Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

5-6-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Advisor(s)

Kethera Fogler

Abstract

Decades of research have examined misinformation and memory. Recently, studies have demonstrated that misleading headlines can influence the reader’s memory and inferential reasoning. The current study examines how accurate and misleading headlines differentially affect readers’ memory and inferential reasoning for news articles. College students (N = 138) read three articles on various topics (e.g., solitary confinement, stem cell research, and wildfires) and then took a test to assess memory and inferences related to the article. Contrary to previous studies, there was not a difference in memory between accurate and misleading headline conditions across article types. The effect of a misleading headline was moderated by the topic of the article, in that people who read a misleading headline for an article regarding stem cell research made less congruent inferences (i.e., unrepresentative of the main point of the article) than the congruent headline condition. These results indicate that when an individual sufficiently reads an article, a misleading headline does not affect memory and reasoning.

Available for download on Sunday, April 30, 2023

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