If you're curious as to whether or not you've fallen for "fake news" on the internet, a new study suggests looking at how you form your beliefs. A team of researchers from Ohio State University found that those who trust their intuition more or believe that the facts they hear could be politically biased in some way are more likely to stand by inaccurate beliefs, reports Science Daily.
The team analyzed data from three nationally representative surveys, including anywhere from 500 to 1000 participants; they paid particularly close attention to responses to questions like, "I trust my gut to tell me what's true and what's not," "evidence is more important than whether something feels true," and "facts are dictated by those in power." In the end, those who believed that truth was shaped by politics and power were more susceptible to misinformat0ion, while those who relied on hard evidence were less likely to fall for the same falsehoods.
"Scientific and political misperceptions are dangerously common in the U.S. today. The willingness of large minorities of Americans to embrace falsehoods and conspiracy theories poses a threat to society's ability to make well-informed decisions about pressing matters," said Kelly Garrett, the lead researcher and a professor of communication at Ohio State University. "A lot of attention is paid to our political motivations, and while political bias is a reality, we shouldn't lose track of the fact that people have other kinds of biases too."
On the upside, this research solidifies the idea that "making an effort to base your beliefs on evidence is an easy way to help avoid being misled," adds Garrett. In the event of any "fake news" being shared on the internet, she suggests dropping a link to a more reputable news source or study with fact-based information.
Head over to Science Daily for more on the new research, and share your thoughts on the findings in the comments.