Truthiness and falsiness of trivia claims depend on judgmental contexts

Eryn J. Newman*, Maryanne Garry, Christian Unkelbach, Daniel M. Bernstein, D. Stephen Lindsay, Robert A. Nash

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

When people rapidly judge the truth of claims presented with or without related but nonprobative photos, the photos tend to inflate the subjective truth of those claims-a "truthiness" effect (Newman et al., 2012). For example, people more often judged the claim "Macadamia nuts are in the same evolutionary family as peaches" to be true when the claim appeared with a photo of a bowl of macadamia nuts than when it appeared alone. We report several replications of that effect and 3 qualitatively new findings: (a) in a within-subjects design, when people judged claims paired with a mix of related, unrelated, or no photos, related photos produced truthiness but unrelated photos had no significant effect relative to no photos; (b) in a mixed design, when people judged claims paired with related (or unrelated) and no photos, related photos produced truthiness and unrelated photos produced "falseness;" and (c) in a fully between design, when people judged claims paired with either related, unrelated, or no photos, neither truthiness nor falsiness occurred. Our results suggest that photos influence people's judgments when a discrepancy arises in the expected ease of processing, and also support a mechanism in which-against a backdrop of an expected standard- related photos help people generate pseudoevidence to support claims.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1337-1348
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Volume41
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes

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