Faculty Advisor

Reinitz, Mark

Area of Study

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date

Summer 2021


My study sought to analyze whether the inclusion of the generic source (e.g., blog post, academic journal, etc) of headlines posted on social media sites influenced people’s accuracy judgments of true and false news headlines regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and whether that source information would help mitigate the previously demonstrated spillover effect that warning users of the potential for false news information on social media reduced people’s accuracy ratings of both true and false news headlines. Participants completed questionnaires each containing 6 true and 6 false headlines. Half of the participants first saw a general warning as described above. Additionally, participants either did or did not receive source information for each headline. Three generic sources were used: Blog Post, Politically Affiliated National News Source, or Medical Journal. Participants were able to accurately distinguish between true and false headlines across all conditions and the presentation of a general warning significantly decreased accuracy judgments for both true and false headlines. Although the mere inclusion of headline sources did not significantly affect accuracy judgments as has been previously reported, source had a significant impact on participants’ accuracy judgments such that headlines associated with Medical Journals were rated as significantly more accurate than headlines attributed to Blog Posts or Politically Affiliated National News Sources regardless of whether the headlines were true or false.


Summer Research Scholar Award


University of Puget Sound