Of pandemics, politics, and personality: The role of conscientiousness and political ideology in the sharing of fake news.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Sharing misinformation can be catastrophic, especially during times of national importance. Typically studied in political contexts, the sharing of fake news has been positively linked with conservative political ideology. However, such sweeping generalizations run the risk of increasing already rampant political polarization. We offer a more nuanced account by proposing that the sharing of fake news is largely driven by low conscientiousness conservatives. At high levels of conscientiousness there is no difference between liberals and conservatives. We find support for our hypotheses in the contexts of COVID-19, political, and neutral news across eight studies (six preregistered; two conceptual replications) with 4,642 participants and 91,144 unique participant-news observations. A general desire for chaos explains the interactive effect of political ideology and conscientiousness on the sharing of fake news. Furthermore, our findings indicate the inadequacy of fact-checker interventions to deter the spread of fake news. This underscores the challenges associated with tackling fake news, especially during a crisis like COVID-19 where misinformation impairs the ability of governments to curtail the pandemic. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lawson, MA; Kakkar, H

Published Date

  • May 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 151 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 1154 - 1177

PubMed ID

  • 34694858

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-2222

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0096-3445

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/xge0001120


  • eng