Meta-analysis reveals that accuracy nudges have little to no effect for US conservatives: Regarding Pennycook et al. (2020).


According to recent work, subtly nudging people to think about accuracy can reduce the sharing of COVID-19 misinformation online (Pennycook et al., 2020). The authors argue that inattention to accuracy is a key factor behind the sharing of misinformation. They further argue that “partisanship is not, apparently, the key factor distracting people from considering accuracy on social media” (p. 777). However, our meta-analysis of data from this paper and other similar papers finds that partisanship is indeed a key factor underlying accuracy judgments on social media. Specifically, our meta-analysis suggests that the effectiveness of the accuracy nudge intervention depends on partisanship such that it has little to no effect for US conservatives or Republicans. This changes one of Pennycook and colleague’s (2020) central conclusions by revealing that partisanship matters considerably for the success of this intervention. Further, since US conservatives and Republicans are far more likely to share misinformation than US liberals and Democrats (Guess et al., 2019; Lawson & Kakkar, 2021; Osmundson, 2021), this intervention may be ineffective for those most likely to spread fake news.

Psychological Science