Learning to Resist Misinformation: A Field Experiment in India

Naman Garg, Monika Yadav



Can we inoculate people against misinformation and mitigate its impact on people’s beliefs, attitudes, and behavior? We conduct a large field experiment in India with an intervention providing weekly digests containing a compilation of fact-checks of viral misinformation. In these digests, we also incorporate narrative explainers to give details and context of issues that are politically salient and consistent target of false stories. Specifically, we address misperceptions about Muslims increasingly fuelled by online misinformation. We find that familiarity with fact-checks increases people’s ability to correctly identify misinformation by eleven percentage points. However, belief in true news also decreases by four percentage points. We estimate a structural model to disentangle the two mechanisms of impact—truth discernment, which is the ability to correctly distinguish between false and true news; and skepticism, which changes the overall credulity for both false and true news. The impact is driven by an increase in both truth discernment and skepticism. Whereas skepticism increases immediately, it takes several weeks to become better at discerning truth. Finally, our intervention reduces misperceptions about Muslims, as well as leads to changes in policy attitudes and behavior. Treated individuals are less likely to support discriminatory policies and are more likely to pay for efforts to counter the harassment of inter-faith couples.


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Garg, N., & Yadav, M. (2022). Learning to Resist Misinformation: A Field Experiment in India ∗.


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