Fake news and unfunded beliefs in the post-truth age

Main Article Content

Víctor Castillo-Riquelme https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9190-9353
Patricio Hermosilla-Urrea https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3976-9039
Juan P. Poblete-Tiznado https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5193-4394
Christian Durán-Anabalón https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5990-1036


The dissemination of fake news embodies a pressing problem for democracy that is exacerbated by theubiquity of information available on the Internet and by the exploitation of those who, appealing to theemotionality of audiences, have capitalized on the injection of falsehoods into the social fabric. In thisstudy, through a cross-sectional, correlational and non-experimental design, the relationship betweencredibility in the face of fake news and some types of dysfunctional thoughts was explored in a sampleof Chilean university students. The results reveal that greater credibility in fake news is associated withhigher scores of magical, esoteric and naively optimistic thinking, beliefs that would be the meetingpoint for a series of cognitive biases that operate in the processing of information. The highest correlationis found with the paranormal beliefs facet and, particularly, with ideas about the laws of mentalattraction, telepathy and clairvoyance. Significant differences were also found in credibility in fake newsas a function of the gender of the participants, with the female gender scoring higher on average thanthe male gender. These findings highlight the need to promote critical thinking, skepticism and scientificattitude in all segments of society.
Abstract 495 | PDF (Español (España)) Downloads 164 HTML (Español (España)) Downloads 31 EPUB (Español (España)) Downloads 5 PDF Downloads 73


Amoros, M. (2018). Fake News. La verdad de las noticias falsas. Plataforma Actual
Beck, A., & Clark, D. (1997). An information processing model of anxiety: Automatic and strategic processes. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 35(1), 49-58. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0005-7967(96)00069-1
Brashier, N., & Multhaup, K. (2017). Magical thinking decreases across adulthood. Psychology and aging, 32(8), 681-688. https://doi.org/10.1037/pag0000208
Bronstein, M., Pennycook, G., Bear, A., Rand, D., & Cannon, T. (2019). Belief in fake news is associated with delusionality, dogmatism, religious fundamentalism, and reduced analytic thinking. Journal of Applied Research
in Memory and Cognition, 8(1), 108-117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jarmac.2018.09.005
Caldera, J., Reynoso, O., Zamora, M. d., & Pérez, I. (2017). Pensamiento mágico en estudiantes. Estudio comparado entre niveles educativos. Revista Iberoamericana para la Investigación y el Desarrollo Educativo, 8(15), 505-528. https://doi.org/10.23913/ride.v8i15.308
Dagnall, N., Denovan, A., Drinkwater, K., Parker, A., & Clough, P. (2016). Toward a better understanding of the relationship between belief in the paranormal and statistical bias: the potential role of schizotypy. Front. Psychol., 7, 1045. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01045
David, D., Lynn, S., & Ellis, A. (2010). Rational and irrational beliefs: Research, theory, and clinical practice. Oxford University Press.
Epstein, S. (1998). Constructive Thinking: The key to emotional intelligence. Prager.
Epstein, S. (2012). Manual inventario de pensamiento constructivo. Una medida de la intelgencia emocional. TEA Ediciones.
Flichtentrei, D. (2018). Posverdad: la ciencia y sus demonios. Revista del Hospital Interzonal General de Agudos (HIGA) Eva Perón, 6(1), 114-118. https:// bit.ly/3jNTZoz
Garrett, N., Lazzaro, S., Ariely, D., & Sharot, T. (2016). The brain adapts to dishonesty. Nature, 19(12), 1727-1732. https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.4426
Gronemeyer, M., & Porath, W. (2017). Tendencias de la posición editorial en diarios de referencia en Chile. El arte de dosificar la crítica frente a la actuación de los actores políticos. Revista de Ciencia Política, 37(1), 177-202.
Habermas, J. (1991). The structural transformation of the public sphere: An inquiry into a category of bourgeois society. The MIT Press.
Halpern, D., Valenzuela, S., Katz, J., & Miranda, J.-P. (2019). From belief in conspiracy theories to trust in others: which factors influence exposure, believing and sharing fake news. En G. Meiselwitz, Social computing and
social media. Design, human behavior and analytics (pp. 217-232). Springer. http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-21902-4_16
BIBLIOGRAPHY Latinobarómetro (2018). Informe 2018. Santiago de Chile.
Lazer, D., Baum, M., Benkler, Y., Berinski, A., Greenhill, K., Menczer, F., Metzger, M., Nyhan, B., Pennycook, G., Rothschild, D., Schudson, M., Sloman, S., Sunstein, C., Thorson, E., Watts, D., & Zittrain, J. (2018). The science
of fake news. Science, 359(6380), 1094-1096. http://doi.org/10.1126/
Leonard, C., & Williams, R. (2019). Fallacious beliefs: Gambling specific and belief in the paranormal. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 51(1), 1-11. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cbs0000113
Metzger, M., Flanagin, A., & Medders, R. (2010). Social and heuristics approaches to credibility evaluation online. Journal of Communication, 60(3), 413- 439. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.2010.01488.x
Moya, M. (1999). Persuación y cambio de actitudes. En F. Morales, & C. Huici, Psiclogía Social (pp. 153-170). McGraw-Hill.
Nigro, P. (2018). Causas de la pérdida de confianza en la prensa y estrategias para su restablecimiento en un contexto de incertidumbre. Hipertext.net (17), 54-63. https://dx.doi.org/10.31009/hipertext.net.2018.i17.05
Pennycook, G., & Rand, D. (2019). Who falls for fake news? The roles of bullshit receptivity, overclaiming, familiarity, and analytic thinking. Journal of Personality, 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12476
Pennycook, G., McPhetres, J., Zhang, Y., Lu, J., & Rand, D. (2020). Fighting COVID-19 misinformation on social media: Experimental evidence for a scalable accuracy nudge intervention. Psychological Science, 31(7),
770-780. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797620939054
Rampersad, G., & Althiyabi, T. (2019). Fake news: Acceptance by demographics and culture on social media. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1080/19331681.2019.1686676
Rodríguez, C., & Valenzuela, M. (2019). Entre milagros, espíritus y esoterismo: pensamiento mágico y pseudociencia en el Chile globalizado del siglo XXI. Universitas Psychologica, 18(4), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.11144/Javeriana.upsy18-4.emee
Rogers, P., Fisk, J., & Lowrieb, E. (2018). Paranormal belief, thinking style preference and susceptibility to confirmatory conjunction errors. Consciousness and Cognition, 65, 182-196. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2018.07.013
Sagan, C. (2000). El mundo y sus demonios. Planeta.
Sobrado, A., González-García, C., & Ruz, M. (2018). ¿Por qué unas tareas mentales
nos cuestan más que otras? El esfuerzo cognitivo y la percepción subjetiva de la dificultad. Ciencia Cognitiva, 12(2), 42-44.
Stuart-Hamilton, I., Nayak, L., & Priest, L. (2006). Intelligence, belief in the paranormal, knowledge of probability and aging. Educational Gerontology, 32(3), 173-184. https://doi.org/10.1080/03601270500476847
Sülflow, M., Schäfer, S., & Winter, S. (2019). Selective attention in the news feed: An eye-tracking study on the perception and selection of political news posts on Facebook. new media & society, 21(1), 168-190. https://doi. org/10.1177/1461444818791520