Reading difficulties and judgments of truth (completed)

Rolf Reber and ​Athanasios Protopapas have investigated the relation between reading fluency and the ‘illusion of truth effect’. 

Three portraits of men

Photo: UiO

Are judgments of truth influenced by reading skills? In the age of fake news, it is important to ask whether some groups of people might be more malleable to the illusion of truth effect than others. The illusion of truth effect denotes the observation that readers or listeners judge a statement as being more probably true when they have read or heard the same statement before. It has been shown that processing fluency, the ease with which information can be processed in the mind, influences judgments of truth.

In our study, we were interested whether reading difficulties influences the susceptibility to the illusion of truth effect. There are two lines of reasoning. On the one hand, poor readers may be more susceptible to repetition effects. On the other hand, poor readers may experience more difficulty reading a text, which may decrease the illusion of truth effect because information cannot be processed fluently. In the first experiment, we observed that reading ability did not influence the illusion of truth effect. A second experiment is under way where we assess illusion of truth effects after one week.

The findings of this study are relevant to the critical assessment of information. One implication includes the effects of reading ability on the beliefs readers of both fiction and non-fiction build when processing text information.

Tags: Fake News, Judgement of Truth, Illusion of Truth Effect
Published Oct. 2, 2020 1:22 PM - Last modified Mar. 9, 2022 10:26 AM