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Misinformation as Motivated Reasoning: Experimental Evidence | Shorenstein Center

March 4, 2021 @ 12:00 pm

There are competing accounts for the partisan divisions occurring throughout American life.  One is that they are genuine divides due to a strengthened sense of partisan identity. The other is that they reflect partisan cheerleading—insincere support for the “home team” when there is little cost to doing so. We assess the applicability of these claims to political misinformation in the post-Trump era.  We test between these alternatives with experiments that offer incentives for correct survey responses and allow respondents to search for information before answering each question. We find that partisan cheerleading inflates informational divides modestly and incentives have no impact on partisan divides in information search.

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