Who falls for racialised fake news?
: Exploring the influence of racial prejudice, domain-specific knowledge and emotion

  • Chelsey Morris

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy


Real- world events have shown that racialised fake news can have devastating consequences on society. Fake news can influence hate speech and violence toward racial groups targeted by fake news peddlers. This topic has received very little attention amongst researchers. Previous research has heavily focused within the domains of scientific or political fake news. So, the question that remains unanswered is: what influences the perceived credibility of racialised fake news? Using the theory of motivated reasoning, a novel approach is employed to explore how preexisting beliefs and knowledge influence the credibility of racialised fake news. Across three studies, it was found that pre-existing prejudice significantly influences the credibility of fake news portraying Arab and Polish individuals negatively. Building on this, the results suggested that emotional responses from fake news supersede domain-specific knowledge, decreasing the likelihood of accurately identifying fake news. The results may assist in designing effective interventions that assist audiences to recognise racialised fake news.
Date of Award2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorGareth Norris (Supervisor) & Gareth Hall (Supervisor)

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