In this chapter, we provide a necessarily brief and partial survey of recent work in the cognitive sciences directly on or closely related to the psychology of fake news, in particular fake news in the political domain. We focus on whether and why people believe fake news. While we argue that it is likely that a large proportion of people who purport to believe fake news really do, we provide evidence that this proportion might be significantly smaller than is usually thought (and smaller than is suggested by surveys). Assertion of belief is inflated, we suggest, by insincere report, whether to express support for one side of political debate or simply for fun. It is also inflated by the use of motivated inference of one sort or another, which leads respondents to report believing things about which they had no opinion prior to being probed. We then turn to rival accounts that aim to explain why people believe in fake news when they do. While partisan explanations, turning on motivated reasoning, are probably best known, we show they face serious challenges from accounts that explain belief by reference to analytic thinking.
|Title of host publication||The Routledge handbook of political epistemology|
|Editors||Michael Hannon, Jeroen de Ridder|
|Place of Publication||London ; New York|
|Publisher||Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group|
|Number of pages||11|
|ISBN (Print)||9780367345907, 9780367754686|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|