Published On: 28/07/2020|Categories: 2018–2022, Vol.41 (2), Vol.41 (2020)|


The proliferation of fake news in internet requires understanding which factors modulate their credibility and take actions to limit their impact. A number of recent studies have shown an effect of the foreign language when making decisions: reading in a foreign language engages a more rational, analytic mode of thinking (Costa et al., 2014, Cognition). This analytic mode of processing may lead to a decrease in the credibility of fake news. Here we conducted two experiments to examine whether fake news stories presented to university students were more credible in the native language than in a foreign language. Bayesian analyses in both experiments offered support for the hypothesis that the credibility of fake news is not modulated by language. Critically, Experiment 2 also showed a strong direct relationship between credibility and negative emotionality regardless of language. This pattern suggests that the driving force behind the engagement in an automatic thinking mode when reading fake news is not language (native vs. foreign) but emotionality.

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