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An extensive literature addresses citizen ignorance, but very little research focuses on misperceptions. Can these false or unsubstantiated beliefs about politics be corrected? Previous studies have not tested the efficacy of corrections in a realistic format. We conducted four experiments in which subjects read mock news articles that included either a misleading claim from a politician, or a misleading claim and a correction. Results indicate that corrections frequently fail to reduce misperceptions among the targeted ideological group. We also document several instances of a “backfire” effect in which corrections actually increase misperceptions among the group in question.
Introductory questions: how do you feel about [issue or candidate]
Step two questions: find out how much people know about a subject
Bulk of the interview: "Would your attitude about x change if you found out that [blatant lie]?"
Concluding questions: repeat the first questions, asking them how they feel now.