BWL XI: Research Paper on Fake News at NeuroIS Retreat 2020
Title: Identifying Linguistic Cues of Fake News Associated with Cognitive and Affective Processing: Evidence from NeuroIS
Authors: Bernhard Lutz (University of Freiburg), Marc T. P. Adam (University of Newcastle), Stefan Feuerriegel (ETH Zurich), Nicolas Pröllochs, Dirk Neumann (University of Freiburg)
False information such as fake news is widely believed to influence the opinions of individuals. So far, information systems (IS) literature is lacking a theoretical understanding of how users react and respond to fake news. In this study, we analyze drivers of cognitive and affective processing in terms of linguistic cues. For this purpose, we performed a NeuroIS experiment that involved N=42 subjects with both eye tracking and heart rate measurements. We find that users spend more cognitive effort (more eye fixations) in assessing the veracity of
fake news when it is characterized by better readability and less affective words. In addition, we find that fake news is more likely to trigger affective responses (lower heart rate variability) when it is characterized by a higher degree of analytic writing. Our findings contribute to IS theory by disentangling linguistic cues that help to explain how fake news is processed. The insights can aid researchers and practitioners in designing IS to better counter fake news.