The effect of message modality on memory for political disinformation : Lessons from the 2021 U.S capitol riots

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number107241
Journal / PublicationComputers in Human Behavior
Online published22 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


Using the context of the 2021 U.S. Capitol riot, an attack on the U.S Congress that was in response to the alleged voter fraud perpetuated by high profile Republicans, this study sought to uncover the differences in content memory (i.e., free recall and recognition) scores for both factually correct and disinformation news content. In addition, it also explored how exposure to different message modalities (i.e., text, image, and video) may exacerbate the recall and recollection of news content, especially when presented with purposely misleading information. An online experiment (n = 568) using manipulated mock news articles was conducted to gauge participants' content memory for participants exposed to either factually correct or disinformation news content. Findings showcase that while there is no significant difference in content memory scores between those exposed to disinformation and factually correct news, partisans might be more tempted to purposely remember story details that support their party regardless of whether those details are accurate. Moreover, while modality may help in aiding one's memory for information, other factors such as expectancy-violation should be integrated with existing multimedia learning theories when applying the cognitive processing logic of modality to news consumption.

Research Area(s)

  • Content memory, Disinformation, Message modality, Online news, Partisanship