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Have you heard about the dentist who pulled all of her ex-boyfriend's teeth out in a fit of jealous rage? What about the "fact" that more women are the victims of domestic abuse on Super Bowl Sunday than on any other day of the year? How about the story about terrorists who have stolen thousands of dollars worth of UPS uniforms? (Like delivery people don't have enough problems already.)
Need I go on?
All these stories are false, but thanks in large part to the wonderful World Wide Web,
Some participants in the study did in fact adjust their beliefs to form more correct views when information was instantly highlighted, pointing out errors. However, a disturbing number of people rejected the corrections...In fact, they rejected the corrections even though they were told it was from a reputable, impartial source.
On the positive side, people were more receptive to the corrections when they were presented after some delay. When corrected information was presented 3 minutes after reading a story (a distracting task was introduced during that time), participants--which included ethnically and politically diverse members--were moderately more likely to adjust their views and form more accurate beliefs.