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Americans share fake news to fit in with social circles

  • Journalism and Facts
  • Social Media and Internet
  • Politics

Fear of exclusion contributes to spread of fake news, research finds

Read the journal article

  • Tribalism and Tribulations (PDF, 495KB)

WASHINGTON — Both conservative and liberal Americans share fake news because they don’t want to be ostracized from their social circles, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

“Conformity and social pressure are key motivators of the spread of fake news,” said lead researcher Matthew Asher Lawson, PhD, an assistant professor of decision sciences at INSEAD, a business school in France. “If someone in your online tribe is sharing fake news, then you feel pressure to share it as well, even if you don’t know whether it’s false or true.”

The research was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

The proliferation of fake news contributes to increasing political polarization and distrust of democratic institutions, according to the Brookings Institution. But fake news doesn’t always proliferate due to dark motives or a call for action. The researchers began studying the issue after noticing people in their own social networks sharing fake news seemingly without malicious intent or ideological purpose.

“Political ideology alone doesn’t explain people’s tendency to share fake news within their social groups,” Lawson said. “There are many factors at play, including the very basic desire to fit in and not to be excluded.”

One experiment analyzed the tweets and political ideology of more than 50,000 pairs of Twitter users in the U.S., including tweets sharing fake or hyper-partisan news between August and December 2020. (Political ideology was determined through a network-based algorithm that imputes ideology by looking at the types of accounts Twitter users follow.) The number of tweets between pairs of Twitter users in the same social circles were measured. Twitter users were less likely to interact with each other over time if one of them shared a fake news story and the other did not share that same story. The same effect was found regardless of political ideology but was stronger for more right-leaning participants.

A second experiment analyzed 10,000 Twitter users who had shared fake news in the prior test, along with another group that was representative of Twitter users in general. Twitter users who had shared fake news were more likely to exclude other users who didn’t share the same content, suggesting that social pressures may be particularly acute in the fake news ecosystem.

Across several additional online experiments, participants indicated a reduced desire to interact with social connections who failed to share the same fake news. Participants who were more concerned about the social costs of not fitting in were also more likely to share fake news.

While fake news may seem prolific, prior research has found that fake news only accounts for 0.15% of Americans’ daily media consumption, and 1% of individuals are responsible for 80% of fake news sharing. Other research found that election-related misinformation on Twitter decreased by 73% after Donald Trump was banned from the platform.

Many complex factors contribute to people’s decisions to share fake news so reducing its spread is difficult, and the role of social media companies isn’t always clear, Lawson said.

“Pre-bunking” methods that inform people about the ways that misinformation spreads and highlighting the importance of the accuracy of news can help reduce the spread of fake news. However, finding ways to ease the social pressure to conform in online spaces may be needed to start winning the war on misinformation, Lawson said.

Article: “Tribalism and Tribulations: The Social Costs of Not Sharing Fake News,” Matthew Asher Lawson, PhD, INSEAD, Shikhar Anand, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, and Hemant Kakkar, PhD, Duke University, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, published online March 9, 2023.

These Are The 6 Foods You Should Eat Every Day

Published on 06/23/2021
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There are a number of healthy foods that you should eat daily because they are beneficial to your health. This also includes a very specific type of chocolate, for example. We introduce you to 6 foods that should have a permanent place on your menu and that can be easily integrated into various dishes. Of course, you don’t always have to eat the same thing- a balanced diet is crucial. The following foods you should always have in your kitchen, and they are also really tasty.

These Are The 6 Foods You Should Eat Every Day

Green Tea

Whether for breakfast or in between: green tea makes you awake and fit. The caffeinated drink is an alternative for all non-coffee drinkers. The postive effects of green tea have already been proven by numerous studies. One reason for this is the catechins contained in green tea. These are secondary plant substances that have an antioxidant effect in the body. That means they prevent so-called “free radicals” from damaging the DNA.

