Many healthcare professionals and students are equally incapable of spotting fake news

In a new German study published in PLOS One, healthcare professionals did no better than students at spotting false news stories pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.

From the journal report: “Our main findings are: (i) Healthcare professionals perform similar to students in correctly distinguishing between true and false news stories.”

It continues by stating: “(ii) The propensity to engage in analytical thinking and actively open-minded thinking is positively associated with the ability to distinguish between true and false. (iii) We find that the residence of the subjects (East- or West-Germany) plays only a minor role. (iv) If news stories are in line with existing narratives, subjects tend to think that the stories are true.”

The findings arose at a time when the Director-General of the World Health Organization had declared an “infodemic” given the scope of information exchanging on social media pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our study shows that individuals are vulnerable to false news information, regardless of their level of education and expertise. In this realm, narratives seem to matter: communication of the mass media influences people’s perception of the state of the world,” researchers concluded in their report.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock
More Stories
Study examines the prevalence of psychiatric disorders and kidney disease