants fell into this category]

Galletta Horner also found that participants’ political affiliations affected how they responded to and shared “fake news.”

Dr. Galletta Horner is available for interviews regarding her research and findings on peoples’ emotional response to “fake news.”

Please contact Michael Bratton, BGSU media strategist, to facilitate and coordinate interviews.

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