Nuts

Nuts are the perfect snack for in between. Nuts contain many important nutrients and healthy fats, and thus keep you fit. A handful of nuts a day can protect you from heart attacks and strokes. The performance of the brain is also positively influenced. Nuts are ideal as an addition to your muesli or salad.

Raspberries And Blueberries

The small snack for in-between tastes not only great but also has an important added value: The fruit is considered to be detoxifying and beneficial for digestion. Raspberries also contain antioxidants that can slow down skin aging and reduce the risk of cancer. In addition, berries are extremely low in calories and sugar.

Oats

As a delicious addition to a smoothie, baking or muesli: Oat flakes are healthy food for everyday life. They contain fiber, valuable vitamins, minerals and at the same time little fat. The fiber, in particular, will keep you full for a long time and get you through the day well. Oatmeal can also help with gastrointestinal problems. As a healthy snack between meals, oat biscuits are highly recommended!

Apples

“One apple a day keeps the doctor away” – this is by no means a myth. Apples not only strengthen the immune system, they are also high in fiber, flavonoids and polyphenols. These clean your body of metabolic toxins. The miracle fruit is also said to help with constipation and diarrhea. It is best to eat apples with their skin on- this is where most of the nutrients are. With 54 calories per 100 grams, the apple is also low in calories and perfect for a snack in between meals or for morning muesli. Make sure to wash the apple thoroughly beforehand.

Dark Chocolate

Surprised? You can also eat chocolate every day – but this refers to dark chocolate with no added sugar. The treat is actually a health booster: cocoa is a source of antioxidants and improves your mental performance. Chocolate is suitable as a snack between meals or as a dessert.

high calcium foods to nourish bones and promote good health:

Calcium is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in maintaining strong bones and teeth, muscle function, nerve transmission, and other important bodily functions. However, many people do not consume enough calcium in their diet, which can lead to a variety of health problems, including osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and increases the risk of fractures. Fortunately, there are many high calcium foods that can help you meet your daily calcium needs and support healthy bones and overall health.

Dairy products are the most well-known source of calcium. Milk, cheese, and yogurt are all excellent sources of calcium and other important nutrients like vitamin D, which helps the body absorb and use calcium. However, some people may be lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy, which can make it difficult to consume dairy products. If you are unable to consume dairy, there are other high calcium foods you can incorporate into your diet.

Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens are another excellent source of calcium. These greens are also high in other important nutrients like vitamin K, which plays a role in bone health by helping the body use calcium. In addition to calcium and vitamin K, leafy greens are also rich in antioxidants, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health.

Nuts and seeds are another great source of calcium. Almonds are one of the best sources of calcium among nuts, with one ounce providing about 8% of the daily recommended intake. Sesame seeds and chia seeds are also high in calcium and can be easily incorporated into your diet. Additionally, nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fats, fiber, and protein, making them a great snack option.

Tofu is a plant-based protein source that is also high in calcium. Made from soybeans, tofu is a popular ingredient in many vegetarian and vegan dishes. Half a cup of tofu provides about 20% of the daily recommended intake of calcium. Additionally, tofu is a good source of protein and other important nutrients like iron and magnesium.

Finally, there are many fortified foods that can help you meet your daily calcium needs. Fortified foods are foods that have had extra nutrients added to them, such as calcium, to make them more nutritious. Breakfast cereals, plant-based milks like almond milk and soy milk, and orange juice are all common sources of calcium-fortified foods. However, it's important to read the labels carefully, as not all fortified foods are created equal. Some fortified foods may be high in added sugars or other unhealthy ingredients, so it's important to choose wisely.

In conclusion, incorporating high calcium foods into your diet can help you meet your daily calcium needs and support healthy bones and overall health. Dairy products, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, tofu, and fortified foods are all excellent sources of calcium that can be easily incorporated into your meals and snacks. By eating a varied and balanced diet that includes plenty of high calcium foods, you can support strong bones, healthy muscles, and overall wellbeing.