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Psychological Underpinnings of Post-Truth in Political Beliefs

  • Rose McDermott (a1)

Although both the idea and the reality of so-called fake news or disinformation campaigns long precede the Trump administration, the frequency and intensity of the discussion around its prevalence and influence have increased significantly since Donald Trump took office. In an era when technological innovations support increasingly inexpensive and easy ways to produce media that looks official, the ability to separate real from artificial has become increasingly complicated and difficult. Some of the responsibility for public manipulation certainly rests with those who present false or artificial information as real. However, their relative success depends on, at least in part, universal psychological processes that often make humans susceptible to believing things that are not true. For example, people often weigh emotional feelings more heavily than abstract facts in their decision making. This discussion examines the psychological foundations that render individuals susceptible to a post-truth media environment and allow it to emerge, escalate, and persist.

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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
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