In conjunction with the recent wave of “Russian hacking” and “fake news epidemic” headlines, the scientific community follows in suit as it usually, in part, tends to do. However, since this is not exactly a politically oriented study, this article will refrain from over-stating these points any further; and of course, it goes without saying that these “fake news” and “misinformation” accusations are nothing shy of a two-way street, especially since Independent Media has been claiming these things about the Mainstream for as long as there have been any indie media outlets to claim anything.
The peer-reviewed journal, Psychological Science, published this study on the matter late last year in November, and the Abstract reads as such,
“In two experiments, we explored the effects of noticing and remembering change in the misinformation paradigm. People watched slide shows, read narratives containing misinformation about the events depicted in the slide shows, and took a recognition test on which they reported whether any details had changed between the slides and the narratives. As expected, we found a strong misinformation effect overall. In some cases, however, misinformation led to improved recognition, which is opposite the usual finding. Critically, misinformation led to improved recognition of the original event when subjects detected and remembered a change between the original event and the postevent information. Our research agrees with other findings from retroactive-interference paradigms and can be interpreted within the recursive-remindings framework, according to which detecting and remembering change can enhance retention. We conclude that the misinformation effect occurs mostly for witnessed details that are not particularly memorable. In the case of more memorable details, providing misinformation can actually facilitate later recollection of the original events.”
The study, published its in its entirety, can be read here.
Psypost.org recently sussed it out of the depths of the scientific journals publications, and their article on the study can be read here.
Presumably, this information would be of statistical use (provided the control methods were accounted for properly; p-hacking is all too real of a thing) regardless of what information they use to gauge the study—but parsing through the study’s material likely proves an interesting peek into how the scientific-scholastic method approaches information given to the public. And for anyone who does not think that this community has any direct approaches to how information is administered to the public, then they have clearly not looked into the histories of organizations like the Rand Corporation, the Esalen Institute, or the Tavistock Institute; nor are they familiar with the likes of Edward Bernays.
Surely, some of the greatest minds alive today are heavily considering the information warfare currently at hand, and it would do anyone some good to study up on the tactics that may and are likely to be generally employed.