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  • 1-s2.0-S2211368120301248-main

    Rights statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 10, 2, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.jarmac.2020.12.005

    Accepted author manuscript, 3.35 MB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 29/12/21

    Available under license: CC BY-NC-ND: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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Refuting spurious COVID-19 treatment claims reduces demand and misinformation sharing

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/06/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
Issue number2
Volume10
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)248-258
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date29/12/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a surge of health misinformation, which has had serious consequences including direct harm and opportunity costs. We investigated (N = 678) the impact of such misinformation on hypothetical demand (i.e., willingness-to-pay) for an unproven treatment, and propensity to promote (i.e., like or share) misinformation online. This is a novel approach, as previous research has used mainly questionnaire-based measures of reasoning. We also tested two interventions to counteract the misinformation, contrasting a tentative refutation based on materials used by health authorities with an enhanced refutation based on best-practice recommendations. We found prior exposure to misinformation increased misinformation promotion (by 18%). Both tentative and enhanced refutations reduced demand (by 18% and 25%, respectively) as well as misinformation promotion (by 29% and 55%). The fact that enhanced refutations were more effective at curbing promotion of misinformation highlights the need for debunking interventions to follow current best-practice guidelines.

Bibliographic note

This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 10, 2, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.jarmac.2020.12.005