Distinguishing true from false information is both a psychological and epistemological process. Clare Wardle emphasizes the importance of identifying various types of what she refers to as information disorder referencing pollution occurring among online platforms principally news outlets. The categories of disinformation can include something as simple as clickbait or truly deceptive information that one might believe at first glance. The solutions to internet pollution are complex because it takes on many different forms. This causes fact-checking to be inefficient and time consuming, only flagging articles that are blatantly false excluding ones that are misleading. There is an intersection between psychological and epistemological theories because they involve evaluating the validity of information despite its justification of previously held beliefs. This is examined through the dual process theory separating cognition into automatic and deliberate processing. Automatic processing is when people rely on their personal knowledge to determine if information is true, failing to account for their biases. Deliberate processing requires more effort and I draw on information from several studies proving participants deliberating for longer allows them to more efficiently differentiate true from false information. I will analyze the well-documented case studies in Pomerantsev’s This is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality for examples of deliberation and the importance of understanding both psychological and epistemological processes because disinformation efforts are expanding and due to overstimulation people are failing to deliberate long enough to determine the reliability of information.
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Gillen, Sarah, "The Psychological Theory Behind the Epistemology of Disinformation" (2022). Research Days Posters 2022. 130.