Utilizing eye-tracking to explain variation in response to inconsistent message on belief change in false rumor

AbstractExposure to Inconsistent message has been demonstrated as a useful method to alleviate belief in false rumor. However, the data from previous research included unexplained variation in response to inconsistent message. Existing research also included the possibility that participants skipped out on reading and therefore they were not exposed to a message. We used an eye tracker to eliminate the possibility. Eye tracking data revealed that participants not only did not skip but they paid more visual attention to inconsistent messages comparing with consistent messages. Despite the overall effectiveness of inconsistent message, some responses showed continued belief in rumors even after the exposure. Eye-tracking analyses demonstrated that when participants had positive pre-belief for a rumor, more visual attention to inconsistent message predicted strengthened the belief. We discuss when exposure to inconsistent message does not work well as a way for harnessing belief in false rumor.


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