New study finds people are too confident in their ability to spot false news

Researcher says overconfidence could lead to sharing of false news online

ST. LOUIS, MO (KMOX) - A new study shows three out of four Americans overestimate their ability to distinguish between legitimate and false news headlines. "I think the big overall problem is that we're struggling to think clearly about why sometimes people, even very highly educated and politically sophisticated people, can sometimes be fooled by this content when it's online," says Jacob Montgomery, Associate Professor of Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis.

Montgomery, along with researchers from four other institutions -- Princeton University, the University of Utah, Dartmouth College and the University of Exeter -- showed survey participants headlines and stories that had been checked by independent organizations for accuracy.

Most people thought they were above average at discerning true versus false headlines. What researchers found was that in reality, the majority of people weren't very good at telling the difference.

Montergomery says the concern is that overconfidence could increase the likelhood that people will share false news or make them resistent to education about spotting false news.

Listen to Megan Lynch's Interview with Washington University's Jacob Montgomery by clicking the link below.

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