Does incorporating social media messages into television programs affect the validation of incorrect arguments?

AbstractThe present study explores the impact of including social media messages on learning from television programs that broadcast pseudoscientific claims. Seventy-seven university students were allocated to one of three experimental conditions: viewing television content with messages supporting the claim, with opposing messages, or without any messages presented. Memory retention did not differ among the conditions. However, social media messages influenced validation of the arguments claimed in the video. The participants who watched the video with opposing messages showed a significant decrease in positive attitude toward the pseudoscientific technology that claimed to be effective in the video. Additionally, the participants who watched the video with supporting messages made fewer critical comments and showed willingness to donate more to the activity using the pseudoscientific technology. The impact of including social media messages and the process of attitude change are discussed.


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