According to a recent study , people who are most confident in their ability to discern between fact and fiction are also the most likely to be victims of misinformation.
9 out of 10 respondents indicated that they were above average in their ability to discern fake news headlines .
Overestimating ourselves above average
In the survey, 8,285 Americans were asked to rate the accuracy of a series of Facebook headlines and then rate their own abilities to discern fake news content relative to others.
When the researchers looked at data that measured respondents’ online behavior, those with inflated perceptions of their skills more frequently visited websites linked to spreading false or misleading news. Overconfident participants were also less able to distinguish between true and false statements about current events and reported a greater willingness to share false content, especially when it aligned with their political predispositions .
Although the study does not prove that overconfidence directly causes engagement with fake news, the mismatch between a person’s perceived ability to spot misinformation and their actual competition could play a crucial role in spreading false information. It also suggests that those who are humble – people who tend to engage in thoughtful and self-controlled behaviors and who think more about the sites they visit and the content they share – are likely to be less susceptible to misinformation.
Factors such as gender also played a key role in the likelihood of overconfidence and, in turn, vulnerability to fake news: men showed more self-confidence .