In the final two months of the 2020 U.S. election, the researchers conducted eight panel experiments to evaluate the immediate and medium-term effects of misinformation and factual corrections. Our results corroborate four sets of existing findings: fact-checks reliably improve factual accuracy, while misinformation degrades it; effects of fact-checks on belief accuracy endure, although they fade with time; effects on attitudes are minuscule; and there are important partisan asymmetries. They also offer one new empirical finding suggesting that effect heterogeneities by personality type and cognitive style may reflect attention paid to treatments. The study confirms that the fundamental push and pull of misinformation and factual corrections on political beliefs holds even in electoral settings as saturated with mistruths as the 2020 U.S. election.
This study is forthcoming in the British Journal of Political Science.