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Liechtenstein Information Systems Seminar: Misinformation in Social Media: Empirical Evidence of Human Information Processing from NeuroIS

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Prof. Dr. Stefan Feuerriegel


Tuesday, October 30th 2018, 13.00 - 14:00
University of Liechtenstein, H2


Prof. Dr. Stefan Feuerriegel
ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Online content that is authored with deceptive or even malicious intentions -- such as "fake news" -- threatens the credibility of social media and is widely believed to endanger society. A prime reason is seen in the online setting itself: the source of information is unknown and, because of this, humans frequently fail to determine its true nature. So far, IS literature has merely studied the diffusion of social media, but it lacks a theoretical foundation on what makes humans classify social media content as fake. To close this research gap, we performed a NeuroIS experiment that involved 40 subjects with both eye tracking and heart rate measurements. We find that a lower heart rate variability and a higher number of eye fixations are associated with a higher probability of classifying a news item as fake, and that initial beliefs are moderated by thoroughness of reading. In addition, we find that faked (as opposed to truthful) content is defined by less reading time. Conversely, we observe different neurophysiological outcomes when studying the relationship with misclassified faked content, i.e., those items that were erroneously rated as true even though belonging to the category of "fake news". Our study contributes to IS theory by resolving the different neurophysiological mechanisms that are triggered by truthful and fake content, respectively. As a remedy, this work points towards novel strategies for identifying and preventing the spread of deceptive content in social media.

Short bio
Stefan Feuerriegel has joined ETH Zurich as a tenure-track assistant professor in management information systems. Prior to that, he served as a research group leader and PhD student at the Chair for Information Systems Research, University of Freiburg.

The participation is free of charge.

Information Contact

Prof. Dr. Stefan Seidel


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