Nobody-fools-me perception: Influence of age and education on overconfidence about spotting disinformation
Keywords: 
Cognitive bias
Overconfidence
Selective exposure
Third-person effect
Disinformation
Fake news
Information disorders
Issue Date: 
2022
Publisher: 
Taylor and Francis
Project: 
CEF-TC-2020–2
ISSN: 
1751-2794
Citation: 
López-Pan, F. (Fernando). "Nobody-fools-me perception: Influence of age and education on overconfidence about spotting disinformation". Journalism Practice. 17, 2023, 2084 - 2102
Abstract
This study introduces the concept of “nobody-fools-me perception”, a cognitive bias consisting of overconfidence in one’s own ability to detect disinformation, associated with the belief that one is more immune to false content than almost everyone else. Specifically, it examines the extent to which variables such as age and education determine the conviction that one is able to spot false content, and influence the skills and habits of checking and sharing potentially unverified information on health, a serious problem in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Based on two face-to-face focus groups and one online focus group made up of Spanish people between the ages of 25 and 54, this qualitative research study explored the behaviour of regular citizens when assessing the truthfulness of health-related news, and their habits about believing it. The results reveal that younger people tended to distrust the ability of older people to spot false content, and vice versa. They also show that people with a higher educational level were more confident about their own immunity to disinformation. By introducing the concept of “nobody-fools-me perception”, this study contributes to our understanding of how subjective perceptions lead to believing in false news. Our results can be taken into account to fight disinformation.

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