High Emotional Intelligence Can Help Spot Fake News – ScienceDaily
According to a study by the University of Strathclyde, people with high emotional intelligence are less prone to “fake news”.
The study asked participants to read a series of messages on social media to determine whether they were real or fictional and briefly describe the reasons for their responses. They were also asked to take a test to determine their level of emotional intelligence (EQ, or emotional quotient) and were asked a series of questions to test the veracity of each message.
The researchers found that those who correctly identified the message types were most likely to do well on the EQ tests. There was a similar relationship between correct identification and level of education.
The study by researchers from the Strathclyde School of Psychological Sciences & Health and the School of Government & Public Policy was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Dr. Tony Anderson, Strathclyde’s senior teaching fellow in psychology and a partner in the research, said, “Fake news on social media is the subject of significant public and government concern today and has begun to focus on the psychological factors that some people are less prone to Make fake news.
“We investigated whether people were better able to ignore the emotionally charged content of such articles and to judge the truthfulness of the information. We found that while distinguishing between real news content and fake content is challenging, participants, on average, are more likely to make the right decision than not.
“Previous research has shown that people can be trained to improve their own EQ levels. This should help them better understand which messages are reliable and which are misleading.”
Attendees were presented with real and fictional news on topics such as health, crime, wealth inequality and the environment. Fictional articles contained aspects such as emotional language, brief information and a lack of source references.
Comments from people who mistakenly believed that fabricated stories were real included: “I have had personal experience with them”; “My children are in this position so I fully understand”; “The graphic shows everything” and “The commentator of the article has the same thoughts as me.” Those who correctly identified fictional stories made comments such as: “The blurb contains emotional / condescending language”; “Scary article without data”; “The source is not an official scientific or government source” and “It comes across as a dirty word.”
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Materials provided by Strathclyde University. Note: The content can be edited in terms of style and length.