The Backfire Effect Backfires

Yay for continued studies.

But new research has mostly failed to replicate the backfire effect, suggesting that it may not be common, if it happens at all. For instance, Andrew Guess and Alexander Coppock recently published a paper describing three experiments where they tried and failed to elicit a backfire effect, even under conditions that would seem favorable to produce it. In a study of race and peoples’ views on the death penalty, Nyhan and his colleagues also found that backlash effects were small or nonexistent. I talked with Nyhan about this a while back.

Most researchers are bummed if their studies can’t be replicated, but Nyhan was happy. It’s good news, he said, because it suggests that fact-checking really can counteract false beliefs.

Source: 2018 Election Day: Live Coverage And Results | FiveThirtyEight