Graduation Year

2020

Graduation Month

May

Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

School or Department

Psychology

Major

Psychology

Faculty Mentor

Yoonhee Jang

Faculty Mentor Department

Psychology

Keywords

truthiness, familiarity, judgment, pre-exposure, truthiness-effect

Subject Categories

Cognitive Psychology | Psychology

Abstract

Judgments on whether a statement is true are influenced by various factors. For example, Newman et al. (2012) found participants rated a statement as true if it was presented with a related photo, even if the photo did not provide any evidence that the statement is true. This phenomenon is known as the truthiness effect. Despite a large number of existing studies, little has been known about the mechanism underlies the truthiness effect. In the memory literature, previous studies demonstrated that simply repeating an item, such as a word, makes it more memorable (Jacoby & Whitehouse, 1989), suggesting that mere exposure facilitates conceptual processing and leads to high familiarity. The current study investigated whether pre-exposure of a photo increases familiarity, which influences people to judge a statement as true regardless of whether the statement is true. The study consisted of two phases: a pre-exposure phase, and a judgement phase. During phase 1, a series of photos were shown to participants, and they were asked to make a likeness judgment for each. In phase 2, they were shown a series of statements with a photo or no photo, where they would determine the truthfulness of the statement. Critically, half of the photos in phase 2 were used in phase 1. Participants judged statements as more truthful when they were presented with a photo, as compared to when they were not, which is consistent with previous studies. The truthiness effect disappeared when the photo was pre-exposed. The new finding suggests that familiarity through pre-exposure of a photo makes things more believable and truer even if the statement is indeed false.

Honors College Research Project

Yes

GLI Capstone Project

no

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© Copyright 2020 Karina M. Carlson