Jump to navigation
The effects of known falsehoods on implicit perceptions of hypothetical candidates
Sadler, MelodyAdams, Brian
Purpose: Many believe that voters make rational decisions, but research on the implicit system has shown that explicit thoughts are not the only predictors of behavior. While much research has focused on implicit association formation within the context of information being presented as true, little research has explored how knowingly false information shapes the implicit system. The goal of the present research was to test whether the formation of implicit associations required information to be presented as true. Participants: Using Amazon Mechanical Turk, 214 participants were prescreened and chosen based on their self-rated liberal views. Methodology: Participants viewed 50 to 100 statements pertaining to the hypothetical candidate’s political views. The first condition had the candidate liberal on all issues. In the second he was shown to be liberal on some issues and conservative on other issues. In the third he was shown to be liberal on some issues, but participants were also shown conservative statements about his political philosophy that they knew were not true. Next, participants completed two IATs assessing implicit attitudes and associations with liberalism. Afterwards participants reported liking, voting likelihood, and potential support for the candidate. They then reported their political orientation and completed a series of questions assessing their knowledge of political issues. Results: Variables were orthogonally contrast coded and entered into linear regression models. Contrary to the hypotheses, we did not find a linear effect but candidates in both “Liberal” and “Liberal + Falsehoods” conditions were more implicitly liked and implicitly associated with liberalism than the candidate in the “Liberal + Conservative” condition. The same patterns were found with explicit liking and association with liberalism, which matched the original predictions. Finally, voting and candidate support patterns also showed the same patterns as both implicit and explicit associations. These results suggest that the implicit system is not influenced by information that is known to be untrue. Implications: These findings give further insight into mechanisms underlying implicit association formation. Combined with previous research, these findings may also have implications about the importance of attention in the context of exposure to misinformation.
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2018
© 2015 SDSU Library & Information Access. All Rights Reserved.