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Last Updated Wednesday December 13 2017 01:32 AM IST

Faith in 'gut feelings' linked to belief in fake news

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New York: Some people are more susceptible to misinformation spread on variousmediums including social media sites. A new study suggests that people who tend to trust their intuition are more likely to stand behind inaccurate beliefs.

"While trusting your gut may be beneficial in some situations, it turns out that putting faith in intuition over evidence leaves us susceptible to misinformation," said Brian Weeks of the University of Michigan in the US.

People who believe that truth is shaped by politics and power are also more likely to embrace falsehoods, showed the findings published in the journal PLOS ONE.

And those who rely on concrete evidence to form their beliefs are less likely to have misperceptionsabout high-profile scientific and political issues, said lead researcher Kelly Garrett, Professor ofCommunication at the Ohio State University in the US.

The researchers examined data from three nationally representative surveys that included anywherefrom 500 to almost 1,000 participants.

Their aim was to better understand how people form their beliefs and how that might contribute to theirwillingness to accept ideas with little or no evidence to support them.

They looked at how participants responded to 12 questions including "I trust my gut to tell me what'strue and what's not," "Evidence is more important than whether something feels true" and "Facts aredictated by those in power."

They used responses to these questions to assess people's faith in intuition, their need for evidence, andtheir belief that "truth" is political.

The researchers found that people who believe that the facts they hear are politically biased were morelikely to stand behind inaccurate beliefs.

On the other hand, those who rely on evidence were less likely to believe those falsehoods.

The researchers also evaluated survey respondents' tendency to agree with seven well-known conspiracy theories.

Previous research has shown connections between belief in conspiracy theories and education level,religious fundamentalism and party affiliation, Garrett said.

In this study, a belief that truth is political was the strongest predictor of whether someone would buy into conspiracy theories.

Those who rely on intuition to assess the truth had a stronger tendency to endorse conspiracies, the study said.

Read more: Latest from Wellness | News and ResearchHere's how toilet paper can be converted into electricity: study

The opinions expressed here do not reflect those of Malayala Manorama. Legal action under the IT Act will be taken against those making derogatory and obscene statements.

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