Is it better to get rid of rumors by changing your habits?

Is it better to get rid of rumors by changing your habits? ...

Not being able to distinguish fake news from real news may have significant implications for a person''s physical, emotional, and financial well-being, especially for older adults, who in general have more financial assets and must make more high-stakes health decisions.

How beneficial are older adults in terms of discovering fraudulent information?

According to a new research, older adults are no longer likely to fall for fake news than younger adults, with age-related exposure to deceptive news only among those who are classified as the oldest old.

During the early stage of the COVID-19 epidemic, researchers at the University of Florida (UF) and the University of Central Florida published a paper on May 2nd.

The study is the first to delineate the importance of analytical reasoning, affect, and news consumption frequency in helping to detect fake news in older adults across a broad age range, as well as in direct comparison to young adults.

Didem Pehlivanoglu, a leading author and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, said, "We wanted to look at this because we know that with age most individuals show some decline in their cognition abilities." However, we also know that certain information processing abilities are preserved or even improved.

There is no evidence that older adults are susceptible to bogus news and which factors might aid or halt a person''s ability to judge the accuracy of information, according to previous evidence. Even the significant rise in misinformation during the COVID-19 epidemic has boosted concern, given that the virus has been particularly deadly for older adults.

Is it possible to do it? People have assumed that older adults will perform better than young adults across the board, but that isn''t the case, according to Brian Cahill, a university professor.

As a group, older adults tend to consume more information than younger adults. These factors may bias and contextualize information processing in older adults.

The researchers set out to explore age differences in the ability to identify false information, and how analytical reasoning, impact, and news consumption frequency impacted that ability. The study was conducted between May and October of 2020; the older adults were aged from 61 to 87 years, and the younger adults were college students.

Participants ate and assessed twelve full-length news articles about COVID and non-COVID topics, each of which includes six real and six fake stories. After reading an article, participants ate the possibility of whether the article was fake or false, and how confident they were in making the decision.

The researchers then looked at participants'' analytical reasoning skills, affect, and news consumption frequency.

The ability to detect fake news was comparable between young and older adults. Determining an article was fake was linked to individual differences in analytical reasoning abilities for both age groups. Both young and older adults showed a lower ability to detect fake COVID news than regular fake news, which may imply a limited knowledge of COVID at the start of the epidemic.

However, the more elderly older adults that is those individuals aged 70 years or older showed a reduced ability to detect fake news, either about COVID or another topic, and that decreased ability was associated with levels of analytical reasoning, affect, and news consumption frequency.

Adults in the 70+ age group who had an greater positive affect and who frequently consumed news were most likely to engage in shallow information processing, including not looking closely at information or paying attention to details. It may only be in very late old age, at a time in life when diminished cognitive abilities cannot be compensated for anymore by advances in life experience and world knowledge, according to the researchers.

According to Natalie Ebner, a co-author and psychology professor at UF, it is a particularly high-risk population with large implications for unlawful decision making.

The findings have the potential to influigate design of decision-supportive actions, according to the team, to increase news communication and reduce misinformation across the lifespan and in ageing.

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